“So… looking forward to a big day on Sunday and hopefully I’ll get to talk to you all from the winner’s podium,” said Andy Miller, founder and chief executive officer of Overwatch League franchise San Francisco Shock, during Press Day. The Overwatch League Grand Finals mark the end of Season 2 and feature the second-seeded Shock against the first-seeded Vancouver Titans.
With a $1.7 million USD total prize pool, one team will walk away with the Championship Trophy and $1.1 million. Andy Miller believes it will be the San Francisco Shock.
San Francisco Shock
“This is definitely a combination of a couple years of careful planning and some good luck to bring us into Philadelphia,” said Andy Miller on the Grand Finals. “I guess before I say a little bit more about the Shock, I have to say that this is the finals we wanted all season. This is the finals I’m sure most of the fans want. And I think this is the finals that Overwatch deserves.”
North American esports organization NRG Esports entered Overwatch after signing the former Luminosity Gaming team in 2016. It then bought into the franchised Overwatch League, who now owns the San Francisco Shock. In a way, the Shock came full circle. Their opponent in the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals is the Vancouver Titans. And the Titans happen to be currently partnered and operated by Luminosity Gaming.
Both teams have faced each other multiple times and exchanged wins. The Shock went 16 – 0 in the losers’ bracket. But the Titans have similarly won 19 matches in a row in the Regular Season. The San Francisco Shock has 2019 Overwatch League Most Valuable Player Jay “Sinatraa” Won. On the other hand, the Vancouver Titans have Rookie of the Year Kim “Haksal” Hyo-jong. Before hosting home and away games are added to the 2020 season, this intense rival match truly determines the best team.
Season 2 of Overwatch League
“As Pete said, these are the two best teams in the two teams that have created new rivalries that hopefully, you know, go down in rivalry history as the beginning of the league, and then last for a long time,” continued Miller. “We’ve got all-stars on both sides, up and down the lineup, amazing coaching staff, great ownership and in Vancouver as well.”
“So this is what our guys wanted, right from the start. And we’ve already faced them in two-stage finals. And we’ll be playing a lot of matches against each other next year. So this is big.”
Miller goes on to describe how the San Francisco Shock were based around ‘two kids’. Captain Matthew “super” DeLisi and tank Jay “sinatraa” Won are considered kids because they weren’t old enough to play until halfway through the season. The Shock saw him in competition at the Overwatch World Cup and knew he had the talent to help the roster. He also credits the coaching staff and players training so hard this past season.
The San Francisco Shock placed 4 – 8th in the Overwatch League Inaugural Preseason. They then placed 9th out of 12 teams in the Inaugural Season. With the Shock finishing second overall in Season 2 of OWL, this shows the major improvements the team made.
After describing how the Shock can easily learn and adapt to situations, he ends his speech with, “That’s the way we [are] reviewing our setup and our game plan for Sunday and we’ve been practicing for sure for the Titans who I think we know very well.”
Written by Ethan Chen
Featured image by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment