The Overwatch League 2019 season kicked off last night with four brilliant matches that showcased just some of the chaotic yet mesmerising plays we should expect from the next few months of battle. Champions London Spitfire returned in the opening clash against their fellow finalists Philadelphia Fusion in what was being touted as a grudge match, and Fusion's chance to get revenge.
Fusion started the night out strong, picking up two straight wins in back-to-back matches before falling foul to an aggressive attack by Spitfire on the third map. As London looked to be bringing their A-game to the forefront once more, Philly brought their hopes of kicking off the season in the best way to an end on a fourth and final map that marked them as the ones to beat this year.
Boston Uprising looked like they could score the second upset of the night as they did a brilliant job of keeping New York Excelsior on the backfoot in their opening map, but one draw and two Excelsior wins later they were left licking their wounds.
One of my personal highlights from the night's match-ups came during the Seoul Dynasty vs Los Angeles Gladiators series, in which the audience chanted for B.O.B. following Dynasty player Fleta's first pick-up of an ultimate ability when playing Ashe. The eruption of cheers when the butler made his first League appearance was nothing short of incredible.
Gladiators also got their own huge pop from everyone watching when they brought out Symmetra, who had never been played before in Overwatch League history. Her rework has shown to be incredibly popular with players.
After losing the first map to Gladiators, Dynasty battled back with confidence and picked up three straight map wins, cementing their place as some of the League's frontrunners. Gladiators' play was a little messy from map two onwards, so it'll be interesting to see how they mix up their strategies moving forward.
The night came to a close by introducing one of this year's new team additions, Hangzhou Spark, who took on last year's biggest losers, the Shanghai Dragons. With Boston Uprising's main tank Gamsu traded to the team, Dragons may have the chance to pick up some strong wins this year. Unfortunately that didn't come on opening night, as Spark proved they deserve their place in the competition with a 3:1 win.
Here are all of the rest of the matches scheduled up to and including Monday, February 18, 2019:
Saturday, Feb. 16
- Toronto Defiant vs. Houston Outlaws, 12:00 (GMT)
- Atlanta Reign vs. Florida Mayhem, 1:30
- Dallas Fuel vs. San Francisco Shock, 3:00
- Chengdu Hunters vs. Guangzhou Charge, 4:30
- London Spitfire vs. Paris Eternal, 20:00
- Washington Justice vs. New York Excelsior, 21:30
Sunday, Feb. 17
- Los Angeles Valiant vs. Hangzhou Spark, 11:00
- Vancouver Titans vs. Shanghai Dragons, 12:30
- Houston Outlaws vs. Boston Uprising, 20:00
- Philadelphia Fusion vs. Atlanta Reign, 21:30
Monday, Feb. 18
- San Francisco Shock vs. Los Angeles Gladiators, 11:00
- Seoul Dynasty vs. Dallas Fuel, 12:30