Things are heating up in the Overwatch League with the balance of power shifting. If you have some free time this weekend we handpicked the best Overwatch League matches to tune in for.

The 2021 Overwatch League Season is heating up fast, and we're in Week 3 of the Knockout Qualifiers for the May Melee Tournament. Some teams have already qualified, some have been eliminated, others are 'on the bubble' to enter the bracket. Here are four matches, two from the West and East Regions you should watch this weekend. For more details on the format head to our OWL format article.

West Region - Matches to watch this weekend

The Houston Outlaws, Washington Justice, and Dallas Fuel have all punched their ticket into the knockout round. The Boston Uprising, and surprisingly the Vancouver Titans are both mathematically eliminated from contention.

Hot pick #1 - San Francisco Shock vs Florida Mayhem

Date/Time: April 30th 13:30 PDT / 16:30 EDT
Stream link:

Here's a sentence I'd never thought I would write in 2021, the Florida Mayhem are 2-0 in Qualifiers.  A win here versus the San Francisco Shock would cement their place in the regional Knockouts on Sunday.

The San Francisco Shock, with a 1-1 record, are on the bubble. A win would help their chances. Later this weekend, they would have to also win against the Atlanta Reign.

In addition, the Houston Outlaws will be rooting for the Shock, even if they lose this match.  If Florida can 3-0 the Shock, they would have a better map differential than the Outlaws and take the 1st seed in the regional knockouts.  Anything less than that means the Outlaws will remain the 1st seed.

Either way, the Florida Mayhem, with their recent roster upgrades, look untouchable and plan on giving the 2-time World Champions a run for their money.

Hot pick #2 - San Francisco Shock vs Atlanta Reign

Date/Time: May 1st 15:00 PDT / 18:00 EDT -
Stream link:

I know that I have the Shock twice. However, this Overwatch League match will be more important for the Atlanta Reign. They are the only other team who can get a better map differential with a 2-2 record to make it into the knockouts.

The Shock will have a different plan, depending on how they do Friday. They will either be playing for a higher seed in the knockouts with a 2-1 record or defeating the Atlanta Reign quickly to qualify into the knockouts with a better map differential than other 2-2 teams in the middle of the West region.

Bonus: The Los Angeles Gladiators will be rooting for any team against the Shock or the Reign. Those are the only two teams within striking distance of their map differential and can eliminate the Gladiators from moving on into the knockouts. They have no games left to play in qualifiers but will be watching to see if their 2-2 record and 8-6 (+2) map differential will hold and if they will get a chance to play on Sunday in the Overwatch League.

East Region - Matches to watch this weekend

The Philadelphia Fusion, Chengdu Hunters, and the Seoul Dynasty have punched their tickets to the Knockout Round of the May Melee tournament. The Hangzhou Spark and the LA Valiant have been eliminated from playoff contention.  With some early morning results, these next two matches have become even more critical for teams wishing to enter the tournament.

Hot Pick #1 - Seoul Dynasty vs Los Angeles Valiant

Date/Time: May 1st 02:00 PDT / 05:00 EDT -
Stream link:

Earlier this morning, the Seoul Dynasty defeated the New York Excelsior 3-0, which clinches their spot in the knockout stage.  Their win also makes things interesting for this matchup and the standings in the East region.

The LA Valiant also just lost their match against Guangzhou 0-3, which puts Guangzhou in striking distance to make it into the knockout stage.  The Valiant are also mathematically eliminated from the May Melee tournament.  However, they can play spoiler alert for the Shanghai Dragons, who will be rooting for them, even if the Valiant loses.

“If [Seoul] 3-0 LA, which is more than possible to do, they will come out with a +7 [map differential] and snag 2nd place by a single map.” says Overwatch League fan Winston "Schtitle24" Steidley.

“Shanghai is hoping on a prayer that Seoul gets upset by LA; otherwise, they have no path to top three.  They would need at least five map wins to catch Chengdu, and that’s not possible with one match remaining.  If LA wins against Seoul, they can bring down their map differential, and Shanghai can have a chance for the 3rd seed in the knockouts.  They would avoid playing the Philadelphia Fusion in the first round of the knockouts.” mentions Schtitle24.

While this match is meaningless for the Valiant, this match does have huge standing implications for the knockouts.  We’ll see how serious each team takes this match.

Hot Pick #2 - New York Excelsior vs Shanghai Dragons

Date/Time: May 1st 05:00 PDT / 08:00 EDT
Stream link:

This Overwatch League match will be a last chance qualifier for the knockouts in the Overwatch League.

With the New York Excelsior taking a 3-0 loss, this makes this match all the more critical if they want to qualify for the tournament.  While not eliminated yet, they will need Guangzhou to lose a few maps to be in contention. The Excelsior’s best map differential could be 6-7 if they 3-0 Shanghai in this match.

The Shanghai Dragons are in control of their destiny.  If they take care of New York 3-0, they will qualify for the knockouts.  If Seoul loses some maps in their match, they could take 3rd seed and play against Chengdu instead of the Fusion on Sunday.

Bonus: The Guangzhou Charge will be watching this match closely.  Their best map differential will be 6-6 (0) if they win 3-0 against Hangzhou.  They have to hope that the Shanghai versus the New York Excelsior match goes the distance for a shot at the playoffs.

Overwatch League Knockouts to come

Once these Overwatch League matches are complete on Saturday, we will know who will be playing on Sunday during the Knockouts to qualify for the top 4 teams in the Double Elimination bracket next weekend. Good luck to all the teams playing, and stay tuned for a preview of the May Melee tournament matches next weekend!

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