A new map pool, different faces, and a long-forgotten support hero… the Overwatch League’s stage two has begun. Following a stage one win from London Spitfire, stage two kicked off on Feb. 21 with Seoul Dynasty vs. Los Angeles Valiant.
So much has changed in the week since the first stage’s championship match, most of that due in part to a major Mercy nerf that finally got ticked on for the league. Teams that were strong in the Overwatch League’s opening matches will have to prove themselves once again in a changing meta—a meta with no second chances. With Mercy no longer an instant pick in every single match, players can’t rely on a Resurrect. Risky plays become even more so, with initial picks becoming more valuable than ever.
The first stage of Overwatch League was a battle between dive and anti-dive. Dive compositions are here to stay for stage two, but an anti-dive composition boosted by Mercy is no longer viable. What matches dive now, then? Dive itself, as put on display during Seoul vs. Los Angeles. Both teams brought out similar compositions, filling their rosters with the likes of Tracer, Genji, Winston, and D.Va. Supports varied between Lúcio and Zenyatta, with the occasional Ana pick.
Seoul’s success in dive composition is where Los Angeles failed: The South Korean roster met Los Angeles DPS Terence “SoOn” Tarlier’s Tracer either with their own Tracer in Chae “Bunny” Joon-hyuk or with Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun on Soldier: 76. Even support player Ryu “ryujehong” Je-hong took on Tracer with a next-level prediction following SoOn’s Recall during the first map, Volskaya Industries.
Dive requires good communication and precision teamwork; in dive-on-dive, the team that’s better in that regard wins. And across all of the matches between Seoul and Los Angeles, it was Seoul that prevailed. On Volskaya, Seoul kept Los Angeles from capturing a single point, pushing the California-based team into positioning that worked to Seoul’s advantage. Seoul had an answer for each of Los Angeles’ pushes, managing to keep an ultimate advantage and shut down every dive from the opposing team.
Moving onto Nepal, Seoul continued their dominance in the back-and-forth match by eking out two points in succession. Los Angeles showed some more successful dive pushes on Nepal, but Seoul ultimately came out on top. That dominance transitioned over through the halftime period and onto King’s Row—a map that many are excited to see back in the Overwatch League rotation.
Seoul finished the map only to be met by an aggressive Los Angeles team eager to do the same. Los Angeles made a precision dive led by a clutch pick from SoOn’s Widowmaker, capturing the point even faster than Seoul did on their own attack push. But despite Los Angeles’ success in pushing the payload mere meters from the King’s Row finish line, they were ultimately stopped by Seoul’s superior discipline and communication. The map win on King’s Row gave Seoul their first win of stage two in what the team likely hopes will be different than the first round.
But as always, the fourth map is played regardless of the score, which took Seoul and Los Angeles to Route 66. That map went in Seoul’s favor, too, bringing the final score to 4-0.
The Seoul Dynasty that stepped onto the Overwatch League stage tonight looking more like the Lunatic-Hai team that earned themselves two OGN Overwatch Apex championship titles. But it’s just one day—the first of many—and far too early to call stage two in Seoul’s favor. Should they keep playing like they did tonight, they’ve got more of a shot than they did in the first stage.