There’s a lot to consider as we approach the halfway point of the stage- I know, already, right?- and the playoff picture might start solidifying right here, right now. These matches are gonna be great! But which ones will be the greatest? Well, I’ll tell you.
LA v. LA
If our last same-name battle was any indicator, we’re in for a hell of a game between the Valiant and the Gladiators on Wednesday. The game was close then, and the gap between the teams has closed in my eyes. Fissure brings an aggressive unknown into the mix for the Gladiators, and the rest of the squad are no slouches, either. I expect a slugfest at every role, and another close finish- though the final winner will be anyone’s guess!
Players to Watch: Fissure is shiny and new, and I don’t fault anyone who wants to keep their eye on the former Spitfire this week- but my eyes are gonna be set squarely on the Gladiators’ DPS corps. Surefour and Asher will have to keep up with Soon’s ridiculous hitscan skill, and Hydration will most likely have to watch out for Kariv- though that second DPS spot for the Valiant is never a guaranteed lock for any of their myriad talents.
PHI v. SEO
Sure, the Fusion got their lights knocked out by London last Saturday. But that doesn’t mean they’re out of this race- not by a long shot! They knocked down the crowd-favorite Outlaws on Thursday in what may have been the closest match we’ve ever seen, and still have EQO burning a hole in their pocket. His brief stint on stage was quite successful, and while he took last week off, he might yet see some time against the Dynasty. Speaking of, Seoul has been looking solid, taking a pair of 3-1’s against Dallas and the Gladiators last week. 3-1’s aren’t 4-0’s, though, and it’s clear that Seoul are good, but not perfect. If Philly can find the holes in their armor and poke, they’ll make a much more convincing argument when we start talking playoffs at the end of the week.
Players to Watch: I hope EQO plays! I love ShaDowBurn, but there’s just something special about that guy. He has a style all his own, and it’s clear that the mystery he provides can give Philly an edge when they use it right. Regardless of who plays in that projectile DPS role, Ryujehong will need to keep one eye open if he wants to help his team hold second place. Not that he’s ever had a problem with that, really.
DAL v. FLA
At 9th and 11th place, respectively, Dallas’s tilt against the Mayhem on Saturday isn’t exactly the highest profile match out there. Even so, I have a feeling we’ll get some entertaining matchups when the two finish off the week. Both teams desperately need some stability, and a win here would definitely help establish a foothold to push off from as we approach the end of the stage.
Dallas seems to be approaching a consensus on their starting 6, but never rule out some experiments from the Fuel. I don’t think the Mayhem’s new players are ready just yet, so I imagine we’ll see their same old six- but that lineup has been doing pretty good lately, even if their record doesn’t show it. This could go to the wire!
Players to Watch: Whoever is playing Roadhog against Manneten’s is going to have their work cut out for them. Mickie and Taimou are both fantastic ‘hogs in their own right, so the hooks will fly all game long if we’re lucky. If Taimou sticks to his new main tank role, though, it’ll be interesting to see how he squares up against Cwoosh, who’s definitely gotten comfortable in the role.