OWL Playoffs Week 3 Recap
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September 16, 2019

OWL Playoffs Week 3 Recap

Coming into the last full week of playoffs, every team remaining has a shot at making it all the way to the prestigious Overwatch League Grand Finals. Expectations are high for all as the strong teams look to separate themselves from the rest.

Atlanta Reign 0 – 4 Hangzhou Spark

The losers’ quarterfinals matches started out fast and flat with the Spark taking a clean 4-0 over the favorite Reign. Hangzhou dominate Atlanta throughout all four maps and advance to losers’ semifinals. Player of the Match was Kyeong-bo “GodsB” Kim for his Bastion play.

Los Angeles Gladiators 0 – 4 San Francisco Shock

The second match on the day was no slower as the Shock took their anger out on the Gladiators in another 4-0. After their crushing defeat versus the Atlanta in winners’ bracket, San Francisco blast through LA in a one-sided affair. They close out the sweep by setting the fourth fastest Rialto time ever in OWL. Player of the Match was Hyo-bin “ChoiHyoBin” Choi on Sigma.

New York Excelsior 3 – 4 Vancouver Titans

The hotly anticipated winners’ bracket final certainly delivered with the Titans barely edging out the Excel in a grueling seven game series. The Titans start off hot, sweeping NY on Lijiang. The Excel respond with a stop on King’s Row last, tying the series. They then take the lead by setting a lightning fast time on Anubis and holding the second Vancouver push partially due to very coordinated ultimate usage.

Not wanting to fall behind, the Titans dismantle NY’s defense on Gibraltar to even up the game score again. On Busan, Vancouver demonstrate why they haven’t lost a single control map in playoffs yet and go on match point. The Excel’s final map pick of Numbani started off very even, but NY’s full overtime push from the payload capture to last propelled them into a game seven tiebreaker. However, Vancouver’s Dorado defense was too unshakeable.

The Titans take the series 4-3 and advance to the OWL 2019 Grand Finals. Player of the Match honors went to Hyojong “Haksal” Kim for his Doomfist performance. The Excelsior drop to losers’ finals and need to win an extra best-of-seven if they want a rematch.

Hangzhou Spark 0 – 4 San Francisco Shock

The Shock continue their losers’ bracket rampage with their second 4-0 of the week. While it was a clean sweep, the back half was fairly competitive. After Busan and King’s Row, the Spark start out fast on Anubis. They manage to set a good time, but the Shock’s attack stays one step ahead at every point and takes a time bank advantage going into extra rounds.

The Shock close the map out and go on match point. Hangzhou shows signs of life on their Dorado defense, but a fantastic Pharah play by Dong-jun “Rascal” Kim brought the Shock into the second half with a 30 second time bank advantage.

Those extra seconds made all the difference, helping San Francisco close out in overtime and complete the clean sweep. Minki “Viol2t” Park earned his second support Player of the Match of the playoffs. The Shock advance to losers’ finals against the New York Excelsior for a chance at meeting with Vancouver for all the marbles.

San Francisco Shock 4 – 0 New York Excelsior

New York’s excellent performance against Vancouver seemed convincing enough to expect at least a chance at getting to Grand Finals. San Francisco shut that expectation down fast. The Excel take the very first round of the contest on Lijiang, only for the Shock to bang out the next two rounds to take the map.

On King’s Row, New York’s strong defense manages to stop San Francisco short of a full map capture. Unfortunately, the Excel get stopped on last just short of where the Shock got to.

Needing to get a foot in the door, the Excel take it to Anubis where they set a decent first offense. Once again, the Shock one up them with an extra minute in their time bank. New York, not keen to go quietly into the night, set a blistering second offense which San Francisco isn’t able to match.

With the pressure on, the Excel’s next defense crumbles beneath them, allowing the Shock to cap the entire map in one minute. With the help of OWL MVP Jay “sinatraa” Won, San Francisco close the door on New York.

The final map of Rialto gave everyone déjà vu, as the Shock did the same thing to the Excel that they did to the Gladiators earlier in the week. The substitutions of Rascal and Architect for a Mei Bastion comp allows San Francisco to wield the most commanding offense seen in the post-season.

New York’s attempt at a Pharah Mercy counter is thrown to the wayside. The Shock’s defense went off without a hitch and they close out the series. Player of the Match unsurprisingly went to Sinatraa.

San Francisco Shock have advanced to the Grand Finals without dropping a single map in their long losers’ bracket run. They will play the Vancouver Titans on September 29th for the Overwatch League 2019 Championship.

Credit: Zakaria Almughrabi

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