The clock is ticking, and very fast now. As I sit writing this, the playoffs for stage 1 of the Overwatch League are just an hour away. While this has been an absolutely thrilling and close-matched season, I think there are some clear contenders who will rise to the top of the pack in the stage 1 quarterfinals this weekend. Here are my picks- who are you with?
Match 1: New York Excelsior vs Seoul Dynasty
Win prediction: New York Excelsior
The NYXL are just too good this year, and they’ve already established a pretty dominant victory over Seoul in week 3. As much as I want to root for Seoul here, I just don’t think they’re steady enough yet to overcome the NYXL. As much as we all respect Ryujehong, he’s going to have to work if he wants to overcome JjoNak. And, let’s be honest here- I am dying to see NYXL and the Titans go head to head at last.
Match 2: Boston Uprising vs Vancouver Titans
Win prediction: Vancouver Titans
I expect this to be an outrageously good match. The Uprising have really pulled it together these last few weeks. The role by role matchups look very close here. Twilight (Titans) has been the Zenyatta to watch, and I think he’ll find an excellent challenge in Aimgod. I do think Bumper (Titans) has a slight edge over Fusions on Reinhardt, however. This one may well go to five maps, and each one of them will probably be tighter than the last. However, I think Vancouver is just looking nigh unshakable at this point.
Match 3: Atlanta Reign vs Philadelphia Fusion
Win prediction: Philadelphia Fusion
This one is going to be close– definitely one of the tightest match-ups we’ll see all season. I think a lot of this will come down to how well Philly is able to adapt to some of the bizarre, off-meta strategies Atlanta has been pulling out lately. Atlanta may pull off a map or two, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this series go to a tiebreaker map, but I think Philly will pull through in the end.
Match 4: San Francisco vs Toronto Defiant
Win prediction: Toronto Defiant
I want to give this one to the Shock, I really do, but I think Defiant may get it. We’ve seen Defiant really adapt and grow this season, and they’ve managed to pull off wins against some seriously tough teams. They did fare slightly better than the Shock against NYXL (they both got trounced, of course), and it’s no secret that they’ve modeled a lot of their play off New York’s seemingly unkillable strats. Now, if anything can really shake up this match, it’ll be Shock’s Zenyatta ace, Viol2t. Defiant’s Neko is impressive, but Viol2t is competitive against JjoNak. This should be a really interesting matchup.
How do your predictions for the stage 1 quarterfinals match up against mine? Be sure to tune in to the playoffs on the Overwatch League Twitch channel to see how we measure up!