The New York Excelsior avenged their upsetting Stage 1 Playoff loss in Stage 2. The huge upset by the Philadelphia Fusion to make it to the final though marks a huge shakeup in future. Games resume next week on April 4, so before then, let's get the facts together and focus on the five significant things that happened this weekend.
5. Outlaws Left Behind
The big three for Stage 1 were the Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, and New York Excelsior. As other teams got stronger and climbed the ranks, the Outlaws just got left in the dust. They no longer have a monopoly on Western teams that have what it takes to beat the South Korean titans.
4. Teams Adapating Fast for Stage 3
Hours after the final match, the LA Gladiators acquired Jun-woo "Void" Kang. Void used to be on a team with several members of the London Spitfire. Since the Spitfire made appearances in both playoffs, teams are scrambling to tap into that same talent. The San Francisco Shock and Florida Mayhem are also getting big team acquisitions.
3. The Halfway Point
Now that Stage 2 has concluded, there are only two more stages to go before the playoffs and grand finale of the whole season. There's still time for under-performing teams to make a statement, but that opening is closing fast. Teams like the Florida Mayhem have made great strides to climb up the ladder, but the growing period is over. It's time to sink or swim.
2. Fusion Finds Their Stride
Despite back-to-back victories in Weeks 4 and 5, no one really thought that the Philadelphia Fusion had a chance against the two titans in the league. Now, here they stand as second only to the New York Excelsior. With great performances from Josue "Eqo" Corona and Jae-hyeok "Carpe" Lee, the Fusion went toe-to-toe with the greats. All eyes are going to be on them going into Stage 3.
1. NYXL Solidify Dominance
The New York Excelsior secured themselves a victory with a Shakespearean reverse sweep. Once again they're ending the stage with a 9-1 record, like a well-oiled machine. The longer their dominance over the league goes on, the harder it's going to be to topple them.
Photos courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment/Robert Paul