Overwatch League – Setting the Stage: 2
By Emerald Gao, Blizzard Entertainment
Stage Finals Explainer
We’re in the final week of Stage 2, and that means the Stage 2 Finals are just around the corner.
On Sunday, March 25, at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, the top three teams in the standings will battle it out for $125,000 in prize money—and bragging rights—beginning at 1 p.m. PDT.
Stage Finals take the form of a seeded playoff where the second- and third-place teams face each other first, the winner of which will take on the top-seeded team in the title match. All matches will be best-of-five, and the higher seed will be the home team for each match. Per the Overwatch League Official Rules, title match results will not count toward overall season playoff seeding or tiebreaker scenarios.
The Week 5 Picture
Heading into the final week of the stage, we ran a Monte Carlo simulation of this week’s matches 100,000 times, aggregating the number of times each team makes it into the finals. Tiebreakers, which are based on Stage 2 results only, have also been taken into account. Here are the five teams that are still in the picture, and what they need to do to ensure a spot.
Top Dog: NYXL
Having dropped just one match through the first four weeks, the NYXL have the most clear-cut path to a repeat berth in the Stage Finals, with a 96.1% chance of running it back. They need just one win this week to ensure a round-robin spot, while two wins will clinch top seed, which they also occupied in Stage 1. Their opponents this week are Dallas, who have struggled all stage, and an LA Valiant squad that has had its ups and downs, making the NYXL’s task seem fairly manageable.
In Charge of Their Fate: London Spitfire, Los Angeles Gladiators
The London Spitfire (67.8%) and Los Angeles Gladiators (66.8%) have similar chances of making the Stage Finals appearance, due to their map differentials of +14 and +12, respectively. London needs to win their two matches by three maps combined to confirm their berth, and they have an easier path on paper, as they’ll face two teams with losing records: the Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel.
The Gladiators, on the other hand, must get past the Philadelphia Fusion, who have an outside chance at sneaking into the Stage Finals, and a tough Boston Uprising team. With the Dynasty only three maps behind, the Gladiators will need to win their two matches by five maps total if Seoul does not drop a single map in their two contests.
Things become interesting if all three teams somehow end up still tied, with identical map differentials at the end of the week (the maximum that Seoul can attain is +17). In that scenario, the third tiebreaker would be invoked, sending London through on the merit of their 4-0 sweep over Seoul, and Seoul through since they defeated the Gladiators 3-1.
Assistance Needed: Seoul Dynasty
We’ve seen this movie before: Seoul put together a strong run at the start of the stage, but began to fade as the weeks progressed. Now, after a tough week, the Dynasty have just a 34.6% chance of making the Stage 2 Finals despite being tied with London and LA in win-loss record. While they do have the head-to-head win over the Gladiators in Stage 2, they still need to make up a three-map difference to reclaim the first tiebreaker. Seoul’s opponents this week are the Houston Outlaws and Florida Mayhem, both tricky matchups, and they’ll need to win both games in extremely convincing fashion to overtake the Spitfire or the Gladiators in map differential.
Unlikely, But It Could Happen: Philadelphia Fusion
Maybe the schedule-makers knew something we didn’t—the LA Gladiators and Philadelphia Fusion face off this afternoon at 4 p.m. PDT in the spiciest non-playoff match of the week. Currently, the Fusion have just an 8.1% chance of making the Stage 2 Finals, and while a big win over the Gladiators this afternoon may increase their odds, their fate still relies on the three teams ahead of them, since they lost to both London and Seoul this stage. They’ll likely need a combination of two big wins, as well as two of the top three teams backsliding hard this week, to claim a spot in the Stage Finals.
- NYXL clinch first seed with two wins, while one win secures a Stage Finals spot.
- The Spitfire and Gladiators can clinch berths with two wins each, as long as they reach a +17 map differential or better.
- Seoul needs to win both games this week convincingly and hope either London or LA stumbles, in order to make up a three-map deficit.
- Philadelphia needs to go 2-0 with big wins and hope two of the three teams ahead of them hit a speed bump.
Check back later this week for updated odds as we approach the Stage 2 Finals. Also, catch the crucial battle between the Gladiators and the Fusion today at 4 p.m. PDT. You can watch all the action live on Twitch, MLG.com and the MLG app, OverwatchLeague.com, or the official Overwatch League app.