Around the OWL: standings up in the air after massive week of upsets
With the 2-2-2 role lock in play, it seemed like the amount of surprises we would get as spectators of the Overwatch League would start to dwindle given the rigidness of the meta. This last week of OWL action has done anything but legitimize that claim as Washington Justice, Chengdu Hunters and Atlanta Reign all pulled off convincing wins.
With their meandering form in recent weeks, the Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Valiant and Paris Eternal are all on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff positioning as all three teams are two games behind a surging Guangzhou Charge.
There’s something in the air
After Washington Justice’s clown fiesta series against the Florida Mayhem on Day One, it seemed like any and every series was up for grabs last week at the Overwatch League with many upsets going in favor of the underdog on a consistent basis.
Vancouver and NYXL were ultimately embarrassed at the hands of perceived ‘lower tier’ teams. And at this very moment, Atlanta Reign, Chengdu Hunters and Washington Justice find themselves at the top of a Stage Four standings with their excellent run of form thus far.
Does this impressive run mean anything long term? Probably not. Of the teams mentioned on their miracle run, the only one capable of sealing a solid playoff spot is Chengdu Hunters, and their improving form week by week has been an anomaly all season long. At this rate, Chengdu might be the hardest team to bet against in the opening round of playoffs given their erratic sets against teams this season.
With the other teams at the top of Stage Four rankings, both Atlanta and Washington have little to prove in prep for next year, but attaining these wins over top teams will give them just enough confidence to bump up their expectations for next year. Instead of wallowing in self-pity for their lost seasons, its good to see the lower half of the table rally together to still make their games worth watching regardless of whatever playoff implications are on the line.
Outside looking in
While the lower tier teams have started to pick up, the stagnant middle of the pack doesn’t seem to have that same spark. With tough losses in recent weeks, Paris Eternal and Dallas Fuel are on the brink of elimination if they can’t defy their strength of schedule in the coming weeks.
LA Valiant seem to have an easier road to 12th place given their Homestand is still just two weeks away. But even still, taking on their hometown rivals will be no easy task as they are needing to beat both LA Gladiators and SF Shock in the same week. At this point, it seems like the top twelve playoff spots have been locked down, barring any unforeseen upsets.
The streaky nature of teams such as Paris Eternal and Houston Outlaws have kept them out of the conversation of playoffs for one reason or another. At this juncture, there’s no real pathway for the rest of these teams to hit their mark unless one of the current top twelve teams takes a serious nose dive in the final three weeks.