The Run For Stage Playoffs Begins

It seems like only yesterday we were waiting for the league to begin again.  Now, three weeks in the books and the talk of the town is the stage playoffs.  With one team locked in for playoffs, (NYXL) and one team eliminated from contention (LA Valiant) there’s still eighteen teams that still have a shot at making it to the stage playoffs.  They all still have to make it through this week first though.  Let’s get into week four.  

 

News

Overwatch League Stage One Playoff Tickets on Sale

Playoffs are coming up fast.  The Stage One playoffs that is.  No longer a single day, but four and featuring eight teams.  The top team from each division will be joined by the top six of the remaining teams.  Single elimination action will take place from March 21st to March 24th at the Blizzard Arena.  NYXL is already locked in for the competition and for $20 a ticket you can see how they do against the best seven other teams as they compete for a piece of the $500,000 prize pool.  Get you tickets here.   

 

Trades and Signings

Vancouver Titans Bring on Andante

On March first the Titans announced that Korean Overwatch coach Jae hong “Andante” Hwang would be joining the team as an analyst.  Andante was previously a coach for the Korean Contenders team GC Busan Wave.  

 

Seoul Dynasty Sign ILLICIT and Highly

Yesterday Seoul Dynasty announced on twitter that Sunghyik ‘Highly’ Lee of O2 Team and Jemin ‘ILLICIT’ Park of BlossoM have been signed to the team.  Highly is a support player while ILLICIT is a DPS.  It’s not clear yet exactly when these players will take the stage, but Seoul will certainly be improved by their presence.  

 

Player of the Week

Dafran: Hitscan DPS, Atlanta Reign

There are some players in the Overwatch League who could reasonably be the Player of the Week every week.  Not just because of their mechanical skills, but because they have a big impact on their team and that teams’ victory.  Few players meet this criteria, but dafran is one of them.  Few players are as popular as dafran also who has the best selling jersey in the Overwatch League and boosts the twitch viewership each time he takes the stage.  Atlanta played Paris in their biggest match to date this past week, and with a 4-0 win they made a powerful statement to the rest of the league.  At the vanguard of their attack was dafran whose skills have found a home on the tank hero Zarya.  

Really though, this week it all came down to one killer play.  

Atlanta will play the Los Angeles Gladiators this Thursday. 

 

VOD of the Week

NYXL (6-0) vs. Seoul Dynasty (2-3)

If you look at the win-loss records for these two teams last season, you’ll see two very different stories.  One team was absolutely dominant, finishing the season with a mere six losses and the best regular season record.  The other was a huge disappointment, winning barely more than half of their games.  These teams would have an important trait in common however.  They were Korean rosters. 

Seoul will always be the original Korean franchise with, at the time the Overwatch League began, the best Korean team.  This dominance didn’t last into the Overwatch League however.  Of the three all Korean rosters in the league last season NYXL distinguished itself as the best of the group.  From here the two teams were on a collision course.  Regardless of table position, both needed to beat the other.  NYXL to prove they could beat the Korean franchise, Dynasty to prove they could beat the best Korean squad.  It’s this intensity that brought out the best in both teams during their match last week.  

This proved to be a very defensive game.  While not explosive, even a causal player can see two teams that know each other, respect each others abilities, and adjusted their play accordingly.  Incredible and intricate plays, counter-plays, and counter-counter-plays filled all four maps.  The final score does not tell the entire story and it’s well worth your time to watch or even re-watch this match.  

 

Match of the Week

Paris Eternal (2-1) vs. Vancouver Titans (4-0)

Paris is still reeling from the 4-0 disaster they suffered from the Atlanta Reign last Saturday.  Dafran and the Reign took them behind the shed and made one of the best GOATs teams look bad.  Now, they have an even tougher opponent on their horizon.  Vancouver.  Despite their loss last week Paris is still a very scary squad.  Tank players like Finnsi continue to put up big numbers and the rest of the team knows how to support each other.  With only three games played so far it’s too early to start ranking Paris low.  The Eternal look to be the toughest opponent that Vancouver has faced yet.   

Vancouver for their part continue to defy expectations.  The former RunAway squad is ripping through every team that they have faced so far.  Like Paris they have a combination of good teamwork and understanding of the meta game that has brought them success.  Unlike nearly all the established rosters that have come into the Overwatch League, they have maintained their skills and success.  This is all going to be put to the test this Friday as the Titans clash with the Eternal.  The firestrikes fly at 5;30 PT PST Friday, March 8th.  

 

The matches start a little later this week with the Reign taking on the Gladiators at 5:30 PM PST Thursday, March 7th.  Get your placements done and then head over to twitch for all the action.  

About The Author

James Verzuh

James 'CorporalV' Verzuh was a real corporal once. Now he plays too much Overwatch and writes about esports.