The second day of the Overwatch League Season 3 Grand Finals on Friday was filled with drama, with three teams taking each other to the limit while the fourth struggled to find their footing.
The North American top seed, the San Francisco Shock, made it to the Grand Finals through the winners’ bracket by defeating the APAC No. 1 seed Shanghai Dragons.
In what might be the wildest twist yet of the season, however, the second seed from APAC, the Seoul Dynasty, will join them in the finals from the losers’ bracket after taking out the Philadelphia Fusion and the Dragons in back-to-back series.
The most anticipated match entering the Grand Finals was that between both region’s respective top teams, and it didn’t disappoint. The Shock emerged with a 3-2 victory that could’ve potentially gone either way. San Francisco started strong, taking Oasis 2-0 and Hollywood 3-2 to go up 2-0 entering the second half.
The key to this was Shock DPS Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon’s Tracer, who consistently got pressure on the Dragons’ backline through timely assassinations. Then, after halftime, the Dragons seemed to figure out a response, forcing a double-sniper composition instead of trying to mirror the Shock’s Tracer-Ashe DPS lineup.
Running “Widowmaker/Ashe + Hanzo” looks, Shanghai surged to back-to-back wins, taking Volskaya Industries 4-3 and dominating Watchpoint: Gibraltar 3-0. In the last game of the series, though, Striker’s Tracer came back to play. Taking over Busan, Striker and Shock tank Matthew “super” DeLisi’s Roadhog ripped through the Dragons, taking Busan 2-0 to close out the series win.
This win moved the Shock into the Grand Finals while knocking the Dragons down into the losers’ bracket finals.
In the losers’ bracket semifinals, the Dynasty made quick work of the Fusion, taking the series 3-0. The Dynasty were led by tank Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong’s Roadhog, who freely roamed around the map and killed whomever he pleased while the rest of Seoul sat back on sniper characters. Seoul seemed to catch Philadelphia off-guard with the strategy and they struggled to respond.
After taking Busan 2-0, Seoul scrapped out a 3-2 win on King’s Row before taking Temple of Anubis 4-3 to secure the sweep. The Fusion had trouble with the tank matchup and looked uncomfortable running it, since it forced them to swap out tank Su-min “SADO” Kim for Gael “Poko” Gouzerch and shift Jun-ho “Fury” Kim from his offtank role to the de facto main tank position as Roadhog.
The Fusion’s all-star team was solid throughout the year, but wasn’t meta-proof at the end of the day. Thus, Philadelphia’s legacy of being good, but not good enough to win continues in heartbreaking fashion.
Then, in the losers’ bracket finals, the Dynasty came out on top of the team that beat them for the APAC crown, taking down the Dragons 3-2. This series was an exhilarating display of high level Overwatch revolving around lethal precision characters, with both teams running double-sniper compositions. In fact, Shanghai even subbed out regular season MVP Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim for hitscan sniper specialist Min-seong “diem” Bae, shifting DPS Jae-won “LIP” Lee off of hitscan duty and onto Hanzo.
The Dragons started with a 2-1 win on Busan, led by diem’s heroics, but then the Dynasty responded with a 4-3 win on King’s Row, powered by their own hitscan specialist, Dong-eon “FITS” Kim’s Widowmaker. FITS, along with support Young-wan “Creative” Kim, played perhaps the best series of their respective careers against Shanghai, but it wasn’t enough to stop Shanghai from taking Volskaya Industries 2-1 and going up 2-1 in the series.
With their backs to the wall, the Dynasty’s big guns came out and got to work. DPS Joon-yeong “Profit” Park was sublime throughout the evening playing primarily Hanzo, with the occasional Pharah and Tracer sprinkled in. Profit’s lethal aim and clutch factor were key for Seoul to stay in fights that were going bad.
The real star of the show, though, was Gesture’s Roadhog. Gesture simply went where he pleased and did what he wanted, and the Dragons seemed to lose their control of him as the series went on. The Dynasty dominated Dorado for a 1-0 full-hold, forcing a series-deciding map five on Oasis. There, Gesture, Profit and the entire Dynasty squad shined, taking out the Dragons 2-0 and earning a rematch against the Shock.
The Dragons will be disappointed with the result, as they were the tournament favorites coming into the event, but this year has been a vast improvement from their shaky beginnings. This team is without question one of the best Overwatch teams of all time. They simply ran into the two players who had carried their team to the first ever Overwatch League trophy, who were back with a vengeance and a new team.
–Field Level Media