Howdy, Overwatch League fans!
Welcome back to my weekly odds, preview, and picks article.
Last week, I previewed Stage 2 – Week 3, and I went 4-0 with my picks. Woohoo! I can’t expect to be perfect every week, but it’s a good start to the season that I hope to continue to build upon.
Week 3 was an important week to determine Stage 2 playoff seeding, and we witnessed all but one of the top teams taking care of business.
San Francisco, Vancouver, and London all won their matchups decisively against their lesser opponents.
The New York Excelsior had a head-scratching loss to the Atlanta Reign in their first match of the week. The Reign then went on to lose to the Guangzhou Charge, which didn’t make New York’s loss look any better.
Teams are continuing to become more comfortable with the new meta, and we saw many teams utilize the new hero, Baptiste, in Week 3.
Baptiste has been very effective in defensive bunker compositions, and we even saw some teams pick him on attack.
Baptiste’s Immortality Field allows him to keep his team alive through any amount of damage, and it’s the main reason he gets chosen. Teams are slowly learning how to focus-fire the Immortality Field to destroy it, but it comes at great risk because it usually means exposing your damage dealers to the enemy team.
The Overwatch League is taking a road trip for Stage 2 – Week 4, and matches will take place at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas.
The Dallas Fuel will play host for this weekend’s eight matchups, and both they and the Houston Outlaws will likely enjoy a home-crowd atmosphere.
In this article, I’m going to preview the four Sunday matchups for Stage 2 – Week 4 of the Overwatch League and pick the teams that I think will come out on top.
Week 4’s matchup odds are provided by SportsBetting.ag. Feel free to give their site a try. They offer great odds on Overwatch and a variety of other esports.
Hangzhou Spark (5-6) vs. Paris Eternal (5-6)
The Hangzhou Spark were crushed 0-4 in their last match against the San Francisco Shock, but the Shock have been rolling over every opponent in Stage 2.
It’s hard to judge Hangzhou for their loss to SF, but it shows that the Spark are not quite ready to be an upper-tier team.
A better measure of Hangzhou’s ability as a team was their match against the Guangzhou Charge that the Spark won by a score of 3-2. Guangzhou is not as bad of a team as their record indicates, and the contest was by no means an easy victory for the Spark.
Hangzhou has continued to implement their new Chinese DPS player Krystal into the lineup, using him on both Brigitte and Bastion throughout their past few matches.
The results have been mixed for Krystal, but he is so young that there are still high hopes he will develop into a top Overwatch League player.
GodsB has looked stellar on Zarya for the Spark, and he is proving that he is one of the top Zarya players in the league. His ability to quickly build Graviton Surge and stay at high energy makes him a menace to opposing teams. GodsB is not a one-trick-pony, either; he has the ability to flex onto heroes like Sombra and perform well when the team calls his number.
Guxue is another important player for the Spark who has been pulling his weight in recent matches. It is so vital for main tank players these days to be able to perform on both Reinhardt and Winston, and guxue is certainly doing that.
The synergy between the tank play of guxue and the Zarya Barriers from GodsB has been a key ingredient to the Spark’s success.
The Paris Eternal come into their match with the Spark fresh off of a bye in Week 3. Paris’ played their last match in Week 2 against the Dallas Fuel. They lost that match 1-2 after a tightly contested set of maps.
SoOn has proven himself to be an important player for the Eternal. His ability to flex between heroes like Zarya and Sombra is necessary for this current meta, and he performs well on all the heroes he plays.
The Eternal’s Ana and Zenyatta player, Greyy, has been making his presence felt in recent matches.
Greyy received player of the match honors for his performance against the Florida Mayhem in Week 2. Greyy did not see play time during Stage 1, so it’s promising to see him excel after being inserted into the starting lineup.
The Hangzhou Spark didn’t exactly instill confidence in their last match with the San Francisco Shock. They were able to take a round on Lijiang Tower and capture Point A and Point B on the new map Paris, but that was the extent of their success against the shock.
The Paris Eternal go into their match against the Spark after a week off, and I think that will play an important factor in the matchup.
Paris has had almost two weeks to gameplan for the Spark, and San Francisco was able to show them the blueprint to defeat Hangzhou.
These two teams are evenly matched, but I have to give the edge to the Paris Eternal because I think their time off will improve their play and allow them to develop strategies specifically tailored to defeat the Spark.
Prediction: I think that Hangzhou will take Lijiang Tower and Junkertown, but Paris wins the match 3-2.
Chengdu Hunters (5-6) vs. London Spitfire (7-4)
The Chengdu Hunters recently suffered losses to the Shanghai Dragons and the Los Angeles Gladiators, two teams that are currently in the Stage 2 playoff race.
The Hunters have a very unique style of play that involves creative team compositions and unusual strategies. This style of play has worked against some teams in the past, but it seems as though the better teams in the league are learning how to counter some of the Hunter’s “cheese.”
The Gladiators had some time to prepare for their match against Chengdu, and they seemed to have the right answer in team composition to every lineup that the Hunters threw at them.
The Los Angeles Gladiators utilized heroes like Sombra and Pharah to split up the Hunters and then proceeded to divide and conquer Chengdu’s heroes. The end result was 4-0 for the Gladiators.
There is no doubt that Chengdu is a talented team. Ameng is probably the best Wrecking Ball in the league, and JinMu has some of the most impressive mechanics in Overwatch.
It’s disappointing, however, to see these talents go for cheese strategies and fail while doing so. We saw this best exemplified on Busan when Ameng went for the back capture multiple times and succeeded, only for his team to be rolled by the Gladiators and the point to quickly turn back in LA’s favor.
Plays like this are cute, but they are not the way to develop long-term success.
The London Spitfire have been the exact opposite of the Chengdu Hunters. We saw in London’s last match against the Boston Uprising that London is committed to standard triple tank/triple support compositions and favors a very straightforward style of play.
London has the talent on their team to go head to head against other 3/3 compositions and come out on top, and that’s exactly what we witnessed against Boston.
Both teams favored a standard composition throughout the match, but London managed their ultimate economy better and made more winning plays to secure the 4-0 victory.
The Spitfire have been riding the hot hand of Bdosin, Profit, and Fury during their last few wins. Bdosin was exceptional in the Spitfire’s last match against the Uprising. His ability as Zenyatta to use Transcendence right before being hacked by Sombra’s EMP saved his team on multiple occasions throughout the course of the match.
Many teamfights in the Overwatch League come down to which Zenyatta uses their ultimate at the correct time, and Bdosin has been stellar in this respect.
I expect the London Spitfire to continue to perform well against Sombra compositions assuming that Bdosin can keep up his level of play.
This matchup is tough to call because it features two styles of play that are diametrically opposed. The Chengdu Hunters love the crazy compositions and the cheese, while the London Spitfire stay committed to perfecting a very standard style of play.
The real danger for London might be their lack of flexibility and willingness to deviate from the triple tank/triple support composition. Chengdu could throw out some DPS lineups that confuse London enough to take a map off of them.
The Hunters’ best shot of winning a map will be Map 2, Paris. I expect some sort of bunker or DPS composition on Paris from Chengdu, and we saw the Hunters have success at another Assault map, Hanamura, last time they played.
Prediction: I predict that Chengdu will cheese their way to a win on Paris, but the talent of the Spitfire will prove too much to handle, and London will win the match 3-1.
Seoul Dynasty (5-5) vs. Los Angeles Valiant (2-9)
Los Angeles Valiant+241
The Seoul Dynasty is currently trying to fight for league playoff seeding and is hoping that a couple of wins in Texas will help to separate them from the other .500 teams.
Seoul is coming off of an impressive 4-0 win against the Dallas Fuel where they looked like the better team throughout the course of the match.
The Dynasty’s newest additions, Marve1 and FITS, are finally starting to gel with the rest of the lineup.
Marve1 played well against the Dallas Fuel as Winston to zone targets and jump on the enemy team’s back line. Winston is a vital part of triple tank/triple support compositions, and Marve1 is proving that he is more than proficient on the gorilla.
FITS showed nice flexibility in his last match by swapping to DPS heroes like Doomfist on certain maps. The DPS picks have worked well for Seoul, and they seem to have a good understanding of how to play around a DPS composition.
Seoul’s success with DPS lineups may bode well for the future as teams embrace the more DPS-friendly meta.
Everyone is still wondering where Fleta and Fissure have gone. They were two of the best players in the league last season and have been missing for Season 2.
It’s unclear why Fleta and Fissure are on the outside of the starting lineup, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear those players’ names in trade talks as we progress through the season.
The Los Angeles Valiant have finally emerged from the toughest part of their schedule, but there are no easy games for one of the worst teams in the league. They proved this last week when they beat the lowly Washington Justice by a slim margin.
The Valiant have had to scrap to win teamfights throughout the course of the season. They rely heavily on their supports, IZaYaKI and Custa, to keep them alive long enough to have a chance to win fights.
Custa’s Lúcio boops often go unnoticed, but they are a crucial part of LA’s ability to zone teams and make it difficult for their enemies to gain favorable position.
The Valiant looked weak in the 3/3 Reinhardt composition against the Washington Justice, and Fate was uncharacteristically losing the main tank battle to Janus throughout the course of the match. Janus is not known as one of the best Reinhardt players in the league, so if the Valiant continue to struggle against the very standard 3/3 Reinhardt composition, this will definitely spell trouble for them in the future.
The Valiant certainly have an uphill battle ahead of them in their match against Seoul. The Seoul Dynasty are a more focused team right now, and they have their sights set on making the league playoffs.
An underappreciated aspect of this match will be the lack of home crowd advantage for the Valiant, who will be without their Los Angeles fans for the first time.
The Valiant often gain a boost from their hoard of fans at Blizzard Arena, and I suspect it may quell their performance to play at a foreign site.
All Seoul needs to do is take care of business, and this match should be a cakewalk for them.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Seoul, and every match is important for them. I don’t see a map in the series that the Valiant have the potential to win unless they come out better than they have in all of Season 2.
Prediction: The Seoul Dynasty will sweep the maps and win the series 4-0.
Houston Outlaws (3-7) vs. Dallas Fuel (6-5)
The Houston Outlaws are still licking their wounds after being trounced by the Philadelphia Fusion and the Shanghai Dragons in Week 3.
The losses continue a trend of disappointing results for the Outlaws, who are slowly seeing their shot at the playoffs slip away.
The Outlaws came out strong in their first round against Philadelphia on Busan.
LiNkzr on Soldier 76 and ArHaN on Torbjörn turned out to be a winning combination for Houston, and they dominated the first round. They strayed from creative compositions after Busan, and the result was a 0-2 loss on Eichenwalde and a 0-3 loss on Gibraltar.
Houston has one of the best main tanks in the league, Muma, but they have had a difficult time surrounding him with players who can play around him. There were multiple times in the match against the Fusion that coolmatt and ArHaN made mistakes that left Muma to be devoured by the enemy team. The communication may be lacking between the front-line and the back-line players which is something that will need to be fixed moving forward.
The Dallas Fuel also disappointed fans in their last match against the Seoul Dynasty.
Many were predicting the match between Dallas and Seoul to be a tight contest, but this was not the case. Seoul rolled over Dallas on their way to a 4-0 victory, and it left us with more questions than answers about this Dallas Fuel team.
Dallas’ D.Va player notE and their Reinhardt/Winston player OGE looked out of sorts during the match against Seoul. OGE is usually a strong main tank player, but the shotcalling seemed off for Dallas, and the team was not responding to incoming threats in a timely manner.
The Fuel still have a ton of talent on their team and surely have their sights set on making the Stage 2 and league playoffs.
The troubling statistic for Dallas is that despite their match record, they currently hold a negative map differential record. If the Fuel can’t start winning matches in a more dominant fashion, they run the risk of being outside the playoff race looking in.
The matchup between Dallas and Houston will certainly be the game of the weekend. Both squads will be in their home state of Texas, and I expect the home crowd to energize the players.
The Texas rivalry is very important to the Fuel and the Outlaws, and each team has undoubtedly had this matchup marked on their calendars since the start of Season 2.
The head-to-head matchup of main tanks Muma and OGE will be one of the highlights to look forward to. Both tanks are essential to the success of their team, and whoever wins the tank battle will likely win the match.
The Outlaws have a chance to win this match if they can bounce back from their week 3 losses and get their communication back on track. I predict that the series will be a back-and-forth affair.
Prediction: Houston will take Lijiang Tower and Anubis, but Dallas will storm back to win King’s Row and Gibraltar. Eventually, Houston will win Map 5 and take the series 3-2.
Those are my picks for Overwatch League Stage 2 – Week 4. If you’re interested in placing some wagers, check out our list of the best Overwatch betting sites.