The Stage 1 Playoffs for the Overwatch League will play out on Saturday, but there are still seven teams in the running for the three Playoff seeds. I will lay out the three games I think will be key to deciding which teams will survive the gauntlet and make it to the Playoffs.
There are only three days of regular play left in the Overwatch League, then the top three teams will face off on Saturday for $100,000. With seven teams still in the running, stakes are high as teams push to secure their place in the league or seek to disrupt the hopes of a top contender.
Did I mention? There are 43 Million possible outcomes!
As the video above mentioned, if New York Excelsior or London Spitfire lose two games, they are potentially out of the running. This is a very real possibility for London Spitfire who has to face the up-and-coming Houston Outlaws and the New York Excelsior.
Meanwhile, Seoul Dynasty has to win both their games if they want to guarantee their spot.
But the other four teams are hungry, and there is a real chance they will crack the armor of the top three and insert one of their own into the mix. With that said, let’s take a look at the top three games that will determine the Playoff contenders.
Seoul Dynasty vs. Los Angeles Valiant – Wednesday 2/7 at 8 pm PST
The Los Angeles Valiant is one of the seven teams in the running for the Playoffs, but they aren’t entirely consistent. This is the team that took London Spitfire to five maps despite losing in the end, and they won “The Battle for Los Angeles” against the LA Gladiators. But this is also the team that lost 4-0 to Boston and 3-0 to Excelsior.
On the other side of the coin, we have Seoul Dynasty who started out the season dominant only to struggle in weeks three and four. While the struggles came in the face of powerful opponents, the Dynasty now sits at a very precarious 6-3. If the 5-2 Los Angeles Valiant can dethrone them in Wednesday’s match, the door will be wide open for the rest of the contenders to take their shot at that third Playoff seed.
London Spitfire vs. Houston Outlaws – Thursday 2/8 at 6 pm PST
While the London Spitfire sits at a comfortable 7-1 at the top of the standings and 4-0’d the likes of Seoul Dynasty, it is worth noting that they are not untouchable. They have lost to the likes of Boston Uprising, had a close 3-2 match against the Los Angeles Valiant, and they sit neck-in-neck with the Houston Outlaws when it comes to maps dropped: 8 dropped maps to Houston’s 9.
Houston, on the other hand, saw two weeks of perfect 4-0’s in weeks two and three and took the Seoul Dynasty to a close 5 map game in a match where they didn’t have their star player Linkzr. If Linkzr is back on the roster in time for Thursday’s match, Houston could take the game off the London Spitfire, putting the Spitfire in a very dangerous position going into their match against NYXL.
Speaking of NYXL…
New York Excelsior vs London Spitfire – Saturday 2/10 at 11 am PST
If the London Spitfire loses their match against the Houston Outlaws, this match against NYXL will mean life or death for their playoff hopes. You see, ties in the standings are determined by total maps won during the course of the stage. If the Spitfire loses to both Houston and NYXL they could find themselves in one of those tie-breaker situations. This could be a problem, since they haven’t exactly won all their games with perfect 4-0’s, not even against the Dallas Fuel or Florida Mayhem. A tie-breaker could ruin their chances.
Of course, that is only one possibility out of 43 Million.
Regardless of whether or not Spitfire loses to Houston, this will be a match worth watching. New York Excelsior and the London Spitfire are both incredibly dominant teams who have not yet faced each other in the Overwatch League. Not to mention, this matchup could very well be a preview of what we can look forward to in the Playoffs if both teams make it through. It will be a battle of Atlantic titans worth tuning in for.
The First Stage of the Overwatch League Delivers
Regardless of which of the 43 Million possibilities come to pass, this week will be exciting to watch as the odds shift, hopes flicker, and playoff dreams are made real. Going into this season, some fans were worried that there would be too much of a skill gap between the teams to make for an interesting season. But now, as we sit on the precipice of the final week of Stage 1, seven teams are still in the running for playoffs and no one knows for certain how it will play out. It seems those fears can be laid to rest.
You can check out all the games at overwatchleague.com, and be sure to let us know in the comments which teams you think will win.