The Overwatch League’s inaugural season is barreling towards its end, as the Semi-Finals have now begun. The day’s matches had the Philly Fusion going up against the NYXL and the London Spitfire facing the top-ranked LA Valiant. They each played one of the three possible games that will get them to the finals on Wednesday, and boy was it a surprising evening.
It all began with the underdog, sixth-seeded Philadelphia Fusion taking on the goliath New York Excelsior. Dorado was the first map up, and both teams went for a classic dive comp. Philadelphia had a ton of success with the double snipers on attack, while Pine was having an off day on the Widowmaker. The New York Excelsior all seemed to be having an off day on Wednesday, as they would go on to lose Dorado. Next up was Oasis, where the Philadelphia Fusion was able to switch comps on the fly to adapt to the point. The Excelsior kept it pretty standard, which may have been their downfall. The Fusion were able to pick up round two and went on to round three on Eichenwalde sitting pretty. The Fusion’s brawl heavy comp was able to rush the first point, and the on-the-fly changes they made along the way led them to a quick win. New York’s attack followed and went extremely well, but in the end, they were unable to make it to point C.
What an upset! Philadelphia was almost guaranteed the loss after seeing what the NYXL were capable of, but it seems the scrappy nature of the Fusion’s playstyle really threw New York off, who are known for playing spotless, clean Overwatch.
Next up was the London Spitfire versus the LA Valiant. This matchup was another that seemed in-the-bag, per se, in favor of LA. London made it into the playoffs mostly based on their Stage one and two records, since Stages three and four did not go so well for them. But after their surprising comeback over the LA Gladiators, and what we had just seen from the Fusion, anything was possible.
The Spitfire and Valiant started out on Junkertown, where both teams went for the triple Tank, single Healer, double sniper comp that has found a lot of screen time in these playoffs. It was standard Junkertown material, with London coming out on top. Next up was Lijiang Tower, where Agilities had some monster plays on the Pharah, which lent them point A, but B and C both went to London.
With a 2-0 lead at the half, it was crazy to think that both underdogs would take the win for the day. The desk talked of a reverse sweep, and how King’s Row would be a tough one for London, who had been duped by one of the best plays ever seen in the Overwatch League so far when they were up against the LA Gladiators just last week. King’s Row felt very evenly matched, with both teams struggling to capture point A. London attacked first, and it was a full hold from the Valiant. All the Valiant had to do to win was capture point A, and although London held them off for a good amount of time, LA was able to secure the win in the end.
This took the game to Hanamura, where London was on attack first. LA gave up point A but held it down on point B. London did the same on defense, meaning Hanamura would end in a draw. Game five went to Dorado, with fantastic performances from Birdring, Fury, and Gesture led them to a close win against the Valiant.
So it happened. Both underdog teams won their first Semi-Finals games. On Friday at 7 pm EST we’ll see the second and third Valiant vs. London games, and on Saturday starting at 7 pm EST will be the Fusion’s and the Excelsior’s games. After that, the Grand Finals at Barclays Center. It’s an exciting time to be watching the Overwatch League, especially since you can catch all the playoff games on ESPN 2 and Disney XD.