Thus far, the 2019 OWL Season Playoffs has been one for the ages. There have been key players that have become mysteriously absent, awe-inspiring postgame interviews that have stirred up controversy and, oh yeah, a whole lot of incredible Overwatch being played. In an effort to get away from all of the distractions and controversy, it’s time to consider where the six remaining teams would land if the playoffs were to be re-seeded today.
Prophetic insights aside, it’s hard to say that anyone could have seen this coming.
6: Hangzhou Spark
The Spark have failed to light a fire in this postseason, losing to the Gladiators and then defeating the Dynasty. While many didn’t see them making it this far, which they certainly deserve credit for, they still do not look like a team that will survive too much longer. This is also due to the fact that they are matched up against the Reign on Thursday.
Despite things looking rough for the only remaining Chinese franchise left in the postseason, this team still has just as much of a shot as anyone else, if for no other reason than Jun-Ki “Bazzi” Park’s Doomfist. They’re underdogs, but that might be just what they want.
5: Los Angeles Gladiators
The Gladiators have looked stellar at certain points in this postseason and have provided some of the most intense come-from-behind teamfight wins of the playoffs. However, even with these moments of greatness, the Gladiators have failed to inspire confidence that they ought to be favored to make a Grand Finals run. At least from what has been shown so far. If they are going to make a run, it’ll continue to be off the stellar Reaper play from Lane “Surefour” Roberts and the multi-role star João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles.
Oh, and they’ll probably need to keep clutching out these teamfights as well.
4: Atlanta Reign
The Phoenix has risen, but how long can the fire burn? For Atlanta, they’re hoping they can bounce back from a tough loss against an NYXL team that’s in the business of ending narratives this postseason. Despite losing, Atlanta has looked like one of the teams to beat on just about every map. They’ve got creative strategies that allow Andrej “babybay” Francisty to flex on heroes like Ashe and Symmetra, an absolute beast in Joon “Erster” Jeong and one of the league’s best Sigma players in Blake “Gator” Scott.
But they still got beat and barely managed to squeak by the Shock. So, while they look pretty strong in theory, this team still needs to prove it can hang with the heavyweights.
3: San Francisco Shock
Oh, so you think that the Reign should be higher than the Shock since they beat them, do you? Well, first of all, that series was one for the ages and was one historic C9 away from going in the Shock’s favor, so it’s hard to say that it definitively proved Atlanta is better than San Francisco. Second, if that series did anything, it lit a fire under the Shock fueled by images of Grant “moth” Espe’s devastated reaction to the C9.
The Shock took out their rage on the defending champs and look increasingly scary going into their next do-or-die matchup against the Los Angeles Gladiators. If they take that, they’ll likely be set up for a rematch against the Atlanta Reign in what is sure to be a match for the ages. Down, but not out. Not by a longshot.
2: Vancouver Titans
Outside of looking rusty in their initial matchup against the Dynasty, the Titans have seamlessly integrated Jang-hyeon “TiZi” Hwang into the main tank role and have been cruising ever since. Additionally, having Hyojong “Haksal” Kim on the team has certainly helped.
The Titans haven’t lost in the playoffs yet, which means they’ll face the NYXL in the next round to determine who gets a direct line to Grand Finals. Both teams look stellar, but New York has faced arguably stronger opponents in London and Atlanta. Whatever you think of the teams they’ve toppled, the Titans are looking terrifying going through the playoffs.
New York Excelsior, First of Their Name, Kings of the Big Apple, the Sandbaggers, Breaker of Narratives and Dog-Parents of BB.
This team has come so far from their 2018 postseason woes. They’re a team playing like they’ve got a point to prove, which may be because they are one of the only teams with that burden. Or is it a blessing?
Either way, behind their leader Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park and his sudden switch to Bastion, the NYXL have looked the most dominant of any team in the postseason pool. They’ve taken out both the Spitfire and the Reign, two teams which many saw going deep into the playoffs, and neither series was particularly close (at least in final score).
If there is any doubt left, any naysayers still believing this is a team incapable of big wins, the NYXL have a chance to silence them on Friday, September 13 when they face up against the Vancouver Titans. Do not miss this match, it’ll be one that we’ll be talking about for quite some time.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment
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