Tue, 26 Oct 2021

Dragons, Fuel advance to OWL winners-bracket final

Field Level Media
23 Sep 2021, 16:55 GMT+10

The Shanghai Dragons and Dallas Fuel are each two wins away from winning the Overwatch League playoff championship after advancing to the winners-bracket final with victories Wednesday.

The Dragons topped the Los Angeles Gladiators 3-1, and the Fuel swept the Chengdu Hunters 3-0.

Shanghai andDallas will square off Thursday for a spot in Saturday's championship match.

The Gladiators and Hunters dropped into the losers bracket.

Chengdu faces a Thursday matchup with the reigning champion San Francisco Shock, who edged the Philadelphia Fusion 3-2 in a Wednesday elimination match.

Los Angeles has a Thursday date with the Atlanta Reign, who eliminated the Washington Justice 3-0 on Wednesday.

The double-elimination playoffs featured the Overwatch League's top eight teams. The championship squad will pocket $1.5 million from the $3.2 million prize pool.

The 18-week OWL regular season determined qualification for the playoff brackets, with three teams from the Eastern Region and five teams from the Western Region advancing to the event.

The Dragons faced little resistance from the Gladiators in their Wednesday encounter. Los Angeles looked mechanically up to par with Shanghai's star-studded lineup but couldn't overcome the Dragons' cohesion and decisiveness.

Shanghai took Ilios 2-0, then Los Angeles captured Hanamura 2-0 to level the series at 1-1. After that, though, the Dragons figured out the Gladiators, dominating them defensively for a pair of 1-0 full-holds on Numbani and Havana.

Dallas' victory over Chengdu was surprisingly one-sided. The Fuel struggled the last time the teams met in a playoff bracket at the Summer Showdown, but Dallas held the upper hand on Wednesday.

Dallas utilized more brawl-centric compositions this time, starting with a 2-0 win on Lijiang Tower. While the Hunters kept things close on Volskaya Industries, the Fuel held on for a 3-2 map win. Dallas completed the series with a perfect 3-0 win on Eichenwalde.

The closest matchup of was San Francisco's triumph over Philadelphia. The Fusion did their best to keep up with the Shock but couldn't stand up to the two-time world champions in the end.

The Shock started with a 2-1 win on Nepal, a surprise considering their struggles with Control maps this season, but the Fusion were quick to respond with a 3-2 win on Volskaya Industries. San Francisco committed to playing more brawl-like compositions after that, leading to a 4-3 victory on King's Row.

The Shock put DPS Charlie "nero" Zwarg's wide hero pool to use throughout the series, though he did most of his damage as Reaper. After Philadelphia tied up the series with a 3-2 win on Route 66, nero and the Shock took over on Ilios, taking a 2-0 victory to send the Fusion packing.

The losers-bracket match saw Atlanta bounce Washington out of the tournament in dominant fashion. Just as with the Justice's loss to Dallas the day prior, Washington got outplayed on its preferred brawl compositions.

For Atlanta, the series was all about 2021 Rookie of the Year Se-hyun "Pelican" Oh, who carried the Reign as Mei in their lethal brawl compositions. The Reign's control over the tempo of the match overwhelmed the Justice, leading to victories of 2-0 on Nepal, 2-0 on Temple of Anubis and 3-1 win on King's Row.

Overwatch League playoff prize pool

1. $1.5 million

2. $700,000

3. $350,000

4. $250,000

5. $200,000

6. $100,000

7-8. $50,000 -- Philadelphia Fusion, Washington Justice

--By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media

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