This weekend’s Overwatch League matches will be full of new experiences for both players and fans. Echo, the game’s newest hero, is now eligible to play in the Overwatch League. Some chaotic compositions and big plays are guaranteed.
This weekend also marks the beginning of the May Tournament within the league. Every regular game the first three weeks of May will go toward seeding teams into two brackets, North America and Asia. During the final weekend of May, teams will compete in a single-elimination tournament with tens of thousands of dollars in prize money and bonus wins on the line.
For the first time since online play began, North American teams can now play cross-regionally against new opponents in different divisions.
In the world of Hero Pools, though, it’s business as usual. McCree and Widowmaker are disabled together for the third time. Echo players will have to work without a dedicated Mercy pocket and Wrecking Ball specialists will have to use another hero to irritate enemy backlines. Sorry, Chengdu Hunters.
With all that in mind, we’ve highlighted a few matches that will entertain fans amid all the chaos.
New York Excelsior vs. Shanghai Dragons
Last weekend, most fans expected easy wins for the New York Excelsior, who recently relocated to South Korea and joined the Pacific East division. Most fans also expected last week’s match between the Shanghai Dragons and the Seoul Dynasty to be the most competitive series in the Asian region. Only one of these expectations was fulfilled, with the NYXL getting two easy 3-0 victories.
After the utter disappointment that was the Shanghai Dragons slaughtering the Seoul Dynasty, this match could be the competitive Pacific East showdown we’ve been waiting for. The Shanghai Dragons are entering this game with an air of bravado thanks to an 8-1 season record. No one crushes egos quite like the New York Excelsior, however. This match, taking place at 5am CT on May 2, is worth staying up for.
Philadelphia Fusion vs. Paris Eternal
At the beginning of March, the Paris Eternal and Philadelphia Fusion faced off in a tense match that went, surprisingly, in the Eternal’s favor with a 3-2 scoreline. Paris gave the Philadelphia squad their only loss of the season thus far. This weekend, the grudge match returns, and the Eternal want to repeat their success after questionable performances over the past few weeks.
Interestingly, the last time the two teams faced off, McCree and Widowmaker were also disabled through Hero Pools. While both teams opted for unexpected Torbjörn setups in the last match, Echo should be the focus this time around. Flex DPS players like Paris’ Nicolas “niCOgdh” Moret and Philadelphia’s Josh “EQO” Corona will likely pick up the newest hero for their teams. It could be a chaotic, aerial match at 2pm CT on May 3, but it’ll at least be fun to watch.
Los Angeles Valiant vs. Atlanta Reign
Thanks to cross-regional play entering North American divisions, the Los Angeles Valiant can finally escape the terrifying reality of having to play other California-based teams until the end of time. Both teams are technically avoiding the raid bosses of their region with this match. The Atlanta Reign can stop being bullied by the Philadelphia Fusion on the East Coast and the Valiant can take a week off of getting dominated by the San Francisco Shock.
On the upside, this gives both teams a chance to get a taste of what other divisions have been running. It’ll be a tough time for the Valiant’s DPS squad, who will have to go head to head with Kim “Edison” Tae-hoon and Jeong “ErsTer” Joon, the carry DPS duo for the Atlanta Reign. If Los Angeles can eke out a win from one of the Atlantic’s best teams, it could cement them as a real contender in their own division.
Florida Mayhem vs. Boston Uprising
In all honesty, this match isn’t highlighted in anticipation of a highly-competitive, interesting series. We’re all watching to see if the Florida Mayhem can break a record they set last week when they also played the Boston Uprising.
By defeating the Uprising in 24 minutes and nine seconds of game time, they set a record for the fastest match in Overwatch League history. If the Mayhem can once again defeat the Uprising within the time it takes to watch one episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Boston management has to seriously consider rebuilding their team from the ground up.
Toronto Defiant vs. Los Angeles Gladiators
Some matches come with built-in dramatic storylines. This is one of them. Last year, star DPS Lane “Surefour” Roberts left the Los Angeles Gladiators to join the Toronto Defiant, allying himself with a team from his native Canada. This weekend, Gladiators fans will have to choose between rooting for their own revamped team or throwing their weight behind their former superstar damage-dealer.
Whatever they choose, this match at 6pm CT on May 3 is bound to be exciting. Surefour will likely pick up Echo thanks to his experience as a flex DPS player. One of the Gladiators’ newer recruits, likely Chris “MirroR” Trinh, will go head to head with Surefour on the new hero. Wild aerial battles are likely to ensue. As a bonus, every time Surefour is eliminated, it’s almost a guarantee that the Los Angeles Gladiators will give him a few “tactical crouches” out of love.
This weekend’s Overwatch League matches begin on May 2 at 3am CT when the Guangzhou Charge take on the Seoul Dynasty. North American matches start at 2pm CT on May 2 with the Dallas Fuel and Washington Justice facing off.