This week saw the culmination of stage two with the customary stage playoffs. With Stage Two playoffs, eight teams started the week, but at the end only one remained. Find out who it was with my day by day run down of the tournament below.
Day one opened with a rematch of week five between the San Francisco Shock and the Shanghai Dragons. And while the Shock took the match with a solid 3-1 score the Dragons showed a lot of improvement in only one week, and by taking that one map ended the Shock’s undefeated map streak with a final count of 28 consecutive map victories.
The second match of the day saw the Hangzhou Spark taking on the London Spitfire. And while London were generally favored to win, at matches end it was the Spark that walked away with the 3-1 victory. The questions surrounding just how good London actually is continue to persist as their inconsistent play continues.
The final day of the first round started off with what on paper looked like the closest match of the round. The Los Angeles Gladiators had shown lots of improvement over the stage, while the New York Excelsior had stumbled at the end as they dropped their last two matches to the Atlanta Reign. But close isn’t how this match turned out. With a final 3-0 score the Excelsior showed their previous struggles were not indicative of their overall play and cruised to a first round win.
The Vancouver Titans also opened their playoff run with an impressive showing as they swept the Dallas Fuel 3-0 in their opening match. And while Dallas struggled, scoring their only points of the map on King’s Row, they showed great improvement over the entirety of stage two and I expect their is a lot to come from this team when stage three starts up next month.
With Shanghai behind them the San Francisco Shock returned to their standard perfect play, sweeping the Hangzhou Spark 4-0, and not even relinquishing a single point till the final map, where the Spark were actually able to complete their first run on Watchpoint: Gibraltar but failed to snag a point in their second attack.
The New York Excelsior put the Vancouver Titans through their paces in their match. Though the final score was a solid 4-1 victory for the Titans, the Excelsior didn’t go down quietly. Taking Blizzard World decisively, and forcing second attacks on Hanamura, the Excelsior showed that they are still contenders, and I’m sure that conviction will only be stronger after the All Star break concludes and stage three begins.
Day Four – The Final
The final for the stage two playoffs saw a rematch of stage one’s as the San Francisco Shock hoped to redeem their loss to the Vancouver Titans and put the perfect cap onto what was arguably the most impressive stage of Overwatch League history.
The Shock got of to an extremely impressive start as they swept the Titans at Lijiang Tower. The Titans had plenty of fight in them however, as they came back to tie the match at the first break one to one with an impressive display of mental stamina during the second match at King’s Row. They walked away with a 5-4 victory managing to take point a on their third attack. In a normal match such lengths are exhausting, but on the championship stage, and the final being a first to four wins, the end was no where yet in sight.
The Titans got to a strong start off the break as they came out of the gate with a shutout at Paris, taking the map one to nothing. With such a quick victory one couldn’t help but wonder if the Shock’s strength was failing them. This was proven premature however as the Shock managed to come back and take Watchpoint: Gibraltar from the Titans and returning the score to dead even going into the second break.
This time, as we came out of the break the momentum was all the Shock’s, and it would be theirs till the match’s conclusion. Shutting the Titans out at Oasis, coupled with a superb defense to give up only a single point on Blizzard World, saw the San Francisco Shock redeem their earlier defeat and take home the stage two championship. It was a grueling match, and both teams showed just how much they had wanted it. But with the Vancouver Titans having been handed their first loss in their team’s history the moment truly belonged to the Shock.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE SAN FRANCISCO SHOCK!!
That’s it for this week. I hope you got to enjoy all the excitement and drama the playoffs always bring. I’ll be back next week to take a look at how the All Star break festivities go. Hope you get to enjoy all the shenanigans!