And it’s all over. The regular season has ended, and the stage playoffs with it. Week 5 proved to be very interesting, with many games later in the week deciding playoff positions. Not only that, but the Stage 4 playoffs led to some upsets. I’m looking over each Overwatch League team, giving a fair description of their week along with a grade. Much like last week’s recap, the grades are my opinion, but I am trying to look at every team with no bias. For those wondering how I score my teams, it is stated in a quote on this page. Also, with the stage playoffs being part of this week, I’m going to put an extra piece at the end about the playoff teams and their grade. To start off the final regular week:
Los Angeles Gladiators
The Gladiators are clearly playoff worthy with this ending week. A convincing 4-0 sweep win against the Shanghai Dragons and a 3-1 win over the Seoul Dynasty let them get a spot into the playoffs. While Fissure didn’t appear in either game due to sickness, it was obvious that he improved the team around him. Surefour and Hydration were still playing well, and iRemiix filled in for Fissure well enough. Both wins looked convincing, leading them into the Stage playoffs, which I will cover after all these teams.
While they didn’t have the toughest opponents this week, they didn’t flinch. I’m giving them a grade after the playoff section of this article.
Dragons, Dragons, Dragons. I will be writing another article covering the winless season they just completed with two more losses this week. Getting swept by the Gladiators as well as the San Francisco Shock 4-0, they finished their final week as they finished their season. Hopeless. There isn’t too much to say about the Dragons that hasn’t already been said. Their supports have been extremely poor, and the rest of their team is inconsistent. Their roster might be completely different next year, and I can’t blame them.
I’m giving them a 0/10.
Los Angeles Valiant
The Valiant are the team to beat for these season playoffs. I know the New York Excelsior is the number one seed, but the Valiant have been the hottest team this stage. While this week had them hoping to get their perfect stage hopes with a 3-1 win over San Francisco, the on fire Dallas Fuel managed a big upset, beating them 3-1. This week wasn’t their best, but the perfect stage aspiration was nothing more than a record they could break. They already qualified into the playoffs and got the second seed, as well as being second in the stage 4 playoffs. Agilities and Soon are shaping to be more of star players than I originally gave them credit for, and Space might be the best tank in the league.
While they did hiccup with the loss against the Fuel, their stage playoffs proved to show more. I’m giving them a grade after the stage playoff section.
San Francisco Shock
While this week was a mixed bag for Shock fans, I know most of them aren’t too worried. This season wasn’t meant to be a very intense one for their fans, but they made improvements over the past two stages. With a 3-1 loss against the Valiant and a 4-0 sweep of the Dragons, they didn’t disappoint. They managed to get a map against a very good Valiant and predictably swept the Dragons. While the regular players played very well, the long-awaited debut of IDDQD was finally done. He played one map against the Dragons and dominated, making Shock fans probably immeasurably happy.
They ended the season on a high note, leaving fans very hopeful for next season for good reason. I’m giving them a 6/10.
So close, yet so far away. The Dynasty came into the league with high aspirations, people expecting them to win the league with the team they assembled. They played well but consistently stumbled throughout the season. That didn’t change this week, as they showed some skill beating the Dallas Fuel 3-1, but lost the playoff chances by losing 3-1 to the Gladiators. Fleta both was and wasn’t the meta, and Ryujehong wasn’t the best Zenyatta in the league as many people guessed. While they still proved to be a good team, they ended up mid-table and out of the playoffs; not even making it into any stage playoffs.
Next season, with a couple changes they can challenge properly. But this week, I’m giving them a 5/10.
This team this stage has redefined their season, which I will go over in another article. The Fuel are surprisingly optimistic for next season, and for good reason. In this last week, they needed a couple things to happen to make it to the stage playoffs: one win and for London to at least take a map off of Philadelphia. With a 3-1 loss against the Seoul Dynasty, they needed to win against the red-hot Valiant. They ended up doing so, winning 3-1 in a big upset, but that left their fate to the London Spitfire. When London got the final map in the series against the Fusion, the Fuel got into the Stage 4 playoffs. Mickie is one of the best Brigitte in the league, and Taimou and Seagull were popping off at the best times.
This is a major accomplishment for a team considered bottom three for most of the league. I’m giving them a grade at the playoff section.
Houston needed two wins to make it into the season playoffs, and mentioned how they would guarantee a win against the Excelsior if they won against the Fusion earlier that week. They themselves said they would use the momentum and win for sure. While they were right with winning against the Fusion 3-1, they lost to the Excelsior in a map 5 loss, 3-2. It was a very admirable week for the Outlaws, but they came just short. While most people know that the Outlaws’ lack of a good Tracer player was a season-long issue, this stage was supposed to be theirs. Spree was a very good Zarya and led them to a lot of map wins, but they kept on being inconsistent. This showed in the New York game, where some maps they looked like a huge threat and other maps they got hurt badly.
Next season, a couple more changes and better coaching and they can be a top tier team. For now, I’m giving them a 6/10.
The Fusion needed one win and for the other teams in mid-table to lose once for them to get into the playoffs in the final spot. With their early 3-1 loss against the Outlaws, the looked like they might choke their spot. But they convincingly won against the Spitfire 3-1, simultaneously getting Dallas into the stage playoffs with one map loss. Carpe is continuing his MVP-like form, and the tank duo of Sado and Hotba are playing well, but not convincingly. While people think Carpe can lead their team to playoff glory, the rest of the team needs to play better. They don’t need a huge improvement, but a noticeable one. This is shown in the fact that they missed the stage four playoffs.
For this week, I’m giving them a 6/10.
Florida ended the week much like they ended the stage: the second worst team in the league. They managed to get swept in both games 4-0, by the London Spitfire and the Boston Uprising. They didn’t seem to care this week, barely playing their best player Sayaplayer. Much like the casters themselves mentioned, this is most likely the coaches testing all their players for next season. Zappis came back into rotation, as well as Logix starting consistently. The only issue was that they didn’t play well at all.
This week, they are also getting a 0/10.
This week wasn’t the greatest for the Spitfire despite getting their spot in the season playoffs. Their exile of most of their roster earlier this stage was a gamble, and it ended up both working and not working. They ended up going 4-6 for the stage, but this week they were 1-1. Against the Mayhem, they predictably swept them 4-0, but then lost 3-1 against the Fusion. While they did win the last map to get Dallas into the stage playoffs, they clearly are still learning with their shortened roster. Profit is playing as a flexible player well, and Birdring looks like his old self some games. But at the same time, they aren’t the same team that won the Stage 1 playoffs.
This week was a rollercoaster for London fans, and I don’t think they’ll get far in the season playoffs. I’m giving them a 4/10.
New York Excelsior
New York is a team I’m starting to worry about for the first time this season. While most of us know that they’re sandbagging, I can’t truly tell whether they’re trying or not at times. They ended up going 1-1 this week, along with their first ever loss that wasn’t a map 5. They lost to the Boston Uprising 3-1 and came back against the Outlaws 3-2. In the Uprising game, it was hard not to think they were throwing by forcing Libero on Tracer and playing Pine on maps where Widowmaker or McCree wasn’t good. Janus, one of their main tanks, is very much a distraction to the team, and usually loses them games just due to changing their concentration. In the Outlaws game, each map looked like a different New York team.
I still think with their bye and their star players that they can get far in the playoffs though. I’m giving them a score in the stage playoff section.
Boston, despite having a bad stage, had a great final week. They beat the New York Excelsior 3-1, as well as crushing the Mayhem 4-0. Striker continued his resurrection as another possible MVP, and Mistakes is playing much better as a flexible attacker. Note and Gamsu are improving, and Aimgod played very well when he did. Neko was also a very good support player, as usual. This end gives fans of the Uprising a good feeling as well as hope for next season. They know what they can do in the league, being the only team so far to have a perfect stage. They just need to adapt to certain meta better.
The potential of this squad is not only high but very possible. I’m giving them an 8/10.
Stage 4 Playoffs
These playoffs focus on four teams, the four teams I didn’t grade so far: New York, both LA teams, and Dallas. The Gladiators, being the first seed of Stage 4, chose their LA rivals as their first match. This choice surprised almost everyone and took a lot of guts. While that match happened, New York was about to face Dallas. The battle of LA ended up being the closest one yet, and the Valiant won 3-2. Soon stepped up in a big way in that game.
Then Dallas faced New York and gave them one of the closest games in this season. While New York was debatably sandbagging certain maps, they certainly tried with others. New York ended up squeaking out a 3-2 win, but Dallas fans should be very proud. Pine and Mano were the two reasons they won that game.
So then there was two. The LA Valiant and the New York Excelsior. The best team in Stage 4 and the back-to-back stage champs. New York looked burned out from the Dallas game and lost convincingly 3-1. One curious fact was every single time a team that won a map, they fully held the other team off. Soon and Space were great players, but the tanks on the Valiant couldn’t have played better.
Final grades: the Dallas Fuel are getting a 7/10 with taking New York to a map 5. The Gladiators are getting a 7/10 as well, taking the Valiant to a map 5. And while New York is getting an 8/10 for getting to the final with a bad week, the Valiant are getting a 9/10 and the team of the week with their stage win.