The Stage 2 Playoffs are here and I cannot be more excited! We have a team that accomplished the first Golden Stage (no map losses or draws) competing to prove that they are the best team in the League. We have our first Chinese representation in Overwatch League playoff history in BOTH the Shanghai Dragons and the Hangzhou Spark. We also have a revitalized London Spitfire roster that is out to show us how it is that they won the whole shebang in the Inaugural Season. This weeks games should be exceptional and hopefully we can have a definitive answer as to who is better, the Shock or the Titans.
Match 1 Shanghai Dragons vs San Francisco Shock: San Francisco 3-0
With the quarterfinals being a first to 3 situation rather than an “all 4 game modes get played” scenario like we are used to, I have to believe that the Shock will sweep the Dragons in the first quarterfinal match. It was just a week ago in week 5 that these two teams faced each other and the Shock walked away from that match with a clean 4-0 to cap off the Shock’s Golden Stage. I see no reason to believe that this series will go any differently.
Match 2 Hangzhou Spark vs London Spitfire: London 3-2
While I wholeheartedly believe that the Spitfire are the superior team in every aspect, Hangzhou has a knack for making games close and playing up to their opponents as of late. For this reason, I expect a close series but have to think that the superior team will walk away the victor.
Match 1 New York Excelsior vs Los Angeles Gladiators: Los Angeles 3-2
This is a huge game for the Excelsior. The team once touted by many as the best in the League seems to be struggling as of late, dropping back-to-back games to the Atlanta Reign of all teams. It could just be that the Reign has some sort of edge over the Excelsior, or it could be that they are slumping. My reasoning for taking Los Angeles in this series is New York’s GOATS play has looked much weaker as of late and New York also has a reputation for losing important games. If New York loses this game, I think we can finally conclude that New York is, in fact, not sandbagging.
Match 2 Dallas Fuel vs Vancouver Titans: Vancouver 3-1
Last time these two teams faced each other Vancouver came out with a clean 4-0 victory. Since then, Dallas had their fantastic homestand and just may be more motivated than ever to win. Unfortunately, their opponent is the Vancouver Titans. I hope Dallas can take a map but predicting anyone other than maybe the Shock to beat Vancouver is a long shot.
Just a caveat, predictions for the Semifinals and Finals are based on the assumption that my previous predictions turn out to be correct. If they are wrong, then the games below may never occur. Also, the semifinals, unlike the quarterfinals, are a best of 7.
Match 1 San Francisco Shock vs Los Angeles Gladiators: Shock 4-0
The Gladiators have shown a tendency to play GOATS in almost all scenarios and the Shock should be able to dismantle them.
Match 2 Vancouver Titans vs London Spitfire: Vancouver 4-1
Vancouver has dropped a few maps in stage 2 and going up against a tougher opponent in the Spitfire, may drop a map or two. Vancouver is the favorite to go to the finals but I expect London to put up a decent fight.
San Francisco Shock vs Vancouver Titans
I would be incredibly surprised to see anything but a rematch of the Stage 1 Finals. These are undeniably the 2 strongest teams in the League and in all realities, should be the 2 teams competing for the title of Stage 2 Champions. The Stage 1 Finals was possibly the best series played all season, going the absolute 7 game distance with Vancouver taking the win. However, in stage 2 Vancouver has dropped a few maps while the Shock have not. They went a perfect 28-0 in map differential and, while I do not expect them to go perfect against Vancouver, this time around, I believe that the Shock will topple the Titans and claim a 4-3 victory!