It has finally arrived. After a month-long wait that seemed like forever, the Overwatch League is back. This short re-emergence of the Overwatch League is because of the season playoffs and the grand finals. With the teams that have made it in, I will cover each and every one of them much like I have in my weekly recap series. What changes in this article is that the small pieces on the teams simply reflect their improvements over the season and where they are now. After talking about every team, I will finally give my personal opinions on which teams will make it to the finals on those fateful days in late July.
With these playoffs being the be all and end all for the remaining teams, these final weeks should bring out the best Overwatch we’ve seen yet. Now, which teams have survived in this very close league? Let’s start off with the lowest ranked team and go up to the highest. Starting us off are:
This team truly was a dark horse all year long. While people could complain about their streaky nature and their reliance on Carpe, they are a playoff worthy team. This team consists now of their main man Carpe, their very flexible player EQO, a tank line of either Poko, Hotba, Sado or Fragi, and their supports, Boombox and Neptuno. Besides the tanks and Shadowburn being sometimes brought in on the attack, this team has a consistent squad. They know their strengths and weaknesses. With a mixed season, their highlight was upsetting the London Spitfire in their semi-final Stage 2 playoff match.
While I don’t have huge expectations for the Fusion, they are a team that can surprise others; ask the Spitfire and the Excelsior about that. But I also feel like too much of their attack focuses on Carpe, and he has a big task ahead of him for these playoffs.
While many people expected London to be higher up in the overall standings by the end of the year, they made it regardless. With an extremely large roster heading into the league, they trimmed it mid-season to focus more on teamwork and coordination. This now consistent lineup focuses on: Gesture and Fury on tanks, Profit and Birdring on the attack, and Bdosin, Nus and Closer on supports. The change of having an almost full roster to a barebones one seemed to be focused on improvement for the Spitfire. While the change itself is debatable, it might be a bit misleading. The Spitfire is still a very good team, and they might have done a little bit of studying over the last stage of the playoffs.
Much like the Fusion, don’t sleep on the Spitfire. If they get rolling, they might get farther than people think. The only weakness I see is the lack of substitutions in case of injury, as well as their recent form.
Los Angeles Gladiators
This team started out stumbling but solidified over the year, growing into a very admirable team. Unlike the Spitfire, they started out a bit scattered in the season but grew in spades with the introduction of Fissure into their lineup. This team now consists of: Fissure, Bischu, iRemiix, and Void on tank, Surefour, Silkthread, Asher, and Hydration on the attack, and ending with Shaz and BigGoose on supports. This team has had their very good times as well as some bad ones. While they are consistent and a very good team, they seem to have issues with their LA counterparts recently. While they aren’t facing them first, they will face the Valiant if they win their quarterfinal match. This would probably be their biggest hurdle in this playoffs.
The Gladiators have a very good chance of making it into the semifinals, but their rivals might hold them back. Will Fissure lead them to even more glory?
While the Uprising has been falling down recently, their impeccable form in Stage 3 ended up securing them a playoff spot. This team still is the only team to have a perfect stage, and they hope to recapture that form for the playoffs. Their team now consists of: Striker and Mistakes on the attack, Note, Kalios and Gamsu on tank, and Neko, Aimgod and Kellex on supports. While this team has been of poor form recently, this is a new patch and they do have a lot more time to prepare than they did for Stage 4. This one month off could be their key as much as their downfall. It all comes down to their consistency with Striker and Gamsu.
Boston is a team I really have no idea on when it comes to predictions. Will this be the Boston of Stage 3 or of Stage 4?
Los Angeles Valiant
The second best team in standings and the best one in form; the Valiant are truly top tier. Their squad has focused on two things all season: consistency and teamwork. While they started the season with only one of those two, they’ve developed both and have won the Stage 4 title over the Excelsior because of it. With their team being seeded second in the overall standings, they get a bye to the semifinals; ending up facing the highest seeded winner of the quarterfinals. Their team consists of: Agilities and Soon on the attack, Space and Fate on tank, and Custa and Kariv on supports. This has been the squad that got them to a title, so I can’t see many changes happening. Besides that, this new patch is a big change for all teams, and this might be the crucial obstacle for the Valiant to overcome.
With their continued form, I can’t see the Valiant crumbling here, but weirder things have happened in previous playoffs.
New York Excelsior
The favourite to win it all, this New York team has to show that it’s controversial sandbagging in Stage 4 wasn’t for nothing. With the number one seed and the league’s first-ever MVP in their squad, they look to add another trophy to its case. Due to their seed, they get a bye to the semi-finals and face the lowest seeded winner of the quarterfinals. Their team consists of: Saebyeolbe, Libero and Pine on the attack, Mano and Meko on tank, and Ark and JJonak on supports. Everyone knows that this team has the capability to win the entire playoffs, and the patch seems to help them more than other teams. Libero was one of the major Hanzo players in the older competitive Overwatch scene, and this patch seems to make him a mainstay in squads. The only question left is: was Stage 4 a sign of weakness?
I can’t see them not making the Grand Finals, but whoever they face won’t make it easy for them.
The first matchup consists of the Philadelphia Fusion (6) vs. the Boston Uprising (3). These playoffs are different than previous ones, consisting of a best of three best-of-five matches.
I think that the Fusion are going to beat the Uprising 2-1 in matches. The Uprising, while having time to fix their issues, just aren’t as on form as the Fusion are. Carpe has the capability to carry, and he usually doesn’t fail his team. This means the Fusion progress to the semifinals versus the New York Excelsior.
The other quarterfinal consists of the London Spitfire (5) versus the Los Angeles Gladiators (4).
I think that the living ghost of Fissure will come to haunt the Spitfire, sweeping them 2-0. Spitfire just hasn’t been good enough to beat the Gladiators recently, and I don’t see that changing. This means that the Gladiators will end up playing against the Valiant in the ultimate battle of Los Angeles in a semifinal.
The first semifinal (according to my prediction) will be the Philadelphia Fusion (6) vs. the New York Excelsior (1).
I don’t see Fusion beating the Excelsior, as the New York squad has learnt their lesson from almost losing to them in Stage 2. New York will beat them 2-0.
The second semifinal will (again, probably) be the Los Angeles Gladiators (4) vs. the Los Angeles Valiant (2).
This is where I see an upset happening. With their impressive players and need for a win from their last battle for LA, I see the Gladiators beating the Valiant 2-1 in a very close game.
With my predictions, I see the New York Excelsior (1) playing against the Los Angeles Gladiators (4).
If this happens, I think the Gladiators would use all their power being the Valiant and wouldn’t expect getting this far. Therefore, I see the Excelsior beating the Gladiators 2-0, and winning the first ever season of the Overwatch League.
What do you think? Was I incredibly wrong? Was I close? Leave your comments below and enjoy the playoffs.
I wrote this as of July 10, and just ended up finishing it as of July 13. With this date change, some of the results have already come in. Luckily, they don’t seem to change my opinion of predicitons.
As of this finishing edit, the Fusion are 1-0 up over the Uprising and the Gladiators are 1-0 up over the Spitifire.