The second week of Stage 4 of the Overwatch League (OWL) came to an end yesterday meaning now is a good time to take a look at the current standings and how the league played out up to this point.
The following three weeks will be crucial in deciding which teams qualify for the playoffs as only 6 of them will get the chance to play for the $1,000,000 world champion prize. The first and second place seeds will be assigned to the leaders of the Atlantic and Pacific divisions.
As it stands, New York Excelsior (NYXL) is the only team to be sure to qualify for the playoffs because of the great results the team put up across all stages. Consisting of the former LuxuryWatch Blue roster from back in APEX, NYXL has managed to go 9-1 in all first three stages, finishing first in Stage 1 and 2 but coming second to Boston Uprising and their perfect 10-0 run in Stage 3. Seemingly untouchable, they currently stand as an outlier at the top of the league with an impressive 31 series win for only 3 losses, boasting a huge map differential (Wins - Losses) of 81, far ahead of London Spitfire’s 34.
By leading the league and being part of the Atlantic Division, NYXL will take first place seed for the Playoffs. The other team to get an automatic bye as the second place seed will be the leader of the Pacific Division but unlike the other Division, it’s not clear yet which team will receive the first-round bye. Currently occupying the 3rd, 6th and 7th places in the league, the best three teams of the Pacific Division are Los Angeles Valiant, Los Angeles Gladiators and Seoul Dynasty.
Can Seoul Dynasty make it to the season playoffs?
As the third entirely Korean roster to compete in the league with known names such as Miro, zunba, tobi and ryujehong who represented South Korea in the 2016 and 2017 Overwatch World Cup and made up the original Lunatic-Hai squad, many people had high expectations for Seoul Dynasty when OWL began. The team somewhat delivered in both Stage 1 and 2 and with a 14 - 6 run and despite falling just short of making playoffs both times by dropping one too many maps, it cemented itself as a strong top 4 team. Unfortunately, the team started to show inconsistent performances in Stage 3 in which they began to lose to non-Korean teams. The London Spitfire also had a rough Stage 3, getting upset by the likes of the Houston Outlaws and the Philadelphia Fusion. Both teams ended the stage at 5 -5, leaving room in the playoffs of Stage 3 for the two Los Angeles teams and Boston Uprising’s undefeated run.
The OWL standings at the end of week 2, Stage 4. Competition is heating up as the top 7 teams (besides NYXL) have between 18 and 22 wins and with only 6 matches left to be played, every win will be crucial.
Unable to secure a match win so far in Stage 4, and currently sitting in 7th place with 19 wins, Seoul Dynasty will need to stop the bleeding and perform in the following weeks in order to crack top 6 since the stage playoffs are already out of reach for the squad. Their Korean counterparts of London Spitfire followed their Stage 3 mixed performance with 2 wins and 2 losses so far. Meanwhile, the best western teams have all confirmed their climb on the ladder during Stage 3 besides Boston Uprising and a disappointing 0 - 4 start of the stage. LA Valiant and Gladiators are both 4 - 0 and well in the run for the season playoffs. The surprise comes from Dallas Fuel, securing three of their nine total match wins in the first two weeks, making a run for the stage playoffs. Sadly, the Shanghai Dragons have not yet managed to secure a match win, despite the additions of Geguri, the first female player in the OWL as well as three other players back in February. With the recent arrival of Daemin from NRG in the Contenders as a promising DPS, the Dragons will be looking to break their losing streak.
The various impacts of roster changes:
Since Stage 2 and the ability for teams to make roster changes, several teams have benefitted from new arrivals to different degrees. One good example is probably Fissure who came from the Spitfire to the Gladiators early during the transfer period. Considered as one of the best main tanks in the world, he has been leading the charge on Winston and Reinhardt and his solid performance has done wonders for the team. The Gladiators have now also brought in his old off-tank partner Void, reinforcing even more their tank lineup.
The Florida Mayhem have been smart in their roster additions, bringing in AwesomeGuy as a much needed tank main and Sayaplayer, yet another young Korean prodigy as a hitscan DPS for Stage 3 in what was probably one of the most exciting signing for the fans who followed Overwatch since APEX. Unfortunately, the Mayhem still found themselves outclassed by most of the other teams, Saya’s flashy plays on Widowmaker enchanted the fans but were unable to translate into more wins for them.
The biggest change in terms of the numbers of players came from the Valiant. The team has been making a lot of moves to try and stabilize their team cohesion in and out of the game. Letting go of 4 players and acquiring 4 others, the massive change in the team’s dynamic seems to have been working well for them so far. Like the Gladiators, the Valiant and their newly found identity are a team to look out for in the run for the playoffs.
Overall, it seems that the Western teams have benefitted from the addition of Korean players to their rosters. With now 61 players out of 131 being Korean in the OWL, and many great players still competing in their homeland, their influence on the league’s level of play is undeniable. Blizzard has confirmed more teams would be added to the OWL for season 2, meaning more spots for great players from around the world to showcase their skills. But for now, the inaugural season still has a lot to offer and many important matches to come.
This week, look out for the following matches in particular:
New York Excelsior v. Philadelphia Fusion – 1:00 AM CEST
Los Angeles Valiant v. Los Angeles Gladiators – 5:00 AM CEST
London Spitfire v. Boston Uprising – 1:00 AM CEST
Philadelphia Fusion v. Los Angeles Gladiators – 5:00 AM CEST
Nye York Excelsior v. Los Angeles Valiant – 12:00 AM CEST
Expect more OWL coverage every Monday as we near the finals of Stage 4 and ultimately the Playoffs. Let us know your predictions below and if you’d like more aspects of the league to be covered in future articles!