Every Wednesday, we’re here to help get you ready for the coming week in the Overwatch League.


Stage 1 Playoffs

March 21–24 at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles

Watch: Twitch, ABC, ESPN and app, Overwatch League website and app, MLG website and app

We asked our team of Overwatch League analysts to tell us which two teams will compete in the Stage Finals. They all predicted an Excelsior-Titans showdown. Read on to find out who they think will emerge as stage champs:


Brennon “Bren” Hook
Both the New York Excelsior and Vancouver Titans have the best understanding of the current meta, but both have radically different styles in terms of execution. NYXL play a defensive, more reactionary playstyle that punishes mistakes, whereas the Titans play a fast-paced aggressive style that aims to throw their enemies off and force them to make mistakes. I think, in terms of how these two styles match up, New York will have the edge—over the course of Stage 1 they have looked more consistent in their play.


Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles
Due to the reseeding of the bracket for the semifinals, even a potential dark horse like the San Francisco Shock face significant difficulties in reaching the Stage Finals. An Excelsior-Titans final is what we deserve to cap off the Goats meta—yet, predicting an outcome remains difficult due to the opposite styles employed by these teams. New York’s implacable defense and patience allows them to wait for a positional mistake before striking, while Vancouver’s chaotic aggression can catch opponents off-guard. With both teams undefeated, and rarely even challenged in their matches so far, who can say which style will reign supreme. If a winner must be predicted, I will take the more conservative approach and pick the NYXL as the stage champion—given their veteran status in the Overwatch League and more deliberate play style.


Matt “Mr. X” Morello
New York vs. Vancouver is the only way Stage 1 can end, right?! I think there's a chance that the Shock could find themselves in this match, but I’m going to say that New York barely gets by them to reach the finals. In the finals though, I believe the NYXL will come out on top. They rarely make mistakes and can take advantage of the over-aggressive play we see from the Titans. I also believe there's a little more on the line in this match than just the Stage 1 championship. New York is defending their turf as the best team in the world, and Vancouver are newcomers trying to make a statement—that the old guard aren’t unbeatable. I think when push comes to shove, New York takes the series in six matches.


Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson
Excelsior vs. Titans is the match everybody is expecting—and hoping for—in the Stage 1 Finals. Reseeding in the semifinals gives both of these teams extra insurance against upsets, and unless the Shock can massively impress, I think this match is unavoidable. These teams play completely opposite styles. New York are positioning gods and masters of the bait, constricting their opponents with pressure and punishing any mistakes when teams go aggressive. Vancouver always takes the initiative and drives up the tempo—funneling resources into Sang-Beom “Bumper” Park and supporting him perfectly to enable their hyper-aggressive style. In the classic showdown between the haymaker and the counter-puncher, between the two best Goats teams we've ever seen, I have to favor the NYXL. They have looked outrageously methodical and intelligent in every match, but they also have the individual talent to match and exceed the Titans' Bumper and Ju-Seok “Twilight” Lee.


Soe Gschwind
I genuinely struggle to see any other teams but the Titans and Excelsior in the Stage 1 Finals. This might very well be the most anticipated match this stage or even this season. A complete and utter clash of styles—both executed to perfection. No one punishes overextensions as hard as New York, and no one overextends as much as Bumper. I mean, the Titans! I think the NYXL will have the edge, however, I would not lay a wager on that statement.


Robert “Hexagrams” Kirkbride
I'm going chalk on this one and picking the two undefeated teams: New York and Vancouver. Both teams have been mostly dominant, though both have been pushed to their limit in some matches. This clash of styles should be highly entertaining, but I'm going with New York’s veteran lineup to win the Stage 1 Finals in a close match.


Wolf "Wolf" Schröder
There’s no doubt in my mind that we will see both undefeated teams in the Stage 1 Finals. No teams have been able to match their power level yet. Vancouver has a wild, aggressive style that relies heavily on Bumper and his supports. New York’s style is the polar opposite, and that’s what makes the matchup exciting. I think the NYXL’s style is somewhat of a counter to Vancouver’s, and their disengages and patient play will win them a majority of teamfights. Yeon-Gwan “Nenne” Jeong will win the Zarya matchup in 3-3 vs. 3-3, and NYXL has players like Hae-Seong “Libero” Kim who can exploit Vancouver’s weaknesses in hitscan as well. It will be a very tough final for Vancouver.

More: Top Plays: Week 5 | What’s New in Stage 2?



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The 2019 Overwatch League Stage 1 Playoffs start on Thursday, March 21, at 6 PDT. Watch all 2019 season matches live and on demand on overwatchleague.com, the Overwatch League app, our Twitch channel, MLG.com, and the MLG app.