This past weekend, the Toronto Defiant were handed their first loss of the regular season. However, in a game that was expected to go in Philadelphia’s favor very early on, the Defiant took the near dominant team to a map five. Because of their excellent game play, notably from DPS superstar Lane “Surefour” Roberts, the Defiant have put themselves on the map as a team that’s not to be taken lightly.
Traveling to Houston this upcoming weekend, the Defiant have two chances to earn themselves another win, and another loss. With a very strong opponent in the Atlanta Reign, and a weaker one in the suffering Houston Outlaws, the Defiant should look to break even, and end the weekend with a 2-2 scoreline.
Atlanta Reign (0-0), Feb 29
This team is one that hasn’t yet taken the Overwatch League stage. Though fans and analysts don’t know how they’ll fare, most pre-season rankings have Atlanta very high on the totem pole. A team that knocked out the soon to be champions, the San Francisco Shock, out of the winner’s bracket in last year’s semi-finals, the Reign look to cement themselves as one of the best. With some of their new pick-ups during the offseason, that destiny might be closer than most expect.
A fearsome DPS duo awaits in the form of Tae-Hoon “Edison” Kim and Hugo “SharP” Sahlberg. The hype surrounding these two has been well deserved, and with the return of breakout star Joon “Erster” Jeong, the Reign look to be taking no mercy on their enemies. Alongside main tank Hyun-jun “Pokpo” Park is the promotion of former Atlanta Academy player Blake “Gator” Scott. Having this depth puts them at an advantage against the Defiant, who only have one main tank to play in every situation.
Atlanta should walk away from this battle with a victory under their belt. However, it won’t be without a fight. If the Defiant can take the Fusion to a map five, fans can expect the Defiant to try and wrestle a map out of the Reign’s clutches.
PREDICTION: Atlanta wins, 3-1
Player to Watch: Beast
Adam “Beast” Denton has received a fair amount of criticism about his tank play. As the only main tank on the team, as well as a fresh face to the Overwatch League, his skills aren’t as refined as his competitors. However, Beast often warms up after a map, and gets his bearings together. If he can find a way to play dive with his teammates, then Beast should be able to hold his own against Pokpo and Gator. There’s a chance for a map win, and it could rest very heavily on this main tank’s shoulders.
Houston Outlaws (0-4), Mar 1
After coming off a seven map series where they couldn’t clutch out a reverse sweep against the Boston Uprising, the Outlaws are looking to their Houston Homestand for some Texas love and support. On paper, the Outlaws are a team that should be doing well. With superstars like Tae-hong “MekO” Kim and João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles on their team, squeezing out a win shouldn’t be as difficult as it has been. However, with communication issues, as well as players falling ill, the Outlaws have had a tumultuous start to this year’s regular season.
For a rising Toronto Defiant, this game should be won with ease. It’s not entirely reasonable to count out Houston so quickly — after all, they did nearly win a seven map marathon, and seemed to have found their footing after their first debut. However, it’s safe to say that these issues won’t be fixed overnight, and that the Defiant shows a stronger case of synergy, player depth, and communication across the board.
PREDICTION: Toronto wins, 3-1
Player to Watch: Surefour
Though Surefour’s top notch plays wouldn’t be possible without the teamwork of his Canadian DPS partner, Brady “Agilities” Girardi, he takes the cake for the player to watch. In his role, Surefour will likely be matched up against Jeffrey “blase” Tsang, a projectile DPS player that’s taken the peacekeeper into his own hands. While improvements have certainly been made, Surefour is more comfortable on hitscan heroes. Because of this, he should be able to outplay his opponent, and help keep his team afloat for a victory.
Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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