So through the first two days of Stage Three our picks have been….. less than ideal. But that’s also been part of the fun. Despite our erroneous decision to pick Shanghai over Fuel, we’ve been picking chalk and OWL has been providing us with upsets. Valiant over Dynasty, Shock over Gladiators, Uprising over Fusion and Outlaws over Spitfire, the first two days have been surprising to say the least.
On Friday we have the three winners from Wednesday taking on the three losers and because we haven’t learned our lessons yet, 5 of today’s 6 picks are the favorites.
Gladiators try to bounce back against a Fuel team that may or may not have Rascal, Valiant look to keep rolling against Shanghai and Shock attempt to truly arrive as a contender as they take on Seoul.
Stage Three Picks Record (Not a great start)
Los Angeles Gladiators (10-11, 0-1 S3) vs. Dallas Fuel (6-15, 1-0 S3)
Ian: Gladiators 3-1
I’m making this picking based solely on Tank play since I think Bischu and Fissure are far ahead of Mickie and Segall, but if AKM’s Sombra is even half as effective as Danteh’s Sombra was against Gladiators there may be some problems. I’m rolling with LAG assuming that they’ve watched the film and figured out at least a semi-counter to Sombra knowing that Dallas ran her a lot against Shanghai. This match will be close but I’m still giving the edge to the Gladiators.
Ollie: Gladiators 3-2
I’m making this prediction based on the fact that Rascal might not be available again. If he is, that might tip the scale in Fuel’s favour. LAG struggled against Danteh’s Sombra in their lose against San Francisco Shock, and this may prove the case again if Rascal is in the starting six. However, if he isn’t, expect the tank duo of Fissure and Bischu to be too strong for Dallas.
Los Angeles Valiant (12-9, 1-0) vs. Shanghai Dragons (0-21, 0-1)
Ian: Valiant 4-0
Valiant’s new squad looked very good against Seoul on Wednesday, especially their youngest addition in Space. Shanghai has improved marginally, but the match against Fuel showed just how far they have to go. I think Valiant are out to reassert themselves and will get a fairly easy 4-0.
Ollie: Valiant 3-1
We all got a little caught up in the hype surrounding Shanghai, but there are genuine signs of life in the Dragons. Fearless and Geguri are a massive improvement in the tank department, and Ado’s Genji has real carry potential, even if he looks a little shaky on other heroes. Valiant got off to an amazing start, and while I expect them to carry that momentum into their next game, if one team were to drop the ball here, it would be the LA side.
Seoul Dynasty (14-7, 0-1) vs. San Francisco Shock (7-14, 1-0)
Ian: Shock 3-2
This is a real “feel” pick for me. Shock looked very good against Gladiators mostly thanks to Danteh’s Sombra. Valiant didn’t really run any Sombra against Seoul so we haven’t seen how they adjust to the new meta. I’m going to assume that Seoul plays the A team tonight after their performance on Wednesday, but I’m riding the hot hand and going with Shock in 5. In BabyBay we trust.
Ollie: Seoul 3-1
A rough start to stage three should be treated as an anomaly for the moment rather than the standard for Seoul Dynasty, and I think they’ll bounce back here. Expect Zunba, RyuJehong and Tobi all to come back into the side that faces SF Shock, who picked up a solid win against LAG in their first game.
There is growing pressure on the coaches of the Dynasty from fans in Korea, who are questioning a lot of the roster decisions and strategies. And quite rightly. This still remains one of, if not, the most talented squad in the league, and criticism of Jehong and Tobi as past their primes is beyond premature. This team under the guidance of the NYXL coaches very might be out of sight in the standings by now. However, while I do expect Seoul to pick up the win here, this remains Shock’s best chance to turn over one of the big three, and even if they end up on the losing side, they’ll put in a good performance.