Week one of Stage 2 was not kind to the Reign. After making a showing in the Stage 1 finals, the Reign looked to maintain momentum and stay in front of the pack in rankings. A tough double game week derailed this plan, however, as Atlanta lost by a reverse sweep followed by a shutout.
This week the Reign look to correct course as they once again take on two teams. The difference this week is that the teams they face are two teams with much worse troubles. If Atlanta hopes to redirect their ship on a winning path, week two is their chance to do it.
This Week’s Matches
Los Angeles Valiant 0-8
The Los Angeles Valiant have one of the most heartbreaking stories of Season 2. After making it to the Season 1 playoffs, and carrying a lot of the talent that got them there, the Valiant were expected to make a strong performance in Season 2. Instead, they’ve struggled week in and week out with the meta and better performing teams.
Atlanta, on the other hand, has mostly been performing well with pockets of poor play. If they can even perform at half of their power, the Reign should have no problem taking care of the Valiant. The concern comes from the meta shift. LA had a ton of talent that could carry them far last year, but they never clicked with the new meta. With the meta shift happening and the Valiant able to play more diverse comps, Atlanta needs to keep an eye on their DPS potential.
All signs point to this match being a confidence building game. The Reign should be able to use this to solidify some much needed synergy with the new players and rebuild that focus that they had during Stage 1. Expect them to drop a map to poor play, not from Valiant winning it outright; but that should be all it takes to give the Atlanta squad the push they need to finish strong.
Prediction: Atlanta Wins 3-1
Player to Watch out for
Andrej “Babybay” Francisty has already been doing a lot to try and step into the hole that Daniel “dafran” Francesca left since his retirement, and his matchup will be an opportunity really step up. With the Valiant struggling, Babybay will have the opportunity to really flex his ability and show that he deserves to stand where dafran stood. If he can take advantage of the struggles from the LA team, he will be able to look like an all-star and sway any lacking fan support. If the Valiant are performing well with the new meta, however, he will have an opportunity to flex onto some of his more familiar DPS heroes and show off his true calling. Either way, keep an eye on Babybay to really pop off and prove his mettle.
Washington Justice 1-8
While their record is better than the Valiant, the Washington Justice are widely considered to be a worse team. They had rumored pre-season struggles having to do with budget, have picked up talent that hasn’t been well molded and doesn’t have a strong Season 1 performance to fall back on.
This game is going to rely heavily on the Valiant game, though. Atlanta is an emotionally driven team caught in a bad place currently, but if they can beat LA early in the week, the match against the Justice shouldn’t be a problem. Expect the Reign to clean sweep Washington after riding the confidence wave from a much needed win. If Atlanta struggles against the Valiant, though, expect this matchup to be their rebuilding moment. They will still win, but with strained confidence, it could be more of a struggle than anticipated.
Prediction: Atlanta Wins 4-0
Player to Watch Out For
For this matchup, check out Nathan “FRD” Goebel. The newest tank player to the roster has been making a showing since being signed; although he hasn’t had a chance to celebrate on stage yet, he has made his impact felt in both games of the stage. While his synergy with main tank Hyeonjun “Pokpo” Park isn’t as solid as Donghyung “Daco” Seo’s, FRD is looking to make his presence felt nonetheless. With a team like Justice who he’ll be able to really exploit, expect his impact to be palpable as he denies space and abilities. Look for this game to be his chance to make a statement about belonging on stage in the OWL.
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