No hero pools and balance changes have turned up the heat

19:30, 26 Jun 2020

Overwatch League is ramping up to the July tournament with a week of no hero pools and a new patch with fat Genji buffs. Boy, oh, boy has that rattled the cage. Coaches had carefully crafted the house of cards that the go-to compositions consisted of. Sigma/Orisa as well as Brigitte at the bottom of the construct because it’s so steady. Slap a Bap in there if desired, but still with a lot of flexibility on the support role — so much was manageable. Then on top they placed Ashe, Tracer and Echo. At least in the last couple of weeks, they took out the tweezers according to the bans while still barely holding on. Stability was coming to the Overwatch League… Until that toddler with the sword came in. Confetti

Much of the staples, such as double shield and a Bap/Brigitte backline with the occasional Ana depending on the map type, will remain. It isn’t so much what is played - after all we can expect a healthy amount of Genji and either Widow or Ashe - but who excels at it. For some of those teams, their toddler has studied the blade. Let’s see what this does to the match predictions.

Match of the week: Philadelphia Fusion vs San Francisco Shock

12 AM BST // 7 PM EST // 4 PM PST June 28th

Who is the best in the West?

Philadelphia Fusion (3-2, 55%): The season schedule and the early demise of the Fusion in the May Melee denied us this ultimate payoff match. For some inexplicable reason, we haven’t forgiven the Fusion yet for their mishap against the Mayhem and have excluded them in our talks about the best team in the league despite their impeccable 15-1 regular season score. Is that really justified? 

On the other side of the arena, the Shock are in their zone again and seemingly immovable. Once again, they’ve been blessed with a worthy opponent which they can contrast their excellence against and if they were to win here, it would be another cornerstone to their legacy. We can only hope that the departure of Architect doesn’t hurt them in a Genji meta, but Rascal should be able to cover it sufficiently.

The matchup I’m most looking forward to is ANS vs Carpe on Ashe and Widow which will be crucial to the outcome of the match.

The meta will likely require an aggressive Sigma and here the Fusion have the luxury of choice between two excellent prospects while the ever-so-incredible Choihyobin will have to adapt on his side. 

Chengdu Hunters vs Guangzhou Charge

9 AM BST // 4 AM EST // 1 AM PST June 27th

Who wins the battle of the Chinese blademasters, Eileen or JinMu?

Guangzhou Charge (3-2, 60%): It’s hard to be certain in this matchup, given the aforementioned meta fluctuations and since Chengdu generally decides their power level on any given day using a D20. What I’m more convinced of is that this match will start the weekend off in chaos, of which the Hunters frequently emerge as winners. The Charge are once again complete though it remains to be seen if either NeptuNo or Nero play, given the qualities of their counterparts on the meta heroes. Chara on Brigitte, Happy on Widow and Eileen on Genji should be locked in. Perhaps Nero can bring in a mean Ashe. Whichever hitscan plays, I expect him to slap Leave around something fierce.

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Seoul Dynasty vs Shanghai Dragons

11 AM BST // 6 AM EST // 3 AM PST June 27th

Can Shanghai be beaten in a long series?

Shanghai Dragons (3-2, 65%): The meta is honestly not bad for Seoul on paper but unfortunately, the Dynasty play DnD with their season too and decide their matches with the same D20 that Chengdu use. Can you believe it has to be flown back and forth every match? 

Profit has shown to have a disgusting Genji in the past and with Fits to cover the sniper heroes and the tank line on double shield, it simply shouldn’t be terrible. Seoul will have to roll a constitution check and the viewers will have to hope the dice doesn’t get stuck in anyone’s nose yet again...

Hangzhou Spark vs London Spitfire

1 PM BST // 8AM EST // 5 AM PST June 27th

Can the Spitfire more than just warm up the Spark?

Hangzhou Spark (3-1, 70%): It’s likely to be a rough meta for the Spitfire and Spark should be counted as one of the stronger teams in it. Given the uncertainty of the situation, there’s not much to add but to hope that someone on London has a mean Genji and that they can maybe make the odd dive tank line work for curveball attempts. The head to head should never be close.

Florida Mayhem vs Houston Outlaws

8 PM BST // 3 PM EST // 12 PM PST June 27th

What does top 3 in North America mean really?

Florida Mayhem (3-2, 55%): So you theorized about Dallas being a top 3 team, then they got beaten by Vancouver. Then you thought it was Florida a top 3 team, how did that look against Valiant? And now you’re coming to my door in this fresh meta and think that nothing changed? I’m not buying these cookies.

Overall, it should still be enough to beat Houston but only barely and it’s entirely possible that the Outlaws bring out a mean Genji from either of their four players that have played it in the past. 

Dallas Fuel vs Toronto Defiant  

10 PM BST // 5 PM EST // 2 PM PST June 27th

Death or Decay?

Toronto Defiant (3-1, 65%): The predictions here might surprise you but it isn’t because I am putting out breadcrumbs that should lead you to a conclusion about Dallas and whether or not Decay will play, as I have honestly no information on that. Rather, it is a statement towards what Toronto is capable of bringing to the table. If Decay was to play, it would probably turn into a competitive series but what happens if the Fuel have a second poor showing against a team in the bottom of the standings?

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Vancouver Titans vs Boston Uprising

12 AM BST // 7 PM EST // 4 PM PST June 27th

Can this match escape the descriptor of a toilet bowl?

Boston Uprising (3-2, 55%)
: Lowkey, this match could be very entertaining. It almost doesn’t matter how good you think either of those teams are, but neither of them are boring teams. I expect this to turn into a spectacle of sorts in which they will throw the kitchen sink at each other. There is something admirable about teams that are in the cellar of the table who still haven’t given up but instead fight with youthful drive.

Washington Justice vs Los Angeles Gladiators

2 AM BST June 28th // 9 PM EST // 6 PM PST June 27th

Can Gladiators create momentum with a clean sweep?

Los Angeles Gladiators (3-0, 70%): Sure, the Gladiators have lost two of their last three matches against opposition that were some of the worst teams in the standings and yet, both of those were on an upwards trajectory and are, by all means, a completely different calibre of team than the Justice are in their current state. They aren’t the easy fight opponent that a fallen boxing heavyweight champion gets to meet in the rank in order to gain their confidence back, they are the punching bag.

Shanghai Dragons vs Hangzhou Spark

9 AM BST // 4 AM EST // 1 AM PST June 28th

Is Architect enough to equalize the mismatch on the other roles?

Shanghai Dragons (3-1, 60%): We’ve seen last week what the Spark are capable off and arguably, this roster is gaining a bit of strength through the alleged meta changes over their opponent. I believe that Shanghai is just slightly better on each position in this meta, but Architect is very likely going to show whatever Genji he’s going to face what he’s made off. While Architect is known for his flexibility, he made his name on Genji which he was one of the best at some three years ago. Despite Haksal, I don’t think there’s currently anyone in the world I’d expect more to be able to hard carry in this meta. That in itself will make it a highly entertaining series that is least likely to end in a blowout.

Chengdu Hunters vs Seoul Dynasty

11 AM BST // 6 AM EST // 3 AM PST June 28th

How deep is the pit for the Dynasty?

Seoul Dynasty (3-1, 58%): So if there’s just one D20 and these teams play each other, who gets to roll? The two most volatile teams in season 3 are facing each other and there’s no saying who will come out on top with any certainty. The Dynasty are currently 6-6 in season score and a loss against the worst team in the Asian region could potentially have devastating implications. However, it wouldn’t be the Dynasty if they weren’t capable of being blown out this week but reaching the finals in the next one.

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New York Excelsior vs Guangzhou Charge

1 PM BST // 8AM EST // 5 AM PST June 28th

Can NYXL keep up with Haksal’s insane tempo?

New York Excelsior (3-1, 65%): Beware the arrival of the Genji god. If NYXL were already playing the hero pre-buff, we have to assume that we’re going to get to see a lot of Haksal on the assassin this weekend. It could still turn into a good series but the Excelsior have a slight headstart into the meta and had some more time to gel. Charge are no slouches but they are also at the disadvantage of having a double-match-weekend while NYXL doesn’t have to give anything away on Saturday.

Los Angeles Valiant vs Paris Eternal

8 PM BST // 3 PM EST // 12 PM PST June 28th

All seems to be pointing towards sp9rk1e’s meta. Can he deliver upon his hype?

Paris Eternal (3-1, 60%): Primarily sp9rk1e is known for his Doomfist but before the hero became fashionable, he also showed a nasty Genji. Looking towards the July tournament and the season playoffs, it is high time we locate a composition at which the Eternal have a chance to beat the likes of Shock and Fusion with if they want to have a say in this season’s outcome. Ever since the pre-season, we theorized about this moment when everything comes together for them. Now that sp9rk1e is here and Xzi is back, they have to make a case. Arguably, this is a forgiving matchup for Paris in which their opponents will struggle with. I’m not entirely convinced that KSF’s Genji will be enough for the rest of the season. 

Atlanta Reign vs Vancouver Titans

10 PM BST // 5 PM EST // 2 PM PST June 28th

Can the Titans crush another soul?

Atlanta Reign (3-0, 65%): The victory against Dallas was unexpected, though understandable given the circumstances. Atlanta finds themselves in a very similar position to the Dynasty, in which they can not afford to lose a game. Erster is an excellent Genji but the team has more options at hand for this role, with Babybay likely going off on the Widow or Ashe.

Images via Blizzard Entertainment

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