For people who don’t know what this article is about, I made an article before these Overwatch League season playoffs predicting everything. From which teams would progress to what the match scores would be, I was confident in my choices. This was affirmed by the first day of the quarterfinals and then it all started to collapse. While one of my fellow Overwatch writers on this website has already done recaps on the playoff semifinal matches (which I will link to), this article is more on my total predictions, why I failed and what my Grand Finals predictions are.
The First Day of Quarterfinals (July 11)
Fusion vs. Uprising
This first match was one of the few I mentioned due to my prediction article being a little late. The Philadelphia Fusion won against the Boston Uprising 3-1 in that first best of five. Now, in my prediction, I guessed Fusion to beat the Uprising 2-1 in total, so it was on track. As I mentioned in my prediction article, the Fusion are a streaky team and these playoffs are the best time to get this streak. Carpe and EQO showed their immeasurable skill against a team I knew just weren’t as hot.
Gladiators vs. Spitfire
While this was a game that I guessed the Gladiators to win, it wasn’t without some surprise. The Los Angeles Gladiators beat the London Spitfire in a 3-0 sweep in their first game. While in my prediction I expected the Gladiators to win in matches 2-0, I specifically mentioned Fissure being the key to their wins. So it surprised everyone when Fissure was left from the entire first match of these playoffs. Even without him, they still won with better strategy, doing the infamous long flank on King’s Row.
Matches 2 & 3 of Fusion vs. Uprising (July 13)
While the Uprising took back the series with a win off of Mistakes stepping up (3-1), the Fusion won the long game with a 3-1 win in the last match. Carpe continued his great attack play with EQO, and their tanks Sado and Hotba recovered to win the most important game of the series; the final one. With that result, I felt great. My prediction was exact, but at the same time, I was worried about the future teams facing a streaky team. But, even with those feelings, I got my predictions right.
But this matchup ended up being the only one where I got it right. Not only that, but I would wager to say that everyone who predicted the entire playoffs like I did didn’t think every single matchup ended up having the underdog winning. My understanding for this matchup of Fusion vs. Uprising was that the Fusion and Uprising were going in different directions. Uprising fell since the start of Stage 4, while the Fusion fought to get a final playoff spot. I’ll mention these underdog wins in the future games. Speaking of which…
Matches 2 & 3 of Gladiators vs. Spitfire (July 14)
Now, this was a prediction I feel that had a very good excuse for. Who would’ve thought that the Spitfire of Stage 1 would come back out of full force? Who would’ve thought that Fissure would be missing for the entire playoffs?
While I know some people thought of Spitfire as the better team due to their ranking, their recent Stages weren’t great. I feel like the teams were dead even in skill, and Gladiators would’ve won with Fissure, and I still believe that. But without the best tank in the league and without the surprise strategies they had, they lost both games to London 3-0, winning the series 2-1.
Semifinals: Day 1 (July 18)
Fusion vs. Excelsior
This was the start of eye-opening playoff series. The Philadelphia Fusion beat the New York Excelsior 3-0 in game one of three. This was the upset of the playoffs, with everyone thinking New York was the most prepared team in the playoffs. Carpe, EQO, and company just rolled over the Excelsior, as if they were a team that didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs, let alone in the first seed. This already took me off, as I expected the Excelsior to sweep them 2-0. But New York still had a chance, with two matches left on Saturday.
Spitfire vs. Valiant
Just when we thought that the New York game was an upset, the Spitfire just blazed in and rolled over the Valiant. The London Spitfire swept the Los Angeles Valiant 3-0. The Valiant, much like the Excelsior, looked unprepared for the team they faced. While with New York it just looked like bad strategy, with the Valiant it was more of their star players not showing up at the best times. The Valiant was a team all season long that relied on teamwork more than moments of solo amazingness. So when the teamwork starts failing, the team collapses, and that is what we saw. But much like New York, they had a chance to recover.
Semifinals: Spitfire vs. Valiant (July 20)
And this was even more surprising. Due to my prediction on the quarterfinal being wrong, this wasn’t something I expected, but I still expected Valiant to beat the Spitfire. With the Spitfire doing the first-ever clean sweep of the playoffs on a potential Grand Final team, it just proved to me that these first-ever Overwatch League playoffs were not what anyone expected. The Valiant just looked defeated from their loss on July 18. And that meant the London Spitfire was the first time to make it into the Grand Finals in New York. But just when it couldn’t get any crazier…
Semifinals: Fusion vs. Excelsior (July 21)
While the match showed a 2-0 series win to the Fusion, the Excelsior didn’t go down without a fight. The New York Excelsior lost to the Philadelphia Fusion 3-2 in their second match, losing the series 2-0. With the mistakes they made on July 18, they started like they didn’t learn their lessons. But, as the match went on, New York started to regain their footing. They won the two maps they had the lowest win rate throughout the season on in that map pool (Lijang Tower and Hanamura). But, as the map pool ended on Dorado, they made the same mistake they made on July 18 and got stuck. And with that, the #1 and #2 seeds both fell out of contention for going to the Grand Finals.
Recap and Finals Predictions
Here we are now. The grand finalists of the inaugural season of the Overwatch League ended up being the #5 and #6 seed from the standings; the London Spitfire and the Philadelphia Fusion. Not only did this break my predictions, but most peoples. At the same time though, these teams were teams I knew would go far if they caught on fire, but for different reasons. The Fusion were inherently a streaky team, a team that went on rolls. But the Spitfire were due wins just because of their lack of playoff success since Stage 1. And with other teams messing up, both the Fusion and the Spitfire punched their tickets to New York.
But which of these two teams will come out on top? Which of these two underdog stories will win the season title; Grand Final champions? Will it be the city of underdogs in Philadelphia? Or will it be the completion of the redemption arc for the Spitfire?
Grand Finals Jinxing!
I am personally going to the Grand Finals, even though the team I support didn’t make it there, I know it’s going to be a one of a kind experience. I am going to meet a bunch of friends there to experience it. This will be my first ever esports event where I go to personally, and I didn’t think it would be a grand final. But who is going to win according to me?
I think this final is going to be close as can be. The unpredictability of the Fusion will be matched by the surgical precision of the Spitfire. It will go to all three games, but the London Spitfire will win the Grand Finals and finally achieve postseason glory yet again.