Overwatch League 2019 Stage 1 playoff preview: Who will advance?

Blizzard Entertainment
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Toronto Defiant

Seed: 3rd (5-2 record)

Quarterfinal Opponent: San Francisco Shock (6th seed)

Match Time: Friday, March 22 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET

The Defiant entered their first season of play on a tear, winning five of their first seven matches and going into overtime just once. Their only losses came against fellow playoff teams the Atlanta Reign and New York Excelsior. Part of their success comes down to fortunate scheduling; their opponents in their five victories have a combined record of 13-22. Only one of those teams, the Boston Uprising, has a winning record.

The Defiant certainly deserve their playoff spot given the circumstances. DPS SeungHyun “ivy” Lee dealt the sixth most damage of any player in stage one and is ninth in final blows. Support Jae Yoon “Aid” Ko rival JJonak’s numbers on Zenyatta, pumping out over 10,000 healing per 10 minutes along with 7,000 damage.

That being said, a lot of Toronto’s success comes down to making the right counter picks. This is true even in the matches they’ve lost. The Defiant don’t have that stand out, MVP-caliber player that can carry a match and they frequently have some long matches. Toronto is easily the team with the highest average time played; their starters have played just under seven hours of game time. It remains to be seen if the Defiant can hold up against high-caliber competition. If they can, they could be a factor in the playoff hunt further down the line. Otherwise, this stage playoff appearance could very well be a flash in the pan.

Their quarterfinal match against the San Francisco Shock will be the first meeting between the two teams.