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It’s the last week of the stage, so these matches are both awesome and extremely important for the playoff picture on Saturday. But which ones matter the most? Why, I’ll tell you. Just keep reading.
VAL v. SEO
Wednesday, February 7th, 8pm Pacific
The Valiant once again come a-knocking on the top three’s door, this time against the third place- and it still feels weird that they’re third place- Seoul Dynasty. Seoul needs to come back in a big way in week 5, as Houston and Boston have joined the Valiant as teams who could very well upset the podium going into Stage 1 playoffs on Saturday. LA, meanwhile, will need this win- and their win against Shanghai- to come close to Seoul in the current standings. Map differentials are also key, so they’ll need to do it in as few maps as possible to stay in the hunt. The Valiant don’t exactly look consistent, though- they 4-0’d Philly last Wednesday, but then proceeded to get shutout by Boston on Saturday. Which one of those will we see when the Dynasty brings their considerable might to bear?
Players to Watch: If Seoul tries their split practice strategy again- where one side of the team prepares for the matchup against LA, and the other against San Fran- I would assume that the Valiant will be facing the stronger side. As such, I have a feeling we’re gonna have quite the fight on our hands- and with Pharah centric maps like Oasis and Eichenwalde in the matchup, keep an eye on Fleta and Agilities. The latter showed that he can duke it out with the best of them against Dreamkazper last week- but Fleta is Fleta.
LON v. HOU
Thursday, February 8th, 6pm Pacific
The Spitfire were a perfect 8 for 8 on maps last week. Half of those were against Shanghai, which is kind of a wash, but the other four… that’s a whole ‘nother story. Shutting out the Dynasty might be the biggest statement in the (short) history of the League. If Houston can make something happen on Thursday, though, that record might not last too long. They’ve been on quite the streak, and came close to beating Seoul themselves last Friday. Standard parity would have you believe that Houston stand no chance here, but if Jehong believes in them, well…
Players to Watch: Who is London even gonna throw out there? They always make this section of my articles so difficult. The ex-GC Busan boys looked great last week- not that that guarantees they’ll start this week. London is having great success by experimenting and keeping their opponents on their toes- but maybe they’ve found a winning combination? Will it even matter, with Linkzr coming back into the fold?
GLA v. DAL
Friday, February 9th, 4pm Pacific
While this game certainly lacks playoff implications, I have a feeling it’ll still provide some important insight on these two teams’ trajectories as we approach Stage 2. The Gladiators have had flashes of brilliance and some extraordinarily close games with top contenders. A loss here would be quite the fall from upsetting Philly and nearly doing the same to the Valiant. On the flip side, a win for the Fuel would be a fantastic way to cap off the stage. Dallas has entered a rebuild phase in a big way, but it’s shown promise, and the team is honing in on how to win- a bit too slow for my taste, perhaps, but hey. Progress is progress. Provided they don’t lose against the Dragons (please, guys? I’m running out of hair here,) finishing the stage 3-7 would at least be something to be proud of, both for the team and for its fans.
Players to Watch: Provided Dallas stays on the EnvyUs train for the foreseeable future, Taimou will need to plant more deeply into his role as in-game leader to rally the team in this important matchup. He’ll also need to click on some heads and/or faces.
To keep that from happening too often, iRemiix and Bischu will need to bring all their defensive might to bear- otherwise they’ll soon have no one left to defend, especially with Effect bouncing around getting triple kills all over the place.
HOU v. BOS
Saturday, February 10th, 1pm Pacific
In perhaps the most important match of the week for the playoff picture, the Uprising will need to continue their winning ways against a back-to-full-strength Houston squad that has only one thing on their mind. It remains to be seen if Houston will be able to topple London, but if they do, it’s hard to think they could lose against Boston. How often have we heard that, though, only to see Boston kick the tar out of whoever was supposedly in their way? With DreamKazper and STRIKER on an absolute tear, anything is possible- unless Linkzr and Jake say otherwise, I suppose.
Players to Watch: Neko and Kellex will have their hands full keeping their DPS alive, but I’m sure they’ll find some time to throw some pot-shots Rawkus’s way. They’ll need to make a fight of it in the backline to come out on top against Houston’s calculated frenzy.
A Conclusion (for now) and a Humble Request
Watch Out! has certainly grown well through this stage of the Overwatch League, and I want that to keep happening as we approach Stage 2!! Please let me know on Twitter what changes or improvements you would make to the series- I’m always iterating to give you guys the best content possible. Stay tuned for more Overwatch updates and news here on Overwatchscore!