And Then There Were Four
Two weeks remain of the playoffs for the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. Two weeks and four teams are all that remains of the four stage twelve team affair that we have all enjoyed. Now that the quarter finals are out of the way there will be no more bye weeks. Each of these teams will have to defeat their opponent not just once, but twice. Two best of five matches will be required to advance to the grand finial in New York next week. The games will start on Wednesday, today, with the first match from each team. Here’s a look at these teams and match ups for the last week of play in LA.
Philadelphia Fusion vs. New York Excelsior
I’ve got a rough job for the first match up. I need to convince you that the number one seed NXYL, the team that makes up most of the Korean Overwatch World Cup roster, that is home to the League MVP, and that finished with the best regular season record long before the end of Stage Four, is going to have a hard match against the Fusion. Now I don’t want to sound like I’m down on the Philly squad because they’re great. They are coming hot off a great win against Boston last week and have certainly earned a spot in the playoffs. The thing about Philadelphia is that they are the most inconsistent team in the league. Across all four of the stages this is a team that could peak one week and be as good as any other, then be completely shut down the week after. If, and only if, the Fusion put on one of their peak performances this week they might have a chance.
New York won’t be making it easy for them for all the reasons I’ve already listed, but they may still be beatable. It’s no secret that Stage Four was NYXL’s worse stage. Three of their six losses this season came this stage and they were defeated by the Valiant in the Stage Final. Sand-bagging discussion aside, it’s the weakest they’ve looked. Unfortunately since they did have a bye for the quarter-final, no one including the Fusion will know how the Excelsior look since the end of the last stage.
This game kicks off at 5 PM today. The rest of the series will be decided on Saturday July 21st at 4 and, if necessary, at 6 PM.
London Spitfire vs. Los Angeles Valiant
A much closer match this week, if only because these teams ended the season closer together. London is a long way from their glory in Stage One. A stage where they took the Stage final against NYXL. Since then though the team hasn’t shown the same strength. They lagged behind the pack in the latest metas and only just made the playoffs. Conversely, they’ve risen to the occasion. After their defeat by the Gladiators last week they came back and demolished that team in a pair of 3-0 wins. The team has now beaten one LA team and they’re going to give it all they have to beat the other.
Of course LA did take home a Stage Final win as well. More importantly their stage win was in the latest stage and in the latest meta. A really solid team that understands the game and meta very well the Valiant have the players to make the most of it. This team has been on a quiet but strong run for a long time now. Through consistent play they took the top slot in their division away from the Dynasty. Their biggest competition in their division, the Gladiators, have also already been eliminated. Like the NYXL, they’ve had the maximum amount of time to practice while keeping any trick plays close to their chest.
This game starts at 7 PM tonight, then continues Friday July 20th at 4 and if necessary, 6 PM.