The Overwatch League will host Stage 2 playoffs this week and for the first time ever will feature a Chinese team. With both Shanghai and Hangzhou making the cut, they’ll be looking to avoid a Shock loss and ground the Spitfire. These playoffs also feature the Fuel facing up against the Titans and an old East Coast vs. West Coast battle in NYXL taking on the Gladiators. Is there a potential for upsets? Here’s how the TGH crew ranked the eight teams heading into the Stage playoffs.
(MPD= Map Differential)
T1st. Vancouver Titans – Record: 14-0 MPD: +40
The golden stage from the Shock may have deprived Vancouver of sole ownership over the top spot, but it will take a slip from the Titans to evict them entirely. Their 25-3 map record is nothing to scoff at, and the 17 match streak is unassailable. Now, in the Stage 2 Playoffs, the Titans will be tested more than they have been all stage. The path should be harder than last time, and a finals rematch with the Shock is in the cards. Can the Titans defend their title and cement themselves as the league’s undisputed best team or will they be dethroned?
– Bradley Long
T1. San Francisco Shock – Record: 11-3 MPD: +33
The Shock had what one might call a halfway decent stage. It wasn’t too impressive, all they did was NOT DROP A MAP THE ENTIRE STAGE. Seriously, this is unbelievably impressive, and it has vaulted the Shock to the top of everyone’s treatlist going into the postseason, as well as a number 1 seed. The Shock are in a good position, but they will still have to go through some tough teams.
– Sam Putney
3. Los Angeles Gladiators – Record: 9-5 MPD: +11
The Los Angeles Gladiators face off against the New York Excelsior in the first round of the Stage 2 Playoffs. Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni shared his wish to play the NYXL, and he got his wish. Expect this to be one of the closest playoff matches of the Stage. Time to see if the Gladiators can emulate what the Reign were able to do twice this stage.
– Zach Stenzel
4. New York Excelsior – Record 12-2 MPD: +30
How the mighty have fallen. This is the lowest the NYXL have ever been ranked, and it comes after yet another loss to the middling Atlanta Reign. With two losses this stage, the Gladiators will be reviewing the tapes to see exactly how the Reign managed to defeat the NYXL. For New York to succeed, they’ll have to iron out their issues from those matches. Good news is the Gladiators are coming off a disappointing loss of their own. Both teams have flaws, and whichever team exploits them more will take this match.
– Dalton Jewell
5. London Spitfire – Record 9-5 MPD: +12
The Spitfire have rediscovered their top form that was lost in Stage 1. With only one loss, coming on the second day of a back-to-back match against the Chengdu Hunters, the top players on the Spitfire have fire in their eyes. Jun-ho “Fury” Kim and Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong are a top-tier tank duo, and they’ve led the charge for the rest of their team to the stage playoffs. Going up against the upstart Spark, who have looked much better as Stage 2 progressed, there is cause for concern. The Spitfire have the talent and tools to take them past the first round of the stage playoffs, but if they show any inconsistencies the Spark may give them more than a jolt. There’s a potential for an upset, but if Fury and Gesture are on their game it should be one-sided.
– Dalton Jewell
6. Dallas Fuel – Record: 9-5 MPD: +5
Dallas had an easy stage two. Perhaps that is a large reason that they made it into stage playoffs over teams that may have deserved it more. The power ranking here feels accurate, they have a chance to beat London and the Gladiators. As for the big dogs like San Francisco and Vancouver, not as likely. Despite this Dallas still had an amazing Stage 2 and are only getting better after each match.
– Ethan Cowan-Kazmi
7. Hangzhou Spark – Record: 8-6 MPD: -5
The Spark clinched a playoffs spot with a decisive victory over the Seoul Dynasty, showing that they’re finally becoming the contender that people expected them to be from the beginning. Despite some lingering inconsistencies in their playstyle, they look more organized by the day, and they’re clearly laying the groundwork for a strong showing in Stage 3. In the meantime, however, the Spark find themselves fighting among the best teams in the league. Going up against far more consistent teams, it’s hard to say if Hangzhou’s tendency to pull out last minute wins will get them very far. If their match against Seoul was any indication, however, they could give the London Spitfire a run for their money in quarterfinals.
8. Shanghai Dragons – Record: 7-7 MPD: -4
The Dragons finally made it to their first Stage Playoff berth, and there aren’t any expectations. Shanghai will once again face off against San Francisco, the team that swept them last week. The Dragons gave the Shock their closest match up this stage, so fans may be in a bit of a treat for round one. If Shanghai can focus Matthew “super” DeLisi and get him to chase, the Dragons may steal a map or two this series.
– Jacob Renie
Our voters for OWL Power Rankings: Preseason- Bradley Long, Kate Shepard, Felipe Labarca, Darby Joyce, Robert Hanes, Katie Gripne, Ethan Cowan-Kazmi, Mallory McMahon, Dalton Jewell, Zach Stenzel, Garrett “Norcetto” Golden, Ethan Seftor, Miranda Rodriguez, Dave Grove, Sam Putney, Aaron Gerr, Steven Bower, Sam O’Dwyer, Connor Knudsen, Jake Renie, Steven Zamora, Brandon Padilla, Eren “Kenobi” Erkey, Andy Nekrich, Brian Marr