With the final slot confirmed thanks to Valiant’s first map win against the Fusion today, we now know our four playoff teams: Boston Uprising, New York Excelsior, Los Angeles Valiant and the Los Angeles Gladiators.
Boston is the favorite…
Thanks to their undefeated 10-0 streak – something that’s never happened in a stage before – Boston are the quick favorites to take home the title. They’ve beaten all other teams and the majority of them at least twice, save for the Shock, Dynasty, Houston and NYXL, whom they’ve beat once each. Their losses, obviously, were in previous stages.
Boston also has a record of pulling out wins when going the distance on matches, with all but three of their Stage 3 matches going to Map 5. This could come in handy when playing matches back to back in the same day, as other teams might not be as disciplined should they move onto the finals.
… but don’t count out the rest, especially New York Excelsior
For the first time, NYXL does not have the top seed at the end of the stage. For many, however, that’s arbitrary -with such a massive lead over the rest of the crowd, NYXL has only needed to be in playoff contention, not necessarily dominating at every turn. Expect NYXL to certainly not go down without a fight come the playoffs, now that there’s more than just seeding on the line.
For the record: NYXL won Stage 2 and got second in Stage 1. They’re currently the team with the most prize money earned to date ($125,000).
Battle for Los Angeles?
The Gladiators teased it minutes after clinching their playoff spot in some banter with the Valiant on Twitter; however, while the setup is happening, the actual battle is not. Uprising has chosen the Gladiators to play in their semifinal. For them, it’s the smartest move: neither LA orgs have beaten the Uprising this season, though both teams had the same record the two times they played (4:0 in Stage 1 and 3:2 in Stage 2). With the Gladiators just barely making it to the playoffs, however, the Uprising simply chose the lowest seed.
Neither the Gladiators nor the Valiant have won against NYXL either in the history of OWL. If either Los Angeles team wins against their opponents, it will be considered a major upset by the majority based on previous performance and records.
Uprising’s President of Gaming, Chris “HuK” Loranger, seemed to be aware of this: he said the team needed a “warm up” before the final, resulting in their Gladiators decision.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) May 6, 2018
If they do manage the upset and play each other in the finals, things could be very interesting. The Gladiators have only won one of the four games they’ve played against Valiant in the history of OWL, with GLA sweeping VAL 0-4 in their Stage 2 bout. Their Stage 3 match was a close one, too, with Valiant edging out a 3-2 victory against the Gladaitors.
To top it off, considering the teams are playing in LA for LA… it could very possibly be the most hype game of the season, should the upsets occur in the semifinals.
The playoffs start tomorrow at 4:00 PM EST with the Gladiators vs Uprising. Immediately after that, the Valiant will take on the NYXL. The winners of those matches will move onto the title match, where second place will receive $25,000 while first place gets $100,000 and the title of Stage 3 Champions.