OWL Week 5 Preview: Can Dallas Fuel secure a stage four playoff spot?
With one week left of Overwatch League action, Los Angeles Valiant are looking to finish strong and become the second team to finish 10-0 in a stage. With Dallas Fuel continuing their new run of form, they still face stiff competition as Houston Outlaws and Philadelphia Fusion jostle for fourth place.
Looking for perfection
It’s been a steady stream of progress for the golden knights of the Overwatch League. The Los Angeles Valiant continue to build a head of steam with dominant wins over seemingly superior opponents. In two successive weeks they have taken matches off of London Spitfire and New York Excelsior and the confidence from those key wins have reached a high point.
Going into the final week of stage play, LA Valiant are on the verge of perfection if they can pull off wins over San Francisco Shock and Dallas Fuel. A win over SF Shock seems likely given Valiant’s recent run of form. San Francisco Shock currently sit at 4-4 with stellar play from DPS duo sinatraa and BabyBay. The consistency of LA Valiant is potent enough to take their high-performing players out of the zone.
The matchup for LA with even higher playoff implications comes against the surging force of Dallas Fuel. The new head coach for Dallas has enjoyed his fair share of exposure since his team’s miraculous turning of the page from dismal Stage 2 and Stage 3 performances. Winning against any team in the OWL is tough, but the newly reinvigorated Fuel have that extra bit of flair that will make every single map between Valiant and Fuel a contestable one.
Regardless of results in Week 5, Valiant have secured first round byes for the grand playoffs as they sit in firm control of first place for the Pacific division.
Sprinting to the finish line
The three way melee soon to take place between Dallas, Houston and Philadelphia will be the biggest storyline to watch this week. Even though Dallas Fuel are firmly out of contention for a grand playoff finish, the need to finish strong is on the minds of every player as the final week of regular season action takes place.
Dallas Fuel have fought through a litany of personnel changes and roster moves en route to their dismal Season One placing. The head coach replacement of KyKy has done wonders for Dallas as Aero has given his team a solid direction to follow. This implementation of structure has been the key ingredient to put this already stacked roster in gear, and the results speak for themselves.
Dallas Fuel have the ability to grab 4th place if either Houston or Philadelphia drop both games. They will have their hands full against the LA Valiant, but a win over the struggling Seoul Dynasty seems likely given their 2-6 stage run so far.
Even with Houston’s sloppy play and lack of inspiration in this final Stage, there is no shortage of incentive to perform as the Outlaws sit two games away from playoff contention. The head to head against Philadelphia Fusion will be hotly contested, but the Outlaws suffer from schedule rigidity as they also face a fuming New York Excelsior on Friday.
While Houston may have a better overall roster than Philadelphia on paper, the star power in Philly keeps going strong as Carpe will look to rally the troops in the final week of the regular season. Carpe is arguably the frontrunner for MVP this season if it wasn’t for his team’s instability. Nonetheless, the Korean DPS starlet continues to wow the crowd and baffle the shoutcasters with his never-ending highlights on Widowmaker and Pharah.
Expect a heated set of matches on Wednesday and Thursday as Houston, Dallas and Philly all jostle for fourth place in the stage. As long as Seoul and Houston drop a game this week, Philadelphia Fusion will almost surely secure playoff contention for the grand playoffs later in the month.