The Overwatch League is entering its final week for Stage 1. The first stage has given us a rough impression of how the teams are ranked in the League. While the League has a lot of time left and leaderboards can change, there is still one final week left in Stage 1.
London or New York?
The last week of the Overwatch League will have a Korean roster at the top of the leaderboards. This is all but established especially with the top three teams consisting of Korean rosters.
As we head into Week 5, London Spitfire is leading the table, closely followed by New York. Seoul Dynasty, who was widely believed to be the best Korean team comes in at the third place with still two games to go.
The last week features a London Spitfire vs New York Excelsior Matchup. This match will inevitably decide who is the best team in the league. Topping the leaderboards definitely has a big advantage, since the No. 1 team will go straight to the grand finals of the Title matches. The remaining two teams will compete for a chance to play in the finals.
London has a twelve man roster and is not afraid to substitute their players in with alarming regularity. The team has been making use of almost their entire roster. The last two weeks saw the team using 10 and 11 players out of their twelve in their matches. This regular substitution not only helps as a team building exercise but also is impossible to prepare against. Any team wanting to prepare against London Spitfire will have no idea who they will field on a given map.
London has an abundance of talented and skilled individuals. Their players can play all the categories at the highest level. Many of them are renowned for exceptional plays in Overwatch esports prior to Overwatch league.
But New York has Pine !!
But New York is a team that has shown itself to be extremely capable of adjusting to their opponents. With an eight-man roster, it is very easy to predict New York’s playstyle. They have shown an inclination
to use Pine on more maps than just Ilios, but Pine does not have the same effect on his Tracer as his Mccree on Ilios. The shining Pine of the initial weeks was more because their opponents did not pay heed to his positioning. He was left relatively untouched which provided him with a lot of space to deal damage. Coming into this match, we don’t expect London to make similar mistakes. They have a very good dive lineup which should be able to eliminate Pine right from the start.
It’s not really a Binary answer for London vs New York. Both teams are exceptionally talented and individual form on the day does play a heavy factor. However, overall, London does seem to be the much better team right now. Their flexibility and versatility with their heroes definitely give them a huge advantage going into virtual Quarterfinals.
Will Seoul Remain in the Top Three?
Seoul Dynasty started out undefeated in the Overwatch League. It was not only the fact that they won these matches but the dominant fashion in which they won the matches put them up as the best team in Overwatch League.
But when faced off against the other two Korean rosters in the League, Seoul was not able to bring it home. Their match against New York was relatively close, but Seoul was victorious in the end. But their match against London truly showed how far behind Seoul is in the current rankings. They did not have any reply to the London Spitfire team’s playstyle.
Seoul has several problems despite being one of the best teams in the Overwatch League. They do not have a dedicated Tracer player. In the current meta, Tracer holds a place of significance because of how overpowered it seems to be. Constantly harassing the backlines with regular and fast ultimate buildup, Tracer is almost a must pick in the meta. While Fleta is an amazing DPS, his Tracer is not comparable to the other Tracers in the League.
Problems in Seoul
Seoul desperately needs a good Mercy player. The Mercy meta cannot be played without a good Mercy. Tobi tries his best to play Mercy, but he is not as good as the other supports in the League ( on mercy). There have been several times when Tobi uses his ultimate prematurely. The enemy can just wait out the duration of the Valkyrie ( Mercy Ultimate) and then resume their attack. Tobi will be one of the happiest players during Stage 2 when the new patch kicks in. The new patch nerfs Mercy in a big way and keeps the game much more balanced.
Seoul faces off against San Francisco and LA Valiant in the last week of Stage 1. They should be able to easily win against SF Shock, but their performance during the Valiant match will be closely watched. Los Angeles Valiant is a team that is capable of defeating Seoul, but they have been hardly making an impact recently. If Seoul wins both these matches, they are confirmed to be the third-ranked team in Stage 1. However, if they start losing matches, map differentials do come into play. Seoul currently has a +11 map differential.
Seoul should be relatively comfortable going into the last week. While they do have a tough match against Valiant, they should still be able to score points off their San Francisco Match.
The Overwatch League allows for player substitutions in between maps. The initial starting roster has to be revealed to the League a few hours before the start of the match. However further substitutions are taken based on the decision of the coach.
There are no limits imposed on the number of substitutions in the League. This means that teams can use their substitutions as many times as they want. In the initial weeks, we saw very few teams change their rosters. Most of the teams till today still have only a few substitutions despite having a deep roster.
But some teams are already changing up things. London Spitfire has stepped up the number substitutions. In the last few matches, London has used ten to eleven players on their roster. With 9 substitutions in their match against Seoul Dynasty and 7 against Shanghai, London is leading the league in terms of the number of substitutions.
On the other hand of the spectrum, we have Florida, Philadelphia Fusion and San Francisco Shock are the three teams who have not used any substitutions at all. Florida is a special case since they have a roster of six. But Philadelphia with its twelve man roster definitely surprises us with their lack of substitutes. It is definitely a decision taken by the team and the coaching staff. It might be a decision taken to improve the synergy amongst the playing six. But it seems unfair not to be able to use the options available to the team.
Teams will change in future stages
Some of the teams will change dramatically during the upcoming stages in Overwatch League. With the player transfer window being the only chance for teams to pick up new players, we will see a different look to the teams.
Some of the lowest ranked teams such as Dallas, Shanghai, and Florida are looking to pick up more players. It will be interesting to watch how the teams have better performances with the new roster.
We have been assessing candidates globally in a meticulous manner, according to the management team’s roster-strengthening plan for the transfer window,” team manager Yang Van said. “We are making good progress on contract negotiations, and further news will be shared as soon as possible
The last week of Mercy Meta
This is the last chance that you, as a spectator will be able to watch the Mercy Meta. Mercy has already been nerfed in the public matchmaking. With the last week of Stage 1, OWL this is the last chance for anyone to witness the Mercy Meta.
Mercy remains a very important hero in the last week. With $100,000 at stake for the Title match winner, players will still have to play Mercy.
Will Shanghai break their drought?
Shanghai Dragons are currently 0-8 in the Overwatch League. The team has been under a lot of criticism for their performances in the Overwatch League. While they have definitely improved since their initial few weeks, their score still remains 0-8. They have lost to Florida Mayhem, but they have a matchup against Dallas Fuel.
Dallas Fuel remains surprisingly bad so far in the League. The team, which was considered a contender for the best team in the League has fallen flat on its face. They lost all but one of their matches, which points to some severe problems within the team. We have had members of the team come out in social media and speak about the lack of coordination or personal performance.
Shanghai face off against Dallas in the first match of Week 5. It will be an interesting match since Shanghai has been improving in their performances so far. Dallas, on the other hand, has shown no signs of improvement and the XQC suspension only adds problems to the roster. Right now Dallas would be focussing more on preparing for Stage 2. Shanghai, on the other hand, will be trying to maintain some respect in the League and not be the team that lost all their matches. Winning a single match would put them on par with other teams such as Dallas and Florida who also have only one match in their victories.
The last week of Overwatch League begins with Shanghai facing off against Dallas at 1600 PST. You can watch the matches live on Twitch.
Overwatch League website