As we head into another action-packed week of Overwatch League Action, let's take a look back to the storylines that have formed in OWL so far and predict how they will continue to develop.
Where is Dallas Fuel?
Dallas Fuel has probably been the most volatile team in the league so far, being convincingly crushed twice by the likes of San Francisco Shock and Guangzhou Charge while winning close matches against Shanghai Dragons, Seoul Dynasty and a weakened Philadelphia Fusion without Boombox. Sitting at a middle-of-the-pack position of 10th place, Dallas Fuel has to step up their performances if they want to even have a chance of making Stage Playoffs, and what better way to do it than to prove that their victory last week against Shanghai wasn't a fluke caused by an accidental C9. Dallas will be looking to advance their playoffs hopes in the opening match of OWL Stage 1 Week 4 against Shanghai Dragons again.
NYXL, Titans undefeated?
New York Excelsior and Vancouver Titans have done an extraordinary job this stage 1, so far winning every one of their games, with records 6-0 and 4-0 respectively. The latter has definitely been more impressive, with NYXL being one of the only two teams to have played 2 matches every week since the start of the season, the other team being Hangzhou Spark. One would assume, with the immense amount of preparation that the NYXL coaching staff had to do in a week for two games, that some slip-ups would occur and NYXL would maybe have dropped some games in such an intense schedule but yet, they held strong and has proven once again why they were the undisputed best team during the regular season last year. NYXL will be facing probably their toughest challenge yet, San Francisco Shock, who have had a great start to the season and though NYXL has already qualified for stage playoffs, they will be looking forward to cement themselves as the first team to have an undefeated record in OWL Season 2. Vancouver Titans, a new expansion team, chose to pick up the entire Runaway roster that had won Korea Contenders Season 2 2018 and this move has certainly paid off, with the newcomers clinching wins over OWL veterans of LA Valiant and San Francisco Shock. Despite only having 4 games, the Titans have fully made use of them to prove themselves as one of the forerunners for the stage playoffs. They will be looking to extend their undefeated record in Week 4, going against a Paris Eternal team that was utterly destroyed by Atlanta Reign last week and a Chengdu Hunters team that though have impressed fans with their DPS play, not so much with their results and their 2-2 record.
Last-season greats not so great
With how well most of the 8 expansion teams are doing so far in Overwatch League, there has been a drop-off in performances from last season's teams that were constantly at the top of the table. The main culprits are from Los Angeles, with LA Valiant and LA Gladiators a shadow of their former selves, at 0-5 and 1-4 respectively. LA Valiant was the top team in the later part of OWL season 1, with NYXL struggling with the meta moving away from dive, and were close to achieving a perfect 10-0 record in Stage 4 if not for a resurgent Dallas Fuel. LA Valiant did not have a very active pre-season, only acquiring a main tank player in the form of Kuki and after losing their star DPS player in SoOn to the all-European Paris Eternal, LA Valiant has looked lost throughout their games. Even though Kariv, their former Flex Support has stepped up to fill in the DPS void left by SoOn, nothing seemed to work for Valiant in their losses against new expansion teams Guangzhou Charge, Toronto Defiant, and Vancouver Titans. Valiant will attempt to turn their luck around this week against Houston Outlaws and Philadelphia Fusion. Despite already out of playoffs consideration, ending the stage 0-7 will definitely not look good for one of the best teams last season so they will have their pride to play for. LA Gladiators, unlike their counterparts, picked up a few players to bolster their firepower but so far, these acquisitions have not paid off. After a decent opening week which included a loss to Seoul Dynasty and a close win against San Francisco Shock, LA Gladiators have lost 3 games straight to Paris, London Spitfire and Hangzhou Spark. Despite Decay, one of their key players turning 18 and becoming eligible for their games against London and Hangzhou, it failed to make a difference and LAG now sit at the bottom part of the table in 17th position with a -9 map differential. The Gladiators will not have an easy time this week, with matches against the impressing expansion teams Atlanta Reign and Guangzhou Charge but if they were to replicate last season's success, this would be the week to begin.
Will Washington ever get a win?
With all the other 7 teams with at least 2 wins on the board, Washington Justice remains the only expansion team not to have won a single game in Stage 1. Thought this was expected even before the season started, Washington’s abysmal performances continue to disappoint their fans and those who thought that the genius of the head coach Wizardhyeong would be able to transform the seemingly weak Justice roster on paper to one to be feared, like what Crusty did on Boston Uprising last season. However, it seems like Wizardhyeong’s gamble of leaving NYXL, the number one team in OWL S1, to join the lowest ranked team now was a miscalculated one. Washington has to get some wins on the board this week, with comparisons to Shanghai Dragons in Season 1 looming in the horizon, but will not be easy against Seoul Dynasty and Paris Eternal.