Overwatch League Stage 4 Week 3.5: Eye of the Storm

Ashley Parrish
PC Gaming Overwatch
PC Gaming Overwatch

There are only two weeks left in the Overwatch League regular season and a mere handful of spots left in the playoffs. The Vancouver Titans and the New York Excelsior have secured the number 1 spot in their divisions this week while the Shock, the Gladiators, the Spark, Dynasty, and Spitfire have confirmed their attendance if not their specific spots. Houston, Washington, Florida, and Toronto have been mathematically eliminated leaving the other 9 teams scrambling for the last 5 spots.

But despite the high stakes and the low number of remaining places, this week of games felt oddly boring, in the way the peaceful eye of a hurricane could be boring. There were a few bright spots though in the Guangzhou Charge and Washington Justice.

The Guangzhou Charge has been the team to fear in these last two weeks. They’re 5-1 this stage and they’ve been slowly creeping up the ladder aided greatly by this new meta change. On Thursday, in the match against the Seoul Dynasty, they turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 win. It’s a shame the most exciting match in the week came so early. Though Guangzhou won, the Dynasty didn’t fold over completely after the second half. The last map, Lijiang Tower, should be archived in the Overwatch League Hall of Fame for one of the most impressive back and forths between two teams I’ve ever seen.

Like the Charge, the Washington Justice are riding the 2-2-2 wave into new heights. They won both their matches last week against Boston and Houston, ending the latter’s hopes for a playoff run for good.

There are two weeks of games left with nine teams competing for five spots. We can see each teams’ chances displayed in this handy graph courtesy of Overwatch League stats czar @captainplanetOW (excluding Houston who has been eliminated by the time of publication).

Let’s take a look at the remaining teams, their upcoming matches, and what they need to do to make it in.

Seoul Dynasty/Shanghai Dragons

Both teams are near guaranteed to make it in. Both teams suffered unfortunate defeats that further close the playoff window on them. Both teams play each other this week. And! Both teams are evenly matched. You have as much chance to predict a coin flip as you can this game. And like a coin flip, it could go either way.

Philadelphia Fusion

The Fusion is coming off an 0-2 week with their last match of the season against Seoul. They haven’t yet faced the Dynasty in the regular season, but a loss would put them at 14-14 and knock them out of the play-in cutoff. They didn’t look particularly healthy against an already anemic Eternal so here’s hoping they bring their A+ game against a team who is experiencing a bit of a late-season second wind.

Atlanta Reign

Earlier in the season, the Atlanta Reign made their case for being one of the best new expansion teams not named the Vancouver Titans. Now they’re sitting precariously in 11th place with a schedule that puts them up against Washington and London, two games I don’t see them winning. They better PRAY for a Chengdu slip-up to keep them in the play-in cutoff.

Guangzhou Charge

This team embarrassed the New York Excelsior so badly their coach had to make the excuse they were ‘experimenting’ to explain why they were only able to put up one measly point in a four map game. Whatever New York’s excuses, the Charge is on the come up, full steam ahead, with absolutely no sign of fatigue. With an easy match against the Fuel this week, their spot in the play-ins is comfortable if not wholly assured.

Chengdu Hunters

They’re in 12th place on the cusp of being eliminated from the play-ins and have the poor fortune of playing San Francisco this week. And we all thought pandas were lucky. They’re going to slip out of the play-ins (giving the Valiant a chance to take their place since they have an easy week playing only Boston) and will have to rely on better luck against the Outlaws and other teams losing.

An astute reader, or your typical LA Valiant fan, will notice I didn’t mention them or Dallas in my playoff calculations. This was on purpose. With the Valiant, Uprising, Fuel, and Eternal on the furthest end of the possibility ladder, I figured their chances were too far outside of consideration. (Plus I’ve got a word limit.) But before you bring your gas cans and valkyries to my door let me just say of course, there’s still a chance. Paris, at a dismal 0.3%, did beat Philadelphia to keep their hopes alive, but at this point even if these teams win out they’re also counting on other teams to lose out in order to still have a chance. As such, it’d be best to put them aside… for now. After all, this is Overwatch: the worst team in the league is currently undefeated, anything can, and likely will, happen.