After an exciting and historic Stage 1, the Shanghai Dragons showed many signs of improvement and plenty of room to grow. When the Dragons took down London in their final match of the stage, the Dragons look as good as anyone else not running GOATs. Looking ahead, Shanghai will arguably have one of the toughest Week 1 schedules in all the league.
Los Angeles Gladiators (3-4)
The Gladiators record is certainly one that deceives with the naked eye. After sweeping the Atlanta Reign and defeating San Francisco in five maps, Los Angeles only needed one or two team fights to go their way (and win the two draws) to make the playoffs. With plenty of talent on the roster, the league is anxiously wondering when the team will pop off.
With patch 1.34 active for Stage 2, both teams feature DPS superstars that could rack up the hero damage. Gui-un “Decay” Jang was thrust in the lineup as soon he turned 18, João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles is an everyday threat and Lane “Surefour” Roberts rode the bench last stage. It’s likely that Min-seong “diem” Bae could open reappear with Widowmaker play for the Dragons.
The maps listed in the match don’t bode well for the Dragons though. The first two maps are Busan and Anubis, where Shanghai held a combined 1-5 in Stage 1. The Gladiators went 4-1-1 on those same maps, and it is likely that the Dragons could go down 0-2 early in this matchup. Even though Shanghai have never completed a reverse sweep, there’s a first for everything (note the inaugural franchise win). This match won’t be the day though.
Prediction: Shanghai lose 1-3
New York Excelsior (7-0)
After being upset by the Seoul Dynasty in the Stage 1 Playoffs, the NYXL will be hungry for vengeance. With a match against the Fusion that could result as a loss prior to Shanghai, the Excelsior will need a win to regain momentum.
It is no doubt that Sung-hyeon “JJoNak” Bang constantly punishes supports out of position. All he needs is a half second to pick off Seong-hyeon “Luffy” Yang and Son “CoMa” Kyung Woo, and JJoNak will not hesitate. The Dragons will need next-level communication in order for the tanks to keep their support staff safe. The entire map set for this match is new in Stage 2, so it is near impossible to predict based on that. Both teams hold strong DPS mains, so it may be an ugly match for Shanghai fans.
Prediction: Shanghai lose 0-4
Player to watch: diem
It is no mistake that diem can pop off at any moment. Ranking third overall in final blows per 10-minute average, he’ll be ready to answer the call as Widowmaker. Although it may be a slow transition from GOATs, especially with a dominant DPS in Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang on Sombra, it’s not out of reach. With excellent tracking, diem can finish off an opponent in a swift moment.
— Shanghai Dragons (@ShanghaiDragons) March 27, 2019
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