Overwatch League Logo and Teams

The Race to the Overwatch League Postseason Playoffs

With only a few weeks left in Stage 4, teams are competing for their bid into the Overwatch League Postseason Playoffs. The New York Excelsior have already clinched first place in the Atlantic Division. They’ve rightfully claimed their spot in the Postseason Playoffs due to their domination throughout the Overwatch League’s four stages.

With only five spots remaining for Season 1 of the Overwatch League, the race is close. Teams are looking towards the big picture in Stage 4, not caring so much about winning Stage 4, rather doing well to qualify for the Postseason Playoffs. The Atlantic Division leader has already been named, but who will win the Pacific Division? More importantly, what four other teams will join them in the postseason?

Pacific Contenders

The title for the Pacific Division has not been claimed yet and the race could not be closer. The Los Angeles Valiant, Seoul Dynasty and Los Angeles Gladiators are all trying to make their case for the best team in the Pacific Division. Only three games separate these teams. Whoever gets first place can breathe a huge sigh of relief, due to the automatic bid it gives that team to the Postseason Playoffs.

As of writing, the Los Angeles Valiant hold first place. The Valiant are one game ahead of the Seoul Dynasty, who are one game ahead of the Los Angeles Gladiators. With a strong surge in Stage 3, the Los Angeles Valiant look confident to take the division. However, in Stage 4, they still have to play the New York Excelsior, Boston Uprising, and London Spitfire. In addition, the Valiant must play the Los Angeles Gladiators. A difficult road lies before the Valiant. They must earn every win if they want to make the Postseason Playoffs.

With a roster switch midway through Stage 3, many were unsure about how successful the Seoul Dynasty could be. With their eyes set on the big picture, the Seoul Dynasty said that they were confident that they could make it into the Postseason. Like the Valiant, the road will not be easy. The Dynasty play New York and London in Week 2 of Stage 4, followed by Boston and Philadelphia in Week 4. If the Dynasty want to prove that they are worthy of making the Postseason, they must win two of these four big games.

The Los Angeles Gladiators need to have a streaky Stage 4 if they want to make the Postseason. The Gladiators are two games behind the Valiant – who currently sits atop of the Pacific Division. The Gladiators have a tough road to the Postseason. They must hope that the Valiant and Dynasty lose, while also winning games against big contenders such as the Excelsior and Spitfire. The Gladiators have a small chance to make the Postseason, but a chance, nonetheless. The Gladiators must take every opportunity that they get and turn it into a positive.

Overwatch League Overall Standings

Overwatch League Overall Standings – Week 2 of Stage 4

Atlantic Contenders

Since the Atlantic Division is already clinched by the New York Excelsior, the Atlantic teams are downright playing to make the Postseason.

Five out of the six Atlantic Division teams could make the Postseason. Currently, Boston and London have the best chance to make the Postseason Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fusion and Houston Outlaws are also fighting for their spot. Depending on how things shake out, there is the potential that all five Atlantic teams mentioned could make the Postseason. For this to happen, it would require all of the Atlantic teams to dominate the Pacific teams in Stage 4. This would not only put some of the Atlantic teams ahead of the Pacific teams in the overall standings, but it would also lower the number of Pacific teams in the top six – guaranteeing more Atlantic teams.

Looking Towards the Postseason

There is no doubt that Stage 4 will be the most competitive stage of the Overwatch League. With the race so close between the Atlantic and Pacific teams, every win matters. Teams must play strong in all their matches if they want to make it to the Postseason.

The New York Excelsior have already clinched, but who will join them in the Postseason? To find out who makes it, tune into Stage 4 of the Overwatch League.

 

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Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment/Overwatch

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Overwatch League power rankings: Stage 4 Week 2

The first week of stage 4 was quite interesting as we saw some teams that were expected to be very good falter. We had five teams sweep the week and five teams get swept. If this continues we could see not only the stage playoffs but season playoffs come down to the wire in the coming weeks.

As a reminder, this is overall power rankings, not just for this stage.

Here are the power rankings heading into week 2:

12. Shanghai Dragons 0-2 (VS. Fusion & Excelsior)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThese Dragons are much more like Mushu than Drogon. Many people expected their match-up against the Fuel to be their time they would finally win a match. It was a new stage and they had time to finally practice and develop as a team. Then they lost, again.

Week 2 will not bring them any reprieve as they go up against two squads that are 2-0. There is one major positive though, they are not in last as their map record is better than both London’s and Florida’s.

11. Florida Mayhem 0-2 (VS. Valiant & Gladiators)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThis team is truthfully not much better than the Dragons at this point. They have had some moments but none really to talk about in week 1. Even though they were able to secure a tie against the Excelsior on one map they were then swept by the Fusion.

It will be a Los Angeles week for the Mayhem as they face the two hometown teams who are also sporting 2-0 records. This team has the ability to surprise and their entrances continue to be solid but, that might be the only thing they have going for them.

10. Dallas Fuel 1-1 (VS. Uprising & Fusion)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThe Fuel currently sit in 7th in the league for this stage and that’s great. But, let’s not forget that their win was against the Mushu’s, sorry Dragons. They were then promptly swept by the Gladiators in their next game. Seagull is finally seeming to learn D.Va and that should help this team going forward.

The runners-up last stage look a little like they do when they go into their slump. Boston could be beatable this coming week is Dallas is truly able to come together. As for the Valiant, it is likely not the same.

9. London Spitfire 0-2 (vs.  shock & Dynasty)

Overwatch League Power RankingsWho would have guessed this fall from grace? A team that made the first two playoffs (when only three teams did) has won five of their last 12 matches and were only able to win one map in week one. To be fair to them they played the Excelsior and the suddenly hot Outlaws but those are teams they should at least be able to look even against.

This is a really major week for the Spitfire. They are still sitting third in the season standings and are currently in the playoffs. But, if they have another terrible week against a rising Shock team and a hungry Dynasty squad they could fall right out of the playoffs by weeks end.

8. San Francisco Shock 1-1 (Vs. Spitfire & Outlaws)

Overwatch League Power RankingsAfter barely missing the playoffs in Stage 3 this team had a solid showing to start off Stage 4. After losing a close series against the Gladiators the Shock were able to beat a struggling Seoul Dynasty team. While Seoul has been pretty bad lately that doesn’t mean the Shock don’t deserve the credit. This team is vastly improved and could beat just about anyone at any time.

If the Shock want to show that they’re the real deal this week would be a good time to do so. London is coming off an atrocious week but is still a solid squad. A win back to back weeks against “Korean teams” would be huge for them. Also if they can cool off Houston then San Fran might be on Stage 4 playoff watch.

7. Seoul Dynasty 0-2 (vs. Excelsior & Spitfire)

Overwatch League Power RankingsSeoul might be the most disappointing team this entire season in the OWL. They have never made a playoff, are barely holding onto the sixth season playoff spot, and they went 0-2 in week 1. Their match against the Valiant was reminiscent of what they look like when they are playing their game even in a loss. Against the Shock, they went back to their average form.

Like their London counterparts, this is a nut up or shut-up week for the Dynasty. The Excelsior are (spoiler) easily the best team in the league and they always lose one game per stage. Seoul better hope it’s against them. As for their game against London, that team has fallen even further than them. If the Dynasty miss out on that game then they could be well on their way to finishing in the bottom third of the league.

6. Philadelphia Fusion 2-0 (vs. Dragons & Fuel)

Overwatch League Power RankingsAfter shocking the Uprising the Fusion cruised in their game against the Mayhem to start of the stage well. This team continues to surprise the league with their consistent play. They are in fifth for the season due to having the most games played because they can’t finish teams off. They are tied with third record-wise and if they win both this week they could be the only team in that spot by the end of the week.

With their week 2 schedule, it would not be surprising to see this team sitting at 4-0. While both the Dragons and Fuel are getting better they still are no match for the Fusion.

5. Los Angeles Gladiators 2-0 (vs. Outlaws & Mayhem)

Overwatch League Power RankingsTalk about a team on the rise. This team has been slowly climbing the ranks ever since they added Fissure and Silkthread. They are very consistent in their team-fights and after taking care of business against the Shock and Fuel the Gladiators will look to continue to climb.

This week features their toughest match of weeks 1 and 2, the Outlaws. This will be a test for both teams as they continue to push towards not just a stage playoff but, also the season playoffs. If the Gladiators cannot be upset by the Mayhem and take at least two maps against Houston, if not the match, then they could find themselves in the top six.

4. Houston Outlaws 2-0 (vs. Gladiators & Shock)

Overwatch League Power RankingsAfter a less than stellar Stage 3 it looks like Jake and the boys are back. They swept the Spitfire in convincing fashion and 3-1’d Boston. Is it possible that the meta this time around suits them better? Probably. What is more important is that they looked like they were back in a groove as a team. Last stage they seemed to struggle to find their cohesion that has made them so good.

The Outlaws sit right outside of a playoff spot currently but with six teams within two games of each other, everything can change week by week. They start off the week by playing a team that is scorching hot and only two map losses behind them. This could be an epic series and if the Outlaws can win it, even barely, then they are announcing to everyone to watch out.

3. Boston Uprising 0-2 (vs. fuel & Valiant)

Overwatch League Power RankingsOh Boston, what was up this week? After not losing a single game last stage they go out and lose both of their week 1 games 3-1. While the Fusion and Outlaws are very good teams, one would expect that Boston would win at least one of their match-ups. They are still sitting in second in the overall standings and would have to go into a huge slump to fall out of it.

Boston will face Dallas and the LA Valiant this week. Dallas can put up a fight but unless Boston throw, they should be able to handle this match-up. The Valiant and Boston are going to be going blow for blow. These teams match-up pretty well across the board and should have a very entertaining series.

2. Los Angeles Valiant 2-0 (vs. Mayhem & Uprising)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThis team continues to play very well at all positions, even after losing Silkthread. They were able to beat Seoul in overtime in an impressive series for them and then they handled Shanghai. This team is currently in the playoffs and it is unlikely that they will fall out as they currently sit in fourth.

This week they have the Mayhem and the Uprising. The Mayhem will more than likely take one map off of the Valiant but shouldn’t be much of a threat. The Uprising are a totally different story. While they had a rough week, they tend to do this at times. Boston and LA will absolutely be battling it out this week in what should be an excellent match.

1. New York Excelsior 2-0 (vs. Dragons & Dynasty)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIs anyone honestly even surprised at this point? They are 29-3 this season and continued their dominance by beating the Mayhem and Spitfire this week. The Excelsior do not seem to have any glaring weaknesses. If anything the announcement of new teams joining might be the only thing as they could potentially lose some players this offseason. Not saying they will win season one because anything can happen but, this team is incredibly good.

Focusing on this coming week, New York plays Shanghai and Seoul. The Shanghai game is a win 99 times out of 100. Seoul, on the other hand, might be like a starved tiger. If the Excelsior aren’t careful they could lose their one match a stage this week.

 

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Boston Uprising

Boston Uprising are the First Team to Go Undefeated in an Overwatch League Stage

The Boston Uprising have become the first team to sweep through a stage in the Overwatch League. The New York Excelsior look poised for their third 9-1 record through OWL’s first season, but it was the scrappy Uprising who pulled off the feat first. They had gutsy game five wins across the board, and will look to carry their confidence in the stage finals. No matter who they go up against, they know they’ve beaten them before.

Boston Uprising Overcome Adversity

Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov, a Boston Uprising competitor

Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Early on in stage three of the Overwatch League, some disturbing news was reported about former Uprising member Jonathan “Dreamkazper” Sanchez. The team and League temporarily suspended Sanchez as they begun their investigations in to the matter. The very next day, another accusation went up, and Sanchez was formally cut from both the Uprising and League. It was a swift move, a deliberate move, and the correct move. Since then, many wondered how Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov would excel. While some worried Danilov’s play would falter, this did not occur.

The Uprising took everyone by surprise, sweeping the next week’s matches with Danilov in for Sanchez. Danilov had guts to come in and perform like he did, and the whole team rallied around it. They had something to prove to the rest of the League, and they succeeded in doing so. Overwatch is a team sport, and no team is rolling more than the Boston Uprising.

Playoff Advantage

Boston Uprising

Courtesy of Overwatch League

There is no greater advantage in a do-or-die situation than confidence. The Boston Uprising are the one team that has loads of it. They seem to always pull out a win in a game five situation, and they even took down the League’s best while facing controversy. With the change to stage playoffs entering stage three, four teams will compete on Sunday for the title. Boston, going 10-0 in the stage, will be first overall. This gives them the advantage to choose whom they’ll play in a semi-final game. The other two teams that were not selected will face off in the other semi-final. With a selection imminent, the Uprising have an advantage that no other team has had before. Let’s dive in to who’s most likely to face the Uprising first.

An Uprising for the Valiant

Boston Uprising

2018-01-27 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Even though the Boston Uprising had an easier time defeating the Los Angeles Gladiators this week, the Uprising are likely to target the Los Angeles Valiant as their opponent. The Gladiators had spurts of greatness playing the Uprising, and have overall been a consistent team this stage. The Valiant however, have not. They looked absolutely dominant in the first half of the stage and then began to fall apart against stiffer competition.

In their match earlier this week, the Uprising won a game five for a 3-2 score. The Valiant looked unable to do anything in the first two maps, then turned the heat to force a game five. This has been their nature against tougher competition. The Valiant look to be the most vulnerable team heading into the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the New York Excelsior tackle the Gladiators. If an upset happens in that series, all the better for the Boston Uprising.

All signs point to a clash between the Valiant and the Uprising, and, most likely, an Uprising versus Excelsior final. However, the playoffs are a tricky beast. For fans of the Overwatch League, these finals are sure to be fantastic.

 

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Overwatch League stage three playoff odds

We have one final week remaining in Overwatch League’s third stage of play. Some teams have already booked their ticket to the playoffs, while others will be fighting hard in week five to get in. There’s even a team that has a shot at going undefeated throughout a stage. Here’s a look at teams’ odds of making it.

Overwatch League Stage Playoff tickets booked

Overwatch League

Boston Uprising Victory by Robert Paul

The Boston Uprising and New York Excelsior have booked their tickets to the stage three playoffs. There’s no doubt that these two teams have been dominant throughout this stage, and NYXL has been there all season. The Uprising have tough opponents in week five, going against both Los Angeles teams. These two teams are still fighting to maintain their spots in the playoffs, and could challenge Boston’s win-streak. In the end, there is no scenario where they can drop out of the stage playoffs.

The same is true for the NYXL. They’ll also be going up against the worst teams in the Overwatch League in week five, and should be able to pad their win total. Going against the lower tier teams may also allow the NYXL to practice and prepare more for the stage playoffs than other teams. Boston could be practicing potential opponents during their week five play as well. Whichever of these two top teams claims first place, they’ll have their pick of the three teams to play in the stage playoffs. This is a heavy advantage, so don’t look for NYXL or Boston to slack next week.

Stage Playoff Odds: Absolutely In

Valiantly to the Playoffs

Overwatch League

2018-04-11 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

A huge revamp of their roster seems to be paying off. Although the “honeymoon phase” is over and they’ve dropped a few maps, the Valiant are poised to enter the stage playoffs. They could’ve punched their ticket this week, had they beaten the Houston Outlaws, but they’re on the verge of doing so. If the Valiant take a win over Boston or Philadelphia in week five, they’ll make the playoffs in any capacity. As many hockey fans know, all you need is to get in to the playoffs to win.

Look for the Valiant to regroup and use the strong play and leadership of Custa and the Tracer skill of Bunny to carry them into the playoffs next week. If the Valiant drop both their games and miss the playoffs, it will be a disappointing end to stage three after such a strong start. For the team’s confidence heading in to stage four, they need to make it in.

Stage Playoff Odds: Strong

Gladiators Brawling their way through

Overwatch League

Courtesy of the LA Gladiators Twitter

The Los Angeles Gladiators are also on the verge of making the Overwatch League stage playoffs for the first time. With the revamped stage playoff look allowing four teams to get in, the Gladiators want nothing more than to be one of the four. To secure their place in the playoffs, they’ll need to win both their games next week. Playing a game against Boston hurts those odds, but a game against Florida could pick them up a win that could be the buffer against many of the currently 4-4 teams looking to make it. Regardless of both wins, the Gladiators will need to pick up at least a single win, as either Houston or San Francisco will pick up a win to tie the Gladiators record. If they tied, the Gladiators currently have the differential in their favor, but to feel comfortable they’ll need one.

Stage Playoff Odds: Moderate

The Battle over 50-50

Overwatch League

San Francisco Shock by Robert Paul

There are four teams sitting at 4-4 records heading into the final week. The San Francisco Shock, Houston Outlaws, Philadelphia Fusion and Seoul Dynasty. A win for each would have them tie (if Gladiators drop at least one) the Gladiators. The Outlaws or Shock are guaranteed a victory, as they’ll face each other. This means at least one of them will get to 5-4 in week five. This is also true for Seoul and Houston, as they will face each other on the last day of the stage. If Houston drops one of those, they’re most likely out. If the Shock win against the Outlaws, their chances look good, as they’ll play the Florida Mayhem after them.

Philadelphia will start the week with a good opportunity for a win against Dallas, but will have to battle the Valiant at the end. If the stars align and the right teams lose (every other 50-50 team and the Gladiators), then the Fusion may make the playoffs. Seoul has the toughest schedule of the three. They have to play against the London Spitfire, and then go against Houston the next day. Looking at the standings, it’s a tough road for all of them, but they’ll be closely watching both L.A. teams during week five and hoping their play falters so they can slide into the playoffs.

Stage Playoff Odds: Low

Strong Endings to carry into Final stage

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Shanghai vs Dallas by Robert Paul

The London Spitfire have looked completely different compared to the end of stage two. Being a top three team to end the stage, they lost out to the Fusion in the semi-finals. Unfortunately for them, they won’t have that chance again. They’ll join the Mayhem, Fuel and Dragons with no chance to enter the stage playoffs. Their play in the past few matches has looked great however. London is finally looking like London of old, and looked poised to have a run during stage four. They’re going to be in contention for the season playoffs if they’re able to be competitive during the final stage.

The other three teams however, are far removed from the season playoffs. The Mayhem have looked great since Sayaplayer and Awesomeguy have been regulars in the lineup, and it shows in the standings. They’ve jumped over the Dallas Fuel for 10th place. The Shanghai Dragons are still without their first win of the season, and everybody will be hoping they can pull one out during the final stage. For the Dallas Fuel, they’ve had quite the up-and-down season, with both players and management scandals constantly racking them. They’ll look to establish a winning culture during the final stage, and look to come out strong in season two.

Stage Playoff Odds: Impossible 

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Featured Image courtesy of Overwatch League and Blizzard

Stage

Overwatch League stage three week four primer

The fourth week of Overwatch League’s stage three is upon us. Coming into this week, there are a lot of stories unfolding for different teams. Stage playoff spots are up for grabs to newly contending teams wanting a chance to be champions. Here’s what to look for throughout the week.

Overwatch League Stage Undefeated

Overwatch League

2018-01-27 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

There have been no teams that have pulled off a perfect 10-0 throughout an Overwatch League stage. Currently, the Boston Uprising look to challenge that. They currently sit at 6-0 on the stage, and play against favorable teams this week. The Uprising will be tackling the Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel, which are two of the weaker teams in the League. While the Uprising look to continue their impressive and purely dominant play since the release of Dreamkazper, they’ve taken down top tier teams. The New York Excelsior lost a game five thriller to the Uprising, while also beating the London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty, and Houston Outlaws. No matter the team, Boston hasn’t had a problem.

One is all you need

Overwatch League

Now a dream, soon a reality by Robert Paul

On the other end of the spectrum from the Boston Uprising are the Shanghai Dragons. They are battling over halfway through stage three without a single win on the season. They’ve continued to impress as the roster adapts to playing together, and communication has steadily improved. However, they will have an incredibly tough time finding a win during this week. As stated above they’ll take on the on-fire Uprising, and then will have to battle the Philadelphia Fusion for their first win. All signs point to another disappointing loss for the Dragons, but all they need is to win one to boost their confidence.

London Spitfire hoping for takeoff

After a five map win against the Los Angeles Valiant, a previously undefeated team during stage three, the Spitfire are looking to turn this stage around. They currently sit at 2-4, but looked much more impressive than they had looked against the Valiant. Birdring was not in the lineup for the Spitfire, taking the week for a wrist injury. It all clicked for the Spitfire as they looked dominant in taking the first two maps against the Valiant, and dominant once again in the decisive map five. They’re hoping to translate that success against the other California based teams, the Los Angeles Gladiators and San Francisco Shock this week. For this stage, all three teams sit around the same level of play, and they’ll all be pushing for a spot come week five.

Valiant want to bounce back

After looking a little disconnected against the Spitfire, the Valiant will have to push back. They have games against the Outlaws and the Florida Mayhem this week. While one can usually write off the Mayhem, they’re always ready to take advantage of being looked down on. They have the talent and skill to take teams to the limit, and the Valiant can’t sleep on them this week. The other match against the Outlaws looks more difficult on paper. The Outlaws are one win back of a stage playoff spot, and only one win back from catching the Valiant in League standings. It should be a thrilling map that the Valiant will need to take to avoid possibly sliding out of the stage playoffs.

Two weeks left, who gets in?

Overwatch League

Overwatch League Inaugural Season Teams

There are four matches remaining in stage three, and there could be a few playoff spots ready to change teams. If the Valiant are unable to bounce back after their Spitfire loss, they could fall out of contention. Meanwhile, if the Shock can’t take their two matches this week, they’ll likely see one of the many teams one win under them surpass them. These teams include: Gladiators, Dynasty, Outlaws and Fusion. If the Spitfire pull off two straight wins in each remaining week, they could see themselves vault into the stage playoffs once again. Boston’s run of 6-0 should see them secure a spot, but if they have a major collapse, (unlikely), they could fall out as well.

For the first time, there are multiple spots in play for the stage championship. The previous two stages have seen teams battle for the third spot, since the Spitfire and NYXL had been locks for the other two. This time around, it’s anybodies game out there. This should be a great week for the Overwatch League and its fans, and set up an even more thrilling week five.

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Featured Image courtesy of Robert Paul

Overwatch League

Overwatch League: Have the Korean teams been figured out?

The Overwatch League is currently halfway through its third stage. For the majority of the season, the Korean teams have displayed a dominance that other teams were constantly trying to match. As the stages have progressed, more and more teams have been able to grab wins against these near unstoppable teams. With constant play and recordings available to the other teams, have the Korean teams been figured out?

Overwatch League Prediction: Seoul Dominates

As the inaugural season for the Overwatch League kicked off, many pegged the Seoul Dynasty to be the top team. Currently they sit in second place to the New York Excelsior. However, they kicked off the first season with a bang. They’ve gone 7-3 in both stages, going 0-4 against the other Korean teams.

Overwatch League

Seoul Dynasty by Robert Paul

Stage three has seen Seoul look much weaker than before. They opened the stage swept by a resurgent Los Angeles Valiant, and then dropped another game to the Los Angeles Gladiators. As of this writing they’ve yet to face the other Korean teams in stage three, but their diminishing dominance leads to a likely loss against both. Many believe that the Seoul Dynasty have dropped maps due to deploying a “b-team” during matches against weaker opponents, and they’ve been chastised for it.

They missed both stage one and stage two playoffs simply from map differential, and winning a few more against weaker teams could’ve pushed them into a higher tier of play. As the stages have continued, the Dynasty have looked less and less like the dominant team they were in the beginning. Many teams have figured out who the key players on the squad are, and make quick work on them during play. As their strategies and style of play is shown more and more, teams are able to study and counter it efficiently.

Spitfire Losing Altitude

The London Spitfire were another top projected team at the beginning of the season. Over the first two stages, they backed that prediction up. They managed to play three matches on the final day of stage one to win the championship. They followed that up with a one win better record in stage two, and fell in the semi-finals. Birdring has been one of the most consistently impressive DPS players over the course of the season. His teammates always find a way to make the right plays.

Overwatch League

London Spitfire from Overwatch League

Unfortunately, this dominance has come to a screeching halt in stage three. Going 7-3, then 8-2 over the first two stages, the Spitfire are close to doubling their losses. Midway through stage three, they’re at a paltry 2-4. Their wins have come from the Florida Mayhem and Valiant. They’ve lost to top teams in this stage, and their recent play seems to be a combination of factors.

First is the fact that many of the teams have been playing for a decent period of time now, and work more cohesively. Another is that teams have adjusted their rosters and styles to be more competitive. The Valiant aggressively retooled before the start of stage three, and are at the top of stage three. The Boston Uprising have overcome adversity and meshed new players seamlessly into their lineup. The San Francisco Shock had one of the most well-known Tracer player’s finally reach the age limit to play.

The Spitfire have added a single player since the season started, and bid farewell to two of them. Rascal went to Dallas, (since released), and Fissure has been the main-tank the Gladiators needed to be competitive. While those teams have had their ups and downs, they both look more impressive in stage three than the Spitfire have.

NYXL Reigning Champs

Overwatch League

NYXL from Overwatch League

The New York Excelsior have had their way with the Overwatch League. They lost one game in the first two stages, losing an extra in the first stage playoffs. They then came back with a vengeance in stage two, capturing the championship. They’ve been dominant, and they continue to look so, but the cracks are starting to appear.

In stage three, the NYXL have already lost a game. In a surprising upset, the Boston Uprising, (on the first match without released Dreamkazper), defeated NYXL. Without their top DPS, recently adjusting, the Uprising delivered a statement to the rest of the league. They exploited the NYXL by consistently targeting and removing Jjonak from the play, who has been an absolute game changer for the NYXL.

With a surprise upset handing the NYXL their first loss of stage three, and a close match against the Philadelphia Fusion almost doubling their loss total, the NYXL no longer look impenetrable. Teams have realized just how valuable Jjonak is to the team and their style, and the quicker he’s removed from a fight, the greater the chance to win the fight is.

South Korean Dominance End in Sight

Overwatch League

Top Six Team Stage Standing Comparison

These three teams were the apex model of teamwork at the start of the Overwatch League. Two of them have taken stage championships. Their dominance lasted through the first half of the season, but looks to be over. Seoul has had an ever-so-slightly decrease in play throughout each stage. London suddenly is close to doubling their total losses from two stages during stage three. The NYXL lost to a team that had just lost one of their best players, and couldn’t capitalize.

Meanwhile, the revitalized Valiant and Boston Uprising sit 5-1 and 6-0 in stage three, and look unstoppable. Boston has taken out both the NYXL and Seoul Dynasty, while Valiant swept Seoul and face London next. A passing of the torch to the teams that have figured out and studied their Korean opponents may be happening before our very eyes in stage three, and it has made the Overwatch League all the better for it.

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Featured Image courtesy of Robert Paul

OWL Team Skins

Why the Atlantic Division in OWL is better than Pacific… by far

With almost three-quarters of the Overwatch League already done, teams are working hard to make the playoffs and separate themselves from the rest of the pack. However, when it comes to divisional differences, there is a huge discrepancy in success, one division is simply way more competitive. Teams in the Atlantic division are way more successful than their Pacific division counterparts. The overall standings are direct proof of these major divisional differences.

Standings

Courtesy of Overwatch League

Atlantic Division

Atlantic

Courtesy of Overwatch League

The Atlantic division consists of six teams, relative to the east side of the United States: Boston Uprising, Philadelphia Fusion, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, Houston Outlaws, Florida Mayhem. If you have been keeping up with the Overwatch League, you would recognize that five out of these six teams have been in the top half of the standings every stage; not to mention that two of these teams are stage champions. So, what makes this division so much better?

One reason that teams in the Atlantic Division are so much better is because teams in the same division play each other more. With division rivalries such as Houston Outlaws vs London Spitfire or New York Excelsior vs Philadelphia Fusion; games are bound to be more competitive. One could argue that this could also apply for teams in the Pacific Division. However, the reality is that team play in the Atlantic division is way better. Simply, better team play within divisional matches increase teams’ skill capacity and makes the whole division better. It is no surprise that the only teams who have reached the playoffs, in all stages, are Atlantic teams.

Pacific Division

Pacific

Courtesy of Overwatch League

The Pacific division also consists of six teams, in relation to the west side of the United States: Los Angeles Valiant, Los Angeles Gladiators, San Francisco Shock, Dallas Fuel, Seoul Dynasty, Shanghai Dragons. Most of these teams have been struggling in the Overwatch League. Seoul Dynasty are not playing up to their expectations, Dallas Fuel are struggling to find their footing, and the Shanghai Dragons are still win-less in 24 matches. The only teams that have looked somewhat promising are both Los Angeles teams and San Francisco Shock, even then Seoul would still be more favorable than the Shock.

The real challenge for Pacific teams is when it comes to cross divisional play, almost all of them struggle. The only two teams that are consistent enough to beat some of the Atlantic teams are the Los Angeles Valiant and Seoul Dynasty. Both teams have enough individual talent and coordinated team play to rival the Atlantic division powerhouses. Yet as a whole the Pacific division is drastically weaker than its Atlantic counterpart.

Looking Ahead

The question isn’t about talent; there is more than enough talent in the Overwatch League. The question comes down to team play and coordination. Are teams willing to adapt to an enemy’s playstyle and are players looking to improve? Likewise, will teams from both divisions perform more consistently to deliver high level play? With the final playoffs coming in the next couple of months, division leaders and overall standings become much more important. Only six teams get into the playoffs and the Atlantic and Pacific division leaders getting an automatic bid. From the way teams are playing right now, there is a very high chance that we could see five Atlantic teams and only one Pacific team in the final playoffs. To see if the Pacific teams will step up or if the Atlantic teams will continue to dominate, tune into the Overwatch League.

 

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Featured Image Credit: Blizzard Entertainment | Overwatch League

 

The battle for L.A.: Gladiators and Valiant go for round three

Throughout the Overwatch League’s brief history, the Los Angeles Valiant and Los Angeles Gladiators have met for some intense games. During stage one, the Valiant were able to reverse sweep the Gladiators in a five map thriller. Fans of both teams were thoroughly engaged, and the first rivalry of the league was born. The Gladiators, not satisfied losing to their regional rival, took their stage two match-up by storm. With a 4-0 thrashing, the Valiant were left scratching their heads. Since they last met almost a month ago, both teams have fresh faces to challenge for the win.

Since Last We Met: Overwatch League Rival Recap

Overwatch League

Agilities and Bischu, from Overwatch League

The Gladiators are not so changed from their last match against the Valiant. They have newcomer Void, a flex player known for his D.va play. He adds an extra layer of flex tank to play alongside Fissure. They also received Silkthread from the Valiant before the trade window closed. These were the only moves that the Gladiators made from stage two to stage three.

The Valiant are a different story. Since the last match, they have five new players, and one that’s finally of age. Space, who has been on the roster since the team’s inception, turned 18 during the stage break between stages two and three. Two others have come through trades, Bunny, a DPS, was obtained from the Seoul Dynasty. The other player, Custa, was obtained from the Dallas Fuel. To land Custa, the Valiant sent a fan favorite, and fellow countryman of Soon, Unkoe to the Fuel.

This trade was one of the most looked at as a potential to backfire for the Valiant, as it was believed that Unkoe was more mechanically sound than Custa. However, the opposite has been true, as Custa has fit perfectly with the Valiant. The other three players were picked up for depth, KSF, a DPS main, Finnsi, a flex player, and Izayaki, a support main.

Who has the advantage?

Looking for any advantage or insight to this series is hard. The Valiant have looked dominant throughout stage three, with a 4-0 record through the first two weeks. The Gladiators have played the same teams as the Valiant through the first two weeks, and have a 3-1 record. The San Francisco Shock were the one team that the Gladiators could not defeat. With such similar records against similar opponents, it’s hard to narrow down a clear advantage for either team.

Overwatch League

Shields Up by Robert Paul

Looking at straight records, the Valiant appear to be the stronger and more confidant team heading into this rivalry. They aggressively retooled their roster to make the team more competitive, and the rewards have been flowing in for them. Alternatively the Gladiators have tweaked and added to their roster at the end of each Overwatch League stage, and have steadily improved. Throughout the entirety of the Overwatch League the Valiant sit 15-9 and Gladiators at 13-11. The Valiant lead the pack for stage three so far with their 4-0, +13 map differential. The momentum sides with the Valiant, but it’s no clear cut.

Overwatch League

Valiant Fans by Robert Paul

 

The great thing about rivalries is that each team has extra drive to win. The Gladiators and Valiant have extra fuel to burn trying to win the hearts of undecided Los Angeles fans. With the recent poor showings of both Southern California hockey teams, sports fans will want to dive in to a great rivalry. There’s no fiercer one in the Overwatch League than the L.A. Valiant and the L.A. Gladiators. Whether you have your wings up, or shields raised, be ready for one intense match to kick off week three.

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Featured photo by Robert Paul

Los Angeles Valiant

Los Angeles Valiant roster overhaul paying off

Before stage three of the Overwatch League started, the Los Angeles Valiant made a flurry of moves. Bunny, Custa and Space joined the team while mainstays like Unkoe, Envy and Silkthread departed. The drastic change has worked wonders and has made the Valiant look incredibly strong this stage.

Los Angeles Valiant Roster Recap

Los Angeles Valiant

Space and Soe courtesy of Robert Paul

Quick recap of exactly what happened to the Valiant roster. To kick things off, they announced they had acquired Bunny from the Seoul Dynasty. Next, they made a trade with the Dallas Fuel and swapped support Unkoe for Custa. Their next move remains clouded in mystery to exactly what the reasoning behind it is, but they “mutually” terminated Envy’s contract. Following this announcement was that backup DPS GrimReality was moving into an assistant coaching position, removing him from the roster. During the off-stage break, flex-tank player Space turned 18, and became an active player for the Valiant. Their final move was to trade with their rivals, the Los Angeles Gladiators, by unloading Silkthread from their roster.

Los Angeles Valiant

Custa by the Los Angeles Valiant

So for those keeping track, two players from the Los Angeles Valiant’s starting roster, Unkoe and Envy, were removed. Two DPS that weren’t being given a chance anymore, Silkthread and GrimReality, get moved off the roster. With Envy gone, Space takes the D.va role. Bunny starts to challenge Agilities for the second DPS spot behind Soon, and Kariv goes back to being a support alongside Custa.

Has it Worked?

Fans looked on at what the Valiant were doing to their team, and wondered how exactly things would play out. Many weren’t expecting these kind of results however. At the end of stage three, week two, the Valiant have gone 4-0. They played two teams many don’t give much of a chance to, Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel, but they also played up-and-coming San Francisco Shock as well as near-dominant Seoul Dynasty. They rolled through every team 4-0 except for the Dallas Fuel, who looked vastly improved with OGE in the lineup. With a total map score of 14-1 throughout two weeks of play, the roster moves have worked out incredibly well.

Working as a team

Los Angeles Valiant

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

One of the main differences that the Los Angeles Valiant have shown through this stage is their team communication. Custa was constantly touted as a leader in Dallas, and he seems to have brought those skills to the Valiant. Alongside with Kariv, they’ve barely missed a beat together. Space has jumped in and performed as well if not better than Envy, and if the rumors about personal issues were true, the team mindset may be cleared with him off the team. Bunny and Agilities have also been great swapping in-and-out depending on the map. Bunny specifically has given Soon the ability to flex on some different heroes, as his McCree and Reaper have been producing great results lately.

With a new looking roster missing zero beats throughout stage three, the Valiant could easily be contending for the stage three championship. They’re producing great results against both challenging and “easy” teams, showing that they have the drive to win no matter the team. If anything, it’s a great time to be a Los Angeles Valiant fan, and the future looks bright.

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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul

Los Angeles Valiant official roster moves for stage three

The Los Angeles Valiant have been the team circulating the rumor mill since stage two of the Overwatch League ended. As we prepare for stage three to begin this Wednesday, here are the official roster moves the Valiant have made.

Los Angeles Valiant Mutually Terminate Envy

Los Angeles Valiant

Envy by Robert Paul

Rumors of a conflicting personality have swirled around Envy, one of the Valiant’s best tanks. Then there were reports the Valiant attempted a trade with the Dallas Fuel for flex player Seagull. At the end of the day, on April 2nd, the Valiant announced they had agreed to mutually terminate Envy’s contract with the Valiant. No trade, no incoming player. This move effectively creates the opening for incoming tank Space. Envy proved to be an extremely talented D.va player that could take games over for the Valiant. Whatever the reason may be for his termination and removal from the team, Envy is sure to find himself continuing his professional career.

Valiant and Fuel Support Swap

The long rumored, (and personally disliked), Unkoe for Custa swap has finally happened. It separates long-time teammates Unkoe and Soon, while bringing in a veteran player in Custa. Custa is by no means a downgrade from Unkoe, and not essentially an upgrade either. Both the Fuel and Valiant are excited to receive their new players, as they should be. Reports that Unkoe, much like Envy, had personality clashes within the team, could have potentially hindered play. Custa is also an incredible support like Unkoe, who’s great play on Zenyatta and Moira could bring a formidable pair with either Kariv or Verbo on the Valiant. For the Fuel it allows a good triple support rotation between HarryHook, Chipshajen, and Unkoe.

GrimReality Off the Roster

Los Angeles Valiant

GrimReality from Los Angeles Valiant

A player that never got to see any playing time on the Overwatch League stage. GrimReality, Christopher Schaefer, is no longer a roster player for the Los Angeles Valiant. He stays with the team, however, in a surprise move. He joins as the new assistant coach, and it’s a good way that the Valiant extend their relationship with a talented player that never got his time to shine. With a career being a professional gamer now behind him, GrimReality can continue to offer his insight to the team. If his retention is any sign to fans, it’s that his insight and talent have helped the team behind the scenes more than we know.

Bunny Joins in time for Easter

Los Angeles Valiant

Source from the Los Angeles Valiant

The day before Easter the Los Angeles Valiant had an important announcement for their fans. They had received DPS player Bunny from the Seoul Dynasty. A talented player that could be found when Munchkin was rested, Bunny showed off his ability with a deep hero pool, one that could work in tandem with Soon. With Agilities regaining his form in the last couple weeks of stage two, this allows for a player like Kariv to return his focus to support heroes. Having the ability to swap Agilities and Bunny in to pair with Soon, or even resting Soon and having Bunny play Tracer, allows the Valiant a wider range of options.

The Space age

Known primarily as a flex player, Space is joining the Los Angeles Valiant. Space had his 18th birthday at the end of March, making him fully eligible to play starting day of stage three. Joining the team with a focus on tank play, the sudden void left by Envy’s termination is Space’s to lose. He excels at D.va, which effectively swaps out Envy, and also has good history playing Roadhog and Zarya. With Fate locking down the main tank role in Winston, this hero pool will work to compliment the Valiant’s style of play.

4/3 Update: Rival Dealings

Los Angeles Valiant

Silkthread from Los Angeles Gladiators

Today, April 3rd, it was announced that the Los Angeles Gladiators have purchased the rights to DPS Silkthread from the Los Angeles Valiant. That means that the two DPS thought to be moved from the Valiant, GrimReality and Silkthread, have effectively been removed from their active roster. The signing of Bunny has more impact for the Valiant. It also allows for a more proven rotation between Bunny, Agilities, and Soon. Silkthread was known for his great ability to play projectile heroes like Pharah and will bring that to the Gladiators. For stage three fans will have to wait and see which DPS will begin to take on that role should the map call for it.

With stage three just days away, the Los Angeles Valiant starting roster is going to look a lot different than the previous two stages. Envy and Unkoe are gone. Space and Custa should slot in to those vacant spots, or Custa will watch from the sidelines as Kariv and Verbo start as a support duo. Soon and Agilities seem poised to start as the two DPS players, but there’s no sleeping on former Dynasty player Bunny and his ability to challenge either player for their spots. As a Valiant fan, you might not agree with all of these roster moves made during the stage break. However, there is no denying that new players, and a new assistant coach create excitement and hope for a brighter and more competitive team for this stage.

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Featured image courtesy of Los Angeles Valiant