As the final day of Week 3 dawned, every team in every match-up came in with something to prove. The London Spitfire and the New York Excelsior fought to further solidify their position in the high end of the rankings. The Los Angeles Gladiators and the San Francisco Shock sought a victory to climb out of mid-tier. And the Dallas Fuel and the Florida Mayhem struggled for dominance in the bottom tier. If you didn’t have six free hours this past Saturday to watch every game, then this recap will be perfect for you.

Match 1: London Spitfire (1) v Los Angeles Gladiators (3)

With the London Spitfire forever the champions of the Season 1, Stage 1 Title, they have a lot to prove regarding whether they deserved this title in the first place. Their 4-0 victory over the Boston Uprising earlier in the week seemed to further cement their position as a League powerhouse, but today’s match against the Los Angeles Gladiators showed that even last season’s winners are not safe from defeat. The Gladiators have long struggled to rise out of mid-tier, but their victory over their rivals the Valiant earlier in the week, set them on a path to success today.

Volskaya – Map 1

Spitfire struggled for some time to find an opening in the Gladiators’ defense, getting repelled multiple times. By the time there was only twenty seconds left on the clock, the Spitfire were down a few key players and close to losing the Point altogether. Remarkably, Don-Eun “Hooreg” Lee had been saving his Deadeye for just such an occasion, and with a well-timed ultimate, the Gladiators crumbled before the assault. Though the battle for Point B raged back and forth multiple times, the Spitfire ended up throwing together a last second push that threw the Gladiators into disarray. Hooreg, now switched to Reaper, cleaned up the last of the Gladiators’ contesters with an excellent Death Blossom. After that, the Gladiators had no answer and the Spitfire captured Point B.

Though the Gladiators’ first few pushes were easily repelled by the Spitfire, their final push began with more than a minute and a half left on the clock. This time, the Spitfire only had one available ultimate, belonging to the Genji of Jun-Young “Profit” Park. Unfortunately for him, before he even had the chance to use it, the Gladiators’ Jun-Sung “Asher” Choi used his Tracer to cut the Genji down. This gave the Gladiators the opportunity to take Point A with plenty of time left on the clock. Just over a minute later, the Gladiators’ raw power, excellent gameplay, and Ultimate usage brought the Spitfire’s Point B defense crashing down around them. With over four minutes left on the clock, all the Gladiators had to do was secure a single tick on Point A. After just a few minutes of poking, they found their opening and with that, the map went to the Gladiators.

Lijiang – Map 2

The first push onto Control Center went to the Gladiators, whose Dive-centered composition quickly outclassed the more slow and steady composition the Spitfire offered. Though the Spitfire switched to a team set-up more capable of handling the Gladiators, they struggled to protect their squishier players against the combined might of the Gladiators’ Asher and Joao Pedro “Hydration” Veloso de Goes Telles, playing Tracer and Genji, respectively. The Gladiators pushed the point to 100%, while the Spitfire failed to get a single percentage.

The Gladiators got several excellent picks right off the bat during the fight over Garden. Again, the Gladiators’ defense was rock-solid, with the Spitfire struggling to put together a solid response to the many environmental kills Hydration and Benjamin Ville Aapeli “BigGoose” Isohanni were throwing out. Though the Spitfire did capture the point up until 41%, the Gladiators were quick to take it back, and this time, it didn’t take long for them to push all the way to 100%. This put the score at 2-0 in the Gladiators’ favor.

King’s Row – Map 3

The Spitfire looked strong on the map based on their home turf, quickly capturing the payload and pushing forward with confidence. Though the Gladiators put up a ferocious defense before the second point, the Spitfire managed to wipe them out completely, giving them the opening they needed to push on. In retaliation, the Gladiators dug themselves in with a map-heavy defense, forcing the Spitfire to make a few switches and try out a few different compositions until they found themselves back in their rhythm and pursued the final point. However, with the Gladiators holding a major spawn advantage, Spitfire struggled to gain more ground. The Gladiators finally swept the Spitfire off the point in overtime, with the payload not even halfway through the final third of the map.

The Gladiators’ initial push onto the payload was as successful as Spitfire’s, securing the payload just a few minutes into the round. The Gladiators looked more confident in general, not struggling nearly as much as the Spitfire had to get the payload close to the second point. With about three minutes left on the clock, the Gladiators pulled back and changed up their hero picks, though the Spitfire did an excellent job countering and keeping the Gladiators at bay. Finally, the Gladiators managed to outflank the Spitfire, and with Hydration pulling an interesting pick in Doomfist, their payload crept ever toward the Objective. After Surefour launched his Junkrat’s Rip-Tire at Jae-Hui “Gesture” Hong’s Reinhardt, the Spitfire defense couldn’t stay on the point and was batted back by the Gladiators’ Crowd Control. With that, the Gladiators matched the Spitfire and ultimately secured the win.

Route 66 – Map 4

Spitfire did an excellent job pushing the payload, keeping the Gladiator defense at bay as they wound their way past the first two points. However, with the Gladiators holding on to the spawn advantage, the Spitfire really struggled to bring a consistent enough offense to completely secure the payload. With only meters left to go, the Spitfire’s last push proved fruitless, as the Gladiators shut them down one last time.

While Spitfire had pushed the payload to their first point with more than a minute left on the clock, the Gladiators only secured the first point in overtime. This gave them a significant disadvantage compared to their London opponents’ own time frame during the second point push, but after Asher used his Tracer to drop a pulse bomb onto Spitfire’s Jeong-Seok “NUS” Kim, who was playing Mercy, the Spitfire defense gave way to a second point completion. However, the Spitfire rose up against the Gladiators’ onslaught. After a wicked fight just meters from where Spitfire had left their own payload, London managed to push Los Angeles back for the last time.

Match 2: New York Excelsior (4) v San Francisco Shock (0)

The New York Excelsior had demolished the Philadelphia Fusion earlier in the week with a decisive 3-1 victory. The San Francisco Shock had done even better against the Dallas Fuel, with the score going 3-0 in their favor. With both teams riding a high note, the resulting clash ended up going strongly in Excelsior’s favor, though the Shock put up quite the fight in every single map.

Volskaya – Map 1

Excelsior came out extremely strong on starting offense, cutting through the San Francisco Shock like a hot knife and securing Point A within just over a minute of the map starting. New York found an opening in their push on Point B in their own Jong-Ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park, whose excellent Tracer play brought down the Shock’s Winston and Zenyatta. These well-timed picks brought a long fight onto the point, with the Excelsior doing a great job contesting, but struggling against the Shock’s massive spawn advantage. Finally, Dong-Gyu “Mano” Kim popped his Primal Rage and batted away any Shock player still trying to come out and contest the point. New York secured with more than four minutes left on the clock.

The Shock’s offense proved just as strong as Excelsior’s own. The Shock seemed very focused on catching the Excelsior players in duels, a strategy which served them very well on Point A. The Shock lost their Winston player, David “Nomy” Lizarraga Ramirez Osmar, after he took out Excelsior’s Seong-Hyun “Jjonak” Bang, who was then playing as Zenyatta. After that however, the Shock didn’t lose another player, shredding through Excelsior and pushing on to Point B. They, too, put up quite a fight over the objective, but they ended up capturing it with more than twenty seconds on Excelsior’s own clock.

The map was decided over the pair of tiebreaker rounds following the first two initial assaults. Excelsior came out strong, capturing Point A and moving on to Point B, but they couldn’t break the Shock’s defense long enough to capture even a single tic on the timer. Though the Shock had the time advantage, Excelsior put together a more prepared defense, avoiding duels and staying closer together as a team. This allowed them to consistently repel the Shock assaults, and by the time the time ticked down, the Shock hadn’t secured even a single tic on the objective timer. This gave the map to Excelsior.

Lijiang – Map 2

Both teams had looked pretty evenly-matched during the Volskaya map, with both teams putting forth a fearsome offense. This thrilling clashing of power continued during the first round of Map 2, set on Garden. Though the Excelsior managed to take and hold on to the objective all the way to 99%, the Shock managed to wrest control right at the last second, contesting long enough to allow them to begin pushing their own percentage. Excelsior didn’t manage to retake Garden until the Shock had over 85% left on their own timer. Even after Excelsior took the point back, the Shock contested for a long time, with both teams working hard to keep the other away. Finally, Excelsior found the upper hand, and the first round went to them.

The next round was set in Night Market, and though the Shock took the point first thanks to Andrej “BABYBAY” Francisty’s excellent Pharah play, New York soon responded with a brutal assault that gave them control of the point once more. Spitfire’s Saebyeolbe cleaned up his team’s point with a devastating Dragonblade that shredded the Shock, pushing the point to 100%.

Hollywood – Map 3

The San Francisco Shock quickly gave up their defensive position to the New York Excelsior, who captured the payload within the first minute and a half of the game starting. Excelsior’s initial push continued as they wound their way through the streets of Hollywood, with their progress forward barely ever truly stopping. Though the Shock would occasionally put out a few good pokes and dives, Excelsior seemed uncontested all the way until mere meters from the final point. With three minutes left on the clock, Shock managed to push the Excelsior back, but after a massive, extended fight near Hal-Fred Glitchbot’s trailer, Excelsior managed to rise above the Shock’s spawn advantage and capture the payload with fifty seconds to spare.

San Francisco’s own assault looked much messier compared to Excelsior’s. Their multiple pushes were repelled many times, and though they did manage to secure the payload, their clock read less than a minute beforehand. Excelsior didn’t seem worried, setting up a defensive perimeter right around the corner of the first gate. Even with their spawn disadvantage, they kept the Shock right in that spot for the rest of the round, with the payload barely moving more than a few more meters.

Route 66 – Map 4

Though Excelsior had already won the match, it was quite apparent that the Shock wanted to win at least one map against the number one ranked team in the League. Excelsior had to fight a lot harder to get the payload moving, with the first point still unsecured and only a minute left on the clock. However, though it appeared Shock would succeed in their defense, they got too greedy, at one point chasing Excelsior players nearly back to their spawn. This put the Shock out of position, which resulted in Excelsior taking the spawn advantage and ultimately securing the first point. From that moment on, the Excelsior never really lost their stride, and they pushed the payload all the way to the end of the map.

San Francisco fared much better on the first push, with BABYBAY’s Widowmaker play securing some important headshots that had the whole audience gasping with surprise and delight. The payload was only stopped between the gate and the first bridge, where Excelsior batted the Shock back and forced them to regroup. The situation resembled that of the similar situation on Hollywood, where the Excelsior put up a stronger defense after the first point and kept the Shock from moving more than a few meters at a time. The end result was that the Shock were desperately attempting to contest in overtime, however they were unable to bring enough of a force to sweep the Excelsior away.

Match 3: Florida Mayhem (3) v Dallas Fuel (2)

Both teams came into this game with chips on their shoulders. The Dallas Fuel, again under massive scrutiny after the controversy their players had endured earlier in the week, needed a win to boost their sagging morale and relevance. The Florida Mayhem just needed a win, with only one under their belt before today. With both of these teams in the bottom three, the battle for low tier was soon underway with a bang.

Hanamura – Map 1

Mayhem’s offense was immediately an impressive sight. The team moved as one and by the time they’d jumped onto the first point, they almost seemed like an unstoppable wave of white-jerseyed power. They danced around the bell, circling and seeking to punish any pokes the Fuel had to offer. In the end, they captured the first point in just over a minute, setting their sights on Point B. Though the Mayhem looked like they would capture Point B just as quickly, Fuel’s spawn advantage forced them back without a single tick on the scoreboard. For the next few minutes of the match, Fuel forced the Mayhem to fight hard, with Mayhem ultimately unable to push far beyond the second tic. This left the map’s score at 1-0, but also pushed the Fuel in a tough position.

Fuel rose to the challenge, seeking to capture the point even faster than Mayhem’s own first push. The Fuel tried for a more solo-dive strategy, with their DPS charging in on individual Mayhem players, and the result worked for them. They captured Point A less than a minute into their round, giving them the chance to really take their time in shooting for Point B. Unfortunately for Fuel, it looked like that time would be sorely needed, with the clock ticking down quickly and no tics yet on the score. Finally, Dong-Jun “Rascal” Kim popped his Tactical Visor at the best possible time, mowing through the Mayhem’s squishies more rapidly than they could spawn. This gave Fuel the point, and ultimately, the round.

Nepal – Map 2

The first round was set on Sanctum, and Fuel came out with an initially stronger team composition. With Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod on Orisa and Dylan “aKm” Bignet on Pharah, the Fuel held the Mayhem back with ease, using crowd control, barriers and excellent positioning to keep the Mayhem from successfully contesting the point for quite some time. There was one moment when the point turned over and the Mayhem managed to push it to 39%, but the Fuel’s stronger composition and play allowed them to easily retake the point and push it all the way to 100%.

In Village, Mayhem’s tanks went in strong, securing multiple picks and giving them the first control. Mayhem held the point up until they had 55%, but then Fuel’s own Hyeon “EFFECT” Hwang brought forth a devastating Tracer play. After he landed a stunning pulse bomb on Mayhem’s Lucio, he proceeded to secure kills on two more Mayhem players in rapid succession, giving Fuel the point for the first time in the round. Fuel held onto Village for quite some time, pushing it all the way to 99% before it fell back into Mayhem’s hands. Effect again proved his worth by harrying and dividing the Mayhem, splitting them up enough that they weren’t able to come together in order to try and keep the Fuel from taking the point one last time. This put the Fuel up 2-0 overall.

King’s Row – Map 3

Mayhem captured the payload very early on, and though the Fuel didn’t let them take their initial push very far beyond the first arch, the Mayhem seemed undeterred. After regrouping near their spawn, the Mayhem methodically took out most of the Fuel team within seconds of walking around the corner. Mayhem didn’t have to work hard to push the payload past the second point, but the Fuel still proved strong in their defense as they kept the Mayhem at bay for quite some time, with the payload just barely beyond the last bend. Though the fight went back and forth for quite some time, the Mayhem were unable to secure enough kills to break the wall the Fuel presented. In the end, the Mayhem secured two points, with their standard set just beyond the last turn.

For a while, it looked as though the Fuel were going to capture the payload with ease, pushing forward a high-powered Reinhardt-Bastion-Lucio combination. However, before they could gain any real traction, Tim “Manneten” Bylund threw out a wicked Self-Destruct. Unable to react in time, the Fuel’s offense crumbled, with most of their team scattering after aKm was obliterated. From that point on, the Fuel never looked nearly as strong, and though they pushed hard, the Mayhem stayed collected, and ultimately, the Fuel could not secure the win. This left the score at 2-1, still in the Fuel’s favor.

Gibraltar – Map 4

Even with their spawn disadvantage, the Fuel put forth a strong initial defense that left the Mayhem struggling to push the payload more than a few meters. Finally, Mayhem’s own Andreas “Logix” Berghmans, who was playing McCree, managed to pull off a few excellent eliminations that left the Fuel down several players. Though the Mayhem didn’t have much time left on the clock when they finally pushed their payload to the first point, the Fuel seemed unsure of how to react. Their defense was never as strong as at the beginning of the map. Mayhem managed to eliminate the entirety of the Dallas Fuel multiple times, losing barely any players in any of the team fights the Fuel forced them into. Fuel lost control altogether when aKm, then playing Sombra, launched his EMP in a moment when none of the Fuel were able to capitalize on it. With Mayhem’s Logix providing overwatch (no pun intended) with his Widowmaker play in the back, the Fuel couldn’t respawn fast enough. The Mayhem pushed the payload all the way deep into overtime.

The Fuel’s initial offensive push was much stronger than the Mayhem’s own, pushing the payload nearly all the way to the first point with more than three minutes to spare. Though the Mayhem kept them from capturing for some time, the Fuel did eventually manage to push into the hanger and continue their assault out the other side. The final battle ultimately came down to the Fuel’s offense. If they could push all the way to the end, they would force a set of tiebreaker rounds. However, no matter how hard the Fuel tried, they could not combat the Mayhem’s spawn advantage. Though the Fuel pushed the payload centimeters from the final point, the Mayhem refused to let them gain ground. Kevin “TviQ” Lindström played an excellent Tracer, contesting and stalling for time while his team managed to respawn and muscle their way back onto the payload. In the end, the Mayhem’s spawn advantage proved stronger, and the overall score was tied, 2-2.

Ilios – Map 5

Going in, it seemed Fuel had the advantage, as they’d swept the Mayhem during Nepal, the last control point map. The map started on Well, and Fuel quickly took control, throwing up 34% before the Mayhem managed to wrest control from them. This time, the Mayhem gave the Fuel no quarter with Logix, playing Tracer, zipping around the map and causing general mayhem (again, no pun intended) in the Fuel’s ranks. The Fuel couldn’t manage to retake control over Well, and so gave it to the Mayhem, putting them up one.

The next control point was in Ruins, and this time, the Mayhem captured it first. They pushed the point to 41% before Dallas Fuel overturned it. The two teams traded the point back and forth multiple times, with both gaining the upper hand on more than one occasion. Tensions were high as the Fuel reached 97% before overturning back to Mayhem, who responded by pushing the point to 99% on their end. A massive brawl broke out in the last few seconds of the game, with both teams struggling to assert their dominance and secure the point one last time. The map, and ultimately the game, finally went to the Mayhem when TviQ and Manneten cut down the Fuel’s supports, and Aleksi “Zuppeh” Kuntsi popped his Transcendence. The Fuel were unable to respond, giving the Mayhem their second win ever.

Don’t miss any of our other recaps from this past week, and we’ll see you on the next one!