The first week of the Countdown Cup wrapped up on Sunday with the Atlanta Reign, San Francisco Shock and the Los Angeles Gladiators picking up wins.
What was seen as a clash of two Western Region titans quickly turned into a rout as the Atlanta Reign (9-5, 10 points) swept the Houston Outlaws (10-4, 10 points) 3-0. The Reign came into this series with a clear idea of what they wanted to do: enable DPS Se-hyun “Pelican” Oh to carry on a plethora of DPS heroes and continue his Rookie of the Year campaign. Meanwhile, the Outlaws’ gameplan didn’t do them many favors, allowing Atlanta’s frontline to essentially dictate the entire series.
Atlanta started with a 2-1 win on Nepal, then took King’s Row 3-2 to take a quick 2-0 series lead. Houston insisted on playing a Baptiste-Zenyatta support duo for most of the map, which meant that the backline was unable to peel for itself despite the high-damage output of those two supports. The Reign pounced on this early and often, not allowing the Outlaws to get comfortable, which led to a 2-1 win on Rialto for Atlanta to close out the series.
In other Sunday action, the San Francisco Shock (10-4, 10 points) picked up a crucial 3-1 series win for momentum against the Boston Uprising (7-7, 7 points). The Shock showed a variety of looks in this series, all of them led by the fragging power of DPS Charlie “nero” Zwarg, who played well on multiple heroes including Pharah, Tracer, and Torbjorn.
San Francisco started off with a 2-1 win on Lijiang Tower, then dominated Blizzard World defensively for a 2-1 win to go up 2-0. With their backs to the wall, Boston rallied on Route 66, taking the map 2-1. The Uprising couldn’t sustain their performance against a versatile and hungry Shock, though, falling short as San Francisco took Temple of Anubis 2-1 to secure the 3-1 series win.
In the final series of the day, the Los Angeles Gladiators (9-5, 9 points) picked up a crucial 3-0 sweep against a foe ranked near them in the standings, the Washington Justice (8-6, 8 points). The Gladiators continued their run of playing flexibly around their star-studded lineup while the Justice unfortunately continued to struggle in their quest to find their identity for the Countdown Cup.
The Gladiators took control early on with a 2-1 win on Busan in Game 1. Their defense held strong on Numbani, giving Los Angeles a 3-2 map win to put them at match point. The Justice had some decent moments on Rialto, but the Gladiators prevailed, taking the map 2-1 to secure the 3-0 sweep.
The Countdown Cup qualifiers continue on Friday with two matches:
London Spitfire 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, 10-4, +14, 16
2. San Francisco Shock, 10-4, +14, 10
3. Houston Outlaws, 10-4, +11, 10
4. Atlanta Reign, 9-5, +17, 10
5. Los Angeles Gladiators, 9-5, +15, 9
6. Washington Justice, 8-6, +3, 8
7. Boston Uprising, 7-7, +1, 7
8. Paris Eternal, 7-7, -2, 7
9. Toronto Defiant, 6-6, -4, 6
10. Florida Mayhem, 4-8, -9, 5
11. London Spitfire, 0-12, -29, 0
12. Vancouver Titans, 0-12, -31, 0
1. Shanghai Dragons, 10-4, +16, 18
2. Seoul Dynasty, 11-3, +18, 11
3. Philadelphia Fusion, 9-5, +12, 9
4. Chengdu Hunters, 7-5, +7, 9
5. Hangzhou Spark, 7-7, +4, 7
6. New York Excelsior, 7-7, +1, 7
7. Guangzhou Charge, 3-9, -18, 3
8. Los Angeles Valiant, 0-14, -40, 0
–By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media