Blizzard to abandon coin flips for OWL playoff seeding after mishap

Overwatch's Icon Alexander Lee · 20 Mar 2019


Photo via Blizzard Entertainment

Last night’s Overwatch League event was briefly struck by controversy when OWL commissioner Nate Nanzer misread an important coin toss.

When two pairs of teams tied for third and sixth place in the stage one playoffs, the San Francisco Shock and Seoul Dynasty determined their sixth and seventh seed positions through an unstreamed tiebreaker match, while the Philadelphia Fusion and Toronto Defiant elected to determine the third and fourth seeds via coin flip. In a tweet published by the OWL’s official account, the Fusion were given tails, while the Defiant were granted heads.

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When the coin fell on heads and Nanzer called the toss in the Fusion’s favor, fans of both teams objected to the erroneous call. Fortunately, the OWL quickly followed up with a second live stream, in which Nanzer corrected his mistake and named the Defiant as the victors of the coin toss. In a Reddit post, he apologized for the error.

“Sorry for messing that up I PROMISE that we will never decide anything that way ever again,” wrote the commissioner.

Coin tosses are not unheard of in traditional sports, and are often used to determine which team or competitor will kick off or serve first in sports like football or tennis. But determining seeding with a coin toss is a more controversial proposition, and Nanzer’s decision to end the OWL’s use of this method will reduce randomness—and the frustration that comes with it—for all members of the league.

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