The Toronto Defiant and Florida Mayhem picked up wins Friday as Western Region qualifying matches for the Overwatch League’s June Joust began.
The Mayhem (4-1, 5 points) continued to roll after a strong showing in the May Melee, taking out the upstart London Spitfire (0-5, 0 points) in a hard-fought 3-1 series.
The Defiant (4-1, 4 points) picked up a scrappy 3-1 series win over the Paris Eternal (1-4, 1 point).
The OWL teams are competing in three weeks of matches to determine qualification for the June Joust’s double-elimination playoff brackets, which will be contested June 6-12.
The top six teams from the West and the top four teams from the East will make the initial playoff rounds. Two teams from each region will advance to the double-elimination final playoff round.
As Week 6 of the OWL season started Friday, the Mayhem looked poised to sweep their series with little resistance, getting everything they wanted in Game 1 on Ilios in a 2-0 win.
After that, thought, the Spitfire fought back, taking Numbani 5-4 in Game 2 after Florida committed back-to-back C9’s and got off the point in a winning fight.
The Mayhem found that the Spitfire were feisty. Ultimately, though, with main tank Min-seok “OGE” Son leading the way as Winston and Orisa, Florida took Game 3 on Rialto 3-2 and followed with a 4-3 win on Volskaya Industries in Game 4.
The Eternal, after the recent retirement of veteran support Alberto “neptuNo” Gonzalez, weren’t expected to play the Defiant close, especially considering Toronto’s record.
However, the Defiant struggled throughout the series, adapting to Paris’ playstyle changes late and relying on individual outplays to lock up the win.
The Defiant started hot with a 2-0 win on Busan, but then got shellshocked by the Eternal on Eichenwalde, who utilized support Emir “Kaan” Okumus’ Ana to great effect to win 3-1 in Game 2.
After that, though it was close, the Defiant squeaked out a 3-2 win on Dorado thanks to DPS Ho-sung “Na1st” Lee, whose exploits as a flanking Echo paid dividends, assassinating the Eternal’s backline time and time again. The Defiant then fought their way to a 2-1 win on Anubis for a somewhat unconvincing series win.
June Joust qualifiers continue on Saturday with six matches:
–Guangzhou Charge vs Hangzhou Spark (East)
–Shanghai Dragons vs Chengdu Hunters (East)
–New York Excelsior vs Philadelphia Fusion (East)
–Paris Eternal vs Washington Justice (West)
–Houston Outlaws vs Atlanta Reign (West)
–Toronto Defiant vs Boston Uprising (West)
Overwatch League standings, with win-loss record, map differential and league points
1. Florida Mayhem (West), 4-1, +5, 5
2. Shanghai Dragons (East), 3-1, +4, 5
3. Dallas Fuel (West), 2-2, +2, 5
T4. Philadelphia Fusion (East), 4-0, +9, 4
T4. Washington Justice (West), 4-0, +9, 4
6. Houston Outlaws (West), 4-0, +7, 4
7. Toronto Defiant (West), 4-1, +4, 4
8. Seoul Dynasty (East), 3-1, +7, 3
9. Chengdu Hunters (East), 3-1, +6, 3
10. San Francisco Shock (West), 3-1, +5, 3
11. Los Angeles Gladiators (West), 2-2, +2, 2
12. Atlanta Reign (West), 1-3, -1, 1
13. Hangzhou Spark (East), 1-3, -2, 1
14. Guangzhou Charge (East), 1-3, -6, 1
T15. New York Excelsior (East), 1-3, -7, 1
T15. Boston Uprising (West), 1-3, -7, 1
17. Paris Eternal (West), 1-4, -7, 1
18. Vancouver Titans (West), 0-4, -8, 0
19. Los Angeles Valiant (East), 0-4, -11, 0
20. London Spitfire (West), 0-5, -11, 0
–By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media