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Stage 3 Kicks Off the Second Half of OWL Season 2

By Jory Hollander in Sports
| June 5, 2019 12:00 am PDT
2019 Overwatch League Season 2 Stage 3 Week 2

The first half of Overwatch League Season 2 is in the books after an exciting series of Stage 2 playoff matchups.

The San Francisco Shock completed their perfect stage by defeating the Vancouver Titans in the Grand Final by a score of 4-2.

Teams received a four-week break after the conclusion of Stage 2 to re-group and have some fun during the Pacific vs. Atlantic All-Star showdown.

The Atlantic Division won the All-Star matchup, and there were plenty of smiles to go around on the main stage.

Week 1 of Stage 3 kicks off the second half of the Overwatch League 2019 season, and this is a time where teams are starting to think about positioning themselves for league playoffs.

There are only ten more weeks of regular season games left, but that’s still plenty of time for your favorite underdog squad to rise up through the ranks.

Overwatch League Stage 3 Week 1 odds are provided by Betway. They offer great odds on Overwatch and a variety of other esports.

OWL Stage 3 Winner Odds

San Francisco Shock+120
Vancouver Titans+140
New York Excelsior+400
Los Angeles Gladiators+1200
London Spitfire+1400
Seoul Dynasty+2000
Dallas Fuel+2500
Philadelphia Fusion+2500
Hangzhou Spark+2800
Shanghai Dragons+3300
Guangzhou Charge+4000
Toronto Defiant+5000
Atlanta Reign+6600
Boston Uprising+6600
Chengdu Hunters+6600
Houston Outlaws+6600
Paris Eternal+10000
Los Angeles Valiant+12500
Washington Justice+12500
Florida Mayhem+15000

The San Francisco Shock barely edge out the Vancouver Titans for the best odds to win Stage 3 in large part due to the Shock’s Stage 2 Grand Final victory. Both teams are extremely close in skill, and I could see either team winning Stage 3.

The biggest risers from the Stage 2 projections are the Atlanta Reign and the Guangzhou Charge. Both teams were projected as bottom-five teams in Stage 2 and now are projected as middle-of-the-pack teams going into Stage 3.

The teams who fell the most since their Stage 2 projections are the Chengdu Hunters and the Houston Outlaws. The Hunters underperformed to miss the Stage 2 playoffs by one spot, and Houston produced terrible results all stage long on their way to a 0-7 match record.

The Guangzhou Charge might be a little overrated here, as I can’t see a reason why their Stage 2 wins would put them so high up this list. Oppositely, I could see the Chengdu Hunters being an underrated team, and a tame Stage 3 schedule could have them climbing the rankings.

San Francisco Shock vs. Atlanta Reign

San Francisco Shock-1250
Atlanta Reign+550

How do you beat a team that has an expert understanding of win conditions, builds ultimate abilities at one of the quickest rates in the league, and never feeds to their opponents? The answer is that you don’t.

The San Francisco Shock completed Stage 2 with a perfect 28-0 map record and then went on to beat the undefeated Vancouver Titans in the Stage 2 Playoff Grand Final. The Shock are running on all cylinders, and every member of the starting lineup has contributed to the team’s success.

San Francisco can point to three members of their roster who have put themselves in early MVP contention with stellar play.

Sinatraa, super, and Viol2t are all near the top of the league for their respective heroes, and the numbers speak for themselves.

Sinatraa leads the league in average damage output per 10 minutes, and he is second in the league in average eliminations per 10 minutes. Super leads Overwatch League Reinhardt players in hero damage and final blows. Viol2t is currently second in the league for average healing per 10 minutes at 11,171.54.

The San Francisco Shock’s team flows across the battlefield like water. They always know when to pull back, when to push an advantage, and how to isolate priority targets. I expect San Francisco’s dominance of the Overwatch League to continue if Stage 3 doesn’t bring any significant changes to the GOATS meta.

The Atlanta Reign barely missed the Stage 2 playoffs and secured a couple of impressive victories over the New York Excelsior during group play. Atlanta showcased excellent teamwork in their wins over New York that exposed deficiencies in the Excelsior’s style of play.

Dogman has been slowly rising as a flex-support star for Atlanta during Season 2. Dogman is a master of putting Zenyatta’s Discord Orb onto priority targets and calling out the opportunities for his team.

The Reign are able to focus on targets that Dogman Discords and eliminate them from teamfights before the enemy team has a chance to respond. Dogman is not anywhere near the top of the league in eliminations or damage, but he is one of the best Zenyatta players at accruing offensive assists for his team.

Prediction

The San Francisco Shock are unsurprisingly heavy favorites going into this matchup versus the Atlanta Reign. The Shock have displayed a penchant for showing no mercy to lesser teams, and I expect this to continue against the Reign.

The matchup of Zenyatta players Dogman and Viol2t will be interesting to observe over the course of this series. Both Zenyatta players bring different strengths to their teams and are near the top of the league for their position.

Although Atlanta has the potential to put up a valiant effort against San Francisco, they are no match for the Shock. San Francisco sweeps the maps and wins the series 4-0.

PICKSan Francisco Shock-1250

Paris Eternal vs. Toronto Defiant

Paris+175
Toronto Defiant-250

The Paris Eternal carried their bad Stage 1 habits into Stage 2, and they currently sit at a 5-9 league record. Paris has suffered from a combination of sloppy play and indecisive strategy that has them firmly outside of the league playoff race.

Paris introduced a new main-tank into their starting lineup for Stage 2, LhCloudy, who has provided a nice spark for the team on heroes like Reinhardt, Winston, and Wrecking Ball. The versatility of LhCloudy to play multiple tank heroes at a high level has allowed Paris to experiment with different types of team compositions throughout Stage 2.

The Eternal like to switch back and forth between damage-heavy compositions and triple tank/triple support lineups depending on the map and situation. The experimentation has not been paying dividends for the Eternal, who have looked sloppy in most of their composition variations.

The Paris Eternal have players on their roster who perform well on DPS heroes, and some of the team’s best results in Stage 2 revolved around DPS compositions. ShaDowBurn and SoOn both have a deep pool of damage heroes to choose from, and at times, they were able to overwhelm the enemy team with individual performances on heroes like Tracer and Pharah.

Paris must clean up their play in GOATS composition as they head into Stage 3. GOATS relies heavily on teamwork and communication, and those are two areas that have been lacking from the Eternal. They must learn to play more cohesively in 3/3 if they want a chance at Stage 3 playoffs.

The Toronto Defiant have had up and down results throughout their inaugural Overwatch League season. They exceeded expectations in Stage 1 by making the playoffs and finishing with a 5-2 record. Toronto’s momentum came to a screeching halt in Stage 2 as they reversed their fortune and finished the stage with a 2-5 record.

There are a couple of easy explanations as to why Toronto has cooled off in recent weeks. After Stage 1, opponents had seven matches of film to watch on the Defiant, which helped teams plan to defeat them.

The second cause of their seesaw results likely stems from the team’s roster instability throughout Stage 2.

Im37 was added to the team as a superstar DPS player who Toronto could build their roster around. He played well on DPS heroes but struggled as Zarya in the Defiant’s triple tank/triple support lineup.

Triple tank/triple support revolves heavily around the Zarya player’s ability to coordinate Barriers and Gravitons with teammates, and im37’s lack of experience with the rest of the roster was painfully evident during his playtime as the team’s main Zarya player.

Towards the end of Stage 2, Zarya duties were passed onto ivy, who has more experience with the rest of Toronto’s roster. Im37 switched to playing Brigitte, and the result was more consistent play from Toronto’s GOATS lineup.

I expect Toronto to continue to improve now that they have their positions figured out and have had ample time to build chemistry with im37. Stage 3 will be an important test for the Canadian squad, who needs to play winning Overwatch to give themselves a chance at league playoffs.

Prediction

This matchup will be the second consecutive series between Paris and Toronto. The Defiant were victorious by a score of 4-0 the last time these two teams met in Week 5 of Stage 2.

Both teams played a unique and aggressive style that involved many DPS compositions in their last matchup. Toronto looked like the stronger DPS team, while Paris played better Overwatch when they defaulted to a triple tank/triple support composition.

I would not expect an exact repeat of results from Week 5 of Stage 2 because both teams utilized unusual compositions, and many of the maps could have gone either way. I do believe that Toronto is the stronger team at the end of the day, and I think they will end up winning the series 3-1.

PICKToronto Defiant-250

Hangzhou Spark vs. Philadelphia Fusion

Hangzhou Spark-167
Philadelphia Fusion+120

The Hangzhou Spark are finally starting to live up to the high expectations that analysts had for the team at the beginning of the season. The Spark have rounded into form after a shaky 3-4 start to the season in Stage 1, and the top teams in the Overwatch League should be watching their backs.

The most recent victim of the Spark was the London Spitfire, who looked lost against Hangzhou in their first-round Stage 2 playoff matchup. Hangzhou was able to pull off three consecutive full-holds against London — an impressive feat considering the stakes of the match.

The Spark executed their gameplan against London to perfection. They routinely isolated the Spitfire’s star main-tank, Gesture, from the rest of his team and eliminated him first from the fight. Without Gesture’s shield and damage, the Spitfire washed against the Spark like waves on a beach.

The MVP of Hangzhou has been their main-tank, Guxue, who has proved to be a force on both Reinhardt and Winston. Guxue is one of the best in the league at using Primal Rage to win teamfights, and he has improved drastically throughout the season at keeping his team alive as Reinhardt.

The Philadelphia Fusion barely missed a spot in the Playoffs after a difficult Stage 2 schedule. The Fusion’s four Stage 2 losses came against the London Spitfire, the New York Excelsior twice, and the San Francisco Shock.

The Fusion love to run a standard GOATS hero composition, but they need to tighten up certain aspects of their play before they can beat the top GOATS teams in the league. Stage 2 highlighted weaknesses in Philadelphia’s roster and strategy that must be addressed moving forward.

Philly needs to receive better play from their tank line of Sado, Poko, and carpe. The tank line of the Fusion has not been playing well as a unit, and as a result, they have a difficult time winning teamfights against the better teams in the league.

The coordination of fight-winning ultimates between the tank line has been lacking, and it might be due to the Fusion’s mix of English and Korean speaking players. Philadelphia often used a Graviton Surge with no follow-up damage or lost one of their important tanks too early in the fight, seemingly due to a lapse in communication.

Philadelphia has the individual skill to be a top team in the Overwatch League, but they need to conjure the teamwork and discipline required to make it happen. Can the Fusion put their Stage 2 losses behind them and find the chemistry they have been missing?

Prediction

The Hangzhou Spark and Philadelphia Fusion have yet to face off against each other in the Overwatch League. Both franchises are currently sitting at an 8-6 league record, and this matchup will be crucial for playoff seeding.

The Spark are the hotter team coming into this series and are starting to round into form after an impressive Stage 2 playoffs. The tank play of Sado and Guxue will be a focal point of this matchup because each team favors using a triple tank/triple support composition.

I think that Guxue has the edge as the main-tank player, and this will give the Spark the edge they need in the series. Philadelphia will make it a close match but will fall to the Spark by a score of 3-1.

PICKHangzhou Spark-167

Stage 3 Week 1 of Overwatch League 2019 kicks off this weekend. Be sure to check out our list of the best Overwatch betting sites if you’re interested in wagering on any of this weekend’s games.

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