Photo by Robert Paul / Blizzard Entertainment
With Week 4 out of the way, we have the clearest picture yet of what the Stage 3 play-offs will look like, and it includes a few teams that last stage, you’d never have guessed would’ve made it this far.
On Thursday, we saw the Hangzhou Spark face off against the Los Angeles Valiant. The Valiant have recently come alive showing vast improvements since their 0-7 record in stage 1. With Custa back leading the charge and with additions to DPS like Shax and FCTFCTN as a main tank, they’re looking a lot better. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to net them the win against the Spark, but it was one of the more entertaining matches of the week with the map pool bouncing back and forth to a Game 5 where the Spark secured the victory. We also saw the Seoul Dynasty take on the Paris Eternal and walk away with the win, though the Eternal did manage to secure one map off the Dynasty. In one of the surprises of the week, the Chengdu Hunters took the San Francisco Shock to a Game 5 and pulled off the victory. Chengdu, who are known for their non-goats play and ability to get creative with the Wrecking Ball and DPS picks did show us a new leaf. With a little bit of adaptation, they were able to stand toe-to-toe with the Shock and ultimately come out on top. Ameng’s performance on Eichenwalde was of particular note where he got a great shatter and them 3 eliminations with a single fire strike.
Friday was the day of close outs and full sweeps as the Los Angeles Valiant came back on stage with a fire lit inside of them, putting the London Spitfire down 4 – 0. The other L.A. Team wasn’t about to be one upped by their brothers, so the Gladiators did the exact same thing to the Toronto Defiant in a 4 – 0 game. Fans of the Houston Outlaws watched with clenched fists as they nearly stumbled and gave up another win, but as close as it was they did managed to walk away with a 3 – 0 victory over the Washington Justice.
The weekend started off with a bang with the Dallas Fuel going against the New York Excelsior. The match started out in Dallas’ favor as they took the NYXL to town, but the Excelsior managed to rally back after halftime and take the reverse sweep. The Boston Uprising then took the stage against the Philadelphia Fusion, and both teams stayed neck-and-neck throughout the series. The game went the full mile, ending on Illios for the tie break, and after all three maps, it was the Fusion who walked away with the victory. They may end up wishing they had taken just a few more maps. The last two matches of the day were the Hangzhou Spark taking out the Mayhem in a full 4 – 0 sweep and the Shanghai Dragons against the Guangzhou Charge, which ended in Shanghai’s favor 3 – 1.
On the final day, we saw the L.A. Gladiators play against the Vancouver Titans. Despite the 4 – 0 win in favor, the Titans was still a great match to watch. The Titans finally started to feel out the new meta shift, specifically on Horizon Lunar Colony we saw a composition of 4 offense heroes and two healer which completely steam rolled the Gladiators. Every time the Glads had a chance to make something work, the Titans were just one step ahead. The San Francisco Shock gave the London Spitfire their second full sweep of the week. The Outlaws managed to barely pull off another win against the Toronto Defiant, but as is most of the Outlaws games recently, it was extremely close. Part of this can be attributed to the Defiant’s newest pick-up of Logix, his Widowmaker was hitting impressive kill after kill all match long. Finally, wrapping up the week saw the Chengdu Hunters drop the match 0 – 3 to the Seoul Dynasty.
At the end of the week, the Titans, Shock, Spark, Valiant, Outlaws and the Seoul Dynasty are locked in for the Stage 3 Play-Offs with the final slot likely going to either the Shanghai Dragons or the Philadelphia Fusion.
Check out our Overwatch and Overwatch League podcast – Low Team Damage!
Checkpoint Daily is Monday through Friday, starting at 5:00 p.m. ET, at Twitch.tv/CheckpointXP. Be sure to follow, turn on those notifications, and subscribe!