The 2021 Overwatch League Summer Showdown kicked off on Friday with the Los Angeles Gladiators and Paris Eternal picking up wins.
The biggest match of the day saw the Los Angeles Gladiators (7-2, 7 points) pick up a 3-2 win over the San Francisco Shock (7-2, 7 points). Los Angeles’ win was crucial to a season that has yet to end in a playoff berth, knocking off a San Francisco side still reeling from the retirement of core member and DPS legend Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon. The Shock were able to replace him with the returning DPS Seonchang “ANS” Lee, but it wasn’t enough to secure the win.
The Gladiators started with a 2-0 win on Ilios, primarily fueled by DPS Gia Huy “Chris” “MirroR” Tr?nh’s Doomfist. Despite the Shock playing a composition featuring several counters or soft-checks to Doomfist, like Torbjorn and Brigitte, MirroR was still a menace, landing big Rocket Punches to one-shot Shock members.
The Shock responded with a 4-3 win on King’s Row, then took Junkertown 2-1 to go up 2-1 in the series. With their backs to the wall in a potentially season-defining series, Los Angeles came alive on Volskaya Industries, taking a 2-1 win to force a tiebreaker on Lijiang Tower. There, the Shock put up a fight on Garden, but they got floored by the Gladiators, who took a 2-0 win to secure the series and pick up their first win of the Summer Showdown.
In Friday’s other match, the Paris Eternal (4-5, 4 points) took down the winless London Spitfire (0-9, 0 points). The Spitfire took Game 1 on Busan with a 2-0 score, with debuting DPS William “SparkR” Andersson doing work throughout the map. SparkR had a solid debut, but it wasn’t enough to carry London over Paris, which came back to sweep the next three maps.
The Eternal took Hollywood 1-0 in a full-hold, then won Watchpoint: Gibraltar 3-1 in a one-sided map. A key contributor for Paris throughout the series was support Emir “Kaan” Okumus, who consistently found value out of his Biotic Grenades as Ana. Paris then took Hanamura 2-1 to secure the series win.
The OWL teams are competing in three weeks of matches to determine qualification for the Summer Showdown’s double-elimination playoff brackets, which will be contested July 11-18.
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.
The Summer Showdown qualifiers continue on Saturday with six matches:
Hangzhou Spark vs Los Angeles Valiant (East)
Seoul Dynasty vs Chengdu Hunters (East)
Guangzhou Charge vs New York Excelsior (East)
London Spitfire vs San Francisco Shock (West)
Florida Mayhem vs Toronto Defiant (West)
Vancouver Titans vs Boston Uprising (West)
Overwatch League standings by region, with win-loss record, map differential and league points
1. Dallas Fuel, 5-3, +7, 10
2. Houston Outlaws, 7-1, +12, 7
T3. San Francisco Shock, 7-2, +12, 7
T3. Los Angeles Gladiators, 7-2, +12, 7
5. Washington Justice, 5-3, +5, 5
6. Atlanta Reign, 4-4, +5, 5
7. Florida Mayhem, 4-4, -1, 5
8. Toronto Defiant, 4-4, -3, 4
9. Paris Eternal, 4-5, -3, 4
10. Boston Uprising, 3-5, -4, 3
11. Vancouver Titans, 0-8, -20, 0
12. London Spitfire, 0-9, -22, 0
1. Shanghai Dragons, 6-2, +9, 11
2. Seoul Dynasty, 6-2, +11, 6
3. Philadelphia Fusion, 6-2, +10, 6
4. Hangzhou Spark, 5-3, +8, 5
5. Chengdu Hunters, 4-4, +2, 4
6. New York Excelsior, 3-5, -6, 3
7. Guangzhou Charge, 2-6, -12, 2
8. Los Angeles Valiant, 0-8, -22, 0
–By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media