Watch Out (S3W2): LA Valiant on the Rise as Boston Picks Up the Pieces

2018-04-05 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Well, it’s been a busy week for the Overwatch League. Last week’s games surprised just about everybody- that Valiant 4-0 against the Dynasty? Or Boston’s, against the apparently-struggling Outlaws? It looks like teams are getting a fresh start this stage, and that means big changes are on the horizon. It couldn’t come at a better time for some teams- or at a worse time, for others.  

Time to Take the Shock to In-N-Out

These two will be interesting teams to watch all stage long, especially after their Week 1 performances. The Valiant had a perfect week, which is to be expected when you play Shanghai and… wait, Seoul? Really?

Oh, how I miss you… Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Yeah, really. Seoul looked like a bottom-of-the-pack team against LA last Wednesday. Did the Valiant rise above the perennial playoff absentees, or did they just catch Seoul on a bad day? This game against San Francisco might tell us the truth of it all on Wednesday.

The Shock looked pretty good last week, too, with a 3-1 trouncing of the other LA team on the 4th. Beating both LA teams in a two-week span would send quite the message, but San Fran wasn’t perfect last week, and the Valiant can definitely take advantage of that. Their 0-4 slobberknocker against the Dynasty shows the Valiant some key weaknesses to exploit, and their new additions are clicking well. As a Fuel fan, I really miss Custa…

My prediction? The Valiant take this 3-1. Sinatraa v. SoOn (or Bunny, if he comes in) will be fun to watch, but I think the Valiant’s tank/support synergy is too strong to ignore. This could be a close one, though.

Uh Oh…

The Uprising looked like a whole new team last week, taking down the Stage 2 runner-up Philly Fusion and sweeping the Houston Outlaws in a match that was, frankly, painful to watch. Their first game of the week will be one to watch, not because it will be close- I don’t think it will be, though there’s the smallest chance we see Boston take a map or two here- but because it’ll be the first game after the Dreamkazper incident.

Get ready for a lot more of this. Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

I don’t want to focus too much on that here- we’ve covered it elsewhere, as has just about everyone else. Instead, I implore you to think about what the team is going to do with its roster sans star DPS specialist. Putting in Mistakes is the logical (and painfully ironic) choice here, but it remains to be seen if the young Russian’s performance will be on par with what the Uprising are used to working with, or (more importantly) if that performance will be enough to give New York any trouble.

New York had themselves a perfect week, putting on their standard clinic against Florida and London (yes, even a sweep against London is standard for New York in its current state.) Boston is a team with a little more unpredictability than London, though, and if they can manage to hold it together and get Mistakes in on some practice time this week, we could see some surprises.

My prediction? New York takes this 3-1 or 4-0. Boston could get lucky on Volskaya or Numbani, but Ilios (aka Pine’s Playground) and Junkertown (the Double-Sniper Showcase) will break the Uprising down.

Friday Night Fight

Both of Seoul’s matches will be worth watching this week, though I don’t know how much of a fight Dallas can give the Dynasty with another shuffling of tanks. This match, though, will be against a much more solid frontline.

Silkthread has gotten plenty of stage time lately. Will that be enough to stop Seoul? Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The Gladiators need to have a good week here, and make the most of both their games after a 3-1 loss to San Fran in week 1. Against Shanghai, the Gladiators should have no trouble. Here, though? Seoul may have stabilized enough to give them pause, especially after their wins against San Fran and (probably, I must admit) the Fuel.  

My prediction? This could be close, but I think Seoul will have enough momentum by now to show the Gladiators what they’ve got. The Gladiators are always upset-capable, though, especially with their hyper-flexible DPS line. This’ll be a 3-2, and while I’m leaning towards the Dynasty, it could go either way with ease.


Making an EQO-Push in This Semi-Final Rematch

This game should definitely impress, but I don’t know if it will be as close as the last meeting between these two teams. The Fusion are missing key playmaker EQO, who is still serving his suspension after making some racially disparaging remarks on stream. I hear they have another insane Genji player on the bench somewhere, though… Shadowburnt? Shallowburn? Oh, right, ShaDowBurn, that guy. You know, one of the best Genjis in the game. I guess he’ll do?

It was them, officer! They’re the ones who knocked me out of the playoffs! Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Philly might not even need to bring him in, honestly, though I wouldn’t say no if they did. Snillo and Carpe are getting better together every day, adding their names to the long list of insane DPS starter duos for the Fusion. With Tracer/Widowmaker being a strong duo on almost every map in this pool, things are looking sunny in the City of Brotherly Love. The Spitfire are looking to bring some of their signature overcast to the party, though.

London needs this week to be a good one. A 2-3 loss to the league’s resident anti-aircraft enthusiasts Houston and a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the squeaky-clean NYXL have London in tenth place in the stage right now, with a -5 map differential. That’s just after week 1, of course, but the Spitfire are still walking a narrow rope with all of these western teams hunting for a playoff spot. They need to establish a lead over their competitors early, or London will end up like Seoul- a strong team missing the playoffs when they need it most.

My prediction? Another close one here, but I’m gonna call another 3-2 upset for Philly. If London fields its B-team again, the Fusion will throw the boys in blue into their large hadron collider. (Note: Things thrown in a large hadron collider generally don’t do so well.)

Brandon Padilla
Brandon has followed competitive gaming since 2008 and has been featured several times in PCGamer Magazine, and has bylines with The Game Haus and Afterwatch. His mix of in-depth analysis and experienced opinions lends itself well to coverage of the Overwatch League.Follow Brandon on Twitter!
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