The first stage playoffs were looming over the Overwatch League in week four, forcing many teams to step up their game. London made Seoul look like a Contenders league team, and Boston’s continued uprising (sorry) gives them a legitimate chance at qualifying for the stage one playoffs. Meanwhile, Houston missed its best chance to break into the top three, though they’ll have one last chance in week 5. With that said, let’s take a look at where those developments leave everyone else.
NY XL | standing: +1
There’s not a whole lot to say about the XL this week since their opponents (Shanghai and Dallas) are two of the worst teams in the league. It is worth noting that the Fuel were able to take a map off of them, though New York has consistently struggled on control during this stage. Their hybrid and assault play continues to be excellent, as they generally took both maps without too much trouble. Dallas took them to the time bank phase on Temple of Anubis, but they handily held them off after taking both points on offense.
They’ll have one more cake-walk next week against the Florida Mayhem before London really pours on the pressure. They’re basically locked into the playoffs at this point, but they’ll want to lock in the number 1 seed at all costs.
London Spitfire | standing: +2
There were some question marks surrounding the London squad after Boston handed them their first loss in week three, but those question marks are now more like exclamation points. Not only has the Uprising proven to be a playoff contender, but the Spitfire made an absolute statement against the Seoul Dynasty.
Their defense was almost impeccable, and it only cracked when the game was already sealed in their favor. Ilios was also a fair bit closer than their 2-0 victory demonstrates, but their shot calling in most situations was commendable. They had more effective set-ups, better ultimate management and good shot calling. Then, against the Dragons, they actually do pull off a complete shutout. Granted, Shanghai is an absolute mess — but it’s still impressive.
London will need every bit of momentum they built up going into week five, however. Losses against the New York XL or the Houston Outlaws could force them to play an extra playoff game, and a falling to both could jeopardize their stage one run entirely. But with how they looked this week, it’s hard to say whether they’ll be stopped by either team.
Seoul Dynasty | standing: -2
What a rough week for the Dynasty, which fell to pieces against London and barely held off the Houston Outlaws. The fault of the former travesty may fall to their coaching staff since they decided to play Moon “gido” Gi-Do over Ryu “ryujehong” Je-Hong. Apparently they figured the mix up could throw London off guard, but that clearly wasn’t the case. Instead, Seoul clearly missed having one of their leaders (and one of the best Zenyatta players in the league) on their side. Granted, they still ran a potent defense, but their offense seemed out of sync.
They decided to bring back Ryujehong for Houston, and the rest of the team returned to form. While they struggled occasionally against the Outlaws’ aggression, they were often able to adapt to the pressure. The real key to victory was Byung-Sun “Fleta” Kim’s outstanding performance on map three, where terrorized Houston from above as Pharah. If they had lost there, the series may never have gone to five maps in the first place. Their tanks also deserve credit for stopping the comeback on Lijiang tower, where their ability to zone the Outlaws off the point sealed the deal.
At least next week should be easier, though the Valiant could stage an upset. The team is the only in the top three that hasn’t dropped a game against a team outside the top three. Perhaps they’re overdue.
Houston Outlaws | standing -1
This could have been a much bigger week for the Outlaws if only Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin hadn’t been sick the entire time. His absence was really felt against Seoul, which Houston took to five maps. Matthew “Clockwork” Dias was a serviceable replacement against a mediocre San Francisco Shock, but he couldn’t keep up with the likes of Seok-Woo “Wekeed” Choi or Sang-Beom “Munchkin” Byun.
Jake Lyon did rise to the occasion, but he couldn’t carry the team on his back. The team did demonstrate excellent coordination, though, whenever a payload was involved. Unfortunately, they failed to capitalize when it came to control maps.
To make it into the playoffs, they’ll have to be borderline flawless in week five. The London Spitfire are sitting pretty at the top of the standings and Boston is feeling hot after their gradual ascension. Hopefully the whole team is healthy and ready to fight their way into the playoffs.
Boston Uprising | standing +2
How high will this talented Boston team end up climbing? They may be approaching their ceiling after a sweep of Los Angeles, but they’ve shattered expectations more than once this season.
Jonathan “DreamKazper” Shanchez and Namju “Striker” Gwon were nigh unstoppable this week, and proved they’re as smart as they are skilled. The way they separated the Gladiator’s support players from the rest of their team paid off in spades, and their deadliness of their ultimates against the Valiant deserves special mention. The rest of the team played well, too — especially Noh “Gamsu” Yeong-Jin’s contributions to the dive.
Beating Philadelphia shouldn’t be too tall a task for them in week five, but their real test will come against the Outlaws. Will the Uprising DPS surpass their counterparts once again and become the new best team in the west?
Los Angeles Valiant | standing: –
Considering how dominant the Valiant looked against Philadelphia, it was surprising that they lost so completely to Boston. Terence “SoOn” Tarlier, Ted “Silkthread” Wang and Brady “Agilities” Girardi all outperformed the very talented duo of Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee and Georgii “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha, but couldn’t keep up with Dreamkazper and Striker. Kang-Jae “Envy” Lee and Pan-Seung “Fate” Koo held up against the Fusion, but couldn’t prevent the dive from Boston.
It’s a bit Jekyll and Hyde, and it won’t make qualifying for the stage one playoffs any easier. They’ll need more of a killer instinct against Seoul, who demonstrated plenty of weaknesses against the Spitfire. Hopefully the Valiant spend enough time watching the tape to give themselves a fighting chance in the first day of week five.
Philadelphia Fusion | standing: -2
Making the stage one playoffs was always going to be a long shot for the Philadelphia Fusion, but their hopes were mostly dashed after being swept by the Los Angeles Valiant. Carpe had a bad day, and the whole series would have been much uglier if it weren’t for ShaDowBurn and Alberto “Neptuno” González Molinillo. They simply couldn’t execute their game plan at the same level as their opponents and were generally outplayed.
They did get a sweep of their own against Dallas, and the rest of the team seemed to be playing much better. But a large part of that may well have been the caliber of their opponents. The Fuel haven’t looked good all season, and they have many exploitable weaknesses. Philly does get points for adapting to the off-kilter Doomfist, though, since adaptation is an important part of a team’s toolkit.
They’ll need a lot of help in week five, though, if they hope to make the playoffs. A victory against Boston will be a start, but they’ll need a lot of other teams to drop games they’re likely to win.
San Francisco Shock | standing +1
The Shock may be eliminated by making the stage one playoffs, but the team showed a bit of fight this weekend. The Outlaws were always going to be a tough opponent, and the fact that they avoided the 4-0 is commendable. It may have been more commendable if they’d been able to score a point on Dorado after clutching out a win on the control maps, but beggars can’t be choosers. Andrej “Babybay” Francisty and Dante “Danteh” Cruz are still the best thing about this team, and Daniel “dhaK” Martinez Paz certainly needs to stop dying. Their win against Florida also could have been a lot cleaner, but a sweep is still a sweep.
Next week won’t be so easy, though, with a seemingly unwinnable match up against Seoul and what will likely be a hard fight against the LA Gladiators.
Los Angeles Gladiators | standing -1
The Gladiators beat the team they were supposed to and lost to the team that seemed better than them. It isn’t really surprising, but it also isn’t very conducive to rising in the standings. Benjamin Ville Aapeli “BigGoose” Isohanni continues to be a bit of a liability on Mercy, or a point of exploitation at the very least. Considering his best hero is Lucio, though, he’s likely looking forward to the start of stage two. Maybe the extra mobility and the lack of resurrection will help them out against dive comps that seem to be giving the team so much trouble.
The good news is, however, that they have a chance to pick up two wins next week and finish the stage on a good note. Of course, if they end up with a repeat of week four, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising either.
Dallas Fuel | standing: –
The most confusing team in the Overwatch League went 0-2 once again. It’s one thing to lose to the New York XL — especially when you can take a map off them. But losing 4-0 to the Fusion, especially when the match was very winnable, is a huge disappointment. After all, Timo “Taimou” Kettunen was (almost) able to keep pace with ShaDowBurn’s levels of destruction, and even Hyeon “Effect” Hwang’s Doomfist was surprisingly useful.
But ultimately, Sebastian “Chipshajen” Widlund couldn’t stop dying at the absolute worst times. He died in the middle of his ultimate, died just moments before getting a crucial ultimate and generally just died. And without the important healing from their mercy, it didn’t matter how good the rest of the team was. Holding objectives in this patch often requires the two resurrections from Mercy’s Valkyrie ultimate, and he just wasn’t able to be there for his team. Until they solve that problem, they’ll never live up to their full potential.
Florida Mayhem | standing: –
Florida is like a tiny iceberg. They may not look like much at first glance, but there is (some) potential below the surface. They lost 3-1 and 4-0 against two teams they should have been able to compete with, but they did show flashes of cohesion that could lead to a much better stage two. When Tim “Manneten” Bylund is applying enough pressure so Andreas “Logix” Berghmans and Kevin “TviQ” Lindström can play at their best, they can compete. If Sebastian “Zebosai” Olsson can stop getting killed over stupid mistakes, they can at least compete with the bottom half of the standings.
They still may not end up anywhere near the top, but these six players could at least get more than a single win. At the least, they could make their games close. Fortunately for them, the OWL analyst desk seems confident that, once the next patch gets here, things will be different. They could also use some subs, too, to be honest.
Shanghai Dragons | standing: –
The only thing to say is thank goodness the team is getting some help for the next stage. Signing three new players will hopefully bring some life to a squad that simply cannot find a groove. At least they have one final chance to nab their first win of the season and avoid embarrassment. Dallas won’t go down easy, but their chances are better against them than against the Valiant.