Fight to the top: Overwatch League weekend preview (May 16 and 17)

Every map matters in the fight for top seeding in next week’s May Tournament bracket.

Photo by Carlton Beener for Activision Blizzard Entertainment

Victory is much closer than it looks for most teams in the Overwatch League this weekend. Overall season standings are still a big concern, but teams are focused on seeding for next week’s May Tournament. Teams will be divided into two regions, North America and Asia, and be seeded into a single-elimination bracket based on their success in the first three weeks of May. Thousands of dollars of prize money and bonus wins are on the line for both regions. 

Teams will have to survive without some crowd control abilities in their fight to the top. Main tank Orisa and DPS Mei, who rely heavily on slowing mechanics to survive, are out of rotation due to Hero Pools. The loss of DPS Tracer and support hero Moira also means that teams will have to develop new dive compositions if they hope to run a speedy attack. 

With May Tournament standings on the line, here are our picks for the weekend’s most entertaining and important matches.  

Vancouver Titans vs. Houston Outlaws 

Vancouver’s new roster of Western Overwatch Contenders talent had a rough time last week, losing to the Washington Justice and Florida Mayhem. This week, the new Titans have a real chance to prove that they’re Overwatch League caliber. The Houston Outlaws have shown significant growth against other mid-level teams in the league and they’ll be a more surmountable challenge for the Titans. 

With Tracer out of rotation, Outlaws DPS Dante “Danteh” Cruz is without his usual carry hero and the Titans can’t rely on her speed to run dive compositions. The real treat for fans would be a return to hitscan duels, with Vancouver DPS Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff facing off against one of the most mechanically skilled players in the league, Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin. This match kicks off the North American games at 2pm CT on May 16.       

Florida Mayhem vs. Washington Justice 

Even if the Florida Mayhem don’t end up winning the May Tournament, they need an honorable mention for adaptability. This is the second week in a row, after the Vancouver Titans last week, where the Mayhem have a minimal amount of information about who they’ll be playing against during a weekend match. Last week, Justice DPS Corey “Corey” Nigra retired to pursue a career in VALORANT and his counterpart, Ethan “Stratus” Yankel, has moved to a content creation role within the team. 

As of publication, the Justice hasn’t announced a replacement to join remaining DPS Lee “TTuba” Ho-sung. This match, which begins at 4pm CT on May 16, may be business as usual for Florida regardless of the opposing team’s roster. Mayhem main tank Koo “Fate” Pan-seung might be able to play his impressive Winston thanks to Orisa’s removal from Hero Pools while DPS Kim “Yaki” Jun-gi rolls through his opponents on Hanzo.    

San Francisco Shock vs. Atlanta Reign 

For the San Francisco Shock, very few teams have been a thorn in their side more than the Atlanta Reign. In the 2019 playoff bracket, Atlanta managed to push San Francisco into the loser’s bracket by capitalizing on a series of uncharacteristic mistakes. While the Shock ran it back and ended up winning the 2019 Overwatch League championship, Atlanta’s ability to get under the team’s skin hasn’t faded this season. 

At 8pm CT on May 16, both teams will also be facing off for a higher seed in the May Tournament. Atlanta’s DPS roster has been buffed since the last time they faced the Shock in 2019, with newcomer Kim “Edison” Tae-hoon destroying dreams in enemy backlines. The Reign’s tank duo, Blake “Gator” Scott and Xander “Hawk” Domecq, may finally face a challenge in Choi “ChoiHyoBin” Hyo-bin and either of Shock’s talented main tank options. With all the bad blood between these teams, this match has the potential to be the best of the season so far. 

London Spitfire vs. Hangzhou Spark 

The Asian-Pacific region games are relatively quiet this weekend as the Shanghai Dragons and New York Excelsior continue to roll through their enemies, but this match at 5am CT on May 17 may be the most competitive of the bunch.

The London Spitfire made their debut in the region last weekend, taking a win against the Chengdu Hunters and a loss against the Guangzhou Charge. The Spark have seen similarly mixed results over the past few weeks, falling to Shanghai and the Seoul Dynasty. Hero Pools have made the notoriously wild Asian region even more unpredictable, so there’s always potential for a contentious match here. 

Dallas Fuel vs. Paris Eternal 

While the Dallas Fuel and Paris Eternal have both had mixed records during the 2020 Overwatch League season, they have some of the most successful recent records in the May Tournament. This match, at 2pm on May 17, could very well decide the top seed for next week’s bracket.

Both teams have an even playing field as far as damage is concerned. With Tracer out of rotation, Dallas’ Jang “Decay” Gui-un and Paris’ Terence “SoOn” Tarlier are without their usual carry hero. Considering both teams have also heavily relied on Orisa and Mei in previous compositions, we may see some seriously off-meta choices on both sides. Torbjörn, anyone? 

This weekend’s Overwatch League action begins at 3am CT on May 16 when the Seoul Dynasty takes on the Chengdu Hunters in the Asian-Pacific region. North American games begin at 2pm CT on May 16 with the Houston Outlaws facing off against the Vancouver Titans.