As Stage Three gets underway on Wednesday we’ll have the chance to see three different teams try to integrate new players on the fly as well as if Seoul can return to dominance after a rough end to Stage Two.
Dragons will be fielding almost an entirely new lineup against a Fuel team who lost their captain in Custa. Valiant are going to be playing with three new players in the starting lineup as Bunny goes up against his former team. Finally, the nightcap sees one of the hottest teams in Stage Two in Gladiators take on a much-improved Shock squad.
Who do we think will win?
Shanghai Dragons (0-20, 0-0 S3) vs. Dallas Fuel (5-15, 0-0 S3)
Ian: Dragons 3-2
LET’S DO IT. There is a decent chance this won’t happen, Dallas looked much better in Week 5 against the two best teams in OWL, but they’ve lost Custa and have to work UnKoe in on the fly. Dragons have a ton of new talent and it might not all click right away, but for me it’s close enough that I just really want Dragons to win. At the very least I think Dragons will look the best they’ve looked all year.
Ollie: Dragons 3-2
I’m going to agree with Ian here. Both teams will be fielding new players, but the difference is Shanghai’s have been able to scrim for a while, even while Geguri, Ado and Fearless were still in Korea. They’ll bring a new level of coordination to the team, and in Sky, will have the best support player in the match. Much will rest on how they deal with Effect and Rascal. Shut the DPS pair down, and I can see Dragons emerging victorious for the first time this year.
Los Angeles Valiant (11-9, 0-0) vs. Seoul Dynasty (14-6, 0-0)
Ian: Seoul 4-0
I wrote a lot about the problems Valiant are going through yesterday, and while all the roster moves might just save the franchise in the long run, this match won’t be pretty. They’re working in three new players that have only been on the team for a week (Custa a few days) and they don’t have Envy anymore. Seoul has been an early stage beast and I think they take a clean 4-0 right off the bat. The only reason to watch this one is to see how exactly Valiant play.
Ollie: Seoul Dynasty 4-0
Seoul may struggle against the other Korean teams, but for the most part they dispatch the teams below them and I don’t think this match will be any different. We’ll see a very new Valiant side compared to stage two, and it might take some time for the tank duo of Fate and Space to really click. If Bunny starts though, I’ll be interested to watch his matchup against his former teammate, Munchkin. I think Seoul will have too much quality though.
San Francisco Shock (6-14, 0-0) vs. Los Angeles Gladiators (10-10, 0-0)
Ian: Gladiators 3-2
This is by far the best game of the day. Shock finished Stage Two on the rise and Gladiators were the hottest team in the league before falling to Philadelphia. Sinatraa has had a couple weeks now to get adjusted, Super can play now and Architect is on the team too. I think Shock will put up a fight and every map will be close, but I’m giving the edge to the team with the better tank play. Maybe Super will be incredible in match one and surprise us, but for right now I’m siding with Fissure and the boys from LA.
Ollie: 3-1 Gladiators
Shock have been crying out for some quality in their tank positions, and in Super, they finally have it. For my money, he’ll have the biggest impact over any of their signings, but he’s up against Fissure, arguably the best main tank in the league, so this will be a baptism by fire. I doubt we’ll see Architect as he’s only been in the US a couple of days, but don’t be surprised if Shock run the Gladiators real close.