To say that the second season of the Overwatch League has been predictable would be an outright lie. Each week, it seems like teams are trading unexpected maps — and even games. This has created some exciting storylines for fans to follow. Expansion teams are getting acclimated with the league, suspensions are finishing and players are eligible for play, and stage playoff spots are being locked down. Let’s take a look at how the league has developed so far.
Atlanta Reigns supreme
In the most surprising results coming out of week three, the Atlanta Reign barrel stuffed the Paris Eternal in an upset that could have massive playoff implications. Atlanta will finish out their stage against a flat Los Angeles Gladiators and a Houston roster dealing with a rough patch. Both matches are winnable, and that would put them as a contender to make the stage playoffs.
The Eternal showdown featured an amazing transition on Hollywood, which had Daniel “dafran” Francesca jumping off of the archway leading into the second point and using Zarya’s Graviton Surge to wipe the European team. Speaking of, the Eternal have some fine-tuning to do. Their aggressive tendencies have been put on notice after their match against the Gladiators, and their Zarya play hasn’t been able to pick up the slack. However, the match had underlying tones that could shape how we view the current metagame.
Right now, the Atlanta Reign have conformed to the heavy tank meta, but in a relaxed way. Their creativity and loose attitude seem to really put the roster at ease on stage ... and they’re successful because of it. Contrast that to the Paris Eternal, the European hopefuls many consider one of the best tank-centric teams in the league at the moment. For the Reign’s loosey-goosey style to topple the Eternal’s by the books play was impressive, and could inspire teams to play their own way, even in the era of GOATS.
One of the most sought after free agents going into the new season has been former KongDoo Panthera DPS ace, Jang “Decay” Gui-un. His flexibility on a number of heroes, paired with his technical precision, saw his stock explode during the offseason. He’s since landed with the Los Angeles Gladiators, along with long time teammate Gye “rOar” Chang-hoon.
However, Decay was unable to play up until recently due not being of age. His debut was against reigning champions, the London Spitfire, whom admittedly looked lost in this metagame. Decay’s debut was met with a hype train, but in a rematch from the seasonal playoffs, the Spitfire would, once again, defeat the Gladiators and their rookie ace in a close series. Following Decay’s debut, the team played against the Hangzhou Spark, who have looked quite weak as well, but the Gladiators could not manage a win to close out the week. This drastically lowered community confidence in the team going forward and their stage playoff chances look grim.
Fusions returns to topple Seoul
After being the first team to drop a match to the Shanghai Dragons, the Boston Uprising roared back in their following game against Seoul Dynasty. Absent in their match against the Dragons was their main tank, Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth, who was reportedly barred from playing due to a contract clause that was added during the post-season. Coming into the match against Seoul, Boston had everything to prove. Boston took a confident 3-1 victory over the Dynasty, and looked well above board, with Fusions returning to the starting roster.
This does raise the question of how successful the Seoul Dynasty were during the offseason. Acquiring star main tank Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung along with support player Lee “Jecse” Seung-soo, the team was slated to have a much more promising season compared to their last. However, as we enter week four, the Dynasty are 2-3 with a dead even map differential. That said, the team has recently signed two promising role players that bring some needed firepower to their lineup; Park “ILLICIT” Jae-min from team BlossoM and Lee “Highly” Sung-hyeok from O2 Ardeont. Will this be the necessary changes to see Seoul reach their potential?
The last two matches of the week featured two previous playoff teams, the Los Angeles Valiant and the dominant New York Excelsior.
The Valiant has been on a slump since their season opener against the Hangzhou Spark. The team, who has heavily played Kim “KuKi” Dae-kukhas over long-time captain Scott “Custa” Kennedy, has looked uncomfortable in the current landscape. The Valiant needed a win to close out week three. Unfortunately, they could not rally in time. The Valiant lost their fifth consecutive match, which officially puts them out of the running for the stage playoffs. If things do not improve, their entire season could be seriously at risk.
On the flip side, there’s the NYXL. The only team, so far, to make every stage playoffs. Across season one and now in season two, the NYXL have solidified their career dominance and their position as a top team in the Overwatch League. Their victory over the Seoul Dynasty marks six wins in a row. The major architects of their success this season has been credited to tank duo Kim “Mano” Dong-gyu and Kim “MekO” Tae-hong, and rookie DPS star added this offseason Jeong “Nenne” Yeon-kwan. The Vancouver Titans and the NYXL are easily on a crash course for the stage playoffs as the two giants finish out their last two weeks.