Week 4 was a rough patch for the Atlanta Reign as they were felled by an unexpectedly fierce Los Angeles Gladiators squad. The Reign sit at a 3-2 record, which is currently not enough to break into the stage playoffs. They will get two more shots at it in the final week, however, as they face off against the Chengdu Hunters and the Houston Outlaws in an action packed final stage weekend.
Last Week’s Match
Los Angeles Gladiators 2-1
Atlanta suffered a huge hit to their momentum and pride as the Gladiators showed up ready to win. With an underwhelming season outside of their first week match against the San Francisco Shock, LA were expected to continue to under-perform. Instead, the Gladiators finally had everything click and looked like one of the top teams in the league. Every single aspect of their game was tweaked and improved from weeks prior and it completely caught the Reign off guard.
With map after map of strong play from the Gladiators, Atlanta continued to fail to find a foothold to work from. With positioning issues and problems with ultimate usage, the Reign looked a lot like the Paris team they had dominated the week prior. Los Angeles did have the edge of being unexpectedly competent, as the Reign had been training against mediocre play from previous games. It will be interesting to see how the Gladiators do going forward as teams are more worried but also have a stronger performance to prepare with.
Results: Atlanta Loses 0-4
Player of the Game
Despite a poor day overall, Petja “Masaa” Katanen was still able to show some explosive moments of Lucio-dom. He still managed to pull of major environmental kills even when under pressure by Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni on the opposing Lucio. Masaa is a player that enjoys being challenged, especially by players he knows, and this was the epitome of that. Despite Atlanta being unable to take points off of the Gladiators, he was still able to find big plays and keep the Reign in the game at key points.
This Week’s Matches
Chengdu Hunters 2-4
The Chengdu Hunters have been a fan favorite team this season, despite a losing record. With a wholesome social media presence and a distinct lack of interest in meta compositions, they have been a joy to follow. With their recent performance against the undefeated Titans, however, the Hunters are no longer seen as a team to take lightly.
Atlanta will need to shut down the Hunter’s DPS focused off-meta comp it has become known for. That is an expected strategy the Reign will have no doubt been preparing for. What is a new twist to the equation is how competent Chengdu looked on a typical 3-3 comp against Vancouver. The Reign will need to also tighten up on their meta play if they hope to lock in their playoff spot without having to worry about the Outlaws game the following day.
Prediction: Atlanta Wins 3-2
Player to Watch Out For
With a knockout performance against the Vancouver Titans, Menghan “Ameng” Ding has shown himself as more than a Wrecking Ball one trick. Due to this, Hyeonjun “Pokpo” Park will be key in shutting down the Hunters. Making sure to handle Ameng’s Wrecking Ball will be important, but going toe to toe on Reinhardt will be where the game is won or lost. Fortunately, it seems like Atlanta will have the stronger Winston and Orisa, but this tank battle will be one to watch.
Houston Outlaws 3-3
The Houston Outlaws will be the last test of the Reign before the end of Stage 1. They have had struggles getting rolling in Season 2, with questions regarding their roster and performances in the meta. If Atlanta can exploit those rough edges the Outlaws have been working through, they shouldn’t have a problem.
Atlanta will need to watch out, though, as this game could be the deciding factor in getting into the stage playoffs for these two teams. With a ton of teams showing the ability to perform at a high level on any day, this game is not a given for the Reign. They will need to tap back into the groove they found in the first few weeks in order to shut down Houston.
Prediction: Atlanta Wins 3-1
During Season 1, Houston was a popular choice for fans of the Overwatch League living in the south. With the expansion in Season 2, Atlanta has caused a small exodus of Outlaws fans from their ranks as loyalties shifted. For many fans this game will be the equivalent of an ex fighting with a current significant other. Expect emotions to be high for a lot of fans as this match may be the deciding factor for both teams entering the Stage 1 playoffs.
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