The second half of the second season of the Overwatch League is about to commence! With it comes a brand-new champion in the San Francisco Shock who claimed the title of Best Team in the League by downing the Vancouver Titans in the Stage 2 Finals. Unfortunately, if you were hoping that the GOATS composition that has dominated play up until this point would be going away, you are going to be sorely disappointed. No significant changes will be coming to Stage 3 to really shake up the formula we have had thus far, so expect plenty of GOATS. However, it is entirely possible that variations of Bunker compositions may see heavier play than previous stages with the dominance that Clockwork Vendetta have shown in Contenders Trials. Only time will tell if Bunker is the way of the future, but as of right now, GOATS is still a safe bet for most dominant composition. With this in mind, here are the predictions for Week 1 of The Overwatch League, Stage 3.
Match 1 San Francisco Shock vs Atlanta Reign (San Francisco 4-0)
Atlanta proved that they have what it takes to topple top teams by defeating the New York Excelsior twice in Stage 2, but the Shock have been so dominant and without significant changes to hero balance coming into Stage 3 this should be a clean sweep for the Shock.
Match 2 Florida Mayhem vs Seoul Dynasty (Seoul 3-1)
The Mayhem have hopefully corrected their biggest issue, their lack of a strong main tank, with the addition of Fate, formerly of the Los Angeles Valiant. Fate has historically been a very strong main tank player, even being the starter for team South Korea in the 2018 Overwatch World Cup. However, this addition, while obviously beneficial for Florida, is probably not enough to propel them even over mid-tier teams.
Match 3 Guangzhou Charge vs Chengdu Hunters (Chengdu 3-2)
Match 4 Los Angeles Valiant vs Shanghai Dragons (Shanghai 3-1)
Match 1 Paris Eternal vs Toronto Defiant (Toronto 3-2)
While Toronto looked abysmal in Stage 2, Paris was not much better off. I’m going with Toronto in this matchup simply due to their performance in Stage 1. Both teams seemed on the weaker side in Stage 2, so I have to go with the team that has shown more promise thus far, and that is Toronto.
Match 2 Boston Uprising vs London Spitfire (London 3-1)
Match 3 Houston Outlaws vs New York Excelsior (New York 4-0)
Match 4 Los Angeles Gladiators vs Dallas Fuel (Los Angeles 3-2)
This should be an exciting match. Both teams have shown a tendency to mostly run GOATS and both teams have been above average at it thus far. This is a very exciting matchup on paper with the head to head matchups. ROar vs OGE on main tank, the akm redemption arc vs Mr. 300k (Decay), Shaz vs uNKOE on Zenyatta. This is the match of the week for me but with the Gladiators performance in Stage 2, I have to give them the edge.
Match 1 Hangzhou Spark vs Philadelphia Fusion (Philadelphia 3-2)
Right here, right now, Hangzhou needs to prove something. While they did make Stage 2 playoffs and even made it into the semifinals, I can’t overlook the fact that their Stage 2 record (in regulation) was negative in terms of map differential. This is an important match for both teams. If Hangzhou wins, they will have officially proven that they are an above average team. If Philadelphia wins, they will prove that they can still compete with top tier teams. I give Philadelphia the edge based off past performances, though would not be surprised if Hangzhou manages to take this one.
Match 2 Vancouver Titans vs Atlanta Reign (Vancouver 3-1)
F for Atlanta having to face San Francisco and Vancouver in the same week. They did manage to beat New York twice thus far though, the only team to beat New York in regulation play, so maybe they can pull of some wacky shenanigans this week. Probably not, but just maybe.
Match 3 Seoul Dynasty vs Guangzhou Charge (Seoul 3-1)
Match 4 Los Angeles Valiant vs Chengdu Hunters (Los Angeles 3-2)
Match 1 New York Excelsior vs London Spitfire (New York 3-1)
Match 2 Paris Eternal vs Boston Uprising (Boston 3-2)
Match 3 Washington Justice vs Dallas Fuel (Dallas 3-1)
Match 4 Vancouver Titans vs Los Angeles Gladiators (Vancouver 3-1)