The Los Angeles Valiant are looking to secure top spot as they square off against two playoff hopefuls in the San Francisco Shock and Dallas Fuel in Week 5 of Stage 4 of the inaugural Overwatch Season.
Valiant still unbeaten
The Valiant have maintained their perfect record throughout Stage 4, predicated on consistency and team cohesion more than star power. Even with their unblemished record, the Valiant have by no means been completely dominant, with their first 4-0 of the stage coming just last week against the ever-inconsistent Houston Outlaws.
Doubters still remain for the Valiant, with a chance to qualm a few more should they enjoy solid performances against two teams that are desperate for victory. Look for Fate and SPACE to continue their quality play in the frontline as they aim to provide space and protection for the other members of the team.
Gladiators still close
The team looking to swipe top spot from Valiant are fellow Los Angeles side the Gladiators, who sit one game back of first place.
The Gladiators had a bizarre Week 4 that included back-to-back reverse sweeps of New York Excelsior and London Spitfire, with the Gladiators looking like a completely different team after each half-time.
The Gladiators’ lone defeat during this stage is to the Valiant, with hopes they can overtake their rivals given their lax schedule to close out the year that brings the 0-38 Shanghai Dragons and the free-falling Seoul Dynasty.
The Gladiators on paper are the better version of the Valiant, with more star power from the likes of Fissure, Hydration and Surefour, but they lack the consistency that Valiant possess, particularly from their Support line. Regardless of their final placing, the Gladiators will be a team to watch in the playoffs.
Fuel the surprise package
Continuing their astonishing run of form are the Dallas Fuel, who currently occupy the final playoff spot by a single map differential over the Philadelphia Fusion.
Dallas’ resurgence has been remarkable, with their success heavily predicated on the play of Mickie on Brigitte. Dallas utilise Brigitte far more than any other side, yet even with teams knowing exactly what they’re up against, the Fuel find a way to outmanoeuvre their opponents and secure victories.
The final week of play brings a mixed bag in terms of scheduling for the Fuel, given they have Seoul Dynasty but also the undefeated Valiant to deal with. Still, the fact that Dallas control their destiny in possibly making the playoffs this stage is an incredible feat in itself, with hopes that the team can snag the final playoff spot and make an impact from there.
Fusion waiting to pounce
Just a single map back of Dallas are the Philadelphia Fusion, who are looking to get back into the playoffs after missing out in Stage 3.
The Fusion have been one of the most peculiar teams throughout the Overwatch League, having incredibly high highs before falling back to Earth and struggling with incredibly simplistic issues.
The return of Eqo from injury saw the Fusion claim a 2-0 week in Week 4, with victories over both the San Francisco Shock and Seoul Dynasty. The concern comes from just how close the match with Seoul Dynasty was, with Philadelphia continuing their struggles with when to give up a fight. Countless ultimates have been wasted in attempts to prolong lost fights, with the Fusion appearing to lack proper shot-calling.
This is still the side that reached the Finals in Stage 2, with a chance to steal the final playoff spot from Dallas at the last possible moment. Philadelphia’s final two opponents are likewise two incredibly up and down squads; the Houston Outlaws and the London Spitfire.
The focus is on the final week of the final stage of the inaugural Overwatch League Season and the subsequent Title Matches, but teams also have one eye on the overall Season League Standings. New York Excelsior, Los Angeles Valiant and Boston Uprising have all qualified for the Championship Playoffs, but there is a lot yet to be decided.