Overwatch League Logo and Teams

The Race to the Overwatch League Postseason Playoffs

With only a few weeks left in Stage 4, teams are competing for their bid into the Overwatch League Postseason Playoffs. The New York Excelsior have already clinched first place in the Atlantic Division. They’ve rightfully claimed their spot in the Postseason Playoffs due to their domination throughout the Overwatch League’s four stages.

With only five spots remaining for Season 1 of the Overwatch League, the race is close. Teams are looking towards the big picture in Stage 4, not caring so much about winning Stage 4, rather doing well to qualify for the Postseason Playoffs. The Atlantic Division leader has already been named, but who will win the Pacific Division? More importantly, what four other teams will join them in the postseason?

Pacific Contenders

The title for the Pacific Division has not been claimed yet and the race could not be closer. The Los Angeles Valiant, Seoul Dynasty and Los Angeles Gladiators are all trying to make their case for the best team in the Pacific Division. Only three games separate these teams. Whoever gets first place can breathe a huge sigh of relief, due to the automatic bid it gives that team to the Postseason Playoffs.

As of writing, the Los Angeles Valiant hold first place. The Valiant are one game ahead of the Seoul Dynasty, who are one game ahead of the Los Angeles Gladiators. With a strong surge in Stage 3, the Los Angeles Valiant look confident to take the division. However, in Stage 4, they still have to play the New York Excelsior, Boston Uprising, and London Spitfire. In addition, the Valiant must play the Los Angeles Gladiators. A difficult road lies before the Valiant. They must earn every win if they want to make the Postseason Playoffs.

With a roster switch midway through Stage 3, many were unsure about how successful the Seoul Dynasty could be. With their eyes set on the big picture, the Seoul Dynasty said that they were confident that they could make it into the Postseason. Like the Valiant, the road will not be easy. The Dynasty play New York and London in Week 2 of Stage 4, followed by Boston and Philadelphia in Week 4. If the Dynasty want to prove that they are worthy of making the Postseason, they must win two of these four big games.

The Los Angeles Gladiators need to have a streaky Stage 4 if they want to make the Postseason. The Gladiators are two games behind the Valiant – who currently sits atop of the Pacific Division. The Gladiators have a tough road to the Postseason. They must hope that the Valiant and Dynasty lose, while also winning games against big contenders such as the Excelsior and Spitfire. The Gladiators have a small chance to make the Postseason, but a chance, nonetheless. The Gladiators must take every opportunity that they get and turn it into a positive.

Overwatch League Overall Standings

Overwatch League Overall Standings – Week 2 of Stage 4

Atlantic Contenders

Since the Atlantic Division is already clinched by the New York Excelsior, the Atlantic teams are downright playing to make the Postseason.

Five out of the six Atlantic Division teams could make the Postseason. Currently, Boston and London have the best chance to make the Postseason Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fusion and Houston Outlaws are also fighting for their spot. Depending on how things shake out, there is the potential that all five Atlantic teams mentioned could make the Postseason. For this to happen, it would require all of the Atlantic teams to dominate the Pacific teams in Stage 4. This would not only put some of the Atlantic teams ahead of the Pacific teams in the overall standings, but it would also lower the number of Pacific teams in the top six – guaranteeing more Atlantic teams.

Looking Towards the Postseason

There is no doubt that Stage 4 will be the most competitive stage of the Overwatch League. With the race so close between the Atlantic and Pacific teams, every win matters. Teams must play strong in all their matches if they want to make it to the Postseason.

The New York Excelsior have already clinched, but who will join them in the Postseason? To find out who makes it, tune into Stage 4 of the Overwatch League.

 

For more esports news and coverage, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to keep up with my posts or myself, come check out my twitter:@J02Armstrong.

Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment/Overwatch

The London Spitfire just benched four players: Good move or not?

In a Tuesday afternoon tweet, the London Spitfire announced a move that has shocked fans across the world.

“Effective immediately, the following players are designated as inactive on our roster…”

The names listed were a surprise at first glance, but make perfect sense after giving it a little thought. There were plenty of factors that forced London to this point with their roster, and a lot of it had to do with on-stage performance. Behind a mediocre Stage 3 and a terrible start to Stage 4, though, lie some deeper issues for the Spitfire.

 

Out with the old…

HaGoPeun


Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment 

I hate to say it, but HaGoPeun is a straight step down from Bdosin. This move (and Hooreg’s) made the most sense. Yes, he did get this absolutely ridiculous play that one time, but his consistency just isn’t at the level London needed it to be. In a league full of insanely talented Zen players, you need to bring your best. Jjonak can smell weakness. He can sense fear. His wrath knows no bounds.

In any case, the Spitfire are supremely confident in Bdosin’s ability, and he’s never given them reason to doubt his play. Bdosin may well be the player London builds around, modeling their efforts after NYXL’s Jjonak-centric approach. You can’t say it hasn’t been working, and if you can’t beat ’em, why not join ’em?

Hooreg


Here’s the deal- Stage 3 showed us that Hooreg simply couldn’t hang. Everyone knew that he had less stage time and less mechanical skill than Birdring, and that gave every team going up against the Spitfire an easy in. Put pressure on Hooreg, run heroes that counter what he’s good at, win the game. Easy stuff. While he may have gelled a bit better with his team with more play time in Stage 4, Birdring is where the Spitfire want to invest their time right now. Even in his very rusty state, Birdring has the potential to blow fights wide open and win maps. That’s what the Spitfire needs more than anything right now. Splitting stage hours between the two of them with season playoffs on the way just doesn’t make sense for London, and they knew it. I’m ok with this change.

Woohyal


Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The Spitfire’s second string off-tank saw a decent amount of play time, and did fairly well when on stage to boot. In this new Rein/Zarya focused meta, though, even a skilled D.Va player like Woohyal finds himself without a home.

There are plenty of heroes he can learn to flex to in his time off, at least. Off-tanks moving to Brigitte is something we’ve seen a lot of lately, and I think Woohyal has the reflex and game sense to be really, really good with her. If Brigitte isn’t nerfed to the ground within a few patches, being able to play her will be a must for any flexible off-tank player, or any new team looking for an off-tank.

TiZi


My initial reaction to seeing TiZi on this list was one of blind rage. He never even got to play a game on stage! He was our first chance to see a former RunAway player on stage! Runner would have been so proud!!

Looking at it with a little more context, though, the move makes just as much sense as the rest. I’ll let Susie explain:

“Tizi is an amazing Rein player. Like holy moly. But the rest of the team has already adapted to Gesture’s play style and he’s been consistent for us; there really was no space to incorporate Tizi as much as we wanted to. When we picked him up, we thought that we’d be getting a 12th player as well to keep things even but awkwardly ended up being 11.”

That last part is maybe the most important, even past the (totally valid) point about being used to Gesture’s play style. A 12-man roster means you can have one half of your team scrim the other. That means you can keep your secret strategies secret, try out different roster combinations on the fly and increase general efficiency by a lot. An 11-man roster means finding other teams to scrim you, while five of your players ride the bench at a time. There’s a big difference there, and that big difference may have been the deciding factor in all four of these moves.

 

The start of something new?

This move is the first of its kind in Overwatch League history, and its results will likely shape the dynamic of team rosters in a pretty major way. If London can come back to stage champion form with this streamlined roster, other teams going for a deeper playing field might look to trim down themselves. If it turns out this loss of flexibility bites the Spitfire in the butt, well… we’ll all be wiser at London’s expense.

Was this a good decision? Yes and no. Publicly announcing a decrease in roster depth is a major strategic blow to the Spitfire, whose 11-man roster was always a wild card that teams were forced to prepare for. That said, the variability hasn’t exactly been yielding results. Focusing on a small core (one of the strongest in the Overwatch League, no less) will definitely make things easier for London’s coaches. They’ll just have to hope that the efforts to refocus the roster haven’t come too late.

 

 

 

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Overwatch League

Overwatch League power rankings: Stage 4 Week 2

The first week of stage 4 was quite interesting as we saw some teams that were expected to be very good falter. We had five teams sweep the week and five teams get swept. If this continues we could see not only the stage playoffs but season playoffs come down to the wire in the coming weeks.

As a reminder, this is overall power rankings, not just for this stage.

Here are the power rankings heading into week 2:

12. Shanghai Dragons 0-2 (VS. Fusion & Excelsior)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThese Dragons are much more like Mushu than Drogon. Many people expected their match-up against the Fuel to be their time they would finally win a match. It was a new stage and they had time to finally practice and develop as a team. Then they lost, again.

Week 2 will not bring them any reprieve as they go up against two squads that are 2-0. There is one major positive though, they are not in last as their map record is better than both London’s and Florida’s.

11. Florida Mayhem 0-2 (VS. Valiant & Gladiators)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThis team is truthfully not much better than the Dragons at this point. They have had some moments but none really to talk about in week 1. Even though they were able to secure a tie against the Excelsior on one map they were then swept by the Fusion.

It will be a Los Angeles week for the Mayhem as they face the two hometown teams who are also sporting 2-0 records. This team has the ability to surprise and their entrances continue to be solid but, that might be the only thing they have going for them.

10. Dallas Fuel 1-1 (VS. Uprising & Fusion)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThe Fuel currently sit in 7th in the league for this stage and that’s great. But, let’s not forget that their win was against the Mushu’s, sorry Dragons. They were then promptly swept by the Gladiators in their next game. Seagull is finally seeming to learn D.Va and that should help this team going forward.

The runners-up last stage look a little like they do when they go into their slump. Boston could be beatable this coming week is Dallas is truly able to come together. As for the Valiant, it is likely not the same.

9. London Spitfire 0-2 (vs.  shock & Dynasty)

Overwatch League Power RankingsWho would have guessed this fall from grace? A team that made the first two playoffs (when only three teams did) has won five of their last 12 matches and were only able to win one map in week one. To be fair to them they played the Excelsior and the suddenly hot Outlaws but those are teams they should at least be able to look even against.

This is a really major week for the Spitfire. They are still sitting third in the season standings and are currently in the playoffs. But, if they have another terrible week against a rising Shock team and a hungry Dynasty squad they could fall right out of the playoffs by weeks end.

8. San Francisco Shock 1-1 (Vs. Spitfire & Outlaws)

Overwatch League Power RankingsAfter barely missing the playoffs in Stage 3 this team had a solid showing to start off Stage 4. After losing a close series against the Gladiators the Shock were able to beat a struggling Seoul Dynasty team. While Seoul has been pretty bad lately that doesn’t mean the Shock don’t deserve the credit. This team is vastly improved and could beat just about anyone at any time.

If the Shock want to show that they’re the real deal this week would be a good time to do so. London is coming off an atrocious week but is still a solid squad. A win back to back weeks against “Korean teams” would be huge for them. Also if they can cool off Houston then San Fran might be on Stage 4 playoff watch.

7. Seoul Dynasty 0-2 (vs. Excelsior & Spitfire)

Overwatch League Power RankingsSeoul might be the most disappointing team this entire season in the OWL. They have never made a playoff, are barely holding onto the sixth season playoff spot, and they went 0-2 in week 1. Their match against the Valiant was reminiscent of what they look like when they are playing their game even in a loss. Against the Shock, they went back to their average form.

Like their London counterparts, this is a nut up or shut-up week for the Dynasty. The Excelsior are (spoiler) easily the best team in the league and they always lose one game per stage. Seoul better hope it’s against them. As for their game against London, that team has fallen even further than them. If the Dynasty miss out on that game then they could be well on their way to finishing in the bottom third of the league.

6. Philadelphia Fusion 2-0 (vs. Dragons & Fuel)

Overwatch League Power RankingsAfter shocking the Uprising the Fusion cruised in their game against the Mayhem to start of the stage well. This team continues to surprise the league with their consistent play. They are in fifth for the season due to having the most games played because they can’t finish teams off. They are tied with third record-wise and if they win both this week they could be the only team in that spot by the end of the week.

With their week 2 schedule, it would not be surprising to see this team sitting at 4-0. While both the Dragons and Fuel are getting better they still are no match for the Fusion.

5. Los Angeles Gladiators 2-0 (vs. Outlaws & Mayhem)

Overwatch League Power RankingsTalk about a team on the rise. This team has been slowly climbing the ranks ever since they added Fissure and Silkthread. They are very consistent in their team-fights and after taking care of business against the Shock and Fuel the Gladiators will look to continue to climb.

This week features their toughest match of weeks 1 and 2, the Outlaws. This will be a test for both teams as they continue to push towards not just a stage playoff but, also the season playoffs. If the Gladiators cannot be upset by the Mayhem and take at least two maps against Houston, if not the match, then they could find themselves in the top six.

4. Houston Outlaws 2-0 (vs. Gladiators & Shock)

Overwatch League Power RankingsAfter a less than stellar Stage 3 it looks like Jake and the boys are back. They swept the Spitfire in convincing fashion and 3-1’d Boston. Is it possible that the meta this time around suits them better? Probably. What is more important is that they looked like they were back in a groove as a team. Last stage they seemed to struggle to find their cohesion that has made them so good.

The Outlaws sit right outside of a playoff spot currently but with six teams within two games of each other, everything can change week by week. They start off the week by playing a team that is scorching hot and only two map losses behind them. This could be an epic series and if the Outlaws can win it, even barely, then they are announcing to everyone to watch out.

3. Boston Uprising 0-2 (vs. fuel & Valiant)

Overwatch League Power RankingsOh Boston, what was up this week? After not losing a single game last stage they go out and lose both of their week 1 games 3-1. While the Fusion and Outlaws are very good teams, one would expect that Boston would win at least one of their match-ups. They are still sitting in second in the overall standings and would have to go into a huge slump to fall out of it.

Boston will face Dallas and the LA Valiant this week. Dallas can put up a fight but unless Boston throw, they should be able to handle this match-up. The Valiant and Boston are going to be going blow for blow. These teams match-up pretty well across the board and should have a very entertaining series.

2. Los Angeles Valiant 2-0 (vs. Mayhem & Uprising)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThis team continues to play very well at all positions, even after losing Silkthread. They were able to beat Seoul in overtime in an impressive series for them and then they handled Shanghai. This team is currently in the playoffs and it is unlikely that they will fall out as they currently sit in fourth.

This week they have the Mayhem and the Uprising. The Mayhem will more than likely take one map off of the Valiant but shouldn’t be much of a threat. The Uprising are a totally different story. While they had a rough week, they tend to do this at times. Boston and LA will absolutely be battling it out this week in what should be an excellent match.

1. New York Excelsior 2-0 (vs. Dragons & Dynasty)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIs anyone honestly even surprised at this point? They are 29-3 this season and continued their dominance by beating the Mayhem and Spitfire this week. The Excelsior do not seem to have any glaring weaknesses. If anything the announcement of new teams joining might be the only thing as they could potentially lose some players this offseason. Not saying they will win season one because anything can happen but, this team is incredibly good.

Focusing on this coming week, New York plays Shanghai and Seoul. The Shanghai game is a win 99 times out of 100. Seoul, on the other hand, might be like a starved tiger. If the Excelsior aren’t careful they could lose their one match a stage this week.

 

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Gesture from the London Spitfire

The London Spitfire’s Slow Fall from Grace

Even though Stage 4 just started, the Overwatch League is on a new patch. Moreover, Ji-Hyeok “Birdring” Kim has returned to the London Spitfire’s lineup, making an appearance for the first time since early in Stage 3. The Spitfire are still looking shaky after their match against the Houston Outlaws. The Spitfire have never beat Houston, as the Outlaws are 4-0 against them in the regular season. More impressively from the Outlaws, London’s fourth loss came as a brutal 4-0 sweep. Are the London Spitfire, the Stage 1 Champions, still a team to be worried about?

No Birdring, No Widowmaker

With the double sniper meta becoming more prevalent, Birdring is making his return at the right time. Snipers have become an ever-increasing importance for teams in Stage 3 and Stage 4. In Stage 3 the London Spitfire weren’t nearly as dominant, Birdring’s absence was felt. A great Widowmaker, like Birdring, can dominate space and make enemies fear peeking at any position. In Stage 3, the London Spitfire had to opt out of Widowmaker duels because Birdring was unable to play. However, with Birdring back in the mix, will the London Spitfire return to form?

Not Nearly as Dominant

London Spitfire's Birdring

London Spitfire’s Ji-Hyeok “Birdring” Kim

Since the start of Stage 3, teams have closed in on the London Spitfire in the overall standings. A once dominant London Spitfire, who finished in the top three during both Stage 1 and Stage 2, and finished sixth in Stage 3 with a 5-5 record. Although they didn’t have Birdring, this is still concerning for London Spitfire fans and players. A team with a star-studded roster, who dominated Stage 1 and Stage 2, should not go 5-5 in a stage.

Instead of improving, it seems like they have hit their peak early on in the Overwatch League. Meanwhile, teams like the Boston Uprising, Philadelphia Fusion, Los Angeles Valiant, Los Angeles Gladiators and San Francisco Shock are continuing to improve, climbing the standings each week. With the London Spitfire on a downward trend and other teams on an upward trend, will London have another shaky stage?

London Can Prove Teams Wrong

With the playoffs coming up soon, every win matters for teams in Stage 4. As it currently stands, the London Spitfire are third in the overall standings. However, they are nowhere near safe. Three teams are currently one game behind them, while two other teams only trail by three games.

Six teams make the Playoffs for the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. The London Spitfire need to do well in Stage 4 if they want to play in the playoff spotlight. The good news is that, with Birdring back and a meta that favors double snipers, the London Spitfire can do well in Stage 4. But the question is: can the Spitfire return to their strong play that we saw during the regular season?

The road won’t be easy, but Stage 4 offers an opportunity for the London Spitfire – an opportunity to rise above their recently lacking performance and impress all Overwatch League viewers. They can prove, once again, that they are a team to be feared.

To find out if the London Spitfire can finish the rest of Stage 4 strong and make the Playoffs, tune into the Overwatch League.

 

For more esports news and coverage, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to keep up with my posts or myself, come check out my twitter:@J02Armstrong.

Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment/Overwatch

LA Valiant & Microsoft to Partner for Girls in Gaming Summit

2018 Girls in Gaming Summit

The LA Valiant (Immortals) and Microsoft have announced a partnership with the intent of growing the esports ecosystem. They will start with the first event which will be this Saturday, May 19th, called “Girls in Gaming Summit”. The description of this event is as follows:

“Time to amplify all female gamers voices.

Time to unmute and highlight all that women do and can do for gaming. Together we can build a positive industry by spotlighting female heroes, giving girls a space to feel strong and meet gamers like them.

Join LA Valiant and some of the most influential women in the gaming community as we celebrate diversity in gaming at LA Valiant’s Girls in Gaming Summit.

Learn from the many women who make and work in games about their experience and growth in the industry and about the countless opportunities the gaming world holds for developing, writing, marketing and more. Attendees will hear about common experiences and tips, and learn actionable steps on how to break into a competitive industry.

This community building event will include a Business of Esports Panel, Viewing Party, Networking, and game play. All that’s needed for attendees is a desire build the community of females and allies within the gaming industry.”

Girls in Gaming Geguri

Shanghai Dragons player Geguri. Courtesy of: Liquidpedia

This networking event will be taking place at the new Microsoft Lounge in Culver City with big names of women from the esports scene. They are, Catarina Macedo, Program Manager at Xbox, Nicole Fawcette, Sr. Brand Manager, Gears of War & Women in Gaming Co-Lead at Xbox, Alice White, Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition at Blizzard Entertainment and Ann Hand, Chairman & CEO of Amateur Esports platform, Super League Gaming.

Be Valiant

With their “Be Valiant” campaign Immortals and Microsoft hope to “…provide a community and platform that embraces aspiring female gamers to explore both the competitive and career opportunities available to them in esports.”

The Girls in Gaming Summit is currently sold out and no tickets will be sold at the door.

This event should help to bring in more female fans not only to esports, but also out from behind the screen. There has been a problem of toxicity towards women in esports, and while Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim took a major step for all female gamers, many believe there is still a long way to go.

Make sure to keep up with the Valiant’s efforts to grow the esports community!

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and eSports articles from other great TGH writers along with Robert!

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Overwatch League Expansion Tier List: What cities will we see next?

It was recently reported that the Overwatch League was looking to expand with a price tag of a cool $30 to $60 million. Activision Blizzard also announced that they are now looking to add four or six teams instead of the two they were planning on originally. This adds numerous possibilities, and many different cities will be vying for spots in the league.

With that in mind we are going to look at which cities have the best chance of getting Overwatch League teams and rank them into three tiers.

Rankings will be based on the following questions:

  1. How big is the city?
  2. Has the city had any involvement in esports before? If so, how successful have those events been?
  3. Is there a known investor/franchise that is from that city that would want to put it there?
  4. Are there teams in close proximity to this city already? (i.e. another LA would not be likely)

There will be other factors to keep in mind as well. If they only go with four teams will they just keep the two divisions? If they go six do they split them up? Also, they will want to keep the divisions equal. To do so, there are only so many teams from certain areas that can can be considered.

Not happening this time

There are some cities that will probably be mentioned but, it is very unlikely that they will get a spot for one reason or another.

Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Kansas City- While all of these cities have a good amount of traditional sports teams, it is unlikely in this first expansion that they will pick two Midwest cities – especially ones that don’t have a huge connection to esports just yet.

Rome, Barcelona- Both are huge for soccer/futbol. That being said they aren’t necessarily known for esports and while they could eventually get teams there is no chance they beat out most of these other cities.

Tier 3- Unlikely but Possible

Brooklyn-  This was originally going to be a complete no, but looking at a couple factors changed that. To start, the Season 1 playoffs are happening at the Barclays Center. Also, most traditional sports have at least two teams in the big apple. Lastly, Los Angeles already has two teams so why not put two in New York as well? The main reason this is a long shot is that the Overwatch League wants to be a global league and there are areas of the United States and Europe that need teams more. Remember, there can only be two or three teams coming from the Atlantic area.

Overwatch league expansion

Courtesy of: Knights.gg

Beijing- The market in Asia is huge for just about any esport, especially China. Beijing did host the 2017 World Finals for League of Legends in an arena that held 91,000. The real problem is that there are at least two other cities that will be on this list that the OWL will want more for their Asian market. Truthfully, if Shanghai hadn’t come first, it is very likely that Beijing would be a higher priority.

Pittsburgh- This city is the least expected one on this list. That being said there is already an established esports organization that is officially the esports team of the city, the Pittsburgh Knights. With investors already coming in and the city backing them, it would be very easy for the OWL to establish a team in this city. Also Rob “Leonyx” Lee, owner, already has a ton of experience within the world of esports and would be able to help grow the new league.

The major problem is that without the already established team, Pittsburgh would never be considered. They don’t host any big events, it’s one of the smaller cities on this list, and the Philadelphia Fusion are in the same state.

Denver- DreamHack being in Denver put this city on the esports map. It’s in a very good location as there aren’t any teams already established anywhere nearby. That is about all it has going for it when it comes to a potential team, though. Unless a major investor with connections to this area comes forward, it is hard to see the Mile High City getting a team this time around.

Tier 2- Close but just out of reach

Atlanta- There is a lot to like about putting a new team in Atlanta. To start, there are no other teams in the area, so they could hit a whole new demographic. Their newest team in the MLS is bringing more fans to their games than any other team which means that this city receives new teams with enthusiasm. Lastly, Atlanta is a hotbed for hosting esports events such as DreamHack, the CWL, and more. The only thing going against Atlanta is that there are a limited number of spots.

overwatch league expansion

Courtesy of: Dribble.com

Washington D.C.- With a plethora of investors to choose from, a brand new NBA2k league team, and it being the capital of the United States it makes it hard not to at least consider D.C. The city is obviously big enough. The problem is that there are already so many teams in close proximity, such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. If D.C. wants a team and they don’t get one this time around, it wouldn’t be surprising to see one in serious consideration next time.

Cleveland- The Midwest desperately needs an Overwatch League team. The closest ones are either on the East coast or in Dallas. While Cleveland may not have been on the list before, that has changed majorly in the last year and a half. There is clearly investment interest as Cleveland has added two major esports franchises in the Cavs Legion from the NBA2k League and 100 Thieves from League of Legends. Both franchises are expected to perform well as the Cavs Legion have a top team lead by Hood and 100 Thieves recently finished 2nd in the NA LCS.

Tier 1- Very Likely

Chicago- We will start with the city that most likely will take Cleveland out of the running this time. Chicago is a major sports city and it has hosted numerous major esports events. Most consider Chicago to be the New York of the midwest and for good reason. It is a very cultural city that has incredibly loyal fans and has the biggest population in the Midwest. Did we mention that the Midwest needs a team? Even if there were only two spots available it is likely that Chicago would be highly considered, now with the possibility of three, Chicago had better be ready for an esports team.

Courtesy of: Leagueoflegends.com

Hong Kong- Like Cleveland being overshadowed by Chicago, Beijing won’t be considered because of this city. Hong Kong has been one of the major Asian cities for the last century and is one of the most Westernized cities on the continent. Combine this with the fact that it is likely that the OWL wants to reach more fans in China, and you get a top tier city. With a company like Tencent being in the area it is highly likely that they may want a piece of the OWL pie as well.

Paris- MSI for League of Legends will be happening here in just a few days. Paris has hosted esports events and is one of the major cities in Europe. Lets not forget that the London Spitfire are the only team representing Europe in a global league. If you don’t think Nate Nanzer is thinking about this then you’d be dead wrong. This city makes a ton of sense and like Chicago, even if they were only bringing in two teams overall it is likely Paris would be near or at the top.

Berlin- Almost everything that has been said about Paris can be said about Berlin. Although there is one distinct advantage, League of Legends EULCS is based there. This shows that people will attend games and the esports scene is growing there quickly. That being said, this may also be a reason why the league wont go here. As of right now it seems as though both leagues aren’t exactly on great terms (check out what happened to Immortals), so it is possible that the OWL could look elsewhere for now.

Seattle- Esports are based on the West Coast. It is where most of the studios are and it is where every team currently is based. With connections to Microsoft, many esports events being hosted there, and the general acceptance of esports in this city, it is likely they would be considered. Seattle would continue building the base of esports in the west and thus continue to grow it.

Overwatch League Expansion

Courtesy of: TheVerge.com

Toronto- The fact that there was not a team in Toronto to start was a little surprising. This city has a massive esports culture. It has hosted many events and it has one of the new NBA2k League teams. Canada needs to be represented in this league and Toronto is an obvious choice to make it happen.

Las Vegas- A year ago this may not have been a top choice. But with their new esports arena (used by Ninja for a Fortnite tournament), a new hockey team that is doing extraordinarily well, and a new NFL team, this city is ripe for an OWL team. The stereotype of Las Vegas being the sin city is still there. However, in the last decade or so it has become much more family friendly. With all of the new major venues and teams coming to Vegas, an OWL team just makes sense to join them.

Tokyo- Last but certainly not least is the biggest city in Japan. There is a massive culture built around gaming and esports in this city and country. They even have heroes and a map representating them in game. If a slot buyer comes forward with connections to the city then it would be very hard for the OWL to pass up the opportunity to bring Tokyo into the mix.

What do you think?

These are some of the top cities that could be considered for Overwatch League spots. As of right now there have been no announcements as to the bidding process, who has made a bid, or just about anything other than what we know from that original report. Speculation will increase the hype as the league starts their last stage this week.

What cities do you think will receive teams? Are there any that were missed? Comment below and let us know!

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Hanzo Overwatch Hero

Will the New Hanzo See Play in the Overwatch League?

The Overwatch League has confirmed that the new reworked Hanzo patch will not be available to play in Stage 4. However, there are still several major changes coming to the game during Stage 4. Some of these changes include buffs to heroes like Reaper and Mei and nerfs to heroes such as D.Va and Zenyatta. Most importantly, Bridgitte will be available to play in the Overwatch League. It will be interesting to see how teams will adapt and create new strategies regarding these changes.

Most people are playing on the current Overwatch patch, with the new, reworked Hanzo. Once he is available to play in the Overwatch League, perhaps in the Playoffs, it will drastically change how teams approach the meta. With the major rework to Hanzo, he is stronger, more mobile, and generally has more reasons to be used in professional play. There is no doubt that his impact will be felt. The archer will take the competition by storm.

An Evolving Kit

Hanzo’s rework offers a few tweaks to his kit, to help better deal with threats. Hanzo’s new ability, Storm Arrow, replaces Scatter Arrow. Storm Arrow allows Hanzo to shred tanks even faster. Instead of aiming at the ground and being able to kill people in one shot with Scatter Arrow, Hanzo now shreds multiple enemies with Storm Arrow. When this new move is activated, Hanzo rapidly fires six arrows for a short duration. Unlike Scatter Arrow, all Storm Arrows can land as a critical hit on an enemy. While Scatter Arrow before had more burst damage, Storm Arrow allows Hanzo to have more consistent damage, which can be even deadlier than scatter arrow when landing consecutive headshots.

Hanzo’s other big change is the addition of a new movement ability: Lunge. This move allows Hanzo to do a brief air dash. This dash can be used in any direction. It can be used to dash backwards when enemies are diving onto Hanzo. Players can also dive forward with it to be more aggressive. Another bonus, Hanzo can fire arrows while using Lunge. The addition of Lunge puts Hanzo in a better position when it comes to playability. Before the rework, Hanzo was nearly unplayable in professional play. Hanzo’s only chance of survival during a dive was to frantically use using Scatter Arrows to kill enemies. With the addition of Lunge, he now has a reliable escape.

To learn more and see how the new Hanzo impacts high level Overwatch play, “Wraxu” – a Top 500 Overwatch Player – showcases the new Hanzo’s rework during a competitive ladder game.

Double Snipers Could Be Seen More

With the Hanzo rework, there is a high chance that teams will run double sniper compositions in the future, utilizing the abilities of Widowmaker and Hanzo together. Double Sniper compositions are hard to play against because of their high direct damage output. With the best players hitting most of their shots onto enemies when using these heroes, this composition could be deadly. Only getting one or two picks can snowball the entire fight in favor of one team or the other. However, with the introduction of Bridgitte and changes to other heroes, it will be exciting to see what heroes’ teams decide to prioritize.

Looking Ahead 

Although Hanzo is unavailable to play in Stage 4 of the Overwatch League, he will certainly impact the competitive ladder. In the future stages of the Overwatch League, his play time will see an increase. For now, teams will not have to worry about the new Hanzo. Instead, they must adapt around Bridgitte and the other changes that Blizzard introduced. To see how the introduction of Bridgitte and how Hanzo will impact the future of Overwatch, tune into Stage 4 of the Overwatch League.

 

For more esports news and coverage, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to keep up with my posts or myself, come check out my twitter:@J02Armstrong.

Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment/Overwatch

Video Credit: Wraxu/Overwatch Pro

Aaron “Aero” Atkins is the Dallas Fuel’s New Head Coach

The Dallas Fuel have hired former Fusion University player Aaron “Aero” Atkins as its head coach for the Overwatch League, per a tweet from ESPN writer Jacob Wolf. Aero’s first match as head coach will be on Wednesday against the Shanghai Dragons.

Aero was the former head coach of the Philadelphia Fusion’s Academy team, Fusion University, and lead them through an auspicious Contenders run. His efforts culminated in a 4-1 victory in the grand finals vs. Boston Uprising’s Academy team, Toronto Esports. Prior to his tenure with Fusion University, Aero also coached FNRGFE, whose members (with the exception of Casey “Buds” McIlwaine) were signed to the Houston Outlaws for Season one of the Overwatch League. In total, 12 of Aero’s former players are currently playing in the Overwatch League.

 

“We have a lot of respect for the success Aaron has achieved as a coach in competitive Overwatch. His work this year with Fusion University speaks for itself, putting together an undefeated run with players from across the globe who are playing together for the first time. And when we won Overwatch Contenders in 2017 as Team Envy, I remember being impressed by how focused and prepared Aaron had the FNRGFE team we faced in the playoffs. We’re excited to bring his mentality, track record of winning, and the cerebral way in which he approaches the game to the Dallas Fuel”   -Team owner Mike “hastr0” Rufail, in a statement on the Fuel’s official OWL page

 

2018-04-27 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

As the new Dallas Fuel head coach, Aero will have his work cut out for him. Dallas has been one of the most notoriously unstable teams in the league, far removed from their original expectations as a top seed They currently hold tenth place with a 6-24, -47 record, only four maps ahead of the Florida Mayhem. Their star Tracer player, Hyeon “EFFECT” Hwang, also recently announced via his stream that he would not be playing in stage four at all, citing stress and mental health concerns. Team owner Mike “hastr0” Rufail stated in a tweet that the Fuel’s resources have been deployed in full to assist EFFECT and all the Fuel’s players in managing the rigors of the Overwatch League. With playoffs out of reach, one can only hope that Aero can help the Fuel stabilize in time to make a better showing in season 2.

 

“I want to build teams that are going to be the best in the world. I strive to make sure my players are the best they possibly can be – both in how they prepare and perform in any given week, but also so they are ready down the line, six months or a year from now. Dallas has the components to be great, and I’m thrilled to go to work with the Fuel in the Overwatch League.” -Aaron “Aero” Atkins

The Fuel’s new contract with Aero extends through season two. Interim HC Emanuel “Peak” Uzoni is now resuming his role as assistant coach.

 

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Featured Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

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Overwatch

Overwatch anniversary event is back next week: What to watch for

Just a few weeks after the Overwatch archives event has ended, the anniversary event is about to begin. Slated to begin May 22nd, this anniversary event will be a must play for many Overwatch fans. Not only can you grab new skins, but there’s a whole lot more to look forward to.

All the Overwatch Seasonal Skins

Overwatch

Halloween Terror Seasonal Skins from Overwatch

You didn’t read that wrong. Blizzard has announced that all past seasonal skins from Overwatch events will be available for purchase or to find in your loot box during the anniversary event. If you missed out at all during past Halloweens, Winter Wonderlands or summer games, be prepared to claw your way through loot boxes for the sweet sweet loot. Never have the seasonal skins been in such easy grasp of many fans, and the length of the event, May 22nd to June 11th, offers fans plenty of time. Along with past returning skins, some heroes will be getting new digs. There will be a total of eight new legendary skins and three new epic ones. Judging by the announcement, pirate Junkrat will be one of the epic skins.

Dance your heart out

The highly coveted dance emotes are coming back! Along with their re-arrival, Moira, Doomfist, and Brigitte will be getting a dance emote as well. A highly popular item, and one that always entertains before a match starts is a great incentive for increased play in Overwatch. Not only this, but when you pull off a potential POTG you’ll be able to gloat in style. A great way to view all of these are over at the Overwatch anniversary homepage.

Seasonal Brawls

Overwatch

Yeti Hunt from Blizzard and Overwatch

Blizzard announced that all past seasonal brawls will be returning. To many fans chagrin, they have their eyes set for more Lucioball. For others, it will be Mei’s yeti hunt or snowball fight. Whatever your guilty brawl pleasure, Blizzard is ready to bring it back for your enjoyment. It’s a great way to relax after some heavy competitive games, and an even better one for laughs. Coinciding with a free weekend of play to the public, Blizzard is ready to show those not in the game exactly what they’re about.

Deathmatch getting some love

Overwatch

New Escort Map Rialto from Overwatch

Deathmatch is benefiting a lot from the anniversary event. A different take on the Overwatch game mode that sees it become a more traditional shooter, it’s loved by many. For this event, Blizzard is updating the mode with a new map, Petra, and a competitive mode. There will be ranks, placements, and dreaded SR loss. In a mode that was called for often, then often neglected, it’s nice to see Blizzard continue to tinker with modes and maps. Also, adding a new map in any capacity after the recently released Rialto means that Blizzard is intent on bringing fans of Overwatch more content of what they want.

In summary, this event is great for anyone who missed out on that skin, who misses playing that seasonal game mode. It’s a testament to the fan base Overwatch has had throughout its two years, and a thank you to anyone who has joined the world to experience it’s joy. So for the next week, get ready to grind for those skins or emotes and mostly, go enjoy yourselves.

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Featured photo from Siliconera

Here are the Odds of Your Team Winning Season 1 of the Overwatch League

Season 1 of the Overwatch League is nearly over. Only Stage 4 remains as teams battle it out to make the playoffs. As of now, the only team to have officially made it into the playoffs are the New York Excelsior. Their dominance has been well documented, as they have been to every stage final and won the last two.

Who can make the playoffs?

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Unlike the Stage playoffs, the Season playoffs will have six teams battling it out for the Season 1 title. As of now, the only team to clinch a spot is the aforementioned New York Excelsior. There are also three teams that have been eliminated. These teams include the Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem and the winless Shanghai Dragons. That leaves eight teams to battle it out for the five remaining playoff spots.

Stage 4 will feature many important match-ups as many of the teams will be playing for their season playoff lives.

You can keep up to date on Stage 4 as it starts next week on Twitch and the Overwatch League’s official website.

 

“Never tell me the odds”

You may be wondering to yourself: “what are the odds of my team winning it all?” Look no further, there are a bunch of trustworthy betting sites on sportsbettingdime.com that will provide you with the most up-to-date odds. Overwatch League is still a fairly new esports league, compared to others like Dota 2 and League of Legends so not all sportsbooks will have Overwatch League odds. Take your time to look over each site as they each have their own advantages. In this case, try to pick one that offers a sign-up bonus because if you’re planning on betting on a team that’s not the New York Excelsior and your team doesn’t win, at least you get some sort of compensation.

Here are the most recent odds:

Courtesy of: Overwatchleague.com

New York Excelsior (2/3)

London Spitfire (9/1)
Boston Uprising (9/1)
Seoul Dynasty (9/1)
Los Angeles Valiant (19/1)
Los Angeles Gladiators (50/1)
Philadelphia Fusion (100/1)
San Francisco Shock (100/1)
Houston Outlaws (100/1)
The most interesting odds are three of the last four teams. To start, the Gladiators having a better chance than two teams that have been ahead of them in the standings all year is surprising, to say the least. That also brings into question why the Outlaws and Fusions chances are so low.
Is it because of their below average performances in Stage 3? Or is it that all the teams above them are simply getting that much better? Either way, those might be odds worth betting on.
Another team of note is the Seoul Dynasty, as they have been slowly falling down the standings after having a very average Stage 3 with a 5-5 record.

Take ’em or Leave ’em

Leave ‘Em:

The Spitfire and the Dynasty.

Neither team has looked exceedingly strong as of late. This is due to teams finding their groove after a rough start, as teams have added talent either through pickups or players coming of age. Additionally, some of the talent that has been picked up has been at the expense of both of these teams.

Take ‘Em:

The Uprising and the Fusion.

Boston was the best team for most of Stage 3 and should be able to make the changes necessary to put up a fight against the Excelsior. As for the Fusion, they had a down Stage but have been consistent for most of the season. Look for them to make some adjustments as they push for the playoffs and could surprise a couple teams.

 

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