It feels like it has been forever since we’ve been without The Overwatch League in our lives – it has barely been over a week and my withdrawal symptoms are kicking in.
The final days of stage 2 of The Overwatch League are etched in the back of my mind as I watched my precious Seoul Dynasty drop an entire series to the Houston Outlaws – it was like stage 1 all over again as they went down to Los Angeles Valiant in the last days. But, my own bias aside, it was pure poetry in motion to watch New York Excelsior and Philadelphia Fusion battle it out in the title match. But, I digress, as it is now time for stage 3 to begin and there are changes both to teams and the map pool – are we ready for this?
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 4, 2018
In under 24 hours our favorite Overwatch Teams from the OWL will take to the stage once more as stage 3 gets under way in the inaugural season. There have been some interesting changes on the teams as Blizzard closed the transfer window recently, making transfers impossible until the entire season was over. But some of the biggest things we saw were the swap between The Dallas Fuel and LA Valiant which saw them trade support players – Scott ‘Custa’ Kennedy and Benjamin ‘uNKOE’ Chevasson now play for Valiant and Fuel respectively.
— Dallas Fuel (@DallasFuel) April 2, 2018
We all know that Fuel suffered a lot through the last stage, having problems with their roster – but their final few series saw them put on a brilliant show as they took 2 games of NYXL in fantastic fashion. With one of the most well-known “Western” rosters in Overwatch, we will be watching Fuel closely to see how they begin their stage 3 progress. You can find the full statement from Dallas Fuel here – including a short quote from Kyle ‘KyKy’ Souder, head coach of the squad.
Fuel will be one of the teams participating in the opening match-up as they take on the Shanghai Dragons – the other team who had a dismal performance in the previous stage, unable to muster up a single victory, unfortunately. The Dragons have a few new faces coming to their roster and this may be the first time we see a female player participating in the OWL with Se-Yeon ‘Geguri’ Kim joining the roster recently and being eligible to play now. Seoul have signed a new player – Jin-Woo ‘Gambler’ Heo after Jun-Hyeok ‘Bunny’ Chae was bought by Valiant – a massive boost to the Valiant’s line up in my opinion. There are many more roster changes other than these and you can find them on the OWL website. (source: OverwatchLeague)
Another huge change will be the addition of a fourth team into the Stage Playoffs – meaning that instead of having only 3 teams playing on the final day, we’ll have 4 and this translates into more amazing playoff-Sunday series. This comes with other changes attached to it: the top seed team will no longer receive a bye directly into the title match but they will , however,get a chance to choose their first opponents which means that the top seed can choose a very weak team (but where’s the fun in that?). But with the top seed sometimes only being decided on the final day, this is going to be a very interesting season.
With #OWL2018 Stage 3, we're making some changes to the way our Stage Playoffs work.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 2, 2018
Finally, in stage 3 news, we will see a new map pool for this, with Temple of Anubis returning to the Assault stage, alongside Volskaya Industries. Blizzard World – the extremely beautiful map of a world in which I’d love to live – is now in the pool as one of the Hybrid maps, joining Numbani in the rotation. This map is still fairly new and it will be extremely interesting to see how the pro-players handle their strategies coming into the massive map. One thing that can be said about the maps on rotation is that we’re probably going to see a lot longer maps – as Temple of Anubis and Blizzard World both have very strong defensive positioning’s and attackers will be looking to break down their enemies slowly and meticulously before running in. With King’s Row being replaced by Junkertown as well as Hanumura no longer in the pool, it’s sad to see 2 of my personal favorite maps taking a backseat for the moment. The tiebreaker map for these series is still yet to be announced, but from various speculation it will probably be Oasis.
Just as a mention, a lot of people have been enquiring about the latest addition to the game, Brigitte, and if she’ll be included in this stage of the OWL – the simple answer being nope. The spawn of Torbjörn has not made her way into competitive yet and will not until next season, meaning that we are only likely to see her pop up in the League later this stage – but for now, we’re happier not hearing, “RALLY TO ME” as the enemy dive-comp pushes our triple sniper defense, right?
The Overwatch League – Stage 3
The Overwatch League’s 3rd stage kicks off today, April 4th with Dragons, Fuel, Valiant, Dynasty, Shock and Gladiators all finding their way onto the battlefield. As a little extra, Blizzard have also announced that there will be a special announcement made tonight – pertaining to the upcoming Overwatch Archives event, previously called Overwatch Uprisings. I am extremely excited for this next stage of the League and even more excited for April 10th, when we return to King’s Row for Uprisings and whatever new additions Blizzard has prepared for us.
images courtesy of The Overwatch League