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Overwatch

OWL Playoff Report: Atlanta’s Golden Opportunity

Dogman Interview

Stage 4 of the Overwatch League is underway, and that means the playoffs are right around the corner. In this weekly playoff report, The Game Haus will cover the standings, highlight the most important games of the week and predict the 12 team playoff field.

Despite not playing a single game, there was no bigger winner in Week 3 than the Atlanta Reign. Teams all around them in the playoff standings suffered losses, but it was London and Hangzhou going down that has opened the door for a miraculous run to end the season. 

With four games remaining (including a matchup against the Spitfire this week), the Reign now hold their fate in their hands. Their current form suggests they are one of the top teams in the league in the 2-2-2 meta, and the DPS rotation is firing on all cylinders. If they can get through Washington and London this week, their chances of finishing the stage 7-0 skyrocket. Then the Uprising and Fuel would be all that stands between them and a top 6 spot. 

Top 6

Los Angeles Gladiators, Surefour
Photo: Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment

The top 3 spots are fully locked in now. Vancouver has secured the best record in the league along with the Pacific Division title. NYXL win the Atlantic and the second seed, and the Shock slot in at third place. That might wind up being the best position of all, especially if a faltering Spark squad hangs on to the last guaranteed playoff spot. Vancouver and New York will face the two winners of the play-in tournament, teams that will have to perform well to make it through.

The next three spots remain up for grabs. If the Gladiators can take care of business against Hangzhou this week, they’ll send Hangzhou dangerously close to the cut-off line. If they can’t then things get incredibly interesting heading into Week 5. The Battle of LA with playoff implications for both teams could be the most exciting match of the season. 

For London, the calculus is simple. Win against Atlanta, and you’re in. Lose, and you need the teams chasing you to falter. That’s certainly possible, but they would much rather avoid the waiting game during Week 5. They’ll have their work cut out for them, but now is the moment for the 2018 champs to prove their mettle. 

Overwatch League
Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The Play-In Spots

The most pivotal match in the entire playoff race might come on Thursday night. The winner of Dynasty vs Dragons will have dealt a decisive blow to the other’s playoff chances and given themselves an easy path to a 16-12 record. For Seoul especially, that would nearly guarantee a top 6 spot thanks to their stellar map differential. Shanghai would have more work to do, but they close the season with two chances to rack up map wins against Paris and Hangzhou. 

Sitting at 14-13, both Philly and Guangzhou have little to worry about when it comes to dropping out of play-ins. That would require both the Hunters and Valiant to win out, and both teams have the Shock on the schedule in the last two weeks. 

The fight for the final spot is going to come down to the wire. Chengdu threw away their advantage with a disappointing loss to the Spark last week, but they still have a chance. They may rely on two Valiant defeats during their Homestand, but considering they play the Shock and Gladiators, that is far from impossible. An upset over San Francisco is the Hunter’s chance to help themselves, but that’s a tall order at the moment. 

Photo: Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment

Matches to Watch

Thursday

Seoul Dynasty vs Shanghai Dragons (10:30 ET)

Friday 

Washington Justice vs Atlanta Reign (7:00 ET)

Chengdu Hunters vs San Francisco Shock (8:45 ET)

Los Angeles Gladiators vs Hangzhou Spark (10:30 ET)

Saturday

Seoul Dynasty vs Philadelphia Fusion (6:30 ET)

Sunday

London Spitfire vs Atlanta Reign (3:00 ET)

Predicted Playoff Field

Top 6: Vancouver Titans, New York Excelsior, San Francisco Shock, Los Angeles Gladiators, Seoul Dynasty, Atlanta Reign

Play-Ins: Hangzhou Spark, London Spitfire, Shanghai Dragons, Guangzhou Charge, Philadelphia Fusion, Atlanta Reign, Chengdu Hunters 

Missing Out: Los Angeles Valiant, Dallas Fuel, Paris Eternal, Boston Uprising, Houston Outlaws, Toronto Defiant, Washington Justice, Florida Mayhem

Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other TGH writers along with Bradley.

You can also follow Bradley @shyguyow.

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