The Atlanta Reign have had a rough Stage 2. After their third straight loss of the stage, and after giving the Los Angeles Valiant their first win of the season, the Reign finally found a win against the Washington Justice. This is an even rougher streak of games considering Atlanta’s Stage 1 playoff run, and the expectation for them to win most if not all of their Stage 2 match-ups up to this point.
The Reign have shown signs of life, but with new players being added to the mix, there are clearly some growing pains regarding synergy and communication. The biggest issue, however, seems to be the adaptability of the team, or lack thereof, when their opponents run off-meta comps. Even in the game that Atlanta was able to come away with, they were still mishandling Washington on Paris where the Justice ran an off-meta bunker comp.
With Bunker comps becoming more and more prevalent in this new stage, and with new comps still being experimented with, the Reign need to quickly figure out how to adapt as their hardest matches of the stage are still ahead of them.
This Week’s Matches
New York Excelsior 11-0
The New York Excelsior remain arguably the strongest team in the league. The Vancouver Titans have put some pressure on their title, but they both sit at the top of the rankings with undefeated regular seasons so far. With devastating skill, and consistent ability to swing fights that should be lost, the NYXL are a scary team for anyone to go up against.
New York has lost maps to Washington and Toronto, both teams the Reign have beaten in the past. They also, more importantly, have lost a playoff match to the Seoul Dynasty, who have been inching towards a higher ranking. Although the Dynasty have also been firmly in a tier below the Excelsior all season. New York is fallible and Atlanta does have the players to win, but their team play is still an issue.
The main thing the Reign will need to accomplish to be able to defeat the Excelsior is the ability to adapt to change and to keep the pressure on fights in order to win them decisively before New York has a chance to bounce back. Unfortunately, both of these things are issues that Atlanta has been struggling with. Communication breaks down in high-stress environments, which causes kills to not be secured and for won fights to be lost. The team struggles with adapting on the fly, as was apparent in games against lower tiered teams.
Yes, Atlanta is capable of winning this game, but considering the last several weeks and the struggles the team is still having, it doesn’t seem likely. Expect the Reign to lose this game, but to pick up valuable knowledge from it for when they face them again in Week 5.
Prediction: Atlanta Loses 1-3
Player to Watch Out For
With huge clutch plays to help secure the win against the Justice, Jun “Erster” Jeong should prove to be an important player in this game. While he has been locked away in Brigitte jail during the 3-3 meta, Erster has been instrumental on the character, especially on stages like Busan. His real value, however, will come from being able to turn those extended, scrappy fights. Being able to swap over to a fast hero and make clutch plays will be all but necessary against a squad like New York.
If Erster has a chance to perform on some of his more comfortable flex characters like his Pharah and Tracer, fans may be able to see some big hero plays from him that cause major impact. If the Reign can come out with some flexible comps that catch New York off guard and enable players like Erster to pop off, this could be a closer game than people expect.
Guangzhou Charge 3-8
The Guangzhou Charge are a tricky team and one that Atlanta should not be underestimating. Like the Reign, the Charge have been struggling lately after a somewhat decent Stage 1 performance.
Guangzhou is very streaky, however, and while they’ve had high peaks, they have also disappointed in a lot of ways. They went two map fives against an under-performing Florida Mayhem, and have lost all of their Stage 2 games in complete shut outs. This means that while the Charge are in a really rough patch and are not performing up to expectations, they also are desperately looking for a winnable game to step up and find their footing in. This game is the one they’re looking at to do that with.
This will be a game that comes down to consistency. If Atlanta can play a consistent game from beginning to end, they shouldn’t have to rely too much on adaptability or scrappiness to win. This will be a test of their team synergy more than anything else, and with their previous and next game being against New York, they will really be wanting to take a win to salvage what they can from the stage.
Prediction: Atlanta Wins 3-1
Player to Watch Out For
The key to this game, as stated, will be consistent team play and synergy. If that’s the case, then keeping an eye on Andrej “Babybay” Francisty to step back into the Zarya role and work on pumping out the majority of the team’s damage. Babybay has struggled a bit to pick up the character after being benched by the San Francisco Shock for Stage 1 but has been improving since being on stage with the Reign. If he can tighten up his Graviton Surge usage and make sure his team can followup, he will be able to make a devastating impact on Guangzhou and hopefully, give himself even more confidence to win this game and prepare for their second match-up against New York.
Follow The Game Haus for more sports and esports coverage.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Overwatch League
“From our Haus to Yours”