PREVIEW: Overwatch League Week 5 Will Set Up the Stage 1 Playoffs

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This is it, Week five! The final week before stage one playoffs. With a total of ten teams vying for the five remaining playoff spots this promises to be an exciting week of Overwatch! Can you feel the Hype?

Stage one has seen so many upsets, and near miss upsets that there doesn’t feel like there is a match you can lock down as a sure thing. But even if I can’t begin to hazard a guess at who will have made it when the dust settles, I’m will to take a crack at which matches will be the best to watch. And with only eight matches this week we are reminded that it’s quality over quantity, and there are some high quality matches here for sure.  Let’s look at the schedule.

All times are Eastern standard

With just a little help

Both the London Spitfire and the Seoul Dynasty are looking for that illusive playoff berth, but even with a win they may not get there. But to strengthen their chances of getting into one of those coveted spots the team that does win really needs to win big. It’s 4-0 or bust time. But it seems unlikely to happen as both of these teams have shown a lot of drive this stage, despite some ups and downs, and I don’t expect either to go quietly into the night.

The biggest question mark around Seoul is which team will show up. With them having experimented with their line up last game, to good effect against Washington, it will be interesting to see if we see the more aggressive team build centered around main tank Fissure, or the slower more deliberate build we saw this week.

Meanwhile, London has shown that if they play at the top of their game they should be able to put this one away. They need a big game out of Gesture, especially if they find themselves up against Fissure’s aggressive play style, and need Bdosin and Nus to keep have great games with textbook perfect ultimate usage so they can weather whatever storm Seoul throws at them.

Masters of their destiny

If the Dallas Fuel wins, they are in. If the Boston Uprising wins with a 4-0 result, they are in. Boston can make it with less than a 4-0 but other matches, such as London vs Seoul, come into play. Both of these teams have had a few ups and downs over the course of this stage, but both are coming off strong performances headed into this final week of stage 1.

Dallas won back to back games against Shanghai and if they can continue to show the strong team play they exhibited in those matches they have a good chance of clinching that playoff berth. They are going to be looking for big plays out of aKm on the Zarya, and OGE on the main tank if they are going to break through the rock solid tank line of Boston and claim their prize.

Boston will be looking to that amazingly cohesive tank line of Fusions and NotE to make some big plays, and for Fusions, to continue calling the shots that give Boston the edge they need. An exceptional showing from AimGod would certainly be helpful, as Zenyatta picks at the start of team fights would certainly make the match that much smoother for Boston.


Whatever will be…

The Atlanta Reign is the only team vying for a playoff spot that has two games in week number five. They face the Chengdu Hunters early in the week, and if they can win both of their games they are assured a spot in the playoffs.  They’ll be looking for Pokpo to anchor them down and for fan favorite dafran to cut some holes into Houston with as much high level Zarya play as he can muster.

Even if the Houston Outlaws win, they need a lot of things to go right for them to snag a berth, but none of the other games matter if they don’t walk away with a win here. Having squeaked out a 2-1-1 win against the Valiant to get here, it feels like a real uphill battle. I feel like map pool will be extra important here, as several of their best players can really shine if they get to play on maps that let them pull out some more niche picks.

They’ll be looking for Jake to perform his usual leadership role, but if things get strained he may fall through on them. And if the shot calling goes, team coordination is never far behind. And things could certainly get strained as Atlanta has shown it’s not afraid to think outside the box, and if Houston finds itself in trouble it’ll need to look to the likes of Jake, Muma, and LiNkzr to step up and right the ship.

And there it is. This week is going to be filled with all the drama that makes competitive play so addictive, and next Saturday can’t come soon enough. Hope everybody has a great time rooting for their favorites, and I will see you back here next Monday when we talk about how it all played out.

‘Til then, keep playing the point!