Entering the fifth week of competition, the Paris Eternal find themselves on a 3-game winning streak. Last week they battled both the flu and the domineering Atlanta Reign, but to everyone’s surprise, they managed to come out unscathed. With the upset over the Reign, the Eternal solidified their place among the top-performing teams.
Now with the first week of hero pools in effect, Paris will have to rely on their flexibility to outwit and outlast their opponents. This week could also be the most polarizing for them in terms of opponents. On Saturday they face the Houston Outlaws, who have been grappling to find a foothold this season and find themselves at the lower end of the standings. But on Sunday, the switch will flip and the Eternal will have to turn it up to eleven to take on the number one team in the league, the Philadelphia Fusion.
Houston Outlaws (Previous Record 1-1)
The first time Paris played Houston last season they lost 3-1. However, about a month later they reversed the score and won 3-1 instead. Though the Outlaws haven’t changed much this season, the Eternal have revamped a lot of their roles and are looking in fine form. With Houston struggling to win maps, let alone matches, this season, the Eternal should have a fairly easy time on their hands.
Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafait fought last year to keep up but has looked like a shade of his former self being allowed to aggressively play Reinhardt up until this point. However, with Reinhardt banned this week, a lot of focus will be placed on main tanks to see how they adapt. His Winston and Orisa may not be as strong as Houston counterpart, Austin “Muma” Wilmot, which could be the make or breakpoint in this matchup.
On the DPS side of things, Houston seem to have all bases covered with their four players. Paris only has three players to choose from right now, as Kim “Sp9rk1e” Yeong-Han remains ineligible to play, due to age, until May 31st. Fan-favorite Terence “SoOn” Tarlier has yet to make his season 3 debut, so this would be the perfect time for him to sneak back in as Tracer.
Philadelphia Fusion (Previous Record 1-1)
Just like with Houston, the Eternal are currently sitting at a 1-1 all-time record against the Philadelphia Fusion. They last met late in the season in a nail-biting reverse sweep that went in favor of Paris. The Fusion have been untouchable since the beginning of this season, dropping only 4 maps over 5 games. Nevertheless, if any team are ready to take them head-on at this stage in the game it’ll be the Eternal.
The match-up here to watch will definitely be between the Fusion’s longstanding DPS star Lee “Carpe” Jae-Hyeok and the Eternal’s rising DPS hot-shot Jung “Xzi” Ki-Hyo. Both players have been dominating the kill feeds with their deadly precision on McCree. However, with him and Widowmarker removed from the hero pool this week, it’ll force both players onto heroes they are less comfortable with. Xzi already proved in week 1 that his Symmetra and Sombra are nothing to gaff at but can the rookie tread enough water to keep up with Carpe?
Another tense battle will be happening out of game. Though the French fanbase is notoriously passionate, these “Paridelphia” matches seem to cause a lot of conflicting emotions for them. On one hand, Fusion’s long time off tank, Gael “Poko” Gouzerch is basically the poster child for the French Overwatch scene. On the other, there’s the pride and spirit of the French community wanting to support their home team.
Poko did issue a friendly bet to his French friends on the Eternal via a tweet. Whoever loses on Sunday will have to sport a mustache at the first Paris homestand. The Paris boys immediately took to responding, with BenBest saying that Poko didn’t seem confident in the win and that the bet was “unfair”. However, he followed up saying that they would contact him to negotiate. So it seems no matter who wins the match in the end, the real winners here will be the fans.
Player to Watch: Choi “Hanbin” Han-Bin
Although he plays off tank, Hanbin came in like a wrecking ball with his debut. He has only played two matches so far but has put in an insane amount of work. With some of the best stats in the league and two “player of the match” titles to his name, fans can expect Hanbin to continue to clean up.
With most of the team still recouping from the flu, Hanbin is also one of the only players assured to play this week. A source close to the team even went as far as saying that Hanbin is the only player right now guaranteed to play every match. Yes, he’s really just that good. Spectators should pay special attention to his high-speed antics and his clutch peels. There is also a higher probability of some huge D.Va bombs since there will be no Reinhardt shield to cower behind.
Overall, the Paris Eternal should be able to make short work of the Houston Outlaws. Even with their fans’ bellowing cheers still echoing in their heads, the Outlaws look too shaky to be able to snag the victory this weekend. Taking the “W” from the Fusion, however, will require the most focus and precision the Eternal can muster. A lot of pressure will fall onto the hitscanless DPS but if they click more heads than Carpe the match will be winnable. The only other deciding factor here is the fact that the Eternal have to prepare for two matches, whereas, both their opponents only have to deal with them.
Featured Photo Courtesy of Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment.
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