Shanghai Dragons, San Francisco Shock lock in Overwatch League Grand Finals spots
Two more teams were also sent home in the penultimate day of 2020 playoffs.
The 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals bracket is finally coming together. After a tough day of playoff matches, the first two spots in the four-team bracket have been claimed.
Two of the top teams in the league, the Shanghai Dragons and San Francisco Shock, won their matches in the winners bracket finals of each playoff region. They’ll participate in the Grand Finals bracket matches that begin on Oct. 8 and run through Oct. 10. Two more places remain, set aside for the winners of the lower bracket final matches, which take place on Sept. 13.
Teams had to face off with tough opponents to make it to the Grand Finals or the coveted lower bracket finals. Here’s how it all went down.
New York Excelsior vs. Guangzhou Charge (3-0)
Considering the team’s successful season, including a win in the Summer Showdown tournament, a clean sweep isn’t the way the Guangzhou Charge wanted 2020 to end. The New York Excelsior put faith into DPS Kim “Haksal” Hyo-Jung, even running him on Genji at some points, to bring the team to victory. The Excelsior showed a stunning amount of coordination and finesse, breaking their curse of under-performing in season playoffs.
The NYXL move on to face the Seoul Dynasty on Sept. 13.
Shanghai Dragons vs. Seoul Dynasty (3-2)
The Seoul Dynasty have had an outstanding performance in the postseason, working through multiple opponents in the upper bracket to face the final boss that is the Shanghai Dragons. Seoul heavily gambled on a Reaper and Sombra setup, which won them several close-quarters maps. Main tank Hong “Gesture” Jae-hee’s legendary Winston also made a re-appearance.
Shanghai made small adjustments, focusing on Seoul’s heavy hitters, and came back with an angry DPS Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun to tie up the series. Not to be outdone, DPS Lee “LIP” Jae-won stunned on final map Lijiang Tower, helping his team take the match and a quick trip to the Grand Finals.
The Shanghai Dragons move on to the Grand Finals bracket, which begins on Oct. 8. Seoul drop down to face the New York Excelsior in the lower bracket finals.
San Francisco Shock vs. Philadelphia Fusion (3-1)
The Philadelphia Fusion came for the throne and, unfortunately, they missed. As the reigning 2019 Overwatch League champions, the San Francisco Shock were committed to making their way to this year’s Grand Finals bracket.
To the Fusion’s credit, most of the maps were incredibly close and teamfights came down to individual plays. Clutch moves from Shock main tank Yoo “Smurf” Myeong-Hwan and main support Grant “Moth” Espe helped tear victory from Philadelphia on first map Lijiang Tower. The Fusion gave it back on Hybrid map Hollywood, where the Shock were fully held, exposing weaknesses in the team’s strategies.
By the end of the series, Philadelphia called in MVP Candidate Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok to face off against Shock sniper Lee “ANS” Seon-chang on Gibraltar. In the end, the Shock took the map and the series by capitalizing on key picks from ANS.
The Fusion drop down to the lower bracket to face off against the Washington Justice while the Shock will go straight to the Grand Finals bracket.
Washington Justice vs. Florida Mayhem (3-0)
We’ve now watched two straight weekends of the Washington Justice farming teams far above them in season standings. Even the Florida Mayhem, who had a radically successful 2020 season, couldn’t find an answer to shut down this team on a warpath.
The Justice’s success again hinged on Jang “Decay” Gui-un’s murderous Zarya, tearing through the Mayhem’s backline with high energy. This time, Washington off-tank Choi “Jjanu” Hyeon-woo stepped up his Roadhog expertise to steal Decay’s spotlight. Florida attempted to run a defensive Genji setup with clutch DPS Kim “Yaki” Jun-gi on Numbani, but even multiple “nano-blade” combinations couldn’t stop the Justice. By the time final map Hanamura rolled around, the Mayhem’s cohesion seemed to have disappeared.
Washington will face the Philadelphia Fusion in the lower bracket finals while the Florida Mayhem end their season.
Sept. 13 matches
Both lower bracket finals will take place on Sept. 13, one for the Asia region and one for the North America region. At 4am CT, the New York Excelsior and Seoul Dynasty will battle it out for a place in the Grand Finals. Similarly, at 2pm CT, the Philadelphia Fusion will attempt to end the Washington Justice’s miracle run through the North American bracket.
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