Overwatch League Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend Preview
The third and final Homestand Weekend for Season 2 of the Overwatch League is quickly approaching. So far this season, the League has visited the Lonestar State for a battle between the Dallas Fuel and the Houston Outlaws, and enjoyed the thrilling matchups amid a backdrop of rich and vibrant culture in Atlanta, Georgia. The last Homestand, taking place August 24-25, will see ten teams vie for supremacy on Valiant turf at The Novo in sunny Los Angeles.
While the previous Homestand Weekends definitely had a lot to offer, the final one will be something extra special. Touted as Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend, fans can expect to see matchups between teams with a little more to prove, be it the chance to exact some revenge for a tough loss or a battle for territory dominance. As an added bonus, the Los Angeles Homestand Weekend is the last of the matchups this season before the playoffs and Grand Finals, so there’s a lot on the line for teams on the outside looking in at the playoffs.
With the Homestand in Los Angeles, day one of the two-day event kicks off with a traditional rivalry: the Los Angeles Valiant versus the Los Angeles Gladiators, two teams with equal claim to their city. The two teams will be meeting for the first time in Stage 4, and just the second time this season after the Gladiators beat the Valiant 2-1 in the second week of Stage 2. Currently, the Valiant hold sixth place for the Stage, comfortably maintaining their playoff spot, but the Gladiators are knocking at the door.
The Gladiators, currently on the fringes of playoff contention for Stage 4, need to leapfrog both the Hunters and the Spitfire for a shot at the playoffs. A win for the Gladiators could very well be their ticket to the Stage playoffs, especially since the Hunters and Spitfire will not be playing this Homestand Weekend.
Another good match to watch should be the meeting between the Vancouver Giants and the San Francisco Shock. The teams have met twice in Stage playoffs already this season and are quickly becoming fierce rivals. The two teams first faced off in the Stage 1 title match, but the Shock could do little to stop a red-hot Titans team. In a bit of a grudge match, the teams once again met for the Stage 2 playoff finals, but this time it was the Shock bringing home the glory after their record-setting perfect Stage.
The main rivalry matchup for the Homestand Weekend is undoubtedly the Valiant versus the San Francisco Shock. The rivalry culminated with the California Cup, a league showcase, which took place last November. Both teams had the opportunity to play a series on their home turf, away from the weight of OWL standings, for nothing more than bragging rights. In the end, the two teams split a win a piece, the Valiant winning in Southern California and the Shock taking Northern California. Rivalry Weekend finishes with the two teams taking the stage together once again for what is sure to be a deeply personal matchup.
As the final round of matches before the play-ins, this weekend could hold major implications for the postseason picture of Season 2.
Per the postseason rules, six teams will duke it out in a high-stakes play-in series for the remaining two spots of an eight-team postseason. As of now, the Vancouver Titans, New York Excelsior, San Francisco Shock, Hangzhou Spark, and Los Angeles Gladiators are set to be in contention to win the Overwatch League championship trophy. Should they have a strong showing in their matches this weekend, the Reign have the ability to boot the Spitfire out of a playoff spot, forcing the London team to play-in for their chance at the playoffs. The last two playoff spots could go to any number of teams via the play-in, including the Reign/Spitfire (depending on the results of the weekend), Dynasty, Charge, Fusion, Dragons, or Hunters. However, the Los Angeles Valiant could contest for the bottom play-in seed should the weekend go their way.
There’s a lot to look forward to this Rivalry Weekend, and the matchups planned are sure to entertain. Season 2 has further solidified the rivalries established in the Inaugural Season, as well as forged new ones.
It will be exciting to see which teams come out on top, and with so much on the line for the hosting Valiant, their presence in the postseason will hinge on their ability to do well. If the event is a success, much like the past Homestand Weekends have been, fans can expect to see more Rivalry Weekends in the coming seasons.