Around the OWL: week three recap
With the third week of Stage One completed, the playoff picture for the first installment of playoffs is starting to take shape and household names from last season have fallen way below expectations. Both the Los Angeles Valiant and the LA Gladiators suffered stinging defeats this week that put their playoff hopes in jeopardy. Atlanta Reign impressed with their dominant win over Paris Eternal, and New York Excelsior continue their unbeaten run as a clash of titans takes place next week.
Backs against the wall
With two losses added to their record this week, LA Valiant are virtually eliminated from contention in Stage One and they will need to be focusing on next stage to turn around their season. Valiant are a peculiar team this season. Last year their roster was known as one of the most consistent teams in the league. Rarely did LA Valiant ever lose a game to an opponent lesser than them on paper, but the blueprint of 2018’s team has been nonexistent this year.
LA Valiant is a special team in the sense that they are one of the few rosters actively getting worse each week. The miscommunications between tank lines and the rest of the team have only gotten more exacerbated with each week. There is an obvious philosophical issue at play between the players on this team that is preventing all of these solid players from meshing together as one cohesive unit.
Looking forward, LA Valiant will need to find the right player changes and hope that the Stage Two meta will be nicer to them than the GOATS era we are currently in. There is no doubt that LA Valiant have elite players on their roster. Fate, IZaYaKI, and KariV have all shown flashes of brilliance, but there is a lack of togetherness on this roster that puts them dead last on the standings at the end of Week Three.
Atlanta show their poise
Atlanta Reign had their best game of the season last week as they dominated Paris Eternal with a 4-0 sweep. Every game in that series showed some individual skill from Atlanta Reign’s roster that came to life in their clutchest moments. Masaa showed his prowess as one of the more crafty wall riding Lucio’s in the league. Pokpo really started to come into his own as the Main Tank staple of Atlanta, and Dafran remained a lethal threat on Zarya time and time again.
When all players on Atlanta Reign are firing, it’s hard to contain their playmaking ability. Each role has the potential to pop off if not focused adequately, and that kind of strength in numbers can prove vital against teams that are prone to choking. When Atlanta Reign have the right conditions to succeed, they can play meta game or off meta just as good as any elite Overwatch League team.
Can Paris make the cut?
Although Paris Eternal suffered a tough loss this week, they have only played three games total this stage. At the moment, they are one position away from the cut off for Stage playoffs, but there is a chance Paris make the grade by the end of Week Five. Paris Eternal find themselves in 9th place with four games still left to play in the following two weeks.
Next week Paris face two tough challenges in the form of LA Gladiators and San Francisco Shock. Paris likely have the pieces to put away LA Gladiators with relative ease, but much is left to be seen for their following match given SF Shock’s strength as of late. If Paris still find a way to make it 1-1 in Week Four, they can still finish with an above .500 record to round out the stage, and likely boost their playoff chances.