Today’s Overwatch League Rundown takes a look at which teams are fighting for a playoff spot and how likely they are to qualify. We also highlight this week’s Can’t-Miss Matches!
1) Overwatch League Playoff Picture: Division Leaders
With only two weeks left in the Overwatch League’s regular season, the playoff picture is quickly becoming clearer. By the end of next week, the top six teams will have qualified for the playoffs, which kicks off on July 11th at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles. From there, the highest ranked team in each division will automatically qualify for the semi-finals, giving them a significant advantage in their quests to win the overall championships.
Starting with the division leaders, the top-ranked New York Excelsior (32-4) have already clinched the top spot in the league, as well as the Atlantic Division title. As a result, they will get an automatic bye to the Semi-Finals and will only need to defeat one team to make it to the Grand Finals in their home city. The Excelsior has looked dynamite all year, and are very much led by their captain Jong-yeol ‘Saebyeolbe’ Park’s Tracer and Widowmaker play.
On the Pacific side, the L.A. Valiant (24-12) currently hold a three-win lead over the second place Seoul Dynasty. While Seoul could technically still win the division crown, they would have to go undefeated in their remaining games, and then hope that the Valiant drop all of their remaining matches. As a result, it’s pretty safe to say that L.A. will qualify as the top Pacific team, which is good news for fans of plays like this one:
The rest of the playoff picture is where things get interesting as the rank three to eight teams are only separated by three wins. At the top of this group, the London Spitfire (23-13) are arguably one of the most dominant teams when they’re playing to their potential. However, the Spitfire has looked rather fragile lately, and their top DPS player Ji-hyeok ‘Birdring’ Kim hasn’t looked the same since returning from a wrist injury. The Spitfire also has the toughest schedule of any contending team as they play the L.A. Gladiators, L.A. Valiant and Philadelphia Fusion in the final two weeks of play. That being said, London is talented and boasts a high map differential, which should be enough for them to qualify for the playoffs.
Next up is the Boston Uprising (22-14), a team who has simply looked awful so far in Stage 4. Their game against the Seoul Dynasty this Wednesday is very much a season-defining one, as a loss could spell doom for their once comfortable playoff hopes. They do still have to play the 11th and 12th seeded Shanghai Dragons and Florida Mayhem, which should translate to a pair of wins. That being said, given their recent play, they could very well drop those matches and miss out on the playoffs entirely. For all the Boston fans out there, here’s a clip from a much brighter time in Uprising history:
While Boston’s demise is no doubt heartbreaking for fans and players alike, it’s good news for the remaining playoff hopefuls. Currently, the 5th to 8th ranked teams are the Seoul Dynasty (21-15), L.A. Gladiators (21-15), Philadelphia Fusion (21-15) and Houston Outlaws (20-15). There’s not a whole lot separating these teams, and the Dynasty and Gladiators are even tied in terms of map differential. Unfortunately for Outlaw fans, Houston not only sits one game behind the others, but they also have the toughest remaining schedule. In the final two weeks, they face off against the division-leading NYXL and L.A. Valiant as well as the resurgent Dallas Fuel and the seventh-place Philadelphia Fusion. As a result, the Outlaws probably won’t make the playoffs, but the team has a solid core that will no doubt be fearsome in years to come.
Of the other three teams, The L.A. Gladiators are the only one that is all but guaranteed a win, as they face off against the winless Shanghai Dragons in week five. Also, given their play in Stage 4 and their ability to adapt on the fly, the Gladiators will almost certainly qualify for the playoffs. As for the Fusion and Dynasty, it’s rather hard to separate them as they have both shown dominant play at different points in the season. Thankfully, the two teams face each other in the seasons’ final week, in a match that will decide their playoff fates. And that’s a match that you can’t afford to miss.
3) Can’t-Miss Matches: The Battle of Texas
Wednesday: Dallas Fuel vs. Houston Outlaws, 11:00 PM EST
The Dallas Fuel vs. Houston Outlaw’s rivalry has never really lived up to its potential. The main reason for this shortcoming has been the overall disappointing performance by the Dallas Fuel. Thankfully in Stage 4, the Fuel is looking revitalized, and this week’s match is shaping up to be a real live Texas showdown. Be sure to keep an eye out on the matchup between Finnish DPS players Timo ‘Taimou’ Kettunen and Jiri ‘Linkzr’ Masalin, in a match that has all the makings of a classic.
Thursday: San Francisco Shock vs. Philadelphia Fusion, 11:00 PM EST
Even if you bypass the serious playoff implications that this match holds, Thursday’s bout between the Shock and Fusion is extremely exciting. This game pits two of the best DPS cores in the league against one another, and it’s bound to get violent.
Friday: Boston Uprising vs. Shanghai Dragons, 7:00 PM EST
Where were you when the Shanghai Dragons won their first game? Your answer could very well depend on where you’ll be this Friday, as the Dragons have a real shot at winning against the downtrodden Boston Uprising. This is one you’re going to want to tell your grandkids about.
Saturday: London Spitfire vs. L.A. Gladiators, 4:00 PM EST
While the Gladiators have won both of the previous matchups, the games have always been close and entertaining to watch. Also, the main tank rivalry between Chan-hyung ‘Fissure’ Baek and Jae-hee ‘Gesture’ Hong is among the best in the league and both players will no doubt give it everything they’ve got in this one.
Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Monday’s Boston Uprising focused Overwatch League Rundown and our interview with Mercy Voice Actress Lucie Pohl.