Ready Set Pwn would like to send our sincere condolences to the Seoul Dynasty and Chengdu Hunters, you guys came so close, but we will miss you in the playoffs.
Sunday’s matches drawing to a close, we finally got confirmation of the Stage 2 playoff matches. If you hang out in our Discord server, we’ve been speculating on this since week 3 so it’s nice to finally get some answers.
The Titans have a pretty good record against the bottom teams in the playoff brackets. With 4-0 matches against the Dallas Fuel, the Shanghai Dragons, and the Hangzhou Spark, they are set up very well against potential upsets. The game data from the Fuel and Spark matches are solid because both matches happened this stage. A lot has happened since the Dragons match, but that’s the least likely upset anyways, despite how well they did against the Shock in Stage 2. While it’s possible to play all three of these teams, it’s very unlikely, speaking of the Fuel…
Okay, the Titans dominated the Fuel match this stage, a clear 4-0 win playing like the elite team they are, even Hooreg got in on the action. The Titans are vastly superior at every position and while OGE is a great main tank, he doesn’t have the incredible peel from his supporting cast that Bumper does. The biggest dependency is in the Brigitte play, Haksal is the best Brigitte player in the league, while Zacharee is one of the worst. He is constantly ripped apart by fans and is very vocal on Twitter about being in “Brig jail.” Potentially, one of the biggest motivators in this match up will be some bulletin board material that Jayne handed the Titans this stage. I would be very surprised if the Fuel made this close, but if they do, it will require a very good showing on the Control map, as well as a lot of practice on Assault, but we will get back to that once the maps have been announced. They might even try and bring Trill, their new main tank pickup in for a map, who knows. For now, onto the next potential match up.
The Spark was, in my opinion, one of the scarier potential matches, they have a lot of clutch players and had a fairly tough stage, only losing to the Titans and the Shock in matching 4-0’s. They also have Guxue, who is quickly climbing many power rankings as an elite main tank, the argument could be made he’s a top 3 Winston in the league mechanically. His Primal Rage usage is a thing of beauty. Their opponent is the London Spitfire, a team of stunning highs and embarrassing lows. After winning the Season 1 grand finals, they missed the Stage 1 playoffs, then in Stage 2, they lost to the Hunters and almost lost to both the Mayhem and the Fusion, with a final score of 2-1 in both matches. They have a lot of high quality players, but they tend to disappear, this one will be close. Something to note, if the Spark do upset the Spitfire, they will play the Shock and the Titans will have to play the winner of Gladiators/Excelsior, otherwise it will be Titans vs Spitfire and Shock vs the last winner.
The final quarterfinal match is the New York Excelsior and the Los Angeles Gladiators. New York has the slight advantage in this head to head, typically the teams they have trouble with are the teams who play effective Sombra compositions and teams who group up and press W like the Reign, Dynasty, and Titans. The Gladiators aren’t one of those teams, in their recent loss to Uprising, they often looked like headless chickens. The way NYXL wins games is by having incredible focus fire and being able to turn on a dime and chase down flankers and players who are put out of position or who try and go on solo adventures like Sinatraa, so if they take this match, they could prove to be the kryptonite for the San Francisco Shock. One of the most important things we saw in the Gladiators last match was that Decay didn’t have a very good time while playing Sombra, which could lead to NYXL walking away with their first playoff win of 2019. If they can keep their focus and keep the Gladiators off their game, they have a real shot.
This season, NYXL already beat the San Francisco Shock in a dominant 4-0 back in Stage 1 and if they can focus on isolating Sinatraa on his Jjonak style adventures, they could make him tilt and try to solo carry which isn’t in his team’s best interests. It’s unlikely the Gladiators have the same upset potential. It would be interesting to see if using NYXL to take down the Shock is the Titans route to the Stage 2 title. Which brings us to the last team and the team with the highest expectations for the Stage 2 playoffs, the San Francisco Shock.
The Shock are a good team. The Shock went 7-0, 28-0 this stage. Many think the Shock are the best team in the league, but in my opinion you can’t be the best until you beat the best and the expected Finals match is Shock and Titans so they could very well get the chance. The Titans had a pretty easy schedule, but it was nothing compared to the butter-soft teams the Shock had to face. Both teams 4-0’d the Spark, and they 4-0’d a lower tier playoff team each in the Fuel and the Dragons, but the Titans had to play Seoul twice, a tier 2 or high tier 3 team, who should have made playoffs. Regardless, the Shock have joined the Titans in separating themselves from the other teams, if someone is going to take down the defending champions, the Shock likely have the best chance. If anyone is going to beat the Titans, they’ll have to do it fast as the Titans showed last time what happens when they get to game 7.