The last week of stage one of the Overwatch League is done. The stage playoffs are set, and with one non-broadcast game and a coin flip, we have our brackets. This week had a couple of teams who didn’t play at all, with less games in general. That didn’t mean we had any less action though, with one big game of the week I’ll focus on. Before we get into that though, lets cover who got into the playoffs and what the brackets ended up being.
Playoff brackets solidified
To end week five, the teams who made it in were the Philadelphia Fusion, Boston Uprising, Atlanta Reign, Seoul Dynasty, and San Francisco Shock. The Dallas Fuel unfortunately got reverse swept and just didn’t make it in. The Guangzhou Charge, Paris Eternal, and Houston Outlaws all lost must-win matches, eliminating them from stage playoff contention. And with the London Spitfire losing to the Seoul Dynasty, they were the last to get eliminated.
This also led to some issues: The Fusion and Toronto Defiant were tied for third place, and the Dynasty and Shock were tied for sixth. On the Tuesday before the playoffs, it was decided in a coin flip and a non-broadcast match who got seeded where. The final brackets have ended up being Seoul vs. New York, Boston vs. Vancouver, San Francisco vs. Toronto, and Atlanta vs. Philadelphia. These playoffs will start this Thursday, each one of them with upset potential.
Out of all the games in week five, however, the match of the week was from an already eliminated team facing a team itching to make playoffs.
Both of these teams were known for unorthodox strategies. However, Chengdu was the only team in the Overwatch League who almost refused to play the meta. In that case, in more unorthodox maps, Chengdu had an advantage. This showed throughout this match, but it wasn’t an easy win for Chengdu in the end. This match was very back and forth, but every map was entertaining.
We want to extend a huge thanks to everyone for making our first @overwatchleague stage very special.
— Chengdu Hunters (@ChengduHunters) March 17, 2019
Map 1: Nepal
This Control map was complete domination from Chengdu’s side, running Pharah and Hammond and catching Atlanta off-kilter. They managed to get the 2-0 map win, with the best players on Chengdu being Ding “Ameng” Menghan and Yi “JinMu” Hu. Even though it’s hard to assess DPS skill in this meta where other DPS players don’t play their natural roles, Jinmu looks like a standout player. His Hanzo and Pharah look top-tier right now, and hopefully he keeps in form for the future. Chengdu started 1-0 up in the series, but Atlanta didn’t back down.
Map 2: Numbani
This map was much closer than the one previous, with both teams finishing the map on their attacks. But Atlanta came out on top in the end, with great play coming out from the regular standouts in the Reign lineup. To be more specific: Daniel “dafran” Francesca and Petja “Masaa” Kantanen both impressed on Zarya and Lucio respectively. The Reign got control of the match after a poor first map, but the match was far from over.
Map 3: Horizon Lunar Colony
This map was something else. The defense of the Chengdu Hunters was very unique to say the least, with a triple DPS setup including Torbjorn. They managed to full hold the Reign due to complete surprise and skill, and they captured the point to win the map total. Out of all the DPS players on the Hunters, it was Luo “Elsa” Wenjie that ended up playing the Torbjorn in the end. This random strategy ended up working out in the end and put the Hunters 2-1 up in the series.
Map 4: Rialto
With the chance to close out the series, the Hunters stumbled on map four and lost in close fashion. The Reign showed their superiority on more open maps where Hammond and Pharah struggle, stopping Hunters at the end of the map before capturing all three points. This win was close, but this simply gave Reign another shot to win. Both Dafran and Masaa kept up their form from previous maps, helping them win this fourth map.
As soon as they got to the tiebreaker, it seemed like Hunters were going to win. They knew how to play these DPS-heavy compositions. They won the previous control map in this series. And as soon as the map started and Chengdu ran no DPS heroes, it seemed like they were throwing away a win. But they stood together and played as well as they did against Vancouver, beating the Reign at their own game. The map ended a clean 2-0, and Chengdu took a win from a match they had no incentive to win other than pride. In this final map, Ameng brought his Reinhardt back into the spotlight and performed well to lead them to their match win.
✅ Great Torb
✅ Great Hamster
✅ Great Pharah
✅ Great GOATs
✅✅✅ Great Night!
— Chengdu Hunters (@ChengduHunters) March 17, 2019
— Atlanta Reign (@ATLReign) March 19, 2019
The rest of the Overwatch League highlights
Besides the matches determining the stage playoffs, some noticeable moments came out of the blue. One of them was Seoul Dynasty finally beating the London Spitfire, a team they had never won against in the inaugural season. This also added to Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek’s streak of never losing to his former Spitfire team.
The Boston Uprising made a surprising reverse sweep against the Dallas Fuel to clinch the last seed in the playoffs, also eliminating the Fuel.
Washington Justice’s squad finally got their first win, beating the Florida Mayhem in a close five-map series. This was important for one reason: Gihyeon “Ado” Chon and his 36-game losing streak before this match. He finally got his win and played well throughout the match.
And last but not least, the Vancouver Titans won against the Guangzhou Charge in a 4-0 sweep. This clinched the top seed in the entire league, something that very few people predicted. An expansion team getting the top spot? Crazy, but now true.
That finishes the news for week five and ends the stage entirely. But that doesn’t end the action. This Thursday, the stage one playoffs begin, with the top two teams playing. If you want to watch them, tune into twitch.tv/overwatchleague this weekend. Then catch the highlights and commentary at Daily Esports!