We’re nearing the end of Stage One and only the NYXL have clinched a spot in the Stage playoffs. By the end of Week 4 things should be a lot clearer about who will be playing in the end of stage tournament. We’re also treated with a couple top games this week and one that’s….. not as high quality but still going to be a riot.
These are the five games you need to try and catch this week.
Toronto Defiant vs Chengdu Hunters – Thursday, 8:30 p.m. PST
Thursday is a bit light on the action this week because there are only three games and one of them prominently features the Valiant, but the late game promising some fun maps. Every game that Chengdu plays this season is worth watching if only to see Ameng’s Wrecking Ball. Toronto has come on as of late and is trying to push into the stage playoffs. Come for the exploits of Ameng and JinMu and stay for an ever-improving Toronto roster.
Paris Eternal vs Vancouver Titans – Friday, 5:30 p.m. PST
The battle of the 3-3 teams. Both sides have been praised for their GOATs play so far this season, but Paris looked very shaky in their 4-0 loss to the Atlanta Reign last week.They appeared to forget the basics that they looked so practiced at in their opening wins. They’ll have to play at their very best to get anything against the Titans though, who honestly look on a different tier than everyone else so far this season, bar the NYXL. Their hectic and aggressive playstyle is winning them a lot of fans and a lot of matches, taking advantage of their synergy to push teams into chaotic engagements. Eternal must tread carefully, they do not want to be on the end of a heavy defeat for the second game running.
New York Excelsior vs San Francisco Shock – Friday, 7 p.m. PST
The NYXL have looked excellent so far this season and sit atop the league standings, but a favorable schedule has meant they’ve avoided any top teams so far. Until they face the Shock this week. While Excelsior will be slightly favored, San Francisco has looked excellent this season, playing Vancouver very close in the game of the season so far. This match could come down to the strength of the Zarya play. If Sinatraa can remain aggressive without being punished, the Shock could well end up upsetting the early season favorites.
L.A. Valiant vs Houston Outlaws – Saturday, 12 p.m. PST
A must win game for both teams. The Valiant are winless so far after several shocking performances, and the Outlaws are 2-3, but need to take advantage of a weaker stage one schedule if they want to have any chance of making playoffs. If L.A. is able to win a game this stage, this should be the one they look at, as Houston has looked incredibly underwhelming most of the time. Don’t expect this to be a good game, but it’s a win at any costs for both of them.
Paris vs San Francisco Shock – Sunday, 12 p.m. PST
This is a game between top teams that have tough early week matchups. If Paris and Shock both lose their first game this week this is close to an elimination game for stage playoffs particularly for the Eternal. The quality of play should be high and the drama thick as this is Shock’s last game before Stage Playoffs. If Eternal can pull this one out, one of the better looking Stage One teams may miss the playoffs entirely. Meanwhile, if Shock win Paris could be relegated to the bottom half of the table. There is a lot at stake here.