After a league-record 19 straight regular-season wins, the Vancouver Titans have been laid to rest by KariV and the Los Angeles Valiant. There is just one week left in the penultimate stage of the Overwatch League, and the meta is now just as volatile as the middle of the league's standings. Week 3 had everything from five-map games to five-DPS team comps as teams adjust to Sombra-GOATS and continue moving away from Stage 2's reliance on standard GOATS.
Ahead of Week 3, the Toronto Defiant sent their flex-tank Envy to the Shanghai Dragons, while the Florida Mayhem, Los Angeles Valiant, Los Angeles Gladiators and Seoul Dynasty all made various roster and coaching staff additions. Still, the week's most exciting addition has to be the release of a custom in-game Zenyatta skin made in honor of the New York Excelsior's JJoNak, Season 1's MVP. Calling on the genesis of JJoNak's handle ("jjomulak nakji," which means "fumbling octopus" in Korean), the skin features octopi alongside odes to JJoNak's number (44) and his team's branding.
Overwatch League @overwatchleague
“I think this is something I’m going to talk about w/ pride for my entire life.” —@JJoNakLove Get your tokens ready 👊 you won't want to miss out on this incredible skin for the 2018 @TMobile MVP! Go inside the creation & unveiling of his 🐙-themed skin: https://t.co/xQm7Cviag2 https://t.co/opCYS0vS03
Fittingly, the new JJoNak skin's reveal coincided with a wild Excelsior win over the London Spitfire and the reveal of DPS-heavy team compositions around the league. Heroes like McCree, Ana and Hanzo got some major shine as the Valiant headlined a tremendous week in professional Overwatch.
Thursday, June 20
San Francisco Shock 4-0 Boston Uprising
Paris Eternal 1-3 Houston Outlaws
Hangzhou Spark 3-0 Dallas Fuel
Shanghai Dragons 1-3 Los Angeles Valiant
Friday, June 21
London Spitfire 2-3 New York Excelsior
San Francisco Shock 4-0 Florida Mayhem
Los Angeles Gladiators 1-3 Shanghai Dragons
Chengdu Hunters 1-3 Vancouver Titans
Saturday, June 22
London Spitfire 2-1 Washington Justice
Atlanta Reign 2-3 Philadelphia Fusion
Toronto Defiant 0-4 Guangzhou Charge
Hangzhou Spark 3-2 Seoul Dynasty
Sunday, June 23
Chengdu Hunters 4-0 Dallas Fuel
Boston Uprising 3-2 Paris Eternal
Houston Outlaws 1-3 Florida Mayhem
Los Angeles Valiant 3-1 Vancouver Titans
Despite some wonky, uneven scorelines to start the week, Thursday featured some nutty highlights and fun debuts. The first two maps were fairly uneventful, as the Shock casually swept the Uprising and their new support duo, Persia and alemao, and the Outlaws pulled off a comfortable 3-1 win over the Eternal. Then, Australian main tank Trill made his debut for the Fuel, subbing in for OGE, but the team was smothered by the Spark (3-0, 12-6 on map points). Hangzhou's GodsB was even able to defy logic by countering Pharah as a Zarya.
Unfortunately, the loss came down hard on Trill. Fortunately, he seemed to quickly come up with some coping mechanisms.
At 3-1 in favor of the Valiant, Thursday's final match score may seem lopsided. But the map points were a close 9-11 and the Dragons pulled off some nasty highlights courtesy of diem's Widowmaker and DDing's Pharah.
However, the entire week's top highlight came courtesy of the Valiant's KariV. He celebrated Shax's debut for L.A. by putting 35 enemies to sleep as Ana and singlehandedly winning a fight with an absurd sleep dart on DDing's Sombra at the exact moment she became visible.
His teammate, SPACE, and opponent, CoMa, summed up KariV's performance succinctly.
Friday continued the mania, as the Excelsior and Spitfire went to all five maps in a 3-2 (14-12 on map points) win for NYXL. The Excelsior committed to Sombra-GOATS by running Saebyeolbe over MekO all match, but the team comps varied throughout as NYXL pulled off some Sombra-Doomfist early and Nenne filled the kill feed as McCree.
The Spitfire responded in kind, with flex-tank Fury putting away the D.Va and showing off on a wide array of DPS heroes instead.
JJoNak's postgame comments proved he's about his business, while Profit represented the feelings of DPS-hungry fans everywhere.
Then the Mayhem brought out the weirdest comp in Overwatch history, played for the first time ever in the OWL, as the Shock got another easy sweep. So easy, in fact, that San Francisco's only postgame complaint was that its main-support Moth used his gun too much, to the dismay of flex-tank ChoiHyoBin who wanted a Mercy pocket as Pharah.
Saturday was headlined by the Fusion's five-map win against the Reign with another fun, DPS-heavy team comp and the Spark's five-map win over the Dynasty.
The day did have an early moment of redemption, though. The Justice fell 2-1 to the Spitfire, but it was an even 11-10 on map points and Janus, a main-tank who has been dogged by fans all year for Washington's poor performances, had a major, map-winning environmental 3K in Paris to silence the haters.
The Charge also got a big 3K highlight in Paris, as flex-DPS sub nero landed a nasty rip-tire.
Guangzhou's main DPS, Happy, continued to cement his playing time by continuing to hit nutty shots as Widowmaker—prompting Houston's DPS Jake to take notice on Twitter.
Unfortunately, the Raptors must have used up all of Toronto's winning energy as the Defiant's only highlight was the casters trying to read out a tweet from their flex-tank Gods during halftime.
Hangzhou continued its climb up the standings in a tight 3-2 (9-6 on map points) victory over the Dynasty, capped by a ridiculous map-saving 3K from flex-support BEBE. So ridiculous that main-support iDK had to stop playing for a moment to dap him up.
Sunday's Match of the Day was an unideal 0-4 drubbing for the Fuel at the hands of the Hunters, but it meant more experience for Trill and came with the injury asterisk of a substitution, as main-support HarryHook replaced French Fragyatta uNKOE because of an eye condition. On the plus side, ZachaREEE finally got out of Brig jail for a little, and the Fuel's double-sniper comp actually showed some promise.
The rest of Sunday was bonkers. The Uprising got a reverse sweep (3-2, 11-10 on map points) against the Eternal, their fourth and the record for most in an OWL season, with AimGod and Kellex playing over Persia and alemao the entire time. Fate got his first win ever with the Mayhem, as they beat the inconsistent Outlaws 3-2 in a tight contest (9-8 on map points) and Sayaplayer's Widowmaker made a major return.
And finally, the Valiant ended the Titans' 19-game regular-season win streak in a shocking 3-1 demolition. KariV is an absolute monster on Ana and the entire league has taken notice.
Teams are still vying to be among the eight to make the cut for the stage playoffs and a chance at winning $200,000. It remains to be seen who, at the end of Stage 4, will earn a trip to the season's playoffs and take a stab at its $5 million prize pool. If Ana is still in the meta, then the L.A. Valiant and KariV definitely look like contenders.