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Overwatch League heads towards playoffs

PCGamesN

Victor Cardoso, Editor

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As the inaugural season of the Overwatch League draws closer and closer to a end for the regular stages, many league teams are trying to scramble together enough wins and map differentials to make it to the overall season playoffs. The stage playoffs will be held on June 17 at Burbank Studios in Burbank, California, and the season playoffs will be held at the Barclays Center in New York City on July 11 through July 28.

Overwatch is an FPS (first person shooter) type game created by Blizzard Entertainment, in which the player alongside five other team members work together to complete different types of objective based on the map type.

These map types consist of four different type of objectives, and these map types are Escort, where your team has to escort a payload to the end of the map against the defensive team, Assault, where your team has to capture two points on the map, hybrid, where you have to capture one point, and escort the payload to the end of the map, and control (also known as king of the hill) where both teams have to capture the point and hold it till 100%.

Overwatch consists of 21 heroes (more heroes will be added as time goes on,) with each hero belonging to a different class. Those being DPS (stands for damage per second but is referred to the most offensive class,) Defense, Tank, and Support.

The game as of October 16, 2017, according to PCGamesN, has reached over 35 million players.  As of May 04, 2017, the game reached over 1 billion dollars in sales and in microtransactions. The league itself is estimated to generate 720 million dollars per year in the future according to leading financial services firm Morgan Stanley.

Blizzard Entertainment was also able to strike a deal with the streaming platform Twitch, giving Twitch exclusive streaming rights for the first two season of the Overwatch League for 90 million dollars.

The Overwatch League consists of twelve teams, six teams for the two divisions, the Atlantic Division, and the Pacific Division, and each team has at least six to twelve players. The teams from the Pacific division are: the Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty, and the Shanghai Dragons. The six teams for the Atlantic division are: the Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, and the Philadelphia Fusion.

Currently the league is at its final stage, stage four, week three, and will continue on for two more weeks until stage playoffs, and with the stage and season playoffs looming, it’s either make it or break it for many teams.

The current stage four standings are:

  1. Los Angeles Valiant – 6 wins, 0 losses – matches played – 6 – 18 map wins, 8 map losses, 1 tie – +10 map differential
  2. New York Excelsior – 5 wins, 1 losses – matches played – 6 – 20 map wins, 4 map loss, 1 tie – +16 map differential
  3. Los Angeles Gladiators – 5 wins, 1 losses – matches played – 6 – 17 map wins, 6 map losses – 1 ties – +11 map differential
  4. San Francisco Shock – 4 wins, 2 lose – matches payed – 6 – 16 map wins, 9 map loss, 0 ties – +7 map differential
  5. Houston Outlaws – 4 wins, 2 loss – matches played – 6 – 14 map wins, 9 map losses, 1 tie – +5 map differential
  6. Dallas Fuel – 4 wins, 2 loss – matches played – 6 – 13 map wins, 10 map losses, 1 tie – +3 map diferential
  7. Philadelphia Fusion – 3 win, 3 losses – matches played – 6 – 13 wins, 11 map losses, 0 ties – +2 map differential
  8. London Spitfire – 3 win, 3 losses – matched played – 6 – 10 map wins, 15 map losess, 0 ties – -5 map differential
  9. Seoul Dynasty- 2 wins, 4 losses – matches played – 6 – 12 map wins, 15 map losses, 0 ties – -3 map differential
  10. Boston Uprising – 0 wins, 6 losses – matches played – 6 – 6 map wins, 17 map losses, 2 tie – -11 map differential
  11. Florida Mayhem – 0 wins, 6 losses – matches played – 6 – 4 map wins, 20 map losses, 1 ties  – -16 map differential
  12. Shanghai Dragons – 0 wins, 6 losses – matches played – 6 – 2 map win, 21 map losses, 1 tie – -19 map differential

The stage playoffs are cut off at the number four spot, meaning the top four can go to the stage playoffs. This stage is still going, so standings are subject to change in the next 3 weeks.

The teams at the bottom are not necessarily bad teams. Instead, due to META shifts (most efficient tactic available), some teams are better than others at different styles of play. Team chemistry between players, team composition, and team strategies also play a large role on how teams perform.

In regard to the stage playoffs, the teams most likely to make it to the stage four playoffs will be Los Angeles Gladiators, New York Excelsior, Philadelphia Fusion, and the Los Angeles Valiant.

It is still early in the stage to tell who will make it, but, looking at the current META, it is possible the the Houston Outlaws, or even the San Francisco Shock could take the spot of either the Los Angeles Valiant, or the Philadelphia Fusion.

The New York Excelsior, on the other hand, have almost a guaranteed playoffs spot, the New York Excelsior, statiscally speaking is the best performing team in the league, and many would not be surprised if they made the stage playoffs, as they made the stage playoffs in the three previous stages.

Right now, the Los Angeles Gladiators are looking strong and solid, and really should make the playoffs no problem. If they keep playing as they do now, they should make it to the season playoffs, they already have the sixth set.

It is entirely possible that the Philadelphia, and the Lost Angeles Valiant could have their spot taken is that the Philadelphia Fusion and the Los Angeles Valiant will have a tough three weeks going up against New York Excelsior, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, San Francisco Shock,Los Angeles Gladiators, and the Dallas Fuel (much to everyone’s surprise.) It all depends on how these two teams deal with these major teams, if they want to keep their playoff spots. But if either of these two teams beat the New York Excelsior, then their overall playoff potential grows exponentially.

But after the surprising upset from the Dallas Fuel during week 2, day 4, with the Dallas Fuel winning against the Philadelphia Fusion 3-1, the playoff race for the Fusion gets tighter, and they could fall out.

But the biggest surprise this stage is how well Dallas Fuel are performing. Players like Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod, Timo “Taimou” Kettunen, and even Minseok “OGE” Son are performing extraordinarily well at their new role with Mickie on the new hero Brigette, OGE on the Reinhardt, and Taimou on the Widowmaker. Brandon “Seagull” Larned, Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor Rua, and Benjamin “Unkoe” Chevasson are also playing well on their respective roles.

Could the Dallas Fuel make the playoffs? It’s difficult to say, but if they keep playing the way that they are now, and defeat the London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty, Florida Mayhem, and the San Francisco Shock, then they very well could make the playoffs. But due to a rough three stages, their season playoff run is not possible in any way.

A lot of Dallas Fuel’s victories could be credited to their head coach Aaron “Aero” Atkins, who helped the Dallas Fuel with team synergy, solidifying a rooster, allowing Seagull to be more flexible; and not just have Seagull  be on the D Va, helping with the team mental state, and devising strategies for matches.

The San Francisco Shock despite the 2 losses in the stage, they are looking pretty solid, they finally choose a rooster to stick with, players like Jay “sinatraa” Won, Minho “Architect” park, Nikola “sleepy” Andrews are playing phenomenally well in their matches, and with a little of time, they should gel together nicely.

When season two comes around, the Shock will definately be a force to be reckoned with. Their season playoff race is done, as they won’t make it, but still the Shock can still make stage playoffs, and they should be proud, as they are one of the rapidly improving teams of the league so far.

One of the biggest disappointments so far are the Houston Outlaws, everybody, and I mean everybody, thought that this was the Outlaw’s META, but to a lot of disappointment, the Outlaws have underperformed drastically. Outlaws in the past have had trouble with Tracer, and never really had a Tracer player themselves, and that brought a lot of issues. But in this META, you still need (to some degree) to run Tracer if there is no Brigette, and make changes on the fly.

If the Outlaws want a shot at making the stage and season playoffs, then they need to win all six of their matches, and that probability seems unlikely as the Gladiators (the sixth spot in the league currently) are 2 match wins ahead, and are most likely to win more of their matches in the future. Ultimately meaning the season playoff race for the Outlaws may be done.

Going onto the London Spitfire, they had a rough stage two and three, but things are looking up. They are number two in the overall season standings, and they are improving a lot this stage. The team has let go of four of their players, finally choosing which players they want to run, and most importantly Ji-hyeok “birdring” Kim is finally performing to a high degree, just like in stage one. The Spitfire will definitely make season and stage playoffs if they continue to play the way they are now.

In the ninth spot of the stage standing is the Boston Uprising. After Boston’s performance in stage three, going undefeated, this lackluster performance from them this stage is quite surprising. But this poor performance stems from several different factors.

The downfall of the Boston Uprising comes from the new hero Brigette, who now completely shuts down Tracer and Winston, which Boston Uprising star DPS Nam-Ju “Striker” Gwon plays/played, and Boston Uprising main tank, YoungJin “Gamsu” Noh played respectively. With these two players being shut down, their overall effectiveness in matches is limited.

With the introduction of Brigette in the league, Zarya and Reinhardt came back into the META, making D Va less effective, making the Boston Uprising’s main off-tank Lucas “NotE” Meissner less of a staple in the rooster.

Besides the META shifts, at the end of stage three, the Boston Uprising let go of Coach Da-hee “Crusty” Park, who was an integral part of the Uprising’s coaching staff, and because Crusty no longer a part of the team, it is evident through the Uprising’s performance; that they are suffering because of it.

In respects to the Shanghai Dragons, it is very likely that they will go through the season with 0 wins and 40 losses, because as of the end of week 2, the Shanghai Dragon are on a 34 game losing streak. The only way that Shangai Dragons can get a win this season is if they win against the Florida Mayhem, who are also having a difficult time this stage, but it is expected that the Florida Mayhem will win that matchup.

According to Winston’s Lab, Florida Mayhem has a 67% chance of winning this match up against Shanghai. It is believed that players like Jeong-Woo “Sayaplayer” Ha, Andreas “Logix” Berghmans (or Kevin “TviQ Lindstrom if Logix doesn’t play,) and Sung-Hoon “aWesomeGuy” Kim on the Florida Mayhem will be able to secure a win for the Florida Mayhem, specifically Sayaplayer, who is a phenomenal Widowmaker and Tracer player.

The Florida Mayhem, most likely, even if they win the rest of their matches this stage, won’t make it to the stage playoffs due to map differential, their season playoff run is also done.  It would be recommended to the Florida Mayhem to hash out all of their issues so that when season two comes, they will be better than they are now.

But for many players, the Overwatch league isn’t a sprint. It is a marathon.

The current league standing are as following:

  1. New York Excelsior – 32 wins, 4 losses – matches played – 36 – 118 map wins, 34 map losses, 3 ties – +84 map differential
  2. Los Angeles Valiant – 24 wins, 12 losses – matches played – 36 – 90 map wins, 59 map losses, 6 ties – +31 map differential
  3. London Spitfire – 23 wins, 13 losses – matches played – 36 – 94 map wins, 61 map losses, 2 ties – +33 map differential
  4. Boston Uprising – 22 wins, 14 losses – matches played – 36 – 85 map wins, 69 map losses, 3 ties – +16 map differential
  5. Seoul Dynasty – 21 wins, 15 losses – matches played – 36 – 84 map wins, 68 map losses, 3 ties – +16 map differential
  6. Los Angeles Gladiators – 21 wins, 15 losses – matches played – 36 – 83 map wins, 67 map losses, 3 ties – +16 map differential
  7. Philadelphia Fusion – 21 wins, 15 losses – matches played – 36 – 84 map wins, 73 map losses, 1 ties – +11 map differential
  8. Houston Outlaws – 20 wins, 16 losses – matches played – 36 – 86 map wins, 68 map losses, 2 tie – +18 map differential
  9. San Francisco Shock – 16 wins, 20 losses – matches played – 36 – 70 map wins, 77 map wins, 3 ties – -7 map differential
  10. Dallas Fuel – 10 wins, 26 losses – matches played – 36 – 49 map wins, 93 map losses, 7 ties – -44 map differential
  11. Florida Mayhem – 6 wins, 30 losses – matches played – 36 – 39 map wins, 106 map losses, 5 ties – -67 map differential
  12. Shanghai Dragons – 0 wins, 36 losses – matches played – 36 – 19 map wins, 126 map losses, 2 tie – -107 map differential

So who do I predict to make it to the season playoffs? I predict that the New York Excelsior (they’ve already clenched the number one spot,) London Spitfire, Los Angeles Valiant, Boston Uprising, Philadelphia Fusion, and the Los Angeles Gladiators will make the season playoffs.

Here’s how each of the predicted teams has managed; so far in this season, to clench a spot is the season playoffs:

The New York Excelsior are so far ahead of the game that they’ve already guaranteed the first spot in the league. Their discipline, mechanical skill, execution of strategies on such a precise level is a major factor on how they’ve swept the competition.

The Los Angeles Valiant have had a phenomenal stage 1 and 3, and so far stage 4, and by reinvigoration their starting line up, they’ve managed to dig themselves out of the stage two hole, and into the second playoff spot.

The London Spitfire had a great stage 1 and 2, and by hashing out their problems from stage 3, they’ve been able to steadily improve and clench the third playoff spot.

The Boston Uprising had a good stage 1 and an incredible stage 3, and by performing well in these two stages, they’ve managed to get the fourth spot in the playoffs. The only thing they need to do is win against the Shanghai Dragons, and the Florida Mayhem, and they should be in.

The Philadelphia Fusion had an o.k. Stage 1 and 3, but a great stage 2, which if they win against the San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty, and the Houston Outlaws, then the Fusion should make it. If they win the rest of their games, which may be slim due to their inconsistencies, then that would further solidify their spot.

The Los Angeles Gladiators had a great stage 2 and 3, and if they can win against the Philadelphia Fusion, London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty, and Shanghai Dragons, then they should pass Seoul Dynasty and get the sixth playoff spot.

But in the next three weeks, the league standing will shift rapidly, some teams won’t make it, and some will. But whether or not, when Jully 11 comes, the world will experience some high level, high-octane Overwatch gameplay, much to the world’s amazement.

 

 

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