The Overwatch League’s first season ended this past weekend with a bang as the London Spitfire took the championship in a dominant display over the Philadelphia Fusion. The Spitfire squad proved to be the best team in the world, only losing one map in the Grand Finals and shutting down anyone in their path.
However, the London Spitfire hadn’t always been so dominant. Throughout the latter half of the regular season, the crew had been consistently mediocre, taking sixth place in Stage Three and a staggering ninth place in Stage Four. The boys in blue had to make a huge turnaround for the playoffs, and they did. The only question is, how were they able to improve so drastically? One might say that it was the new patch. A patch bringing Hanzo into meta would change the way teams played for future games. London has one of the best snipers duos in the world in Profit and Birdring, so this change would be very beneficial to their game style. However, after watching replays thoroughly, I think that it’s safe to say that the team stepped up and that a lot of the credit lies on their teamwork and individual ability.
Let’s go through the last few moments of each map, and understand how the London Spitfire imposed their will on the Philadelphia Fusion.
The fight starts as the London Spitfire regroup outside, waiting to push in towards the objective. The Philadelphia Fusion have pushed up to the other side of the wall, wanting to cut off London before they can reach any advantageous position. They must prevent the London Spitfire duo of Birdring and Profit from setting into a position where they can do some damage. However, the Spitfire’s main tank Fury sees an opportunity to launch a Self-Destruct and takes it. This ultimate usage forces Philadelphia to back away and hide from the exploding mech.
After using that opportunity to make their way in, the London Spitfire brawl out. Throughout this team fight, London takes advantage of the Fusion’s choice in tanks, as they can’t hold their ground defensively. The brawling goes in London’s favor until the payload has nearly reached the final checkpoint.
With London stuck 3.12 meters from their goal and fighting on the payload, Eqo launches his Dragonstrike at the payload. While this doesn’t get any kills, it does isolate Profit and Fury from the rest of their team. The twin dragons also partially obscure Birdring’s line of sight. Birdring tries to find an angle to assist his teammates on the other side of the Hanzo ulti. As he climbs a nearby column hoping to shoot over the passing Hanzo ultimate, he is shot out of the air by Carpe.
London, now losing resources faster than they are gaining, are soon overwhelmed as the Fusion squad pick them off. The Philadelphia Fusion give the London Spitfire the only loss they take in the entirety of the Grand Finals.
The Philadelphia Fusion had lost the previous fight due to spreading themselves too thin. In an effort to correct this mistake, they start to make their way to the objective together. Fusion flex tank Hotba uses D.Va’s ultimate ability, Self-Destruct, and takes out London’s main tank Gesture and support Nus, two very important targets. From there, the Fusion try to press their advantage, but split up the team to do so.
The London Spitfire uses Philadelphia’s split to make their push back, despite being at a disadvantage. This push buys time for the Spitfire to get their reinforcements back. Before the Fusion can even react, Gesture returns with Nus and London begin to circle their prey, winning the map decisively.
Mere moments away from finishing the map, the London Spitfire sends Bdosin forward to intercept someone from Philadelphia before they regroup. Bdosin pounces on Carpe, who is far away from the objective. At the same time, the Philadelphia Fusion starts to stall the payload, which now sits only 1.53 meters from London’s victory.
As Bdosin takes down Carpe, the rest of the Fusion devote all remaining players to fighting at the payload. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, Neptuno finds himself separated from the team and quickly dispatched by Bdosin. Now without their only source of healing, the Fusion’s main damage dealers fall and leave their two tanks, Sado and Poko. The two only survive for four seconds. The Spitfire walks away from that fight without a scratch, and take their win.
With less than a minute remaining for the London Spitfire to capture 23.1% of the objective, Carpe moves to cover a flank route, wanting to contest Profit with a Tracer duel. The rest of the Philadelphia Fusion take an expected formation, putting their three tanks in front, and the remaining two players on high ground nearby, ready to face the Spitfire’s oncoming attack. What this strategy doesn’t prepare for is Profit calling upon some magical force, which allows him to demolish a team faster than Usain Bolt can run across a grade school soccer field.
Profit first attempts to duel Carpe, but thinks better of it. Instead, he chooses to take down the Fusion’s support, Neptuno. With Carpe in pursuit, Profit uses his Recall ability, placing him directly behind a confused Carpe. When Carpe falls, Profit switches targets to Hotba’s Roadhog, knowing that if he gets hooked, he will die. Using Hotba to charge his ultimate, Profit sticks a Pulse Bomb on him and eliminates him as well. Without hesitation, Profit turns to assist Fury in taking down Sado. It’s at this point that Poko uses his ultimate in desperation. The Self-Destruct hits Birdring, but that’s hardly enough. Before Poko can climb into a fresh, new mech, Profit empties a clip into the D.Va.
With only a few moments left, Eqo comes back to stall but is blocked by Gesture at the last second. The London Spitfire take the victory, closing out the Day 1 series.
The two teams are in mirroring compositions prepare to fight one another for game one. They also both gather their three tanks on the frontline with both Hanzos and Mercys taking positions slightly off to the sides. Each team’s Widowmakers take positions farther behind their teams. In order for the London Spitfire to win, they need to use their ultimates to create opening for the team. Their two snipers must win duels against their Fusion counterparts or the Spitfire tanks must push through to win by a battle of attrition.
As the payload approaches, Gesture drops his Supercharger, giving the London tanks a significant edge in breaking Sado’s shield. As Sado’s shield is broken, Profit launches a Dragonstrike, killing Boombox, giving London the frontline advantage. They press this advantage and kill Sado, while all four snipers duel above.
London loses out in the snipers’ duels, but in the Philadelphia Fusion’s commitment to finish the snipers, they make a costly mistake: No one from the Fusion is close enough to contest the payload as London push it to the finish line.
With London at 99%, the Philadelphia Fusion need to defend the point flawlessly in order to have a chance at winning the map. That becomes a lot less feasible once Profit comes out of seemingly nowhere and sticks Carpe with his Pulse Bomb. At the same time, Gesture dives in, giving the rest of the Spitfire a chance to move across the bridge they were being held at. Birdring moves in position at the corner of the fight. London sets up a loose formation to block any path to him, buying him space and time to take down two more enemies rapidly.
At a disadvantage now, the Fusion attempt to stall the objective as long as possible. Poko uses a Self-Destruct to no avail while dying instantly. Carpe and Boombox, now coming back to the fight after respawning, are blocked by Profit and Gesture. Boombox uses his Transcendence ultimate in order to stay alive and Neptuno attempts to flee to the safety of it. However, Transcendence doesn’t protect from Pulse Bombs, and Profit lands his second one onto Neptuno.
With little healing available to the Fusion, Gesture and Profit return to the objective and the team wipes each individual member of the Fusion that attempts to stall it out.
In this last round of the Grand Finals, London needs to only take 33.33% of the capture point to win. Taking a page out of the Los Angeles Gladiators’ playbook, the Spitfire pick an assortment of heroes with the intent to move quickly as one cohesive unit, but leave Birdring in the spawn room, in order to confuse their opponents when he switches to Widowmaker.
Where London’s strategy differs from the Gladiators’ is where the majority of the team goes. Instead of going far behind the enemy, the Spitfire opt to rush into the building where the Fusion have taken their high ground.
Birdring, now playing Widowmaker, loses line of sight before he can take any shots as the Fusion retreat from Gesture’s Reinhardt. However, Gesture takes out Sado quickly, forcing the Philadelphia Fusion to retreat to a safer area until they can coordinate a chance to fight back since they are without Orisa’s shield to give them cover.
Unfortunately for Philly, they start to make their play a little too late, and Boombox is blocked before he can manage to contest the point. The London squad take the win and the title of Overwatch League Season 1 Champions in under 40 seconds. The Spitfire proved their worth, showing everyone that they are the best Overwatch team in the world by utterly dismantling their opponents every step of the way.
— ESPN Esports (@ESPN_Esports) July 28, 2018
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I’ve been playing Halo since I was three years old, with a brother who frequented local tournaments. So, it should come as no surprise that I love to watch and analyze shooter Esport games. Now, I watch competitive Overwatch and Halo, doing my best to learn the ins and outs of both games. I’m also a fierce advocate for the Metro franchise.