Toronto will be one of eight teams traveling to Atlanta this week for the second ever home game in esports history. They are also on the unfortunate cusp of joining the exclusive 0-7 stage club with the L.A Valiant, the Houston Outlaws and the Florida Mayhem. Though they are eliminated from the stage playoffs, with season playoffs on the line, every match from here on out is a must-win. The Defiant will have to beat both the ever dominant New York Excelsior and an Atlanta Reign squad with home field advantage.
Week 4 Recap:
L.A. Gladiators 3-2 (12-7)
The Gladiators had to face both Canadian teams this week and were on a mission for recognition. It was not impossible for the Defiant to win since the Gladiators have a tendency to lose in winnable games. The Defiant even had new life in the form of Liam “Mangachu” Campbell, a long time fan favorite and most recent edition to the starting lineup for the Defiant.
That said, the Gladiators showed no mercy and handed a 0-4 loss to the Defiant. Both teams played Sombra GOATS for most of the series, and unfortunately for Toronto, the Gladiators had the necessary synergy with each other in order to be more effective. Since Toronto is restructuring, it isn’t too surprising to see the lack of coordination between each other. Not to mention that the last piece of the new Toronto Defiant, Andreas “Logix” Berghmans, was not yet in Los Angeles. Toronto would go on to have a much better game a couple days later.
Houston Outlaws 4-2 (7-13)
With the return of Logix to the Overwatch League, Toronto looked much more competitive. They exploded against the Outlaws on Oasis with Logix on Widowmaker, Mangachu on his signature Pharah. With a quick 1-0 in favor of Toronto, things were looking up. Unfortunately, the Defiant fell on Horizon after a brutal back and forth. Logix showed his prowess on Widowmaker by taking shots with the smallest of windows and with inhuman reaction time.
After the half, Houston came out swinging and would end up taking both Eichenwalde and Dorado. Jacob “JAKE” Lyon surprised many with his Pharah and even his Tracer. Jiri “LiNkzr“ Masalin also had the edge in the Widow v. Widow matchup in the second half of the series. Toronto will unfortunately be traveling to Atlanta without a win to give them positive momentum.
Player of the Week:
Between Logix and Mangachu, Logix, by far, had the better debut. Between inspiring Widowmaker play on Horizon and Dorado and a competent Sombra, he showed he belongs in Overwatch League. He is absolutely the player to have the team play around. It’s also worth noting how well Jaeyoon “Aid” Go played on Mercy and Se-Hyeon “Neko” Park played on both Ana and Roadhog.
Week 5 Preview:
New York Excelsior 5-0 (17-2)
New York are undefeated so far this stage, but a close series against the Dallas Fuel showed that they are still not impenetrable. Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park showed that he is not yet one of the top Sombras in the league when he was ultimately outplayed. The Fuel ended up with a loss, but the series was much closer than anticipated. This may have been New York underestimating their opponent, but regardless, Toronto has a slim chance of New York underestimating them as well. New York are already in playoffs. Toronto needs to come into this game believing they can win and they may just score a W.
Atlanta Reign 0-5 (7-12)
Atlanta are an interesting team this stage. They’ve had to face some of the leagues top teams, and thus, are sitting at 0-5. However, they should not be taken lightly. Out of their five games they’ve played so far, three of them have gone to map five. Atlanta have become the epitome of a team’s record not telling the whole story.
That said, they do have exploitable weaknesses that Toronto can capitalize on. Namely Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman with his aggressive positioning and weak Transcendence usage and Andrej “babybay” Francisty’s poor Zarya play. Between the two matches, Atlanta is the more winnable game for the Defiant.
Player to Watch:
Mangachu did not have a stellar debut against the Gladiators. He was mostly relegated to playing Brigitte and did not look great. That said, he did show fantastic use of Pharah when the team opted out of running GOATS. If Toronto want to utilize the most out of him, they will need to play more quad-DPS and to, in general, play more as a team. Logix showed that he was able to adapt to the new team environment quickly. If Mangachu can do the same, they may be a team to be feared Stage 4 and a potential dark horse for the season playoffs.
Follow Brad on Twitter @BradKillion for the latest opinions and musing about the world of esports.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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