September 30, 2019

San Francisco Shock win the Overwatch Grand Finals

San Francisco Shock are the new Overwatch League Champions for the end of the second season! Special congrats to Hyobin “Choihyobin” Choi for his outstanding performance on Sigma and winning the Grand Finals MVP!

Choihyobin giving his thank you speech after receiving the vote for MVP.

The Setup

Vancouver Titans (25-3) and San Francisco Shock (23-5) were fan favorites on paper and in the heart. Both teams displayed strong performances throughout the season and it made sense that these two juggernauts met in the finals.

The Titans came through the winner’s bracket showing immovability as the top team in the league. And the Shock showed their unstoppability by not dropping a single map in the loser’s bracket. Even after an absolute shocker of a first-round loss by forgetting the payload to former teammate Andrej “BabyBay” Francisty against the Atlanta Reign.

The grand finals for the OWL do not work as a traditional double-elimination bracket like the rest of the playoffs. Traditionally, the team from the loser’s bracket beats the team from the winner’s bracket twice in order to win the grand finals. Grand Finals is a simple best-of-seven format.

Through the entire course of OWL history, the Shock and Titans were even in their head-to-head match-ups. 1-1 in the regular season. 1-1 in the postseason, where both previously met in stage finals. And a staggering 11-11 in maps during season 2.

Image from the official Overwatch League Twitch channel.

Map 1: Lijiang

San Francisco’s Jay “Sinatraa” Won playing hard the whole time. It’s tough to say anything else about the Lijiang map. This is what most everyone expected to see from Sinatraa right off the bat. But he did what made him the 2019 MVP. Made plays and strapped his team on his back. The Shock took Lijiang 2-0 and the first map.

Image from the official Overwatch League Twitch channel.

Map 2: Eichenwalde

Game one saw a pirate ship composition. The Shock made quick work on the back of Minho “Architect” Park’s Bastion riding the payload with Grant “Moth” Espe and Minki “Viol2t” Park’s support, making clutch plays to keep teammates alive. They finished the map with just under three minutes on the clock.

MinSoo “Seominsoo” Seo’s Reaper took over the second game with two Death Blossoms coming in clutch for the Titans, rolling over the Shock. Vancouver definitely came alive that game and found their momentum.

As Vancouver started the Overtime attack, Juseok “Twilight” Lee traded DongJun “Rascal” Kim’s life for his own to start the match. From there, it was all Rascal’s Pharah coming in with Rocket Barrages to keep the Titans from taking the first point. The Titans could not capture the first point and finished with 55.4 percent progress on the objective.

San Francisco’s attack began poorly against the Titans defense. But the offensive bastion came to save the day. The Shock made their final push with 2.1 seconds left and took the point. Thanks to a well-placed Gravitic Flux from Choihyoibin’s Sigma and good follow-up from the rest of the squad. The Shock are up 2-0 going into halftime.

Map 3: Temple of Anubis

Titans started the map making quick work of point one. The Shock defense held for the first three pushes fairly easily thanks to early picks and better ultimate economy from San Francisco. The fourth time, the Titans pushed into the final point and picked off the supports first. Leaving the Shock on the back foot and unable to complete the defense of the point resulted from losing their supports. Vancouver Titans finished with a minute and a half left on the clock.

Game two had San Francisco making slower work of the first point, taking a few more pushes to get there. Seominsoo’s Reaper was the highlight of this game, picking off Sinatraa early and often. The Shock then made a great play off of Moth’s ultimate, mitigating a lot of damage from Vancouver ultimates. They then turned and took point A, rushed point B and captured the point in forty seconds, finishing with two minutes in the bank.

Overtime began with another fast take of point A for Vancouver on their second push but were then stopped solid on point B with no progress. Yet another fantastic Seominsoo Death Blossom finally took point A, but Vancouver could not pull it together against point B defense.

Viol2t charging up an early Coalescence was crucial to taking point A on the first push for San Francisco. The Shock could not get point B on the first try. But a superior ult economy and a Meteor Strike from Sinatraa, put the nail in the coffin. Another map went to San Francisco and extends their lead 3-0.

Map 4: Gibraltar

Matchpoint was here and the pirate ship composition returned for more. Architect’s Bastion made many plays and Sepminsoo’s aggression on the back-line was mostly mitigated by Moth’s Baptiste. The Shock rampaged through the first two checkpoints before being stopped halfway to the final point. Vancouver bounced back after clutch Accretions and a Gravitic Flux from Choihyobin, stopping the Titan’s damage dealers from hitting the backline. Forcing Haksal off his signature Doomfist to play Mei was a turning point for the game.

Hyojong “Haskal” Kim picking off Moth’s Mercy allowed Vancouver to gain momentum. Their trailblazing stopped when Rascal’s Pharah shot multiple big Rocket Barrages. Vancouver finally got to the first checkpoint thanks to Haksal’s excellent plays on Mei. The Shock set up for a final point defense after putting up weak fights for the second checkpoint.

The first and second pushes from Vancouver were unsuccessful. And the final push from them was stopped in its tracks before it even started. An Amplification Matrix from Moth allowed Architect to mow down opponents left and right. Vancouver could not get back to the payload in time and the San Francisco Shock finished the sweep and won the Overwatch League Championship!

The Shock hoist the Overwatch League trophy. Image from the official Overwatch League Twitch channel.

Final result

Despite the 4-0 sweep, every game was closer than the score showed. Vancouver put up a fierce fight in every game. The Shock were more prepared and the Titans were not ready for how much game time Rascal and Architect had. When planning to play against Sinatraa’s Doomfist the majority of the matches, and different player styles entered the field, the Titans fumbled. Shock coach Dae-Hee “Crusty” Park aided victory with this ingenious plan.

Congratulations to the San Francisco Shock for winning the Overwatch League Grand Finals!

Written by Michael Schwartz

Featured image from the Overwatch League Twitch channel

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