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!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

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!

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!

“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.

For more of esports news and coverage, follow The Game Haus on Facebook and Twitter.

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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Ryujehong reminds the Overwatch League: Seoul are in it to win it

At first glance, putting support superstar Ryujehong on Winston doesn’t sound like the best idea. In practice, though, it’s proven to be the Seoul Dynasty’s smartest change yet.

How embarrassing


2018-04-26 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Ryujehong, for all his skill on heroes like Ana and Zenyatta, is not a great Winston. He can’t juggle players with Primal Rage like Fissure or xQc. His shield timings could be better. His engagements were often a little too early, or a little too late. With a host of little flaws in a game that has no margin for error, many Seoul fans braced for impact as the horde of Outlaws faithful in the arena prepared for a gleeful slaughter. Seoul’s game against London the day before had shown that Jehong still had a long way to go before he could handle top-tier tanks, and Muma is no slouch, to be sure. In the end, though, the two fan-bases switched demeanor entirely. How could Jehong’s awkward, newly-minted main tank play help his team crush Houston so convincingly?

Let’s coordinate our efforts


The key was, as it so often is in Overwatch, communication. Ryujehong made up for his middling main tank mechanics by having a plan for every push. His communication and decision making are his greatest strengths, beyond all the head clicking and sleep darting, so why not use them?

Playing to those strengths is harder than it sounds in a frenetic game like Overwatch, and it didn’t always work for Seoul. A strict focus on certain strategies often left Jehong & Co. unprepared for Houston’s signature curve balls, but clean comms and insane mechanical play from the Dynasty’s deep roster often compensated for it. Overthinking can often be just as dangerous as under-preparing- you have to have a certain balance of flexibility and structure to really succeed. That balance will take some time for a player learning a new role in a pro setting, to be sure, but it will be so worth it.

 

Houston, uhh, we have a problem


2018-02-10 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The Outlaws often made life difficult for Seoul over the course of their four-game series, but there were plenty of times that they made things easy, too. While it’s clear that they’ve worked hard to perfect their strategy of controlled chaos, such methods can quickly go off the rails if they aren’t keeping a good hold of things in game. And things definitely got away from them, as evidenced in the scoreline.

Ultimately, Seoul just caught the Outlaws on a bad day. They looked tired. There were no caffeine-gum speeches from Jake, no coy winks to the camera. Just flat, beleaguered expressions. The stage break is definitely going to help Houston, but I think the Dynasty will benefit plenty, as well. They’ll have lots of extra time to get Ryujehong used to working in his new role, and to develop more of those set strategies that worked so well for them in week five. If they can nail down their new play style, and finally lock in a good roster, we could be seeing a return to force for the Dynasty- and not a moment too soon. Seoul’s still in the playoff hunt, after all.

 

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Featured Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

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Will the NYXL Complete the Three-Peat?

Stage 3 of the Overwatch League just finished this past week and the New York Excelsior took home a Stage Championship for the second time now. More impressively, the stage titles were back to back. And even though the Boston Uprising went an undefeated 10-0 in the Stage 3 regular season, the New York Excelsior got the best of them in the Stage 3 Finals. The NYXL have cemented that they are the best team in the Overwatch League. With only Stage 4 left and then the Playoffs, only one question remains: Will the New York Excelsior achieve the three-peat and win a third straight stage title?

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As much as some teams are improving, no one can find a way stop the colossal NYXL. Even though Boston played well in the Stage 3 regular season, the NYXL took care of business and cleanly swept them in the Stage 3 Finals. The reasons are clear why the NYXL are the favorites to not only win the Stage 4 Championship title, but also the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. The NYXL have proven that they have talent, dedication, and team coordination to outplay any opponent that stands in their way.

The New York Excelsior’s track record since the start of the Overwatch League is astounding. In thirty regular season games – from Stage 1 until Stage 3 – the NYXL are 27-3 with a +68 map differential. Only three losses and huge map lead!

While all teams in the Overwatch League are highly skilled and consist of the best Overwatch players in the world, the NYXL prove to be a cut above the rest. Perhaps their most defining characteristic is the consistency of their domination over other teams. The NYXL have reigned victorious so often that the closest team in the overall standings, the Boston Uprising, are still five games behind. With only ten games left until the Playoffs, unless a drastic slip-up occurs, the NYXL will hold the top spot in the standings by the end of Stage 4.

Overwatch League Standings

Overwatch League Standings by the end of Stage 3

In addition to their amazing regular season play, the NYXL know how to adapt during high pressure series. Their ability to counter opponents is a big reason why they are successful during the Stage Playoffs. The NYXL have made it to all the Stage Finals so far. They have won Stage 2 and Stage 3, only losing their series in Stage 1 to a reverse sweep by the London Spitfire. Because of their continual dominance, one can expect the NYXL to make the Stage Finals again with little trouble.

The only question is – will they win it again?

Stage 4 Finals Prediction

With the final stage beginning this week, every map and win matters. Teams will be playing hard every game to secure their spot for the playoffs. Since the NYXL want to be sure that they are the number one seed, we can expect them to stay in form throughout Stage 4, eventually making it to the Stage 4 Finals as well. With Ji-Hyeok “Birdring” Kim back in the mix for the London Spitfire and the recent, streaky performance by the Boston Uprising, one of those two teams will likely play against the NYXL in the finals. However, the New York Excelsior are still the favorites and will take the series in the Stage 4 Finals 3-1.

Will anyone be able to slow the New York Excelsior or will they complete the three-peat? To find out, tune into Stage 4 of the Overwatch League.

 

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Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment/Overwatch

The Overwatch League goes big as the Barclays Center will host their Finals

To many the Overwatch League has been very successful in its first season. Teams have been fairly even, viewership is trending upwards, and overall production has been very good. With stage 3 ending and only stage 4 remaining Blizzard has announced that they will be hosting their season one final at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

To say this is much bigger than what Overwatch League fans are used to would be an understatement. The Blizzard Arena holds around 450 people while the Barclays Center holds 19,000. With a bigger venue it will be interesting to see how many tickets go on sale and how quickly it will sellout, if it does.

This announcement comes on the heels of Riot announcing that their North American LCS Finals would be held in Oakland California at Oracle Arena. What this showcases is that, at least for now, many major esports will continue to use NBA arenas for their major events.

It is possible that this is due to the fact that so many groups and individuals from the NBA are involved with esports or that their venues are currently about the perfect size for a major esports event. Oracle Arena hold 20,000, TD Garden (NALCS Fall 2017 Finals) holds, 19,580, and Staples Center holds 21,000. All of these venues have been used for esports events before and hold about the same amount of people.

What this shows is that this is most likely the crowd size expected for major esports events these days. It will be interesting to see how this shifts in the future.

Stage 4 of the OWL starts next week as teams battle for the final season 1 playoff spots.

Tickets for the Grand Finals will go on sale May 18th. The event will be on July 27th and 28th.

 

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