This week the Six Pack takes a look at the new Stage Playoff rules, the biggest trades, can’t miss games and power rankings!
1) Rule Change: The Stage Playoffs
The Overwatch League’s Third Stage will introduce a revamped playoff schedule that will give teams an extra shot at making the playoffs. In Stage 1 and 2, the playoffs featured a semifinal matchup in which the #2 and #3 ranked teams would face off with the winner going on to play in the finals against the top-ranked team. Now with the format change, four teams will qualify for the Stage playoffs and this is where it gets interesting.
The top-ranked team gets to choose their semi-final matchup allowing them to choose which of the other three teams they face. Will the first place team choose to match up against the lowest rank team, or do they want to face off against their toughest competition while they’re still fresh? The possibilities are intriguing and the format change adds an extra layer of excitement to the Stage playoffs and having an extra team in the mix will no doubt please at least one team’s fanbase.This fourth playoff spot works perfectly for the Seoul Dynasty as they’ve finished in fourth place in both Stage 1 and 2.
2) Trades and Transactions: A Valiant Shake-Up
There have been a number of trades and transactions in the past couple of days, but no team has been as active as the L.A. Valiant. The team traded away its main healer Benjamin ‘Unkoe’ Chevasson to the Dallas Fuel in exchange for Scott ‘Custa’ Kennedy and the deal makes a lot of sense for both teams. On the Dallas side, Unkoe rejoins his old teammate Dylan ‘AKM’ Bignet who has been relied on heavily in the late parts of Stage 2. The two also played together on France’s national team in the Overwatch World Cup and the move makes sense.
On the Valiant side, the team is getting a top tier Zenyatta in Custa but it’s his leadership abilities that make this deal make sense for L.A. After a dominant Stage 1 The Valiant have looked completely out of sorts in Stage 2 as they constantly were switching up strategies and shot callers. With Custa, The Valiant has a great shot caller and calming presence that should be able to calm down their frazzled group.
— Dallas Fuel (@DallasFuel) April 2, 2018
3) It’s Finally Happening: Geguri’s Debut
In her first press conference for the Shanghai Dragons, Se-Yeon “Geguri” Kim was noticeably quiet. She was asked questions about what it feels like being the first female Overwatch League player and whether she thinks that she can save the Shanghai Dragons and she mostly brushed them aside. Geguri isn’t interested in a grand storyline, she just wants to let her play do the talking.
After what seems like eons, Geguri will finally be making her Overwatch League debut Wednesday night against the Dallas Fuel. VISA issues made her debut take a bit longer than expected but the time is finally here and there’s excitement in the air. It’s no secret that the Dragons have been abysmal so far this season. At 0 wins and 20 losses, the team needs a jumpstart and Geguri and friends should deliver just that. Along with Geguri, Shanghai will have all of their new signings available for today’s match against Dallas including Gi-Hyeon “Ado” Chon, Eui-Seok “Fearless” Lee, and Junjian “Sky” He.
4) Matches to Watch- Shanghai Dragons vs. Dallas Fuel
Wednesday: Shanghai Dragons vs. Dallas Fuel– 7:00 PM EST
It’s no surprise that this week’s match of the week involves Geguri’s debut game, and tonight’s match between the Dallas Fuel and Shanghai Dragons is going to be an exciting one. The Fuel and The Dragons have played twice so far this season and both games have been tight affairs that Dallas has won by a score of 3 to 2. Expect more of the same tonight.
Thursday: Philadelphia Fusion vs. Boston Uprising– 9:00 EST
Thursday’s clash between the Fusion and the Uprising features two of the hottest teams in the league and an assortment of DPS talent on both sides. Look out especially for the matchup between Jae-Hyeok ‘Carpe’ Lee and Jonathan ‘Dreamkazper’ Sanchez and these two teams could very well be in Stage playoff contention in a couple weeks.
Friday: Seoul Dynasty vs. San Francisco Shock
While these two teams may not be close in the overall standings their matches in the past have been tightly fought affairs. The difference this time is that San Francisco has a few new players in Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won and Grant ‘Moth’ Espe which should make for an even more competitive match than before.
Saturday: New York Excelsior vs. London Spitfire
This is the matchup that most people and teams expected in the Stage 2 finals and while it didn’t come to fruition then it’s the perfect way to end off week one of Stage 3. NYXL is fresh off their big victory in the playoffs while London is seeking redemption. Watch this game.
5) Stage 3 Power Rankings 1-6
1. NYXL (Change +1)
The Stage 2 Champions are riding high right now and are out to prove that no team can beat them going forward. The team has had stand out DPS performances but it’s their healer duo of Ark and Libero that have been most crucial to their success. Libero basically acts as a third DPS hero with his aggressive Zenyatta play and deadeye lobs, while Ark’s ability to keep his team healed up and in the battle is second to none. Their game against London on Saturday is a crucial one for the team as with a win they can finally exorcise their demons from Stage 1.
2. London Spitfire (Change +2)
The London Spitfire are entering Stage 3 flying a little low. while there is no arguing that they are a top tier team who will no doubt challenge for the stage playoffs and beyond, their loss to the Fusion no doubt looms large for them.
In Stage 1 the team always found a way to win when it counted and used crafty tactics and flanks in order to surprise and overpower their opponents. However, in their semifinal match against the Fusion, the team was straight up surprised and outmaneuvered. They’re a team that even with all of their success that they’ve enjoyed thus far, needs to prove that they can rebound from defeat. A London Spitfire team with something to prove is an exciting concept and their match against NYXL this week and the Fusion next week are must-watch matches.
3. Philadelphia Fusion (Change +4)
The Philadelphia Fusion have been the most consistent non-Korean comprised team in the Overwatch League so far. They surprised in stage 1 and then surprised even further in Stage 2, coming within one map of winning the Playoffs.
As it stands I wouldn’t bet against the Fusion no matter who they’re facing and this team seems to only be getting better with every passing game. Fragi’s game-changing tank play and energizing personality combined with their insane DPS depth consisting of Carpe, Shadowburn, Eqo, Snillo make them a dangerous team to face and one that is only getting started.
4. Seoul Dynasty (Change -3)
On April fools day the Seoul Dynasty tweeted out a joke announcement that said that they had signed Dallas Fuel DPS player Effect. While the joke no doubt gave some Dallas Fuel fans a bit of a scare, the post highlighted one of the Dynasty’s biggest weaknesses. As the saying goes, there is always some form of truth in jest and the truth is that the Dynasty is still sorely lacking a top tier DPS player to go along with Fleta. And while Fleta is arguably the top DPS player in the world he can only carry the team so far.
In a league filled with dominant DPS duos, Seoul needs someone to step up and fill that complementary role or risk a disappointing season. That being said, with the newly expanded Stage playoff parameters the Dynasty could find themselves in their first playoffs in Stage 3 even if they do choke once again in week five.
5. L.A. Gladiators (Change -2)
The L.A. Gladiators came oh so close to securing a playoff berth in the Stage 2 playoffs and ended up dropping a pair of week five matches to fall out of contention. That being said there is a lot to like about this team and their recent acquisition of Silkthread from their rival L.A. team gives the Gladiators some much-needed depth at the DPS position.
The team has a strong core with Fissure, BigGoose, Asher, Shaz and Bischu and they only really swap between Surefour, Hydration, and iRemiix which helps their overall chemistry. Overall the Gladiators should be happy with where they are in the standings and should make a run for the Stage 3 title as well as the end of season championships.
6. Boston Uprising (Change +2)
Similarly to their finish in Stage 1, the Boston Uprising are surging. The team has won their last 4 games and looked like their former selves along the way. There’s no doubt that this scrappy group is talented and their team play and chemistry has been a significant reason for their success.
They open up their Stage 3 campaigns with a tough schedule, as they play the playoff champion NYXL and the runner-up Philadelphia Fusion. That being said, this is very much an opportunity for the Uprising to show the league what they’re made of and a win or two this week would cement their status as a top-tier squad.
6) Stage 3 Power Rankings 7-12
7. Houston Outlaws (Change -1)
The Outlaws fought through a horrendous Stage 2 start to finish with a 5 win and 5 loss record. Because they played so well in the inaugural stage, Houston’s mediocre play didn’t kick them out of contention but there were some worrying patterns that cropped up in their play.
8. LA Valiant (Change -3)
If the Dallas Fuel were the team that disappointed most in Stage 1, then the L.A. Valiant were the most disappointing team in Stage 2. Their old coach was fired at the end of Stage 1 and the team has been all over the place since then. The acquisition of Custa is a valuable one for the team and the leadership he brings is something that the Valiant are in dire need of. L.A. currently sits one point out of an overall playoff spot and need to step up soon or risk falling out of contention.
9. Florida Mayhem (Change +2)
Oh my how the Florida Mayhem have improved! The team that only won once in Stage 1 managed to pick up three wins in Stage 2 and were overall more competitive than before.
The addition of Zappis has put less pressure on this squad who were previously working with no subs. While their flash intros seem to be a thing of the past they have managed to transfer that flash into the game. They managed to take a map off of both NYXL and Seoul, push the Outlaws to a fifth game and even manage to defeat the L.A. Valiant, Dallas Fuel, and San Francisco Shock. The Mayhem are a team on the rise and one that other teams should overlook at their own peril.
10. San Francisco Shock (Change -1)
If you’re a Shock fan you’re no doubt yelling at your computer, wondering why the team is ranked behind the Florida Mayhem. While the outrage is justified and the Shock have added a couple of new promising talent in Sinatraa, Architecte and Moth. The issue is that the DPS play wasn’t the Shock’s problem as Danteh and Babybay have consistently been the best parts of this team.
The Shock are no doubt more competitive now but they need a more synchronized performance going forward if they want to compete with the league’s top teams. However, giving credit where credit is due the Shock have one of the best DPS cores in the league and if they figure out their tank play and secondary healing then they could very well do so. If anything, addition of Sinatraa could very well cause some drama if it leads to Babybay being benched and this will be an exciting team to watch in Stage 3.
11. Dallas Fuel (Change -1)
After a tumultuous first two stages, the Dallas Fuel are a significantly different team then they were at the start of the Overwatch League Season. Gone is xQc and the myriad of drama that came with him and their Australian healer Custa has moved on to the L.A. Valiant.
In their place is a number of intriguing new additions. AKM and Rascal came to the team back in Stage 2 and are now joined by L.A. Valiant healer Unkoe and Korean born main Tank OGE. OGE should fill the tank void that was created by xQc’s departure and Unkoe should be able to crack the starting lineup, especially if his fellow Frenchmen AKm is playing. The Fuel needs to put together a scintillating Stage 3 to even have a shot at the end of season playoffs but fans should just be happy knowing that the team’s drama seems to be behind them. And who knows they may even start to play Seagull regularly.
12. Shanghai Dragons (Change N.A)
Things are looking up for the Shanghai’s dragons. Why? Geguri is finally here.
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