Team check: Overwatch League Stage 3 Week 1
With the second half of the Overwatch League season in the crosshairs, many teams within the league are making final adjustments as they push for playoff aspirations, while other teams are already starting their offseason plans for Season Three. Over the past two stages, the cream of the crop has risen to prominence as SF Shock, Vancouver Titans and NYXL have firmly set themselves apart from the pack, but that doesn’t mean their heights within the league thus far are out of reach. This week, we take a look at a few middle of the pack teams that may very well be on the cusp of greatness this stage, while also lamenting the failed team experiments that have missed the plot for lower seeded teams this season.
OWL Teams on the rise
The Atlanta Reign turned heads last Stage for being the only team to take two wins in successive fashion over NYXL. The feat, although impressive, was by no means a fluke as Atlanta Reign capitalized on small variables they knew NYXL would be vulnerable in. The synergy between this team has increased tenfold after their recent team drama involving Daco has subsided.Now that this team has settled into their roles and every player is more or less on the same page, expect Atlanta to do a lot more popping off this stage as they put themselves in contention for a playoff spot. Between Babybay, Erster, and Dogman, Atlanta Reign have the talent and depth on a variety of roles to frustrate any top team. Continuing that form against top teams this Stage will only further legitimize their place.
Chengdu Hunters have grown a bit of a cult following for their defiant play style in an otherwise frustrating meta for their team. Chengdu have found success over and over again once they have broken the GOATS meta mold and relied on their strength. While most of their team heavily relies on one another to secure these wins, the new addition of YangXiaoLong has done wonders for this team from a variability standpoint. And you can guarantee that this Chengdu Hunters team will only get more fun and cerebral as a roster once their synergy reaches a peak.
Seoul Dynasty had a tough Stage last month as they had to overcome a few top tier teams to be left one game out of Stage playoffs. While the heartache has been short lived, there’s still a few personnel issues that are keeping Seoul Dynasty from truly spreading their wings as a force to be reckoned with within the league.
Teams with better luck next year
The Houston Outlaws have been in shambles since the start of the season. After reports of their parent company having to sell their stake and lose certain funding for their Overwatch and LoL teams, you knew the battle for Houston would be uphill, but the run of results thus far has been abysmal to say the least. An 0-7 Stage run is unacceptable for any team, much less one with the standard that Houston Outlaws share.Florida Mayhem have shown glimpses of promise here and there this year, but those moments have been few and far between when looking at their rather inconsistent performances all year long. Last stage, Mayhem opted for a Chengdu-esque approach to their game as they focused putting their best players on their best heroes instead of adapting to the meta, and on certain maps they were able to succeed with these strategies. But again, the positive aspects of their play are often downplayed by the strength of everyone else within the league.
Washington Justice have made significant strides this season to not make them the laughing stock of the Overwatch League, but even still the damage to their season has likely already been done. Between the new Support line this team grabbed during Stage Two, and the continuing development of players like Corey into the forefront, Washington Justice could sneak a few wins off their opponents in the next two stages, but they’re better off prepping a budget for Season Three that can really make them compete.