OWL - Recap of the fourth week of Stage 4
Week 4 of Stage 4 of the Overwatch League ended yesterday on June 11, leaving only one week of matches to be played for teams to lock their spot in the playoffs. But for now, let’s talk about what happened over the week-end and focus on the matches of the teams that are still racing for playoffs.
Wednesday: Boston gets on the scoreboard while the Texas teams fight for their spot in the stage playoffs.
The week was off to a flying start Wednesday with two important matches. Sitting at the 5th place but tied in wins with two other teams, Seoul Dynasty was facing Boston Uprising in an attempt to stay in the race for season playoffs. Meanwhile, the Uprising was desperately in need to break its losing streak and stop its fall down the standings from second to 4th.
At this point, Seoul needs to win even more than Boston because the Uprising hasn’t yet gone up against either the Mayhem nor the Dragons. Both struggling, Boston finally showed some signs of resurgence and weakened the Dynasty’s chances of making it to the playoffs.
To conclude the day, the Dallas Fuel went up against the Houston Outlaws. While Dallas is chasing its goal of making Stage 4 playoffs, Houston is still hoping for a miracle run to crack top 6 and secured a spot in the season playoffs. Starting off very close between the two teams, the match eventually went Houston’s way for a final 3 – 1.
Thursday: The Koreans fall in Los Angeles.
Seemingly unstoppable so far in Stage 4, the Los Angeles Valiant and the Los Angeles Gladiators from the Pacific division managed to secure another win in their match against the two Korean rosters of the Atlantic division. With the intention of remaining undefeated in Stage 4 after their clutch victory against NYXL last week, the Valiant went into the match with no fear against a struggling London squad. After a tie on Blizzard World and with their backs to the wall after failing to capture the first point on Horizon Lunar Colony, the Valiant managed to come back on the two final maps to take it home. Using Agilities as the main threat as Pharah on Lijiang Tower and having SoOn bring additional survivability on Brigitte for a triple support composition on the second point allowed them to retake and hold for the 2 - 0. Valiant’s superior teamplay and the great synergy between its tanks Space and Fate resulted in an easy 3 - 0 on Dorado and the 2 – 1 match win.
Following the success of their Los Angeles counterparts, the Gladiators proved why they are the best at adapting throughout the maps. Facing them in the arena is the NYXL, the league’s best and most dangerous team, their strongest opponent so far. Undefeated on King’s Row, NYXL managed to withstand the Gladiators’ dive despite running some pretty standard team compositions, stopping them right before the second point. They then answered with a dive of their own and a double snipe composition and simply outplayed the Gladiators.
Hanamura was another win for NYXL, who looked to take the series 3 – 0. Even with only one DPS character, the beautiful aggro swap from the NYXL tanks during the defense, the constant damage from JJoNaK and Saebyeolbe’s insane picks on Surefour and the Los Angeles supports made it impossible for them to set up a solid push. NYXL proved why they are probably the hardest team to deal with simply due to their fantastic individual performances. As highlighted by MonteCristo, JJoNaK put up 13,900 DMG on Hanamura which was 4,000 more than his Zenyatta counterpart Shaz, meaning sending several people after him might be needed to shut him down even though it’ll leave you at a man’s disadvantage.
Down 2 - 0, the Gladiators pulled together to begin the comeback. Taking Lijiang Tower in a 2 - 1 fashion, they were almost held entirely before the third point of Watchpoint: Gibraltar by Pine. However, a good pinch from Fissure on Winston and Hydration on the Brigitte left now way for Pine’s Widow to go, resuming the Gladiators’ push. A good defense with an unanswered Doomfist kept the series alive and took the NYXL to a game 5 for the second time this stage. Nepal was the tiebreaker map of the series. The LA squad came in with an extremely tanky and durable triple tank and triple support composition. Playing very close together using Lucio’s speed and Brigitte’s Rally, they easily beat New York in the team-fights. NYXL appeared to be a little too stubborn by keeping the Widowmaker along their dive composition which had found less and less success after the second game, allowing the Gladiators to complete the reverse sweep.
Philadelphia Fusion closed out the day with a 2 – 1 win over San Francisco Shock, remaining in the race for both Stage 4 and season playoffs at the edge of the cut-off.
Friday: Boston locks its spot in the playoffs, the Fusion and the Gladiators deliver again.
Friday was a day filled with mixed emotions as some teams get closer and closer to making playoffs while others break under the pressure. The first match of the day saw Boston take the third place in the standings from London thanks to an easy 4 – 0 win against the Shanghai Dragons. Right after, Dallas made quick work of the Florida Mayhem for the second 4 – 0 match of the day. Fortunately for the fans, the next two games proved to be less one-sided.
In free fall, Seoul Dynasty went from 5th to 7th in a matter of days and absolutely needed a victory against Philadelphia which is contending for the last spots in the season playoffs. Despite leading two maps to zero in the series, Seoul crumbled in game 3 and got reverse swept. The return of EQO alongside Carpe was too much for Seoul to handle on both Control maps. Carpe was deadly on his Widowmaker all throughout the match and EQO‘s Hanzo came in clutch in flipping the point back in their favour on Nepal. Unable to win any match in week 4, Seoul stands at the 8th place overall with 21 wins to a 6th place Philadelphia and their 23. Their only chance of making top 6 would be for them to win both matches next week in a dominant fashion while the Outlaws and the Fusion get crushed. The problem is that those two teams play each other next Thursday.
After defeating NYXL the day before with a reverse sweep, it seemed almost impossible for the same scenario to repeat itself against London Spitfire. But the adaptation kings did it again. Down 2 - 0, it’s almost like the Gladiators needed the additional pressure of being down to match point to turn up. Decisive on control maps, the LA squad managed once again to execute the reverse sweep, proving to be too resilient for the Spitfire and climbing their way to a deserved fifth place in the league.
Saturday was a quiet day for the top two teams of the league. Already qualified for the season playoffs, both teams were expected to win. NYXL won 2 – 1 against the San Francisco Shock, not ready to give up another loss in Stage 4 (NYXL lost 2 matches in Stage 4 so far, the same amount as any two of the three previous stages combined). LA Valiant made sure to keep a clean record by winning 4 – 0 against Houston Outlaws and remaining at the top of Stage 4.
Regarding the standings, nothing has really changed at the very top of the league. NYXL locked its spot as the first seed entering the season playoffs by being the best team overall and of the Atlantic division. LA Valiant makes for a solid second place team entering the season playoffs and should have the advantage of selecting their first-round opponent in the stage playoffs as the 1st place team. London Spitfire and Boston Uprising swapped their place of 3rd and 4th due to the Spitfire losing both its matches and the Uprising winning its two. Both teams are still well on their way to make season playoffs but will need to win at least one match. Luckily they both face the Florida Mayhem which should be an easy point to grab. The real change in the standings comes from the winless week of Seoul Dynasty, which left room for LA Gladiators, Philadelphia Fusion and Houston Outlaws to gain one place each from 6th, 7th and 8th to 5th, 6th and 7th.
With only one week of play left before Stage 4 playoffs and the season playoffs in July, each match of the final week will count. The bottom three teams of the six to qualify for the playoffs share the same number of match wins with 23. LA Gladiators have to play against the Shanghai Dragons and the Seoul Dynasty which, judging by their recent performance should place them at 25 wins. Their incredible matches against NYXL and the Spitfire and the fact they already played against the Valiant leaves them in a very favourable situation to lock their playoffs’ spot. Meanwhile, the Fusion and the Spitfire will clash in what could be a crucial decider on Friday, given the results of the day before give one team the edge.
That is all for the week 4 recap of the Overwatch League. As always, there are a lot of matches to look forward to in week 5 but to be honest, every match will be worth watching. The stage playoffs and the finals will take place on Saturday and Sunday.
So if you want to watch the final week of the OWL live, make sure to check your local time on the OWL website. If you can’t make it, you can always come back to the key matches on the schedule section of the website or watch the rerun on Twitch.
Again, expect more OWL coverage next week as we will be covering the playoffs and finals of Stage 4. Let us know your predictions below and if you’d like more aspects of the league to be covered in future articles!