June 22, 2020 / 2:05 AM / 21 days ago

Valiant move closer to OWL playoff spot

Five of the top six teams in the Overwatch League kept pace with one another as Week 20 wrapped up Sunday, but the race for the sixth and final automatic playoff spot got a little tighter.

That’s because the Los Angeles Valiant picked up a big 3-1 win over a hot Florida Mayhem squad in an action-packed thriller. The win moved the Valiant to 8-6 on the season, tied with the Paris Eternal for seventh place and just 1 1/2 games behind the Mayhem (10-5) for sixth. Los Angeles was led by DPS Johannes “Shax” Nielsen, who shined on Tracer against Florida’s own formidable Tracer player, Jun-ki “Yaki” Kim. Despite heroics from offtank Beom-jun “Gargoyle” Lee, the Mayhem simply couldn’t overcome the Valiant’s superior double-shield composition, in large part thanks to hero pools eliminating their bread-and-butter compositions featuring support Jun-soo “Kris” Choi on Brigitte.

Los Angeles took Lijiang Tower 2-0, then Florida took Rialto 4-3 to put the series at 1-1 going into halftime. After the break, the Valiant’s adjustments paid off as L.A. took a hotly contested Hollywood 3-2 before finishing the series with a 3-2 win on Hanamura. The loss also dropped Florida from fifth to sixth in the standings.

In other American Region action, the two top teams in the region took care of business in dominating fashion. The second-place Philadelphia Fusion (15-1) swept the last-place Boston Uprising (2-12), winning Busan 2-0, Junkertown 3-2 and Blizzard World 2-1. After that, the third-place San Francisco Shock (13-2) took out the 19th-place Washington Justice (3-12) in another 3-0 sweep. The Shock took Nepal 2-1, Junkertown 1-0 and finished off with another 1-0 full-hold on Blizzard World.

In the Asian Region, the OWL-leading Shanghai Dragons (16-2) survived to pick up a 3-2 win against the enigmatic Chengdu Hunters (4-12). The Hunters started hot with wins of 2-1 on Lijiang Tower and 3-2 on Junkertown, threatening to sweep the Dragons. Shanghai rebounded well after halftime, though, completing the reverse sweep with 2-1 wins on Blizzard World and Hanamura before finishing things off with a 2-0 win on Busan.

The fifth-place Guangzhou Charge (11-6) also pulled off a reverse sweep, taking their second 3-2 series win of the weekend against the ninth-place Hangzhou Spark (7-8). The Spark started with a 2-1 win on Ilios and a 2-0 full-hold on Junkertown, but couldn’t keep control over the game. The Charge, led by the lethal DPS duo of Ou “Eileen” Yiliang and Jung-woo “Happy” Lee, took control with a hard-fought 6-5 win on King’s Row and a 2-1 win on Hanamura before finishing the reverse sweep with a 2-0 win on Oasis.

Finally, the fourth-place New York Excelsior (12-4) took down the 14th-place London Spitfire (5-7) 3-1. Despite a strong showing from Spitfire DPS Gil-seong “Glister” Lim, who has made a case for being a franchise cornerstone this season, the Excelsior overwhelmed London for the most part. New York took Ilios 2-1, then London full-held Rialto for a 1-0 win. But the Excelsior picked up a 3-1 win on Hollywood and a 3-2 win on Volskaya Industries to secure the series win.

Week 21 of the Overwatch League starts next Saturday with seven matches:

Chengdu Hunters vs Guangzhou Charge

Seoul Dynasty vs Shanghai Dragons

Hangzhou Spark vs London Spitfire

Florida Mayhem vs Houston Outlaws

Dallas Fuel vs Toronto Defiant

Vancouver Titans vs Boston Uprising

Washington Justice vs Los Angeles Gladiators

Overwatch League Season 3 standings, with match record (W-L), map record (W-L-T) and map differential:

1. (Pacific East) Shanghai Dragons, 16-2, 41-11-1, +30

2. (Atlantic South) Philadelphia Fusion, 15-1, 44-14-0, +30

3. (Pacific West) San Francisco Shock, 13-2, 32-11-2, +21

4. (Atlantic North) New York Excelsior, 12-4, 39-17-2, +22

5. (Pacific East) Guangzhou Charge, 11-6, 32-31-0, +1

6. (Atlantic South) Florida Mayhem, 10-5, 27-18-0, +9

7. (Atlantic North) Paris Eternal, 8-6, 29-26-0, +3

8. (Pacific West) Los Angeles Valiant, 8-6, 26-25-0, +1

9. (Pacific East) Hangzhou Spark, 7-8, 27-31-2, -4

10. (Atlantic South) Atlanta Reign, 6-6, 24-18-0, +6

11. (Pacific East) Seoul Dynasty, 6-6, 14-20-1, -6

12. (Atlantic South) Houston Outlaws, 6-10, 25-35-3, -10

13. (Pacific West) Los Angeles Gladiators, 5-6, 21-23-3, -2

14. (Atlantic North) London Spitfire, 5-7, 18-27-0, -9

15. (Atlantic North) Toronto Defiant, 5-9, 25-31-0, -6

16. (Pacific West) Dallas Fuel, 4-8, 18-28-0, -10

17. (Pacific East) Chengdu Hunters, 4-12, 23-37-1, -14

18. (Pacific West) Vancouver Titans, 3-7, 11-23-0, -12

19. (Atlantic South) Washington Justice, 3-12, 16-38-0, -22

20. (Atlantic North) Boston Uprising, 2-12, 12-40-3, -28

—Field Level Media

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