Overwatch League stage one playoff scenarios

Stage one of the Overwatch League is coming to a close this week and the scramble for the playoffs begin. The New York Excelsior and London Spitfire currently sit at the top of the league, but the fight for the final spot is still very much in play.

Bubble teams

Currently, four teams sit at 5-3 and one game behind the Seoul Dynasty (6-2). Los Angeles Valiant, Houston Outlaws, Boston uprising and Philadelphia Fusion have an outside shot of sneaking into the playoffs. Each of these teams are not only 5-3, but are at least in striking distance in the game differential.

For one of these teams to pass the Dynasty, it’s going to take some serious help from the San Francisco Shock and Valiant. Fortunately for the Valiant, their chances at a playoff spot are in their hands. The Valiant and Dynasty will match up in the most important match of week five. The Valiant will not only have to win, but win several games.

If the Valiant find a way to beat the Dynasty, losing more than one game is not an option. A win will get them close, but it will require a dominant effort. Avoiding a game five is imperative, especially with Seoul facing a bottom four team to end out the season. All of the teams sitting one game outside of the playoffs will be huge Valiant fans on Friday.

Based on the schedule, the Valiant have the best shot of any team to make a playoff spot. The rest of the teams will either play each other or face the top-two teams in the Overwatch League. However, the Fusion and Valiant end stage one against the Shanghai Dragons (0-8) and Florida Mayhem (1-7).

Photo via Overwatch League Twitter

In the Houston Outlaw’s case, they went on an 18 game winning streak, and are now in the best position to overtake that third spot. Despite a tough ending to stage one, their +14 almost secures them a tiebreak victory if both teams end with the same record. It will take some crazy bounces of good luck, but there’s a chance the Dynasty miss the stage one playoffs. It all comes down to Friday.

Battle for the one seed

Yes, the battle for that final spot is intriguing, but even more important is the battle for the one seed and the first-round bye. The London Spitfire and New York Excelsior took care of business against the Seoul Dynasty, but a loss here would force the loser right back into a rematch with the Dynasty.

Obviously, that’s not a death sentence. Both teams are capable of dispatching the Dynasty, as they did in week three and four, but earning a free walk to the title game and avoiding a potential upset at the hands of the Dynasty is important. Even the Outlaws and Valiant look dangerous enough to sneak out a few playoff wins.

The first round bye most likely decides the winner of stage one. At this moment the London Spitfire sit atop the leaderboard at 7-1. A win on Saturday will clinch the title, as it will for the Excelsior. Nothing is set in stone for the final week of what’s been an incredibly exciting stage one of the Overwatch League.

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Featured photo via Overwatch League Twitter

 

Overwatch League Power Rankings

Overwatch League Power Rankings: Stage 1 Week 4

We will be releasing these weekly before the week’s matches get started, so make sure to check back in.

As we head into week 4, we saw some surprising results last week. With the top dogs going down, the power rankings have been shaken in a major way for the first time since week 1.

12. Shanghai Dragons 0-6 (matches against excelsior & spitfire)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIt is not only their record that is keeping them in last. Just about every match they have played so far hasn’t been close. They have won a total of four maps this entire season. Overall, they just look completely overpowered and out of sync. Their DPS can’t seem to keep up with the many strong duos throughout the OWL.

That being said, they have looked better. Going into week 3, they had only won one map. This past week, they won three and sent the Fusion into a map five. While they lost, they looked more coordinated and like they were starting to get into a groove. It is possible that they have figured out some of their major issues and may be able to pick up a win, but we highly doubt it will be this week as they face the Excelsior and Spitfire.

11. Florida Mayhem 1-5 (Matches against Gladiators & Shock)

Overwatch League Power RankingsOne would think that this team would be doing much better. They have struggled mightily, and last week was no different. They seem to always give a fight at the beginning, then once they get down, they putter out. Their team chemistry doesn’t seem to be there, and that was their main advantage over most of the other teams heading into this season.

This week, they play against two beatable squads in the Gladiators and Shock. San Francisco in particular could be a good matchup for them. If they can come together as a group and win their games this week, they could climb up the power rankings pretty quickly.

10. San Francisco Shock 2-4 (matches Against Outlaws & Mayhem)

Overwatch League Power RankingsOn our preview and recap videos, we have been saying for awhile that the Shock need to get away from just relying on Babybay. Well, they have that part down, but sadly, he is dying at a very high rate as teams are focusing him. He has died 437 times, which is about 200 more times than Birdring. They need to protect him and just try to win as many games as they can until Sinatraa is old enough to play sometime around the third stage.

San Fran starts off this week against one of the hottest teams in the league. If they can upset them, that will help their stock quite a bit. As for their match against the Mayhem, this is an opportunity for them to get their third win against a team that has struggled. If the Shock can pull out a win this week, they will have separated themselves from the bottom tier.

9. Dallas Fuel 1-5 (Matches against Fusion & Excelsior)

Overwatch League Power RankingsYes, it is a little odd to have a team with one win above the 2-4 Shock, but records don’t mean everything. The Fuel have had a tough schedule and have struggled more than just about any team with their chemistry. They have plenty of talent and showed it last week by getting a win. If they can bring themselves together and finish out maps, which are things they have struggled to do, then they will be looking a lot better.

This week, their schedule does not get any easier. They play against a solid Fusion team to start it off and then against the Excelsior, who knocked off the Dynasty last week. If they can pull out one win this week, they will be looking a lot better and could maybe finish the stage with a decent record.

8. Los Angeles Gladiators 2-4 (Matches Against Mayhem & Uprising)

Overwatch League Power RankingsWe are having a hard time completely reading this Gladiators team. They show so much promise in some games, like when they went toe to toe with the Valiant. Then they got swept by Houston, who is a good team to be fair, but the Gladiators just looked overpowered in those games.

This week, LAG face a very beatable Mayhem and should be able to play a competitive match against the Uprising. If they can finish this week at .500, they will move up the power rankings. Also, it will make their playoff chances a lot higher, which is something we have to start looking at as we head into week 4.

7. Los Angeles Valiant 4-2 (Matches Against Fusion & Uprising)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThis Valiant team is almost starting a trend for themselves. They went 2-0 in week 1, 0-2 in week 2, then 2-0 again last week.

Could they fall victim to themselves this week? Superstition aside, this team is similar to their LA counterparts, but better. They have more positive moments and look like they could beat anyone at times, then they look very beatable at others. If they can stay even keel, expect this team to make some noise.

In their week 4 matches, the Valiant are playing two teams on the rise in the Fusion and Uprising. This could be the week where we see who the Valiant truly are. Winning both of this week’s matches will put the Valiant very near the top and show they are a true force in the league. Losing both will may point out where they will need to improve for the next stage.

6. Boston Uprising 3-3 (Matches Against Gladiators & Valiant)

Overwatch League Power RankingsBoston pulled off probably the biggest surprise of the Overwatch League thus far. Beating London proved that this team is starting to put it together. Not only that, but they went on to beat a Fuel team that is looking much stronger than in previous weeks. This could be a team to watch in their last four matches as they could be giant killers for the rest of the stage.

This week, they play both of the hometown favorites in the Gladiators and Valiant. If their win against the Spitfire wasn’t just a fluke, then their winning streak could easily go to four games. This is a scary team if they catch fire, and everyone in the league should be on the lookout for them.

5. Philadelphia Fusion 4-2 (Matches Against Valiant & Fuel)

Overwatch League Power RankingsPhilly beating New York was amazing. It showed they are actually a good team. Everyone had wondered going into week 3, and they made their mark by going 2-0 and beating arguably the best team in the league. Their goal now is to make sure they solidify their spot as a a top-tier team and make the Stage 1 playoffs.

This week, the Fusion will be facing two teams that are looking to build off their week 3 success. Overlooking either of them would be a huge mistake for Philly. They will have to bring their best and win both games to have a chance to make it into the top three and have a chance at the Stage 1 title.

4. Houston Outlaws 4-2 (Matches against Shock & Dynasty)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIs there a hotter team than the Outlaws? Probably not.

Jake and LiNkzr are showing why they are one of the best DPS duos in the league. They have won four straight matches and 16 straight games. All of that being said, they have not played a top six team in the last two weeks. We know they can beat lower-tier teams in a convincing fashion, but they will need to do more in the coming weeks.

This week, they start off against the Shock, who they should be able to beat relatively easily. Then they play their toughest team since they played New York in week 1, the Seoul Dynasty.

Houston is right outside of the top three because of their two losses, but their map wins are 19-6, which is second only to the Dynasty’s 20-4. They need to win their first match and take at least a map or two off the Dynasty to push their way into the top three.

3. London Spitfire 5-1 (Matches Against Dynasty & Dragons)

Overwatch League Power RankingsLondon suffered their first loss of the season to the Uprising. They had been looking beatable, but were still easily a top-tier team. Most are assuming their loss comes from a lack of playing together and having many good players on one team. They will need to keep working on team cohesion in order to stay in the Stage 1 playoffs at the third spot.

This week, they face arguably the best team in the league in Seoul. Then they face the worst in the Dragons. If they can win their first match against the Dynasty, they will be sitting pretty not just in the power rankings, but they will also most likely make their way into the Stage 1 playoffs because they should easily beat the Dragons.

2. Seoul Dynasty 5-1 (Matches Against Spitfire & Outlaws)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIt was really hard putting this squad at No. 2. They’re the only Korean team with a loss to another top Korean team. The Excelsior showed the Dynasty’s weaknesses last week, and trust us, there aren’t many. That being said, they easily deserve a top-tier spot and will most likely continue to stay up here.

Seoul has the hardest schedule this week. They will face the other Korean squad in the spitfire and then face arguably the hottest team in the league, the Houston Outlaws. The Dynasty will get to show the league what they are made of. Will they crumble to another Korean team and the top US team, or will they prove everyone who said they were the best team in the league correct? We personally cannot wait to find out.

1. New York Excelsior 5-1 (Matches Against Dragons & Fuel)

Overwatch League Power RankingsAt No. 1 we have NYXL. Even though this team lost to the Fusion, they were able to beat the Dynasty.

What does that means? Who knows? It probably doesn’t matter though as they were able to win without playing Pine at all. It might be that Pine is exclusively used on Ilios, but either way, New York proved why they are the top team with that win.

This week should be relatively easy for the Excelsior. They play a Dragons team that they should 4-0 and a Dallas team that has failed to put everything together. We expect the Excelsior to win and most likely hold this top spot as they prepare for the Stage 1 playoffs.

 

We hope you have enjoyed our power rankings! Please let us know where you have the teams or let us know if you disagree with where we put your favorite team. Check back next week to see where we place everyone after what is sure to be an exciting week 4.

 

Featured image from alpha.wallhaven.cc

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Impressions from the Philadelphia Fusions First Week at Blizzard Arena

The Philadelphia Fusion, unfortunately, got less prepare time than other teams due to VISA issues stopping them from participating in the preseason. The 10-man roster is all foreign-born players from across the globe. A team assembled from numerous different teams with little crossover from player-to-player, entered the regular season with, as the casters preached, “the element of surprise.”

In any case, first impressions of the Fusion are a mixed-bag after a 1-1 start. It was good to see the Fusion come out and get a win over the Houston Outlaws in their first game on the big stage, but unluckily the Fusion drew the Spitfire in game two and ended week one with a 3-6 game record.

The Strength of the Fusion

Carpe and Shadowburn. Photo via Philadelphia Fusion twitter

However, fielding a starting damage-duo of Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok and George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha will give the Fusion two reliable players that will keep them in games. That was clear heading into this season. However, the one aspect of this roster that came to the surface in week one was the strength of this teams tank line.

Arguably one of the biggest surprises of the week was the play of flex player Gael “Poko” Gouzerch. Alongside Finnish tank-main Joona “Fragi” Laine, the two paved the way up front for Carpe and ShaDowBurn, while showing up in the kill feed often. Poko was in on nearly every engagement and was finishing off players at a hectic pace.

In their very first game under the bright lights, the world got a first-hand look at the potential of Carpe on Tracer and the hard-hitting ShaDowBurn on Genji and neither disappointed. Taking a look at how each player wants to play, the styles match up quite well. Both players excel in one thing above all else and that’s building ultimate charge and we saw that against the Outlaws.

In a similar fashion, Poko’s ability to stay alive on the payload and build ultimate charge also plays into this teams strengths. Each fight seemingly ended with a fully-charged ultimate from one of those three Fusion players. It’s rather impressive watching this team find shots to build.

The Weak Spots

Boombox practicing. Photo via Philadelphia Fusion twitter

It wasn’t all good for the Philadelphia Fusion last week. Playing a team as talented as the London Spitfire will expose a team’s weaknesses without a doubt. For as strong of the front line of the dive-composition is for the Fusion, the backside support doesn’t exactly inspire the same level of fear in opponents.

Facing the Spitfire displayed an inability for the Fusion to defend against diving on Mercy and the failure to avoid attacks from the backline. Against the Outlaws, it was unlimited dragon blade’s and pulse bombs, but facing the Spitfire it came down to simply outshooting the opponent. With more support deaths Carpe and ShaDowBurn weren’t able to play to their strengths.

In light of this, the onus falls to Poko and Fragi to play better up front. The lack of impact from Isaac “Boombox” Charles and the mixing of Mercy’s between Alberto “neptuNo” González and Park “Dayfly” Jeong-hwan seems to be a problem. The Fusion have a talented group of support players with Joe “Joemeister” Gramano coming off the bench, but each player wants to play a different way.

Furthermore, the inopportune timing of the support ultimates against the Spitfire was a big reason why this team lost. It’s not the time for this team to make a change, as Boombox is essentially the only Zenyatta on the roster, but there might come a time where this team needs to reexamine the supports.

In spite of a loss to the Spitfire, this team showed that there’s a good chance they end up in the top-six at the end of the season.

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Featured photo via Philadelphia Fusion twitter

The “Poko Bomb” is tearing up the Overwatch League

Teams in the Overwatch League will now have to prioritize the ultimate status of Gael “Poko” Gouzerch’s self-destructs after sheer domination with it through the first two weeks. Throughout the entire league, no other player is even within striking distance of total ultimate kills and after a huge performance against the San Francisco Shock, it’s not looking like anyone will catch him.

In fact, the team twitter account is actually looking to change the name of D.va’s ultimate to the “Poko bomb.” If this keeps up, I think Blizzard will have no choice, but to change it. Here’s a stat to illustrate Poko’s self-destruct dominance.

That stat says it all. Poko’s success rate is at an incredibly high-percentage right now and that’s proven by the gigantic lead in ultimate kills league-wide. The overall number is impressive, but it’s not the volume of ultimate kills, it’s the consistency. 

During the Philadelphia Fusion’s 2-1 victory over the Shock, an overwhelming amount of fights were won simply off self-destructs. Poko’s not only consistently getting kills, but finding quick ways to build his ultimate. Following his aggressive tank partner, Joona “Fragi”  Laine, who helps clear out space allowing for the DPS-mains and an ultimate building minded Poko to farm ult-charge.

Once it’s ready, it’s just a matter of time before D.Va’s mech comes crashing down on you because it’s not only the angles he throws the self-destructs at, it’s the timing. Waiting for the moment the opposition uses their ultimates or decides to fall-back to strike. It’s also the creative heights in which he flies and the targets he picks out. It’s all calculated.

From here on out, tracking Poko’s ultimate usage is going to be a priority. On the final game on Eichenwalde, three straight self-destructs led to double-kills while taking out Mercy. This was the case all afternoon for the Shock. Expecting a George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha, the constant aggressive self-destructs kept catching the backline off guard.

In only three games, Poko has established himself as a specialist with that ultimate. Moving forward, it’s going to be in the back of teams’ minds. Teams will be forced to make adjustments if he continues to find kills at this high of a success rate.

Additionally, Poko’s style of play is very much aligned with how his Fusion teammates approach the game.This bodes well for them as they develop and hone their strategy. Poko fits in this role behind two capable DPS-mains and Fragi on the Winston. Those three distract as Poko positions himself for an end of the fight self-destruct. 

However, a team that is focused on flanking could be hard-countered. In their loss on Dorado, the Shock committed heavily to anti-dive and waited for ShaDowBurn to flank. It was the only time the Shock had success against the Fusion dive composition. 

However, is this sustainable for Poko? He’s landing two-kills on basically every self-destruct attempt. The 2.38 ult kills per 10 minutes is not sustainable but don’t expect to see anything less from Poko. He’s logged plenty of practice time into perfecting the timing and distance of D.va’s explosion. Even if he lands fewer kills, Poko is still a threat to turn every team fight when he has full-charge. 

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Featured photos via Overwatch Wiki