The Defiant are looking to have a dramatic stage 4 to close their season. After two stages of decline, the Toronto Defiant are on the cusp of not making the play-in tournament for the season playoffs. With the retooling of the roster from an all Korean one to a mixed approach, it was expected that Toronto would not be in the greatest of shape. Still, an 0-7 stage is not what any team that is on the border of not making playoffs needs. Even with a relatively easy schedule for their last stage of their first season, Toronto will need to go at least 6-1 with a healthy map differential to keep their playoff dreams alive.
The Winnable Ones
Being in the Atlantic division means that Toronto have easier opponents that they play more often. And in this stage, they play not only the ever struggling Washington Justice, but also the Florida Mayhem twice. Even with Florida looking better since acquiring their new players, Toronto should still be the favorites. The Clockwork Vendetta composition of Orisa, Roadhog, Torbjorn, Mei, Zenyatta and Ana has been working for them when the enemy cannot counter it. If they can refine the comp, Toronto could be front runners in the next meta shift. Toronto should use these games to solidify their game plan and iron out any communication issues between the western and Korean players.
The Questionable One
The Philadelphia Fusion, for most of this season, have not been playing like a team that went to the grand finals last season. It may be the GOATs meta that put the dynamic DPS duo of Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok and Josue “EQO” Corona on roles that don’t allow them to carry. Now with the meta shifting allowing for more DPS heroes, the Fusion have once again become a threat. If the rumored 2-2-2 lock is to come for Stage 4, then it will be up to Andreas “Logix” Berghmans and Liam “Mangachu” Campbell to surpass Carpe and EQO to secure victory.
The Tough Ones
These are the matches that will determine if Toronto will make play-ins and even have a chance once there. Starting these matches off is Toronto’s second game of the stage, the London Spitfire. London have been consistently inconsistent since the inaugural season. Their peaks are those of season champions, but their lows are almost losing to the Washington Justice twice. It’ll be important for Toronto to shutdown London’s key players Park “Profit” Joon-yeong and Kim “Fury” Jun-ho. London have shown the willingness to put Lee “Guard” Hee-dong over Profit. Guard is a fantastic Sombra, but subbing out Profit is questionable. If the Spitfire go with this approach, Toronto will want to play aggressive and they may just secure the win.
Following London is the Shanghai Dragons. Shanghai were poised to take stage 3 by storm since they were one of the first teams to utilize Sombra in their main strategy. However, since acquiring Lee “Envy” Kang-jae from the Toronto Defiant, they have looked much weaker whenever he subs in for Jin “Youngjin” Yong-Jin. Toronto will have to rely on Shanghai running Envy and outplaying them with their set strategies. Still, Shanghai have shown that they are still a force to be reckoned with after taking out the Fusion. The Dragons are not a team to be slept on.
Finally, we have the Seoul Dynasty. This will be Toronto’s toughest matchup. Since the Dynasty like to utilize their entire roster, it makes preparing for them much more difficult. Seoul have shown that they are capable of going toe-to-toe with some of the top teams like the Hangzhou Spark. Even with Chanhyung “Fissure” Baek retiring, the rest of the Seoul squad should not be taken lightly. If there was any match that Toronto should be expected to lose, it would be this one. Toronto will want to use this match to refine their team coordination and individual skills and to make sure they do not get 4-0’d.
Toronto have a very real possibility of making the play-ins. Teams have gone 0-7 like the L.A. Valiant and the Houston Outlaws, who later bounced back, competing with the leagues best teams. Toronto may be at the point now where they’ve decided to focus on next season and are not concerned with making playoffs. However, even if the chances are slim (and to be honest it’s not as slim as other teams like the Dallas Fuel), the Defiant have the chance to defy everyone’s expectations and make a run for the grand finals. After all, last season the fifth and sixth seeded teams made it all the way. Why can’t it happen again?
Follow Brad on Twitter @BradKillion for the latest opinions and musing about the world of esports.
Featured image courtesy of Toronto Defiant
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