The final (probably) Overwatch League Playoffs are here, and with it comes the final (probably) serious post written on this site. Despite a completely nonsensical format, there are matches of Overwatch to be played, and I’m going to give you my picks for each match as well as seasonal role stars and MVP picks. I’m assuming these games will be played in a Zarya-Genji meta, as the rumors are saying.
Upper Round 1
Atlanta Reign 3-0 Hangzhou Spark
As highly as I rate Hangzhou’s DPS line, Guxue being forced onto a hero he’s not known for playing could seriously hurt Hangzhou’s chances of pulling this upset, especially with Hawk on the other side. It’s amazing to think O2 Blast nearly had this spot before choking against the Seoul Dynasty. Stalk3r’s Genji is good enough to put Reign through without much trouble.
Dallas Fuel 3-1 Seoul Infernal
After struggling for most of the season, Dallas Fuel finally seem to have hit their stride recently with their support line playing acceptable and Edison complementing the team’s two hard carries quite well. Those two carries, Hanbin and Sp9rkle, will be on their best heroes in this meta, making Dallas a dark horse to repeat as league champions.
Boston Uprising 3-1 London Spitfire
London will probably play Rein until the sun burns out, and though Boston are hurt a bit by not playing in a smurf meta, any time they can have birdring playing a hero that isn’t Sombra they should be fine most of the time. Decay could be preparing to do a minor amount of tomfoolery if the rumors are to be believed, but I doubt Boston will take him off Genji unless things start to go really poorly in scrims.
Florida Mayhem 3-1 Houston Outlaws
Someone is the difference maker in this matchup, with his ability to flex to Zarya for Mayhem giving them a weapon the Outlaws and Fearless do not have. This should not be a first round matchup but the seeding for this tournament is stupid so we have to watch it. Pelican could make this interesting if he performs at his peak on Genji but ultimately I don’t see a Houston win happening.
Lower Round 1
Hangzhou Spark 3-2 London Spitfire
In a match where I fully expect neither team to have any idea what they are doing, Hangzhou gets the edge because Shy has the highest individual carry potential of any of the dps players. Neither of these teams are much of a threat to the better teams in the playoffs, and this match could honestly go any way. A 3-0 win for London is totally plausible. A 3-0 win for Hangzhou is totally plausible. Hopefully, the game is at least entertaining.
Houston Outlaws 3-1 Seoul Infernal
Unless MN3 kills 5 people every fight, I don’t see Infernal winning this match. Houston are simply too talented, especially the back line, to go 0-2. Shu and Viol2t not trolling gives Houston a clear edge with neither team’s tank player being especially known for Zarya play. Unless Poko makes the trip to Toronto and somehow is able to play at a high level without being able to really communicate with his teammates, there shouldn’t be any surprises here.
Upper Round 2
Atlanta Reign 3-2 Boston Uprising
Two teams with star studded dps lines, solid but unspectacular Zarya players, and championship-winning support duos face off in a game that will come down to whoever makes the fewest big mistakes. Leejaegon and Decay are both players that can have extremely high carry potential moments but also occasionally feed, and I think that feeding is what makes the difference here, as Chiyo’s steady hand guides Atlanta to a close win.
Florida Mayhem 3-1 Dallas Fuel
Dallas Fuel will rely on the fact that Hanbin is probably the best Zarya in the world to try to win this tournament. The only player who can maybe match him will be waiting on the other side in this match, however, as Florida Mayhem’s all-world hyperflex Someone is the player best suited to shut Fuel down. If he can play Hanbin to a draw in the Zarya matchup the rest of the Mayhem’s talent should be enough to give Florida the edge.
Lower Round 2
Boston Uprising 3-1 Hangzhou Spark
Birdring and Decay should be capable of holding off Shy and leave and allowing the rest of the Uprising roster to show the talent difference between themselves and the Spark. Mmonk and Lengsa might be good enough to win in the East division, but in the playoffs, facing off against demons like Twilight/Izayaki and Leejaegon, they might struggle to have as much of an impact. Boston having a dedicated Zarya player in Kalios also gives them an edge over Spark.
Dallas Fuel 3-2 Houston Outlaws
There could be no possible ending for the Houston Outlaws franchise more fitting and more painful than losing to their old enemies in what has ultimately been the league’s most entertaining rivalry. Hanbin and Fearless are two sides of the same coin, and the meta has flipped in Hanbin’s favor. At any other point this season, Houston would win this match easily, but in this game, in this meta, Dallas should be the favorite.
Atlanta Reign 3-1 Dallas Fuel
The magic ends here for Dallas, as the gap in talent at every position except for tank between themselves and Atlanta will be too large to overcome, and Atlanta will advance to their second Grand Finals as a franchise. Edison will not be able to hold his own in the hitscan matchup with Lip and Fielder should be on another level compared to MCD.
Florida Mayhem 3-1 Boston Uprising
Consistency and Someone are Florida’s two biggest advantages here. Decay would theoretically be the best DPS player in the server in this match, but I don’t know if he can be trusted to have the type of game he would need to beat a team as solid and unerring as Florida. Leejaegon also would need to play mistake-free Overwatch to put Boston in position to pull off this upset, and crazier things have certainly happened in this league, but I just don’t see a team that nearly lost to Toronto Defiant recently winning this match.
Third Place Game
Dallas Fuel 3-0 Boston Uprising
Since this game does not matter in any way to the players or fans outside of some money, the winning team will probably be whoever is experiencing less mental boom after being eliminated in the semifinals. Boston is vulnerable to boom, so I'm picking Dallas.
Florida Mayhem 4-3 Atlanta Reign
Atlanta Reign’s dominance this season has been in a large part due to the singular brilliance of Lip on a hard-carry hero. As good as he is on hitscan, the gap between him and Mer1t on that role is not the same as the gap between him and Mer1t on Sombra. Not being able to rely on their MVP candidate the same way Florida will be able to rely on theirs in a meta that cares a lot about tank play. In season 1, NYXL’s regular season dominance was nullified by a playoff meta shift. In season 3, Shanghai Dragons’ regular season dominance was nullified by a playoff meta shift. What happened to those two teams may be happening again as the (perhaps justified) whims of the Overwatch developers have taken away Atlanta’s greatest weapon and left them ever so slightly vulnerable to a Florida Mayhem team looking to crown itself as the Overwatch League’s final champion.
Finals MVP: Someone (Tank, Florida Mayhem)
League MVP: Lip (DPS, Atlanta Reign)
DPS: MN3 (Seoul Infernal), Profit (Seoul Dynasty)
Tank: Guxue (Hangzhou Spark), Hanbin (Dallas Fuel)
Support: MMonk (Hangzhou Spark), Skewed (Seoul Infernal)
DPS: Lip (Atlanta Reign), Decay (Boston Uprising)
Tank: Someone (Florida Mayhem), Fearless (Houston Outlaws)
Support: Shu (Houston Outlaws), Chiyo (Atlanta Reign)
Alarm Rookie of the Year: Donghak (Tank, Atlanta Reign)
Coach of the Year: Gunba (Florida Mayhem)