Overwatch League is going into its first week of repeating hero pools
The Overwatch League is back and it will be the first time that we will get to see the effects of 2-week hero pools with D.Va, Sombra, Echo and Brigitte being banned for this weekend as well. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the meta will be stale as we saw a decent chunk of variety last week, with both dive compositions and double shield played a decent amount. Even unusual constellations like Winston/Orisa were on the menu. DPS chose Ashe/Tracer and Mei/Tracer as their default composition, with Baptiste/Zen as the backline.
Los Angeles Valiant vs Florida Mayhem
11PM CEST 5PM EST 2PM PST June 21th
Is the meta favouring the Valiant enough to break into the top 3 in North America?
Los Angeles Valiant (3-2, 55%): It’s a Valiant meta, my friends. Ashe/Tracer is right in the Valiant’s wheelhouse, Lastro is a monster on Zen and even their tank line looked fairly well adapted last week against an admittedly mediocre Justice. With the Mayhem looking well against the Fuel, this match is very likely to be a banger that might just go the full distance.
Furthermore, there are many duels to look forward to here with all eyes on Yaki and Shax going head-to-head. Sure, we’ll have to dip into more boring Mei variants here and there but both teams are likely to also be prepared enough to have a curveball coming.
Seoul Dynasty vs Guangzhou Charge
10AM CEST 4AM EST 1AM PST June 20th
Can the Dynasty win the battle against themselves?
Guangzhou Charge (3-1, 60%): NeptuNo is back and it couldn’t have been at a better time, with Chara’s signature hero Brigitte being banned. As many teams in the Asian region improved significantly, this boost is welcome. On paper, Nero and Happy should be able to stem Ashe/Tracer though maps, where a Mei switch is necessary, could prove difficult.
The Dynasty are still their unpredictable selves. It should be said that while the Dynasty lost to the NYXL in a clean sweep, the score betrays how close the Dynasty got before starting to beat themselves. On paper, the Dynasty has displayed a high enough ceiling to beat the Charge in this meta, but it’s questionable if they will be able to access it.
It’s a match that could theoretically deserve a match of the week nomination but I’ll be damned before I predict a Seoul series to be reliably great.
London Spitfire vs Chengdu Hunters
12PM CEST 6AM EST 3AM PST June 20th
How well did the Hunters use their extended break?
London Spitfire (3-2, 55%): Both teams are about evenly matched and are fighting against the title of the worst Asian team. The Hunters are back from an almost four weeks long break and had all this time to look at the developing meta compositions to come up with a counter. By the same token, rust could be an issue for the team. We saw teams experiment a decent amount with Hammond compositions with some success, so the theoretical opening for this flavour of dive is given.
London didn’t have much fun against the Dragons, who looked as crisp as ever and didn’t leave much on the table against the Spitfire. I still remain bullish on the emergent properties of this young team and if they can make Mei/Tracer work in their favour for the majority of the maps, then the Spitfire can take it home.
Hangzhou Spark vs New York Excelsior
2PM CEST 8AM EST 5AM PST June 20th
Just how good are the new Spark with QoQ and Architect?
New York Excelsior (3-1, 60%): The Spark’s recent pick ups should excite you. Both Architect and QoQ are massive upgrades and can hopefully be fielded immediately. The Spark feel once again at the quality of the team that they were in season 2, though their unfortunate reality is that a lot of teams in their region have armoured up.
One of those teams is the NYXL, who have impressively shown off Haksal against the Dynasty, with Mandu also becoming eligible to them. The latter might be underrated in the value he can bring to this team, having been part of the best GOATs back-line in Korean Contenders. Overall, the sheer skill of this roster is insane and can easily stand next to the best in the world, if not rank ahead of them. It will be on head coach IMT to bring them together.
San Francisco Shock vs Paris Eternal
9PM CEST 3PM EST 12PM PST June 20th
How good is sp9rk1e’s hitscan if needed?
San Francisco Shock (3-1, 65%): Yes, Paris is improved with sp9rk1e but we are still talking about the San Francisco Shock here. Until proven otherwise, they are the best team in the league and while they drop the occasional regular season match, they seem to have hit their stride enough to not wobble here.
The Eternal looked sloppy against the Uprising, which might have to do with them having to adapt to the new player influx playstyle. That said, their Genji shenanigans are unlikely to work against this calibre of team and we’ll have to ask who will be playing these positions in more default compositions. The answer of SoOn and sp9rk1e doesn’t really satisfy this need and until Xzi comes back, the team won’t have a full functioning lineup when two hitscan DPS are required.
Atlanta Reign vs Toronto Defiant
11PM CEST 5PM EST 2PM PST June 20th
Can the Defiant keep their veteran-honeymoon cool?
Atlanta Reign (3-1, 60%): The Reign haven’t had the most amazing season but they’ve beat most of the teams you expect them to which has put them at a 5-6 season score. With a lot to prove, the Reign enter the match against a revitalized Defiant who are still fighting for a play-in slot. A 3-0 against the Titans last week is not a bad sign but also not a particularly strong one either and so this match will provide a solid measurement tool for both teams.
Los Angeles Gladiators vs Houston Outlaws
1AM CEST June 21st 7PM EST 4PM PST June 20th
Can the Outlaws finally deliver in live matches?
Los Angeles Gladiators (3-1, 65%): In many ways, the Outlaws are a team where on-paper calculations fail. Judging by other team’s comments, they aren’t a bad scrim opponent, even though their season record wouldn’t have you believe that. I believe that the Outlaws would've had an easier time this year without hero pools, even if their pre-hero pool record says otherwise. While the usual methods of predicting form fail, we have to go by record and it isn’t pretty for the Outlaws.
The Gladiators come off a close win which should give them some momentum to firmly entrance in the upper half of the league. I doubt they will need cheeky one of Reinhardt plays at the hands of Cloudy to win this series.
Dallas Fuel vs Vancouver Titans
3AM CEST June 21st 9PM EST 6PM PST June 21st
Are the Titans slowly coming to their projected level?
Dallas Fuel (3-0, 70%): It’s unfortunate but there’s no other reasonable expectations for this match than a quick 3-0. While the Fuel lost last weekend, they didn’t look utterly lost and this Titans roster still has a couple of beats to take before they can reasonably be expected to be equal to any opponent not named the Justice right now. Maybe their development will be quicker than expected.
Guangzhou Charge vs Hangzhou Spark
10AM CEST 4AM EST 1AM PST June 21st
Just how lethal is Architect?
Hangzhou Spark (3-2, 55%): This match could easily reach match of the week status. For both of them, it’s a trap game with another match on Saturday, both have regained strength recently and are looking to fight themselves into tier 1.5 in Asia which now clearly is the better region. These two teams had battle for the mid-tier in the mid-season with the Charge emerging as the winner. The conservative pick here would be to go with the Charge again, but these new pick-ups, who I expect to see immediate and significant playtime, are huge upgrades for the Spark. It, admittedly, isn’t the greatest week for Architect’s theoretical hero pools, but I wouldn’t doubt him to have a nasty Ashe in his back pocket.
Chengdu Hunters vs Shanghai Dragons
12PM CEST 6AM EST 3AM PST June 21st
Can Chengdu drag the Dragons into the upside down?
Shanghai Dragons (3-0, 80%): Hah, no they can’t. Now that preparation is more feasible again due to 2-week hero pools, the Hunters would be well-advised to focus on the Spitfire this weekend. The Dragons even get the benefit of getting to watch the Hunters against the Spitfire a day before. There are few reasons we could field that help Chengdu in this match.
New York Excelsior vs London Spitfire
2PM CEST 8AM EST 5AM PST June 21th
Will we see NYXL’s back-ups Mandu and BiaNcA?
New York Excelsior (3-1, 75%): This could be another game in which New York goes exploring and fields some of their excellent rookies in Mandu and BiaNcA which might cause them to lose a map but other than that, this is another match that is unlikely to go in the direction of the underdog. New York appear to be the real deal with the potential to rival the Dragons. They aren’t going to fall here.
Boston Uprising vs Philadelphia Fusion
9PM CEST 3PM EST 12PM PST June 21th
Will there be another Chipsa sighting?
Philadelphia Fusion (3-1, 75%): Boston Uprising are on an upwards trajectory but they aren’t close to the top. The meta helps them a tad, as does probable underestimations of them by Fusion with another potential Chipshaha map but it should never get close here.
Washington Justice vs San Francisco Shock
1AM CEST June 22st 7PM EST 4PM PST June 21th
No question, just pain.
San Francisco Shock (3-0, 90%): I’m sorry but this is the best team of all-time against one of the worst teams in Overwatch League history. There’s no room for debate other than natural disasters impacting their play.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment