The Overwatch League started out with a very close race during the last few days of Stage 1. With several probable possibilities, it was a very close race indeed. As we head into Stage 2, the situation looks very similar to multiple teams competing for a spot in the Stage Title match playoffs.
New York is still at the top of the leaderboards, yet again. The NYXL team has been dominant in their performances, even more so this stage. They lost to London Spitfire yet again, however they have been the better team against almost every other team. Their current score is 7-1, with their only loss coming against London Spitfire.
Their spot at the Stage Playoffs is almost surely confirmed with the team looking stronger than ever. New York, however, will be eagerly awaiting the teams to join them in the title stage matches. They narrowly missed out during Stage 1 and will be looking to reclaim the glory this stage. But as we look at the leaderboards, we realize there are multiple mini-battles happening right now. Two of them are of particular importance as one will decide which team remains near the bottom while the other decides which team will qualify for the playoffs.
The Two Battles that will change the Leaderboards
Now, these are not actual matches in Week 5 of Stage 2; but there is a race going on between these teams. Seoul Dynasty and Los Angeles Gladiators will be competing for a chance at the Title playoffs. But on the other end of the table, Dallas Fuel and Florida Mayhem will be trying to get better than each other in the rankings. No team wants to be near the bottom of the table and these teams are no different.
Seoul Dynasty and Los Angeles Gladiators are currently tied near the top with a score of 6-2. This does mean that the map differential will play a crucial factor in the final matches of Stage 2. In this subsection, we will analyze the matches involving these two teams. Every match matters and right now, so does every map. Let’s start with Seoul Dynasty, the weakest full Korean roster in the League right now.
Seoul Dynasty started off Stage 2 with a long win streak. Hardly losing any matches and being a dominant team in the League, it seemed the new meta favored the Seoul Dynasty playstyle. However, when they faced their first Korean opposition in NYXL, the Seoul Dynasty team was unable to close out the match. New York Excelsior won the match 3-2 established their dominance over the former Lunatic Hai team.
This match was followed by an equally embarrassing loss (0-4) to London Spitfire. Seoul Dynasty, in their defense have always been unable to perform against London Spitfire (formerly G C Busan). The Dive playstyle for London is very efficient against Seoul Dynasty. Once the Seoul supports are eliminated, Seoul Dynasty really do not have much of an answer as a team. Their off-tanks have been significantly inefficient in peeling for their support lineup.
Seoul Dynasty will play against Houston Outlaws and Florida Mayhem in Week 5. These two teams
represent different movements on the Leaderboards. Florida Mayhem has definitely come alive with some really strong Widowmaker plays by Logix, their DPS player. Along with Tviq; there has been a significant improvement in the Florida DPS performance. However, Florida is not really a dive team and we have seen Seoul to be weak only against the Dive playstyle. It is safe to assume that their performance against Florida should result in a win, albeit not a 4-0 for Seoul Dynasty.
Against Houston Outlaws, however, Seoul Dynasty have a better chance of establishing a significant map difference. Houston Outlaws has had lackluster performances, especially with the lack of a good Tracer player. With Clockwork underperforming on Tracer and Jake hardly having a significant impact on Tracer Houston Outlaws definitely look lost in this meta.
They suffered the losing end of two reverse sweeps when NYXL and Philadelphia Fusion were both able to win the series despite being 0-2 down at halftime. Houston Outlaws definitely seem to have some problems with the team and its composition. We do not expect Houston to really pull off an amazing performance against Seoul Dynasty.
The Gladiators definitely have had their fortunes upgraded with Fissure as the latest addition to the team. He is one of the best Tank players in the League, if not The best tank player. His Winston and Reinhardt are equally good and he has been able to turn the outcome of team fights on his own. While his ultimate usage might not be as good as that of Gesture; as a tank, he knows his role and executes it to perfection.
The Gladiators, however, are not really all about just Fissure. With Surefour’s aim and performance improving dramatically the team has been able to take advantage of the space created by Fissure. Of course, the two events could be related with Fissure providing enough space for Surefour, resulting in the improved numbers. This does not take away the fact that Gladiators look like a well-oiled machine right now. The supports and the DPS are coming along really well and Gladiators look like a strong contender to the Korean teams.
The Los Angeles Gladiators actually have a tough week ahead of them. They have two matches against Philadelphia Fusion as well as Boston Uprising. Philadelphia has been showing us a wide range of DPS players including Eqo and Snillo. While the former starting players, Shadowburn and Carpe are considered to be the best in the league on their specific heroes; the new players are equally competent.
Philadelphia is somewhere in the middle of the table and this is an adequate reflection on their performance.Their performance has been very inconsistent and while their skill ceiling is very high, they are not always able to win matches.
Boston Uprising, on the other hand, might actually be the tougher match for Los Angeles Gladiators. Boston Uprising now has Gamsu back on the team, and they look extremely strong. The coordination and the call-outs on the team adequately display their strengths. Their synergy in moving out of a fight and going back in again, speaks volumes about the coordination between the tanks and the support players. Boston uprising are not in contention for a Playoff berth, however, this match will definitely have a big impact on whether Gladiators can make it to the playoffs or not.
A win against Boston could provide Los Angeles Gladiators with the much-needed map differential to edge past Seoul Dynasty. Gladiators currently have a +12 map difference as compared to Seoul’s +9. This means that if the Gladiators just win both their matches in Week 5, they stand a very good chance of making it to the playoffs. Obviously, the map difference will still play a significant factor and it might just come down to a single map in the end.
There is another competition brewing near the bottom of the table. By now, Shanghai Dragons’ are well known to be the team that is yet to win a match in the Overwatch League. However, there are two other teams languishing near the bottom. Dallas started out the League considered to be one of the best teams in the OWL. However, several issues outside of the game, poor coaching as well as team and role changes resulted in a very poor performance. Florida Mayhem won only one match in Stage 1, against Shanghai Dragons. While their entrances were the best and entertaining, their in-game-play definitely did nothing to impress us. But Stage 2 has already seen a different playstyle for the team. Their DPS lineup has significantly stepped up and Logix is one of the better players in the League right now.
Florida Mayhem, as well as Dallas, have two almost impossible matches in front of them. While Florida plays against Seoul Dynasty, Dallas Fuel will compete against London Spitfire. No matter how good they are right now, it is not expected that they will be able to take a single map of these two Korean teams. The two Korean teams will be striving to make it a 4-0 win for themselves. They are tied in the Leaderboards and map difference will play a crucial role in the final standings and qualification for the playoffs.
Dallas also faces New York Excelsior which is currently the best team in Stage 2 as well as the Overwatch League. Considering the problems for Dallas Fuel, we don’t expect them to be able to win against NYXL. Dallas Fuel will have a really tough time in Stage 2 especially with most of their problems still remaining the same.
The two battles between the teams will shape up the leaderboards as we approach the halfway mark of the Season 1. Who do you think will be able to secure the three playoff spot in Stage 2? Let us know in comments below.