It’s down to the wire in Stage 4 Week 4, with teams earning their guaranteed spot in the season playoffs, staying in the running, or being eliminated entirely. The Los Angeles Gladiators pull oof the upset while the Shanghai Dragons continue to just upset. Here’s where the teams stand in the penultimate week of regular league play.

Week 4 Day 1

Match of the Day

Shanghai Dragons vs. Florida Mayhem

If there was ever a time, a moment, one final chance for the Shanghai Dragons to put that “1” in the win column, this was it. They were looking better than they ever have and they were facing a Florida team that was struggling more than usual with the benching of Widowmaker savant Sayaplayer. This was their time. They tied the game at the half, then handily 2-0’d the Mayhem on Lijiang Tower, putting them in the lead for the first time ever. The Dragons have literally never been in the lead 2-anything against another team (likely because it’s a rare event they win two maps in the first place.) The dream was looking very real. Until Gibraltar, a map favoring Florida. Then after trading points on Nepal, the Mayhem handily swept the last point, ending the dream and traumatizing the legion of Dragons fans. The Dragons have had some tough losses but nothing hurts like this. Imagine if the Miracle on Ice was won by the Russians at the last moment, that’s what this feels like. The Dragons have two more matches left: the Gladiators and the Dynasty. I don’t see them winning either.

Week 4 Day 2

Match of the Day

Los Angeles Gladiators vs New York Excelsior

Hot off their loss to the Valiant, New York faced their sister team the Los Angeles Gladiators in what promised to be a very close but inevitable Excelsior victory. Plagued by amateurish mistakes (C9 anyone?) and unfortunate ultimate usage, the Gladiators were 0-2 at halftime, turning what was supposed to be a closely contested match into something that was heading toward 3-1 or even 4-0 territory in favor of the Excelsior.

But the Gladiators rallied hard at the half winning the game 3-2. There are two theories on how that happened.

1.The New York Excelsior have already guaranteed their spot in the Stage and Season playoffs. In order to keep their players fresh, keep their strategies secret, and gain insight into enemy tactics, the Excelsior eased up just enough for the Gladiators to take the win.

2. The Gladiators simply out played their opponents to win.

It’s both of course. The NYXL’s seeming lack of urgency in the latter half of the match combined with Hydration’s unorthodox use of Doomfist won the Gladiators the game, serving New York a heretofore unheard of second consecutive loss.

Week 4 Day 3

Match of the Day

Philadelphia Fusion vs. Seoul Dynasty

Watching today’s matches I was more bored than a 2x4. These matches were drier than unbuttered toast. Stale. Predictable. Dull. But, today wasn’t without its bright spots. The Seoul Dynasty upped their walkout game with a new entrance song, WWE style, with new kicks courtesy of those sweet, sweet Nike sponsorship dollars.

Groan about corporate shilling if you want but this, in addition the to Toyota commercials and the copious references to those Sour Patch Kids thunder sticks, is a reminder that if this League is going to be successful it’s going to need that kind of external support from big name corporate sponsors. Also, Overwatch League is a very insular, niche thing. Right now it only appeals to people who already like Overwatch which puts a limit on growth. Crossovers with Korean rappers and putting OWL players on national television and in your cell phone commercials are the baby steps needed to appeal to a broader audience that will keep the League alive and solvent.

They look like they’re about to drop the most fire mixtape of Stage 4

Unfortunately all that swag didn’t translate into a victory for Seoul. In true Philadelphia fashion, they woke up in the second half and reverse swept Seoul 3-2. For a fish, Carpe’s got a lot of space on his back for his team but for some reason he can only perform when the Fusion’s under threat of losing.

The win puts the Dynasty in a precarious post season and stage finals position. They need to win twice (unlikely as they face Dallas and the Gladiators) and they need the Spitfire, the Gladiators, or the Fusion to lose both their matches (also unlikely). Philadelphia, however, is in a much more comfortable but not quite assured spot. They need to win only one game to make it to the postseason, but they have to go through the Outlaws or the Spitfire to do it.

Week 4 Day 4

Match of the Day

London Spitfire vs. Los Angeles Gladiators

Over the course of the season, the Overwatch League has seen the rise of many great rivalries. New York and London, Boston and Philadelphia, Houston and Dallas, LA and….LA. But there’s another rivalry that’s looms large, one that’s never failed to deliver drama on and off the stage: I’m calling it the Trade War.

When the Spitfire traded Fissure to the Gladiators to make room for Gesture to take up the role as the only main tank, they had no idea the kind of pain and suffering such a decision would cause them. Ever since being traded away, Fissure has made it a point of personal honor to beat his former team, and every time they meet, he does.

The match also marks the Gladiators’ second reverse sweep of the week, making them the first team in the league to win their week’s matches in back-to-back reverse sweeps. The win all but ensures the Gladiators a spot in both playoffs, needing just one more win to make it. Thankfully their schedule is fairly easy (they face the Dragons and the Dynasty) so expect to see those shields up.

Final Thoughts

Even though we’re entering the final week of Stage 4, all talk has shifted away from the Stage Playoff race in favor of the Season Playoffs and the Grand Finals. But there’s still the matter of the Stage 4 Playoffs to contend with before we can start making predictions of who will have the honor of losing to New York in the postseason.

Looking at the Stage Rankings, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Houston are still neck and neck and neck for that 4th and final spot, and all three teams have a very tough Week 5 schedule. Houston and Philadelphia play each other then later face the NYXL and Spitfire respectively. Meanwhile, Dallas takes on the Valiant and the Dynasty who, while more paper tigers than they used to be, can still put up a fight if pressed. With the way all these teams have been playing, opponents included, it's impossible to tell who’s going to get their last chance to play for a stage championship.

Ash, the first of her name, keeper of Zenyatta lore, protector of Hanzo mains and Mother of Shanghai Dragons, is a content writer for the Overwatch section of MMO-C and Gamepedia.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Overwatch League 2018: Stage 4 Week 4 Recap started by ComradeKoch View original post

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