It’s that time of year again when we hang Wrecking Balls from King’s Row and pray to Lee “Fearless” Eui-seok for an eventful finale to the 2021 Overwatch League season. The first round of Overwatch League playoffs is behind us, but there is plenty more to come.
Our team at Upcomer will be breaking down all the action — including the best players and moments — each and every day of the postseason, all the way up to the grand finals. We’ll also have quick previews of all the matches to come all in the same place.
Keep reading for sneaky point captures, clutch Tracer plays and hot previews of the winner’s bracket matches coming on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 4 p.m PT.
Top three moments of the day
Fearless gets out of a pickle and turns a lost fight
In the first game of the 2021 Overwatch League playoffs, the Washington Justice and Dallas Fuel fought for the first slots in both the winners and losers brackets. King’s Row proved to be a great map, with both teams comfortable playing Reinhardt. However, during one of the Fuel’s fights at the end of King’s Row, Jung “Closer” Won-sik booped Lee “Fearless” Eui-seok off the map when he swapped onto Wrecking Ball. He grappled to the floor, swinging wildly below, trying to find a way up. As his team skirmished above, he rolled back into the fray (even though it took a few tries), dropped onto the cart and helped his team win a close fight. For the many times as we see this situation just delay a Wrecking Ball’s death, Fearless turned it into a fight win.
— Michael Czarnowski
Choihyobin gets a team wipe against Shanghai
In the third match of the day, the San Francisco Shock faced off against top seed Shanghai Dragons. During the final map, on the verge of getting swept, the Shock were fighting hard on King’s Row. On their final portion of the map, a sleek teleport D.Va bomb combo led to the biggest ultimate of the night. Choi “ChoiHyoBin” Hyo-bin killed five players with that combo, then landed another kill to complete a team wipe. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to win the map, but it was arguably the play of the day.
Atlanta Reign pulls a textbook C9 on a map known for its defensive advantage
This one was a doozy. The Atlanta Reign fought tooth and nail against a foe they knew would challenge them in the Chengdu Hunters. The Reign were up 1-0 in their series, and on Temple of Anubis, after finishing their attack with over two minutes, they faced Chengdu’s attack. Both teams captured point A quickly but struggled more on point B as Anubis’ close spawns for the defense gives the defenders a big advantage.
For the Reign, after three minutes of holding the Hunters back, they gave up two-thirds of the capture. That’s when Blake “Gator” Scott saw an opportunity to push and kill the Hunter’s Ana, Cao “Farway1987” Jiale. As they did so and killed Farway1987, not even the broadcast saw that the Hunters captured the point.
Every Reign player pushed up to clean up the fight that Gator had started, not seeing two Hunters players rotate onto the point. Atlanta forgot about the objective while winning a fight, which is the textbook description of a C9. It was even crazier due to this being such a defensive map, but the Reign’s aggressiveness cost them. Chengdu ended up winning the map, and the series, 3-2.
Who gamed the hardest?
Kim “Izayaki” Min-chul (Shanghai Dragons)
The Dragons enjoyed a fairly painless victory over the defending champions yesterday, and it was due in large part to Izayaki taking over every team fight. His Ana has long been regarded as one of the best in the league and it was on full display in the series against the Shock, as he was able to secure crucial kills against opposing damage dealers while also keeping his team healthy.
— Bonnie Qu
Kevin “Kevster” Persson (Los Angeles Gladiators)
The Gladiators were able to win the Countdown Cup thanks to Kevster’s monstrous performance, and he doesn’t seem to have skipped a beat coming into the Overwatch League playoffs. His opponents, the Philadelphia Fusion, had previously stated their goal was to shut him down. Unfortunately they didn’t manage to do so, and as a result he more or less took over the lobby.
Huang “Leave” Xin (Chengdu Hunters)
Leave won the season MVP award yesterday, and in the Hunters’ series against the Atlanta Reign, he proved a dozen times over why he was the deserving recipient. Though Oh “Pelican” Se-hyun proved a formidable opponent, Leave was ultimately able to help the Hunters pull ahead and claim the victory with his near-perfect Echo and Tracer play.
Shanghai Dragons vs. Los Angeles Gladiators
The road to the Overwatch League championship goes through Shanghai, and the Dragons aren’t looking for a carpool. After rolling through San Francisco, Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun and company want to make sure these stray Angelenos have more than enough time to enjoy a second Hawaiian vacation. Indie “SPACE” Halpern may have led his crew to victory over the Fusion, but their skill will be put to a significantly tougher test when the first seed comes to play.
Both squads have something to prove. They’ve won tournaments and stages within their franchises’ histories, not championships. Only one can proceed to the winner’s final while the other will need to take a much longer road to the grand finals.
— Aron Garst
Dallas Fuel vs Chengdu Hunters
Despite the matchup against Atlanta coming down to a Game 5, Chengdu pulled out all the stops on Oasis in order to come out on top. You can’t rein in a burning flame, though. Dallas blazed through Washington earlier in the day. Kim “SP9RK1E” Yeong-han was angry after dropping a map and that fire won’t go away overnight.
Leave will need to prove that his MVP caliber play — along with a little Chengdu magic — can edge out a Dallas team that have made history in 2021. Li “Nisha” Tan said they plan to treat Fuel like any other team in the post-match interview. We’ll see if that’s enough to get the fighting pandas to the winner’s finals.
San Francisco Shock vs. Philadelphia Fusion
It’s going to be orange team vs. orange team in the lower bracket on the second day of Overwatch League playoffs. The Fusion looked better than expected against the ferocious Gladiators yesterday, though their carousel of damage players raised some eyebrows. The Shock, meanwhile, are still vying for a three-peat, and it’s not like being knocked to the lower bracket is the end of the world for them. Neither team looked particularly promising, but that was probably because of the caliber of opponent they were up against. Against each other. they’ll likely be on more even footing.
Washington Justice vs. Atlanta Reign
This duel is going to be a great watch, simply to see if these teams will mirror each other. Both the Washington Justice and Atlanta Reign fought valiantly against top teams in the tournament. Both have Reinhardt-focused compositions that work better now that Lucio has returned to the map pool. The Reign fought hard against Chengdu, barely losing to them in a five-map series. The Justice got a well-deserved map but lost to a rebounding Dallas Fuel.
This all comes down to the main tank match-up of Kim “Mag” Tae-sung and Gator, dueling on Reinhardt. Let’s see which of these teams — that C9’d a map away — rebounds in this deciding game.