The 2021 Overwatch League June Joust qualifiers continued Saturday with a day of upsets as the Paris Eternal, Atlanta Reign and Boston Uprising picked up wins.
In the biggest shocker of the day, the Paris Eternal (2-4, 2 points) picked up a major win against the Washington Justice (4-1, 4 points) in a 3-0 sweep. It was a six-map, hard-fought sweep, but the fact that the Eternal, a team mostly composed of rookies, beat a team that most thought would be contending for the top of the region in Washington is a huge sign of promise for Paris.
The Eternal showed great versatility from map to map, playing a variety of compositions with different frontlines and tempos. A core feature of every composition, though, was DPS Nikolai “Naga” Dereli, who dominated as Echo. Naga’s Echo Duplicates and control of her normal form were sublime, earning Naga the single map record for final blows on Ilios with 25.
Paris took Game 1 on Ilios 2-1, followed by both teams taking a draw in Game 2 on Numbani with a 3-3 score. After that, the Eternal suffocated the Justice on Rialto, full-holding the map in a 3-0 shutout. In Game 4 on Volskaya Industries, neither team could make much headway in overtime, resulting in another 2-2 draw. Finally, Paris closed out the series with a 2-0 win in Game 5 to take the long 3-0 series sweep.
While this win marks a big upswing for the Eternal, it raises questions about the Justice’s legitimacy. Washington looked completely lost at times, but they had no decisive edge to them. Not only that, but star DPS Gui-un “Decay” Jang did not appear in this series.
In other Saturday action, the Atlanta Reign (2-3, 2 points) picked up a 3-1 win over the Houston Outlaws (4-1, 4 points). The Reign had a lackluster May Melee, failing to qualify after many analysts saw them as a potential dark horse candidate to make a playoff push. This marks a strong start to the June Joust for the Reign, which could play into Atlanta’s hands thanks to the available hero pools.
Houston took Game 1 on Ilios 2-0, but then it was all Reign from there. Atlanta took Game 2 on Hollywood 3-1, Game 3 on Junkertown 3-2, and finished with a 2-0 shutout on Hanamura.
As for Houston, they didn’t seem to play at their best, with newly signed tank Sanglok “Dreamer” Song making his debut for the team. In addition, the Outlaws’ star DPS, Dante “Danteh” Cruz, suffered from this month’s hero pool limitations, with his top two heroes in Tracer and Sombra banned.
Finally, the Boston Uprising (2-3, 2 points) picked up a 3-0 win against the Toronto Defiant (4-2, 3 points). The Uprising played well with a couple of compositions, anchored by solid support play from Sang-min “Myunb0ng” Seo. Boston took Ilios 2-0, Numbani 3-2, and Rialto 4-3 in the win.
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.
June Joust qualifiers continue on Sunday with six matches:
Shanghai Dragons vs Hangzhou Spark (East)
New York Excelsior vs Guangzhou Charge (East)
Philadelphia Fusion vs Chengdu Hunters (East)
Atlanta Reign vs London Spitfire (West)
Washington Justice vs Boston Uprising (West)
Florida Mayhem vs Houston Outlaws (West)
Overwatch League standings, with win-loss record, map differential and league points
1. Shanghai Dragons (East), 4-1, +7, 6
2. Florida Mayhem (West), 4-1, +5, 5
3. Dallas Fuel (West), 2-2, +2, 5
4. Philadelphia Fusion (East), 4-1, +7, 4
5. Washington Justice (West), 4-1, +6, 4
6. Houston Outlaws (West), 4-1, +5, 4
7. Toronto Defiant (West), 4-2, +1, 3
8. Seoul Dynasty (East), 3-1, +7, 3
9. San Francisco Shock (West), 3-1, +5, 3
10. Chengdu Hunters (East), 3-2, +3, 3
11. Los Angeles Gladiators (West), 2-2, +2, 2
12. Atlanta Reign (West), 2-3, +1, 2
13. Hangzhou Spark (East), 2-3, 0, 2
14. Boston Uprising (West), 2-3, -4, 2
15. New York Excelsior (East), 2-3, -5, 2
16. Paris Eternal (West), 2-4, -4, 2
17. Guangzhou Charge (East), 1-4, -8, 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