Stage 4 Opens Up and It’s the Same Old Story For One of The Teams

May 17th
written by Moirai
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2018-05-04 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
2018-05-04 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The Dragons started off strong but faltered in the late game while the Dynasty once again couldn’t pull off a win, resulting in consequences to their rankings. Meanwhile, the Gladiators and the Shock kicked off Stage 4 with a strong showing.

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Los Angeles Gladiators vs San Francisco Shock

Gladiators win, 3-1

The first map of Stage 4 was Blizzard World, where Brigette made her first appearance. With Bischu and Nevix on the newest hero, the main fight was between which one of those two players could have the most impact. In the end, Surefour’s Widowmaker was able to exploit the lack of traditional tanks throughout most of the map, as well as Silkthread’s Junkrat that further drove the wedge between the Shock. Despite being held to two points, the Gladiators full held San Fran, resulting in the first map win of the Stage.

The Gladiators’ Lunar Colony turned into a death ball thanks to Fissure’s Winston and Silkthread’s Tracer, the latter of which continuously harassed the Shock with little chance for counter. Fissure also constantly stalked supports Moth and Sleepy, even causing Sleepy to pop his Transcendence while completely away from his team. On Shock’s attack, it came down to a three-kill Dragon Blade from Architect to save the first push and then a savior flashbang from his McCree during the start of the Gladiators’ last defense to allow Shock the completion in Overtime. In the end, Architect couldn’t pull off another miracle on the Overtime push, resulting in a Gladiator win.

Lijang saw Brigette back on the battlefield, whom Gladiators looked more comfortable on than the Shock. With Bischu taking up the squire and Hydration commanding the skies, the Shock looked a bit too dedicated to taking the ground war. Ignoring Hydration isn’t a great idea; something the Shock then learned on Gardens and again on Night Market.

It was the Shock that would have the last laugh, however, thanks to a hard carry from Architect’s Widowmaker, effectively shutting down any push that the Gladiators had as soon as they hit the blast doors in the second point. On their attack, Architect actually managed not only to take over that same chokepoint but lock the Gladiators out of the room, speedrunning their way to the yellow box of victory right before the second point and avoiding a sweep.

Seoul Dynasty vs Los Angeles Valiant

Valiant Win, 2-3

Fleta welcomed Stage 4 with a dominant performance on Blizzard World attack on both Phara and Widowmaker, coming to live on both to almost single-handedly take out the Valiant. By the time the Dynasty hit second point, they had over five minutes to play with. The third leg had some help from Munchkin’s Junkrat, resulting in a dominate push that ended with a Valiant C9 and just under four minutes in the bank for Seoul. though Fleta’s Widow somewhat faded on the defense round, Munchkin’s Junkrat turned into the star along with Ryujehong’s Winston, resulting in a win for the Dynasty.

Horizon, however, was a complete 180 on Dynasty’s attack: Agilities’ Junkrat was one to be feared and the Dynasty failed to break through the traps created by the Junkrat and Soon’s Widowmaker. From there, it was a pretty quick take for the Valiant, who solved the Munchkin/Fleta combination to push onto the first point after a single won fight.

On Watchpoint: Gibraltar, both teams seemed to live and die by the performance of their DPS. Agilities’ Genji had some strong moments, but ultimately wasn’t able to compete with the standard DPS Dynasty wielded. Fleta and Munchkin’s WidowTracer combo proved to be the strongest in the Overtime, thanks in part to a misplay from Valiant’s Winston, leaping into earning the latter a double kill to clear out the point and force a Map 5.

Nepal was all about the Valiant, with Agilities’ Pharah once again dominating the skies. Despite some strong pushback thanks to Fleta’s own Pharah, it wasn’t nearly as impactful as his Widowmaker, resulting in many  a push falling apart for the Dynasty. With Valiant taking Nepal and the series, they jump into fourth place overall.

Dallas Fuel vs Shanghai Dragons

Fuel WIN, 3-1

This was the meta Geguri fans were waiting for: finally, the tank player could flex on her most well-known tank, Zarya, for which she gained notoriety last year when she was accused of cheating (she wasn’t). Though on King’s Row, it wasn’t so much about her Zarya as it was her D.Va, which complimented Fearless’ Winston nicely. In the end, Fuel was unable to complete while Dragons did them one meter better thanks to Diya’s fantastic Widowmaker play.

Both Fuel and Dragons completed Hanamura in regulation, forcing Overtime rounds. Mickie’s Brigette was the hero of Fuel’s defense, complimenting Taimou as he popped off on McCree. With Brigette taking most of the heat, Taimou was able to breathe, resulting in a fantastic final push that secured Hanamura in Fuel’s favor.

Oasis was Seagull’s playground, with his D.Va and Pharah both being incredibly impactful against a seemingly frazzled Dragons. Taimou only helped to worsen the issue for Shanghai, picking up where Mickie couldn’t due to being focused by the opposite team once again. From there, it was a clean final kills from Taimou to once again put Shanghai on the back heel.

Fuel’s attack on Dorado was a struggle, but thanks once again to great plays from the Fuel DPS and a lack of dealing with Mickie’s Brigette, Dallas was able to complete the map. Shanghai was almost able to do the same, but this was where the Brigette meta showed its strength, cutting down tanks left and right and forcing Shanghai into uncomfortable positions. With a final blow from Taimou’s McCree, Shanghai was once again denied their first win.

Looking ahead…

The Valiant have made a strong start to their Stage 4 with a jump into fourth place overall, setting back the Dynasty as they continue to struggle. Tomorrow’s matches are equally as hype, with the night kicking off with Boston vs Philly. From there, Mayhem will find out if they can topple the current Overall leader, NYXL, and the Outlaws will challenge the Spitfire in their first Stage 4 bout.

As of right now, the playoffs are open to mostly anyone, but some are more open to it than others. These next two weeks can make or break teams.