Overwatch League playoffs preview: can LA Valiant takeover the OWL come playoffs?
In a nail biter playoff series against LA Gladiators and New York Excelsior, LA Valiant solidified their place in the OWL history books with their performance over the weekend. The LA Valiant have become just the second team to overcome the NYXL in the final stage of playoffs. They head into the grand playoffs next month with high hopes of winning it all as the Pacific Division Champions.
Assessing the league
The final week of Stage Four was up in the air for many teams and it was Dallas Fuel and LA Gladiators that reaped the benefits of their opponents mistakes to make the final four. Seoul Dynasty and London Spitfire couldn’t keep it together down the stretch and cracked under the pressure.
For Dallas Fuel, it’s been a Cinderella style comeback for the blue & white as they continue to improve under their personnel changes. After a pretty public health scare and multiple roster issues during the season, Dallas Fuel are buoyed by Taimou and Seagull’s incessant playmaking. Even though their recent run of form has bred new life to the team, Seagull was hesitant to declare loyalty in a post-game press conference. The news comes as a slight shock to the Dallas Fuel organization as they will certainly look to entice their star player to remain under contract heading into Season Two.
The LA Gladiators enjoyed a fruitful map pool for Stage Four as Surefour regained his APEX form as one of the most fearsome Widowmakers in the league. Heading into the final stretch of the season, the goal for Gladiators will be to play to their strengths with the newly announced map pool. While certain teams like Boston and New York are heavily favored to win maps, LA Gladiators and Philadelphia Fusion will have lots of room to make up as they prepare for a grueling six map sets all the way to the Grand Finals.
Overcoming the odds
With all the headlines to be made given the bottom four seeds of the playoff bracket, the overarching storyline will be LA Valiant’s full head of steam heading into playoffs as they look to take the $1,000,000 cash prize.
LA Valiant made waves in Stage Four finishing the stage a perfect 10-0. Arguably more impressive than that was their dominant win over NYXL as they were able to take out their opponent in less than five games. The narrative for New York Excelsior from multiple sources this stage was one of ‘sandbagging’ i.e. to lose games on purpose to make the league more interesting, but after this rocky playoff series against Dallas Fuel and LA Valiant, it’s clear to see that the gap between the best and the rest is finally closing.
New York Excelsior are still without a doubt the squad to beat. Their depth in skill across the entire starting line up is akin to the Golden State Warriors with their multi-pronged threats. But LA Valiant have already put the blueprint together to usurp the OWL kings. As the playoffs get set to start July 11th, hedge your bets on consistency and star power as every single team in the brackets look for peak form when it matters most.