ESTNN’s Cole Ricke takes a look at the remaining games left in Stage 2 and gives his best playoff spot predictions for the teams that still have a chance.
Teams Guaranteed A Playoff Spot
With only one week left before Stage 2 ends, five teams have already secured their place in playoffs while others are still in contention. The teams that are guaranteed playoffs are:
- L.A. Gladiators
- San Francisco Shock
- Vancouver Titans
- New York Excelsior
- London Spitfire
Teams Mathematically Eliminated
With five teams guaranteed a playoff spot, we’ve also got five teams that are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Those teams are:
- L.A. Valiant
- Guangzhou Charge
- Washington Justice
- Houston Outlaws
- Florida Mayhem
The Remaining Ten and Thier Playoff Chances
That leaves us with ten teams that still have a chance, however small, of making it to the Stage 2 Playoffs of the Overwatch League.
We’re going to take a look at the remaining teams and their records, map differentials, and the number of games left and estimate their playoff chances! Let’s take an in-depth look at those remaining ten teams.
Record : 4-2
Map Differential: (+3)
Games Left: 1 (Florida Mayhem)
Dallas is one of our picks to make it into playoffs this stage. After coming off of a lively performance at their Dallas Homestand games, a struggling Mayhem roster will most likely only serve to buffer the Fuel’s map differential, and a 5-2 record is the magic number for several teams to snag a playoff appearance.
Map Differential: (-3)
Games Left: 1 (Seoul Dynasty)
The Spark are an interesting team in the playoff picture at 4-2. The interesting part of this conversation, however, is their negative map differential. If they can defeat Seoul, the map differential much less as there would only be (at maximum) two other teams that could have a 5-2 record. Since there are three playoff spots open, that 5-2 record would guarantee Hangzhou a spot. That said, defeating Seoul Dynasty is much easier said than done. The appearance and subsequent dominant play of new main tank Min-seo “Marve1” Hwang will make things very difficult for Hangzhou, but toppling this foe would reap them oh-so-sweet a reward.
Map Differential: (+6)
Games Left: 2 (Vancouver Titans, Hangzhou Spark)
Seoul has quite a long road ahead of them. Asking them to defeat Vancouver Titans and hand the Canadian team their first loss is quite the task, but if any team could do it right now, the new and improved Dynasty squad may be able to do it. If not, not all hope is lost for Seoul’s playoff chances. While losing a game means they can no longer finish with the much-desired 5-2 record, a 4-3 finish with a good map differential (preferably above +4) may be enough to solidify playoffs. That said, that also means the Dynasty would have to defeat the Hangzhou Spark. While more realistic than defeating the Titans, it’s certainly not a walk in the park. The Dynasty are not out of the woods yet, but playoffs are a very real possibility for this team.
Map Differential: (+2)
Games Left: 2 (Washington Justice, San Francisco Shock)
The Dragons look better in Stage 2 than they ever have before, but that may only be due to the strength of their opponents. Defeating teams like the Outlaws and the Mayhem is expected, but that may be just enough forShanghai. Defeating an already playoff-eliminated Justice would put them in prime position, even if they do have to play San Francisco afterward. Unfortunately, even if the Dragons go 1-1, a playoff spot is not guaranteed and they’ll need some losses from other teams to make it in. With a 1-1, however, they do put themselves in prime position. Honestly, both possibilities are unsurprising, and we can see it going either way.
Map Differential: (+2)
Games Left: 1 (Los Angeles Valiant)
Chengdu marks the start of the teams that can achieve a 4-3 record at best. This translates to teams that are not entirely in control of their own fate, and they’ll need help from other teams to squeek into the Stage 2 Playoffs. The Hunters will only qualify if one or two of the teams listed above them attain a 5-2 record. In the meantime, a swift victory over the Valiant would mean that the Hunters have a +6 or +7 map differential, and that would essentially guarantee the bottom spot if aforementioned teams achieve a 5-2 record. Long story short; the Hunters can make playoffs. Many are hoping they do, if for nothing more than to see just what crazy strategies they would employ in the playoffs.
Map Differential: +1
Games Left: 1 (San Francisco Shock)
Philadelphia has had a very predictable season thus far. Victories over weaker teams and losses to stronger teams have led the once #2 team in the league to become nothing more than a mediocre team with results that make the average fan go, “Hmm, makes sense.” With a game against the Shock left, it is hard to imagine a world where the Fusion can qualify, especially with a 3-4 record.
Map Differential: (-7)
Games Left: 2 (L.A. Gladiators, Washington Justice)
With the exception of a 5-map series that resulted in a loss to the Hangzhou Spark, the Boston Uprising has had some tough losses to some very strong teams recently. That said, Boston’s two victories were against middle-tier teams in reverse sweeps, meaning their map differential has suffered immensely. If it comes down to map differential to determine who makes playoffs (which is a definite possibility), Boston may have hurt themselves a bit too much. If they miss the playoffs due to that, those hard-fought victories aren’t as miraculous anymore
Map Differential: -4
Games Left: 1 (New York Excelsior)
The Atlanta Reign have looked weak since Dafran left, losing games to teams that many fans thought were much less talented than they are. The criticism was focused on new pickup Andrej “babybay” Francisty, and particularly about his Zarya play. A victory over New York Excelsior in NYXL’s first regular-season loss in Season 2, however, gave fans a new breath of life. Even with yet another miracle victory, a 3-4 record does not look like it will be enough to qualify for the Stage Playoffs. Atlanta will have to hope for teams with a 3-2 record or 3-3 record to drop their games to have a fighting chance at a spot.
Map Differential: (-4)
Games Left: 1 (Toronto Defiant)
Paris used this stage to figure out what they needed to do in order to establish themselves as a fighting team. In exchange for that, they did not exactly focus on making the playoffs and instead used it as rebuilding time. Paris switched out main tanks and flex supports, and neither of their options looked particularly amazing during the early parts of the stage. When the team settled on their core six, things seemed to improve, but not in time for the playoff push. Next stage, however, be sure to look for a revitalized French roster.
Map Differential: (-9)
Games Left: 2 (Vancouver Titans, Paris Eternal)
To be honest, we’re astounded that there is still a mathematical chance that the Defiant qualify for playoffs. They would need to win 4-0 in both matches and hope for Shanghai, Chengdu, Philadelphia, and Seoul to lose all their matches, but it is possible. Unfortunately, possible as it is, the first opponent they would need to demolish is their Canadian counterparts in the Vancouver Titans, an undefeated monster of a team that has not lost a single series since they came into the Overwatch League. A more likely victory can occur with the Paris Eternal, but Toronto would need both wins to even have a chance. It would be truly insane if we saw Toronto in playoffs again this stage, but Defiant fans should not be holding their breath.
Images VIA: Blizzard Entertainment, The Overwatch League, & Nicholas Johnson for ESTNN
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