The post season is rapidly approaching, with playoffs in sight for all 20 teams of the Overwatch League. While teams with higher win rates have a better chance of securing a top seed, middle of the pack teams have to work that much harder to ensure their playoff run doesn’t fizzle out before it can begin.
Among those teams is the Toronto Defiant. With an 8-12 record, the Defiant have struggled to soar past the better teams in their NA region. With great success against bottom tier teams, the Defiant have managed to even out their once downward trend. They even earned themselves a top four finish in the Summer Showdown, toppling teams like the LA Valiant and the Atlanta Reign before falling to the dominant Philadelphia Fusion.
The Defiant have two more regular games left to play before their playoff run begins. One game looks like an impossible climb, while the other seems reasonable to assume a hard fought victory.
Playing Without Their Strengths
Based on their Countdown Cup performance, in which the Defiant lost a heartbreaking map five against the surging LA Gladiators, the Defiant could have a chance to sneak in some competitive play. Hero pools are back in effect for these two weeks as well, taking Tracer, Genji, Zarya and Brigitte out of play. This, effectively, kills the popular dive style fans have seen teams run recently.
Because of this, there’s a chance that the Defiant suffers more than they should. Their Summer Showdown performance can’t be denied, and off of Brady “Agilities” Girardi Genji play, the team found a way to soar. Without that, Agilites could be forced back into playing Mei, a hero that’s not as strong for him. However, when there’s a will, there’s Mr. Logix. Andreas “Logix” Berghmans might not be able to zip and zap across the map as Tracer, but his Ashe play (and Widowmaker play) is just as deadly. If the hero picks allow him to stay on these sniper heroes, the Defiant has a chance yet.
With Brigitte being out of rotation as well, there’s a large chance that flex support superstar Young-seo “KariV” Park can return to the roster more permanently. With her out of rotation in earlier weeks, fans saw Joo-seong “RoKy” Park share the load, specializing mostly in his Baptiste play. Without either one of them being forced into playing Brigitte, they can instead focus on heroes we know them for, while Harrison “Kruise” Pond can return to his Lucio roots.
Evening Out The Line
In the end, the best situation Defiant fans can hope for is a clean sweep in both instances. Their first game, against the reigning Countdown Cup champs of the San Francisco Shock, doesn’t hold much promise for a victory. However, so long as the Defiant hold their own as much as they can, the game isn’t a complete loss.
Their second game, however, yields much more favorable results. Against the floundering Dallas Fuel, the Defiant could and should hope to ensure a clean 3-0. Though the Dallas Fuel advanced in the Countdown Cup beyond the Defiant, their win came off of a photo finish against the Washington Justice. The Defiant fell to a stronger team in the Gladiators in another map five series. Both teams are hungry and have something to prove, and the Defiant simply need to be hungrier.
A clean 3-0 against Dallas evens up their map record, and ensures that the Defiant end the season with an even 9-13 record, and a -11 map difference. (Assuming the Shock 3-0 the Defiant first, of course.)
All teams have a shot at the playoffs, but for teams floating in the middle of the rankings, the pressure is higher to succeed. As one of a handful of teams who still has regular season matches to play, the Defiant have two more shots to prove themselves before the post season begins. Hopefully, they find the strength to pull it off.
Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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