The Dallas Fuel edged the Shanghai Dragons 3-2 in the winners-bracket final of the Overwatch League’s May Melee on Friday, but the Dragons fought back through the losers bracket to earn the other championship-round berth.
The winners-bracket final, which featured a tie, lasted six games, the third consecutive six-game series for Shanghai.
The Dragons dropped to the losers bracket, where they swept the Florida Mayhem 3-0. Earlier Friday, the Mayhem defeated the Chengdu Hunters 3-1 in the first round of the losers bracket.
The championship match is set for 9 p.m. ET on Saturday.
In the winner-bracket final, the Fuel started hot with great coordination on their signature dive compositions, taking Game 1 on Ilios 2-0. Dallas looked to continue the pressure up on Temple of Anubis, but a lengthy OT defense from Shanghai saw Game 2 draw at 2-2.
After that, the Dragons started to come alive. Led by DPS Jae-won “LIP” Lee’s Tracer, who was on point throughout the series, Shanghai took Game 3 on Blizzard World 2-1. Not to be outdone, the Fuel responded with some elite defense of their own in Game 4 on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, taking the map 3-2 to go up 2-1 in the series.
Shanghai fought hard to extend the match, counterdiving Dallas tank and possible MVP candidate Eui-Seok “Fearless” Lee’s Winston and taking Oasis 2-0 to tie the series at 2-2.
In Game 6 on Dorado, the Dragons’ defense was solid early but couldn’t stand up to Fearless’ Winston. Fearless won fight after fight with insane Primal Rage ultimates, winning the map 2-0 and securing the Fuel’s first tournament final appearance in franchise history.
The result sent Shanghai into the lower-bracket final, where the Dragons made quick work of a fatigued Mayhem. The first round of Game 1 on Oasis went 100-99 to Shanghai and promised a competitive series, but the Dragons quickly shut the door on Florida, taking the map 2-0.
The Mayhem sought to get some momentum going in Game 2 on Hanamura, their map pick, but got full-held on Point A, falling 1-0. By this point, Florida was in disarray, getting run over on King’s Row 2-1 to finish out the sweep.
Florida had advanced earlier by handling Chengdu.
The Mayhem’s key advantage was their flexibility, able to play any team composition with power and precision. Game 1 on Lijiang Tower forced the Mayhem to get into their bag, but they came out with a 2-1 win.
The Hunters made some roster adjustments heading into Game 2 on Volskaya Industries, but the prowess of Florida DPS Jun-ki “Yaki” Kim’s Tracer kept Chengdu at bay as the Mayhem prevailed 2-1.
After the break, the Hunters had to shake things up, subbing in veteran tank Ding “Ameng” Menghan. The move immediately paid off as Ameng literally saved the game for the Hunters on Blizzard World, backcapping Point B as Wrecking Ball in overtime to give Chengdu an eventual 3-2 map win.
After that, though, it was Florida’s time to shine in Game 4 on Havana. Though Chengdu threw a curveball with a couple of double-shield bunker compositions, alternating between a double sniper and McCree-Soldier:76 DPS lineup, they couldn’t stop the Mayhem from finishing the map. Florida struggled in its initial defense but eventually figured the Hunters out, taking the map 4-3 to win the series.
Overwatch League standings, with win-loss record and map differential
T1. Philadelphia Fusion (East), 4-0, +9
T1. Washington Justice (West), 4-0, +9
3. Houston Outlaws (West), 4-0, +7
4. Seoul Dynasty (East), 3-1, +7
5. Chengdu Hunters (East), 3-1, +6
6. San Francisco Shock (West), 3-1, +5
7. Shanghai Dragons (East), 3-1, +4
8. Florida Mayhem (West), 3-1, +3
9. Toronto Defiant (West), 3-1, +2
10. Dallas Fuel (West), 2-2, +2
11. Los Angeles Gladiators (West), 2-2, +2
12. Atlanta Reign (West), 1-3, -1
13. Hangzhou Spark (East), 1-3, -2
14. Paris Eternal (West), 1-3, -5
15. Guangzhou Charge (East), 1-3, -6
T16. New York Excelsior (East), 1-3, -7
T16. Boston Uprising (West), 1-3, -7
18. Vancouver Titans (West), 0-4, -8
19. London Spitfire (West), 0-4, -9
20. Los Angeles Valiant (East), 0-4, -11
–By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media