LONDON Spitfire looked dead and buried as they slipped behind 0-2 in their third best-of-five series of the season.
But they came roaring back to win 3-2 — a feat they only managed once in 40 series last year — against the Washington Justice, before rolling out 3-1 winners against the Hangzhou Spark to even up their record at 2-2.
Sean Costello for Blizzard Entertainment A mixture of disbelief and relief was visible across the London desk as they started to pull it back
Losing the first two against the Philadelphia Fusion and Paris Eternal last week meant that the team was going to face an uphill struggle to get into the top 8 and get into the money rounds for stage one, but back-to-back wins has put them back in the hunt.
Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong’s resurgence was key to London’s turnaround, ably assisted by the team’s more attacking strategies coming to the fore.
Gesture’s play with Winston won him the sort of plaudits he was getting last season and team newbie Guard seems to be slotting in very nicely.
Capturing points at record speeds proved that when Spirfire are on a roll they’re still very much a force to be reckoned with, even if their style of play doesn’t seem to match up with the league’s currently favoured defensive tactics.
Sean Costello for Blizzard Entertainment New player Guard has made an instant impact, offering Spitfire more tactical flexibility
London currently sit in 9th place after two weeks’ worth of matches, aiming for a top-eight finish and a spot in the stage one playoffs so they can add to last season’s $1m prize haul at the first time of asking.
This season there’s 40 per cent more prize money up for grabs — and it’s all being distributed based on playoff results across the first three stages and the finals.
Week two’s matches also saw something fans had been waiting for since the league began — a win for the Shanghai Dragons.
They beat the Boston Uprising for their first-ever league win after losing twice in week one and going 0-40 in season 1.
Sean Costello for Blizzard Entertainment Fans went wild when the Shanghai Dragons recorded their first-ever series win, at the 43rd attempt
HOW DOES OVERWATCH WORK?OVERWATCH is a relatively simple game in principle — you have teams of six players fighting for control of certain areas of any given map.
The six players can choose any of Overwatch’s seven ‘tanks’, six support and 16 damage-dealing heroes to get control of those spots and force their opponents off.
‘Tanks’ are the game’s most defensive heroes — generally large, heavily armored and not particularly mobile. They can take up space, deploy shields that stop their team taking damage.
Support heroes are there to help out the rest of the team — this is mostly healing, but also includes the ability to boost the damage your team does, reduce incoming damage, make it easier to see the opposition and suchlike.
Finally, your damage-dealers are there to dish out punishment. They may have secondary abilities that enhance those abilities and boost the damage output of other players.
There is overlap, with all the heroes able to do some damage to defend themselves. The way characters defend themselves also differs — some can deal damage from long range and are highly mobile and hard to hit, but are very weak when cornered.
Right now, the strengths of the game’s tank and support heroes has led to very defensive tactics being deployed, with many teams favouring set-ups with no dedicated damage-dealers at all.
This means that some of season one’s best players have ended up in bit-part roles as the offensive skills and huge plays that made the first season so exciting have faded away.
That summed up what’s been a pretty crazy opening to the second season, with five of the top eight spots currently taken up by expansion teams.
The New York Excelsior are still top of the heap, though, sitting pretty with a perfect 4-0 record.
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The Vancouver Titans and Paris Eternal are also yet to drop a series this season — but they’ve only played three and two series respectively with a heavier second-half schedule in the offiing.
London Spitfire’s next match is against the Los Angeles Gladiators at 8p.m. UK time this Saturday, March 2.
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