Saturday, 21 September 2019

The Best Of Burbank: The Best Overwatch League Games At The Blizzard Arena In The Opinion Of DoA, MonteCristo, Puckett, Sideshow & Wolf


By Arran "Halo" Brown

Burbank, California has been the home of The Overwatch League during its first two seasons of existence and with the San Francisco Shock beating the New York Excelsior 4-0 last weekend, it marked the end of an era in Overwatch Leagues short history as it hosts as the leagues last game has been played at the Blizzard Arena and the Shock and Vancouver Titans now head to the Grand Finals at the Well Fargo Centre in Philadelphia in one weeks time. After that, the teams finally make plans to arrive in their home cities and the league goes international.

In those first two years, the Blizzard Arena has been the home venue of all twenty of the Overwatch Leagues franchises and has seen some of the leagues greatest games been played there. Now if the city-based franchises going home and the league going international for the 2020 season, some of the league's analysts, casters, hosts and inside reporters have shared their favourite games in the now-iconic arena.


Erik "DoA" Lonnquist
Pine's 5k vs The Houston Outlaws In Stage One, 2018

I think for me the game that stands out more than anything is the first Pine McCree game on Ilios vs Houston Outlaws back in season one. In my mind it was the first real superstar moment we had at the Overwatch League and getting to cast that map and hear the crowd react to Pine hitting all those shots was totally unforgettable. Displays of pure mechanical skill in games impress me more than anything else and Big Boss Pine clicking heads with McCree on Ilios will always go down as one of the best moments at the Blizzard Arena.


Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles
Boston Uprising vs New York Excelsior Stage Three Playoff Finals 2018. 

The Uprising vs NYXL match was extremely exciting due to Boston's run in stage three after losing a star player, where they failed to drop a single match. They came up against NYXL, and it was a battle between Striker and SBB to see who could clutch harder on Tracer. It was an excellent representation of the Tracer meta at its peak before it changed later in the 2018 season.


San Francisco Shock vs Vancouver Titans, Stage Two Finals 2019

I also loved the Titans vs Shock stage finals rematch because of San Francisco's golden stage after losing to Vancouver. They ran it back and finally reached their potential with a win over the Titans, solving many of their choking in OT issues from stage one. It also set a nice preview for this year's grand finals, as this will be the third, best of seven we get to see between these teams this year. It's setting up to be a good rivalry for a long time to come.


Chris "Puckett" Puckett
San Francisco Shock vs Vancouver Titans, Stage One Finals 2019 - The Most Epic 3 Hours Of The Season

For me, there is nothing better in sports than a match that goes the distance and the legends from Runaway finally made it to the Overwatch League and put everyone on notice, that they were the worlds, top team. The Shock reemerged in 2019 proving haters wrong with the incredibly stacked line up lead by the two players, the Shock gambled on, signing before they were 18. This series featured some of the highest level overwatch play ever witnessed in the Blizzard Arena. With juggernauts in every position. Bumper vs Super, Sinatra vs Seominsoo. By the end, everyone knew this was just an electric start to a rivalry for the ages.


Josh "Sideshow" Wilkinson
London Spitfire vs New York Excelsior, Stage One Finals 2018

The London Spitfire vs New York Excelsior was our first high-stakes match in the Blizzard Arena LA. London had just come back from losing to Houston, then trounced them, then immediately went on to play NYXL and reverse sweep them. It showcased what OWL was capable of, was incredibly intense, and had an amazing storyline to boot.


San Francisco Shock vs Vancouver Titans, Stage Two Finals 2019

The San Francisco Shock vs Vancouver Titans was the revenge story for Shock after Stage 1 finals and the culmination of their Golden Stage, not dropping a single map and looking like perfect GOATs play incarnate. It was also the end of an era that saw Shock go from a poor team with a vision in the inaugural season to a powerhouse in the league by 2019. I also loved the emotion in Crusty as he swept up onto the stage, tears flooding his face, proven as the best coach in OWL.


Wolf "Wolf" Schroder
Seoul Dynasty vs New York Excelsior, Stage One Playoffs, 2019

My favourite game this season was Seoul vs New York from the Stage 1 playoffs. It was a fun upset to cast, with Michelle showcasing great Sombra play which completely dismantled New York. The hack onto Jjonak to deny his transcendence was one of my favourite casting moments of the season. I just remember yelling “Hack on the trance!” repeatedly because the match was so exciting. I am definitely going to miss Stage Playoffs next year.

With the doors of the Blizzard Arena in Burbank Californa, now closed to the Overwatch League. The players, teams and league have created a number of now historic moments. The Grand Finals will give us more memorable moments, as the league now looks to go worldwide. 

A special thank you to Doa, Monte, Puckett, Sideshow and Wolf for their contributions to this article.

(You can find more Overwatch League related content on Twitter @haloofthoughts) 
(Picture Credit: Blizzard Entertainment & Robert Paul for Blizzard's Overwatch League)
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