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Overwatch League recap: A challenge to Korean dominance?

Overwatch League recap: A challenge to Korean dominance?
Things really got interesting last week at Overwatch League. Though the first couple of matches were 4-0 blowouts, seven other matches went all the way to map five. The most interesting trend we've been seeing lately is that the Seoul Dynasty (16-8) and London Spitfire (16-8) are losing traction, while the Boston Uprising (16-8), Philadelphia Fusion (16-8) and Los Angeles Valiant (15-9) continue to improve. On Friday, the Los Angeles Gladiators (13-11) 2-0'd Seoul on the map five tiebreaker, while Philadelphia did the same to London on Saturday. If this trend continues, we might see a healthier mix of teams in the playoffs than the previously anticipated Korean showdown. Last week also saw Boston overcome a massive roster hurdle with the loss of Jonathan "DreamKazper" Sanchez. His replacement, Stanislov "Mistakes" Danilov, proved that he was up to the task as Boston picked up two big wins against the New York Excelsior (21-3) and the Florida Mayhem (4-20).

Mixed rosters continue to prove themselves

The whole "Korean versus mixed" dichotomy is a bit tiresome at this point, but it's still worth examining in terms of the overall picture. If it weren't, no one would have been talking about the fact that every team now has South Korean players after the last round of acquisitions. But where New York, Seoul, and London once stood in confidence, they now find themselves struggling against the rest of the pack. Take a team like Philadelphia, for example. On paper, they looked like one of the best teams in the league at the start of the season. Instead, they struggled with inconsistency and it didn't feel like they were living up to their potential. That's all very different now. One glaring problem for Philadelphia was that Georgii "ShaDowBurn" Gushcha wasn't producing results quite as much as everyone anticipated. He typically held onto his Dragonblades for far too long, and just wasn't able to bring in the kills that Philadelphia needed. After several impressive outings, Josue "Eqo" Corono eventually took his spot and they've looked much better ever since. Last week, both Eqo and Simon "Snillo" Eckström shared time on DPS next to Jae-Hyeok "Carpe" Lee, who is often hailed as one of the best DPS players in the league. This new rotation has allowed Philadelphia to implement unique strategies and stay competitive with teams like London and New York. [caption id="attachment_103373" align="alignnone" width="600"]Scott "Custa" Kennedy Scott "Custa" Kennedy | Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment[/caption] Another mixed roster that seems to have turned things around is that of the Los Angeles Valiant. After having some issues ironed out and making some important acquisitions - such as getting Scott "Custa" Kennedy from the Dallas Fuel - they've looked like a very different team. Indeed, their victory over Dallas last week was a huge morale boost for Los Angeles, who has been in desperate need of sound footing in the standings.

Boston Uprising perseveres through the negative press

The biggest Overwatch League news coming out of the last week or so has revolved around DreamKazper - Boston's former golden boy. After allegations of inappropriate interactions with a minor over social media, the DPS star was released from Boston's roster, leaving many questions on the table regarding their future. Some thought the league would give them time to recruit a replacement, but the team decided to show confidence in the pieces it already had. Mistakes had some play time heading into DreamKazper's termination. What we saw was a suitable stand-in at DPS that seemed to work well with Boston's dives. This week, however, Mistakes popped off probably harder than any other player, paving the way for a massive upset over the unstoppable New York Excelsior. [caption id="attachment_103374" align="alignnone" width="596"]Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov | Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment[/caption] The question now is whether or not Mistakes will show consistency through the rest of stage three. Nam-Ju "Striker" Gwon has already solidified his name as a permanent DPS fixture for the team, but the road ahead is long and uncertain. Boston team manager and esports legend, Chris "HuK" Loranger, has already showed that he's capable of thinking outside of the box to secure wins, so Mistakes needs to stay at the absolute top of his game if he wants to keep his current role with the team.