Jessica S. July 11, 2018
The Los Angeles Valiant beat the New York Excelsior last night in the Stage 4 Playoff of the inaugural Overwatch League season. This is the Valiant’s first playoff win, breaking NYXL’s streak of two straight stage titles.
Prior to Stage 4, the Excelsior was the team to beat. Their stacked roster showed few cracks, as evidenced by their two consecutive titles. It wasn’t until halfway through Stage 4 that the Excelsior started to waver, finally showing some weakness after having secured the top seed in the playoffs.
The Valiant came into the Stage 4 playoffs with an almost perfect record. The first game of the night started with a showdown between Los Angeles teams in the Valiant and the Gladiators, who were coming into the match riding momentum of their own. The Gladiators fought hard in the series, but ultimately fell to the Valiant 3-2.
The Dallas Fuel and the NYXL played next. The Fuel, who gained new coach Aaron “Aero” Atkins this season, were on an upward trajectory after a difficult Stage 3. After a tight series that went to a decisive fifth game, the Excelsior came out on top to try for their third straight playoffs championship.
The Valiant came into the finals series with a strong defensive strategy and made difficult any attempt from NYXL to create space. The team’s tank players Indy “Space” Halpern and Koo “Fate” Pan-seung were integral in enabling their strong front line to wreak havoc on opposing players. DPS Brady “Agilities” Girardi showed up ready to kill and was a menace to the NYXL with his play on Genji and Pharah.
Meanwhile, the NYXL had one of its worst games yet. MVP candidate Bang “JJoNak” Sung-hyeon couldn’t thwart the Valiant front line, and the whole team seemed to be disjointed behind him. NYXL front liners got shut down again and again by the Valiant, proving that NYXL is beatable.
Both teams will return to the Blizzard Arena for the Season Playoffs, which begin July 11th when the Philadelphia Fusion and the Boston Uprising square off.