Monday Payload: OWL Spring Stage after two weeks, big losses
Week two of the OWL Spring Stage saw two undefeated teams fall and last year’s champs slip into the East Division basement while winless.
The second week of OWL Spring Stage play is in the books. And if you're a fan of the big teams then this past weekend showed some hard truths. A number of undefeated teams finally fell on the sword. But more noteworthy is one team in the Dallas Fuel who seems to have completely fallen apart over in APAC.
Was former MVP Fearless the only thing holding it together?
All that and more as we look at the three things to know about the second week of OWL Spring Stage play.
OWL Spring Stage: From Grand Finals to 0-3
What a difference six months can make. It seemed like the Dallas Fuel were unstoppable after its Overwatch League 2022 Grand Finals championship win. However, the wheels began falling off that bus shortly thereafter. First came the exodus of main tank and team MVP Fearless to in-state rival the Houston Outlaws. If losing the best player in the league wasn't enough, drama over the team's literal location came into the forefront.
The team faced a choice: Allow its all-Korean roster to play closer to home or keep a homesick squad in the West Division and potentially risk what happened when the Vancouver Titans released its entire 2019 Grand Finals roster. Ultimately, the team went with the former and moved the Fuel to the APAC.
And it hasn't gone great, folks.
The Dallas Fuel are the only team without a win while also looking absolutely lost. The map differential tells the entire story, with the Fuel only winning two maps so far in the OWL Spring Stage. Moreover, new starting tank Choi "Hanbin" Han-been looks lost on the field and is clearly a downgrade from Fearless.
Would this team be faring any better in the West Division? Maybe. There's certainly less parity in the West Division, with teams such as Vegas and the LA Valiant looking like they could potentially go winless if they don't face each other. With Contenders teams looking to make an impact in the East we could see the Dallas Fuel fall further down the ladder before it's all said and done.
I guess the state motto "Don't mess with Texas" doesn't work when you're playing from Seoul.
The undefeated fall
Two undefeated teams remains in the OWL Spring Stage East Division. While the Houston Outlaws were off this past weekend it didn't stop the Boston Uprising and Florida Mayhem from leaving Club Undefeated. The Uprising fell to the Vancouver Titans in a 3-0 affair while the Florida Mayhem lost its first match in 2023 after being beaten by the LA Gladiators.
Is this a pattern? We'll know more after next weeks games. The Houston Outlaws will have their toughest Spring Stage test to date when they face Atlanta and Washington. Meanwhile, Atlanta and Florida will both get a layup match against the Very Bad LA Valiant.
The Houston and Atlanta match may very well be our best preview of which team will stand atop of the West Division. However, we can't count out an extremely tough Washington Justice that may also look to play spoiler if the Outlaws avoid making it Houstonable against the Reign.
The 500 Club
One of the best in Overwatch League hit some rarified air over the weekend. LA Gladiators main tank Danteh played his 500th map in the league, becoming only the eleventh player to do so. This is a testament to how important Danteh has been to the teams he's played for, always coming through as reliable.
That reliability and star power shined this past weekend when the Glads gave the Florida Mayhem its first loss of the 2023 season, having gone undefeated in the Pro-Am West.
Will there be even more maps on the horizon for Danteh? Guess that question relies on whether or not the Overwatch League lives on past 2023.
Stay tuned to esports.gg for esports news and OWL info.