After advancing into their first Stage Playoffs in Stage 2, the Dragons are back in action. Saving themselves with a win to end Week 5, Shanghai qualified for a second consecutive playoff appearance in Stage 3. The Dragons shot themselves in the foot earlier in the week though, and it may affect their chances in the playoffs.
WEEK 5 RECAP:
Guangzhou Charge 4-3: (9-12 overall)
After a thrashing 3-1 victory in Week 4, most (if not all) thought Shanghai would have no issues. The Dragons expected similar play from the Charge, being bounced from the Stage 3 Playoffs. As soon as Nepal opened up, Guangzhou came out guns-a-blazing’. Throwing a different look at the Dragons, the Charge played nothing-to-lose and may have found their bread-and-butter for Stage 4. They controlled most of the entire match up until Havana, but the match had already been decided. Not only did this drop the Dragons to two losses in Stage 3, but it also meant that they were playing for eigth place.
Despite moving down to fifth in the league in Eliminations per 10 Minutes Average, Min-seong “diem” Bae moved up one more spot in Final Blows per 10 Minutes Average. Now sitting second, the Widowmaker will need to boost up the stats a little more in order to move through the Playoffs.
Philadelphia Fusion: 4-3 (12-9 overall)
Not only did this match ride on Stage 3 Playoff hopes, but it could also be the tip of the iceberg into the Season 2 Playoffs. It was a win or watch from home, and diem showed up to fight. This match also showcased diem vs Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee, friends now opponents, Widow vs Widowmaker. This matchup was truly thrilling, but Shanghai ran the show. Running on all cylinders offensively, the Dragons came out and even finished a Hollywood map. Ending with a complete shutout on Dorado, Shanghai pulled themselves back into the conversation of being a top-tier team.
Player of the Game
There’s no question that diem shot himself into Player of the Game with this win. Not only did he win the 1v1 against Carpe, but his flanks as the sniper also proved to be game-changing. On one Volskaya defensive round, diem went behind the Fusions’ entire GOATs & caught Philadelphia completely off guard. That play alone brought SADO’s shield away from the rest of the team, resulting in a slaughter.
STAGE 3 PLAYOFF PREVIEW:
New York Excelsior: 7-0 (19-2 overall)
Not only did Shanghai place themselves against the number one seed, but they also now face every top seed in each round. After being smashed in Stage 2 Week 1, the Dragons have a long road ahead of them to knock off the number one seed. Also bolstering the highest map differential in the League, it will take more than diem to carry this team. Every piece of the Dragons’ puzzle will need to be perfect. Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh can’t overextend. Diem can’t get another graviton eaten. Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang has to catch Sung-hyeon “JJoNak” Bang on the EMP. The NYXL barely make mistakes. They know how to flex into different compositions. The Dragons have too many issues to fix in order to have a confident run, but everyone likes a good Cinderella story.
The glass slipper won’t fit though, and New York will dominate 3-1.
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