Week 4 is the birth of some stories and the potential death knell of others.

18:30, 28 Feb 2020

Overwatch League rolls into Houston, Texas this weekend for the Outlaws’ first homestand of the season. While the home team is struggling, the Atlanta Reign finally is given a chance to debut what they’ve been working on in the offseason against opponents who are going to check them at every turn. And to top it all off, the Mayhem gets to finally return to the scrum as they look to improve their 1-1 record against opponents who our analysts say are beatable. With that in mind, let’s dive straight into the predictions for the week.

Match of the Week: Paris Eternal vs Atlanta Reign @ Houston
(15:00 EST 12:00 PST 21:00 CET)

Y: Atlanta (3-1) This match could be close and if it does, then we’d have to rethink our perception of Paris Eternal as a team. The French team has looked impressive with the perceived talent at their disposal and a stacked coaching staff seemingly doing some real work. Whether or not it’s an advantage to not be rusty on stage or it’s better to not have footage of yourself out there will decide how close this series becomes. Solid potential to be the most high-level match of the week.

V: Atlanta (3-1) I expect Atlanta to just be too prepared. Paris does look uncoordinated at times and, to be fair to the Eternal, they have looked better, but things are still coming together for them. If by chance ATL doesn’t perform well on Saturday, then this could be much closer, but I don’t see a world where they bottom out against Paris. Something has to go horribly wrong. Sharp and/or Edison should be enough to put Xzi away. 

February 29th.

New York Excelsior vs Florida Mayhem @ Houston
(15:00 EST 12:00 PST 21:00 CET)

Yiska: New York (3-1) The NYXL doesn’t look like a team that’s among the elite in this meta. WhoRU’s Mei leaves a lot to be desired and they’re making uncharacteristic mistakes. If the Excelsior is trying to reinvent themselves to find a new identity that can win a title, they deserve the time to test the waters. That said, this will make the series against the Mayhem reasonably close, especially if Saebyeolbe was to start over Nenne again.

Volamel: New York (3-1) This match is going to be closer than people think. NYXL only have one game this week, but we haven’t seen them play against anyone with weird compositional choices to test how prepared are they at big picture changes. Also part of their strategic repertoire is Dive and Mayhem’s Lucio-less style gets in the way of that. NYXL’s match against Philly cemented the idea that they are a great post-half team. Therefore, I see NYXL dropping Control, looking shaky but still able to win map 2 and sealing the deal with a much more decisive and clean second half. 

Toronto Defiant vs Atlanta Reign @ Houston
(17:00 EST 14:00 PST 23:00 CET)

Y: Atlanta (3-1) We don’t know what kind of level we can expect from Atlanta yet and we’ve had ample reason to believe that scrimbux doesn’t necessarily translate into regular-season matches. However, the Atlanta Reign come prepared and likely will have a practice edge with plenty of tape of Toronto’s past games. Pound for pound, ATL are some heavy hitters and have the edge too. We’ve seen the Defiant bring it to the Fusion, but I believe the Reign will show themselves to be a tier above the team from the big apple and maybe even the Philly bunch. 

V: Atlanta (3-2) Even though we haven’t seen the Atlanta Reign just yet, their roster and former placings should speak for themselves. This is a top team that has just been sitting in the wings, waiting to debut. While I think the Defiant are going to complicate things with their diverse compositional choices, Atlanta should be well studied and prepared. 

London Spitfire vs Houston Outlaws @ Houston
(19:00 EST 16:00 PST 01:00 CET)

Y: London (3-2) In my mind, the Spitfire is a tier above the bottom of the barrel and about on par with the Justice. While transitive property rarely gives any good insights, (especially in a meta as stylistic as this one,) gameplay fundamentals London has displayed were marginally but clearly more solid than Houstons. On the other hand, the Outlaws are playing at home and have likely largely recovered from their illness, which should see a rise in performance, which may make the series close. The Spitfire has shown staying power in the series against the Justice and can bring a 5th map home. It’s questionable if one can necessarily attribute the quality of being a notorious map 5 chokers to a team with as many changes as the Outlaws, but the only tie-breaker match they made it to, they lost again this season. 

V: Houston (3-2) Now I know that looks crazy, but hear me out. The Toliet Bowl was a wake-up call. A match so terrible, it went to map 7 in a first to 3. The Outlaws are well-rested, well-practiced, and with optimism high, I’m going to give the slightest edge to Houston at home. Now, London has not looked consistent, period. Glister provides a serious threat that can be the difference-maker, but rewatch their match against Paris. When he gets shut down, they get very flustered and look fragile. I expect a decisive and healthy Outlaws to see this and abuse it. Glister will have a rough game and Jeremy McDougal is going to feed the homeless straight to an Outlaws’ victory.

March 1st 

Boston Uprising vs Philadelphia Fusion @ Houston
(13:00 EST 10:00 PST 19:00 CET)

Y: Philadelphia (3-0) One of the cheeks plays against one of the elite paddles and only one team is going to get clapped in this. It’s not a trap game, there is no home advantage and there is no McCree weakness on the Fusion that Jerry could exploit. Let’s hope the Uprising can still sit straight after this.

V: Philadelphia (3-0) Jerry might be cute and had a great debut last week, but you don’t beat the Fusion in the mirror and the Uprising’s other looks don’t inspire faith. It should be a decisive win for Philly, but the silver lining in this match is how competitive Boston can be against one of the better teams at the moment. If Boston can take some points and even a map, then we might just have an inconsistent lower-middle team. If they get molly whopped? Well, 20th doesn’t look so bad after all.

London Spitfire vs Florida Mayhem @ Houston
(17:00 EST 14:00 PST 23:00 CET)

Y: Florida (3-1) If the Mayhem is a mid-tier team, which they looked to be, then they should outclass the Spitfire at this point in the season. It’s the second match for both teams of the weekend, which stretches preparation substantially but under less practice, the advantage should likely be given to the Mayhem judging by the performances they’ve delivered so far. 

V: Florida (3-1) Florida’s style is going to be too much for London to adapt to. London is a messy team and is good enough to snap maps away, but it’s still too difficult to judge where they sit. They also don’t have the luxury of being able to play similarly to how they played against Justice due to the Mayhem’s reliance on Brigitte. Florida will fluster London and again demonstrate that if you pressure Glister the house of cards topples over.

Toronto Defiant vs Houston Outlaws @ Houston
(19:00 EST 16:00 PST 01:00 CET)

Y: Toronto (3-1) Toronto really tested the Fusion though admittedly in a trap week for the Philadelphians. However, the team has proven that they are definitely no one-trick pony. It would be surprising if this series got close and would likely be more on the Outlaws finally translating their scrim performances to the live server rather than the Mayhem collapsing. 

V: Toronto (3-1) Stylistically if Toronto wants to play off-meta and opts into Dive against Houston, that could actually be playing, unintuitively, making the game closer than what it looks to be on paper. Depends on what Houston shows up, but as long as Toronto stays coordinated and doesn’t fumble the scrambles, Houston should be put down easily.


Image via Blizzard Entertainment

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