LONDON dropped their first match of the 2019 Overwatch League season against a resurgent Philadelphia Fusion, 3-1.
Rule changes since the end of last season have seen teams adopt a much more defensive default stance, and Philly made it clear that they’ve adapted better in the off season.
London dropped the first two matches only to pull out a much more offensive strategy for the third round.
That seemed to suit the skills of last season’s championship MVP Profit who was quiet for much of the rest of the match, but London couldn’t replicate that success.
Talking after the match, London leader Gesture explained that the layout of the Volskaya map allowed them to take a much more aggressive approach, but that the other more closed levels didn’t.
Phillie’s EQO admitted that they were flustered by London’s switch, effectively handing them the map after being overpowered out of the gate and failing to properly adjust.
Spitfire coach KwangBok Kim and Gesture both admitted that it might take some time for London to adjust to the current style of play.
That style has seen teams leave all their pure damage-dealing characters behind and focus on playing with three defensive ‘tanks’ — characters designed to soak up damage and defend team-mates — with three support players who can heal their allies as well as strengthen them in other ways.
The combination of shielding and healing is very hard to break through quickly — and the defensive weaknesses of the more attacking heroes mean they become a liability in lengthy fights.
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Innovations from some other teams playing on opening day suggest that style could well be on the way out anyway as different teams combine elements from each other’s play to develop a solid counter strategy.
There are pending changes that are likely to shift the game again after the first or second stage even if those innovations don’t come — and those changes can’t come soon enough for London if they want to defend their title.
London Spitfire will be in action again on Saturday, when they play league newcomers Paris Eternal at 8p.m. UK time.
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