5 Takeaways from Overwatch League Stage 1

The Overwatch League's inaugural season has been a watershed moment not just for the game, but for esports as a whole. With its wide appeal, the Overwatch League's viewing numbers surpassed what many expected. The first stage is just wrapping up and there's plenty more of the season to go, so now is a good time to take a look back and the most important things we've learned thus far.

5. Keep Your Mouth Shut

With a great platform comes great responsibility. Players and management alike learned that the hard way these past weeks. Félix "xQc" Lengyel was the poster child for problematic favorite player as he was noted for toxic behavior before being suspended for homophobic remarks. xQc is far from being an anomaly, though, as just as recently as yesterday the Houston Outlaws' head coach was called out for making an inappropriate joke  about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

4. Pick Mercy

Despite Blizzard's best attempts to smother Mercy to death with nerfs, Mercy had the most playtime of any other hero with a total of 106 hours, 49 minutes, 11 seconds. Although her pick rate declined a bit after the recent nerf, she was still ultimately popular in this section of the season. Her resurrection ability and heal speed were still just too good to miss. Just make sure that you're protecting her from Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin's Genji.

3. Synergy, Synergy, Synergy

The name of the game isn't just raw talent when it comes to competitive Overwatch; it's communication. Coming out of the preseason, the Dallas Fuel was a fan favorite with popular players such as xQc and Brandon "Seagull" Larned. It quickly became apparent, though, that they would struggle against teams like the Spitfire or New York Excelsior. Both those teams have been transplanted from previous South Korean teams and have had way more time to work on team communication. That advantage launched these teams to the top of the League.

2. The Broadcasters are Having Too Much Fun

Part of what made the Overwatch League stand out thus far was the face of its broadcast: the casters and hosts. They were even putting out consistent sketches just for our amusement. Their love of the game fostered an enjoyable atmosphere throughout every match, and one can only hope we'll see more.

1. Team Changeups are Coming

Whether it's the Shanghai Dragons signing Geguri or the Florida Mayhem announcing three new players, the winds of change are blowing. The teams that have not performed as well as they would have liked are quickly changing their lineup to keep up with the Spitfire and NYXL. If the Boston Uprising's underdog status has taught us anything, it's that any team can push through.

  Photos courtesy of Blizzard