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Overwatch

OWL Playoff Report: Putting Homestands to the Test

OWL Playoff Standings

Stage 4 of the Overwatch League is almost over, 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.

So far during the 2019 season, teams hosting Homestand Weekends are a combined 4-0 with a +12 map differential. The energy of the home crowd was a massive boon for both the Dallas Fuel and Atlanta Reign, but those teams got their wins while the stakes were low. When the Los Angles Valiant tank the stage at the Kit Kat Rivalry weekend, they’ll be stepping into a pressure cooker – weirdest Gamer Snack ever – with their season on the line. 

The Reign and the Fuel had the luxury of weak opponents, but LA won’t be so lucky. They need just one win this weekend, but it will have to come against either the San Francisco Shock or their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Gladiators. The intensity of these games could be beyond anything seen in the regular season to date. That should yield some fantastic results, especially now that the Gladiators are looking vulnerable following an unexpected loss in Week 3. 

Even if the Valiant lose the Battle for LA, they still have the California Cup to look to. San Francisco has consistently been the best team in the league since the end of Stage 1, but they should already be looking towards the playoffs – and the addition of Sigma. That could give LA a punchers chance in a potential season-saving last hope. No matter how it plays out, the drama will be inescapable.

Photo: Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment

Top 6

Last week, the Atlanta Reign were like a ship stuck at sea with a hurricane bearing down on them. They weathered the storm, finding upset wins over the Justice and Spitfire, and found themselves in safe harbor. Now, they just have to dock the boat. The Boston Uprising and Dallas Fuel are all that stand between the Reign and a top 6 spot. 

For a team that looked lost at times during the season, it has been a remarkable turnaround, one that should end in avoiding the play-ins altogether. They’ve clearly been better than their opponents, but slip-ups can happen, especially when the Reign have taken this week to prepare for the playoff patch.

While the rest of the top 6 is decided, their seeding is still up in the air. A first-round date with the Shock awaits the sixth seed, so getting into fourth or fifth is paramount. Hangzhou has one of those spots locked down, but the Gladiators could still jump to fourth as well. They could also slip down to sixth with a loss and two Atlanta wins. If they needed any more motivation for the Battle for LA, a healthy fear of San Francisco should suffice. 

Photo: Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment

The Play-In Spots

The Chengdu Hunters nearly gave it all away last week. After losing to a slumping Spark out of nowhere in Week 3, they almost tripped before the finish line against the woeful Houston Outlaws. It would have ended their season in devastating fashion and put an end to the most unique team in the league. This week, they’ll nervously watch the Valiant determine both of their fates. It will be an uneasy 48 hours for the Hunters.

The Valiant’s run to end the season has been unforgettable. On April 5, they were 0-8, struggling to find an identity after a disastrous Stage 1 and dealing with trade rumors surrounding their disgruntled superstar main tank. Pan Seung “Fate” Koo was eventually traded to the Florida Mayhem, and the team went on a tear to close the season. They’ve gone 9-3 since the start of Stage 3, the third best record in the league. 

Matches to Watch

Saturday

Shanghai Stage 2 Playoffs
Photo Courtesy of the Shanghai Dragons on Twitter

Atlanta Reign vs Dallas Fuel (5:00 ET)

Los Angeles Gladiators vs Los Angeles Valiant (10:15 ET)

Sunday

Hangzhou Spark vs Shanghai Dragons (3:00 ET)

Atlanta Reign vs Boston Uprising (4:45 ET)

San Francisco Shock vs Los Angeles Valiant (8:15 ET)

Predicted Playoff Field

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

Play-Ins: London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty, Guangzhou Charge, Philadelphia Fusion, Shanghai Dragons, Los Angeles Valiant

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

Featured image courtesy of the Los Angeles Valiant via Twitter.

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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