Last night marked the conclusion of the first stage of the second season of the Overwatch League. This stage has had some high and lows and we’ve seen some teams rise to glory and some fall from grace. The playoffs also saw the first time for esports to be broadcast on national television at ABC, which undoubtedly was met with some criticism. But it also saw arguably the greatest game of professional Overwatch of all time.
The final ended in a close 4-3 finish that saw the Titans triumph over the Shock. The stellar showing between San Francisco and Vancouver brought so much hype, whether it was getting to see two of the best Zaryas in the league, Sinatraa and Seominsoo hash it out, or being able to witness Super neuter Bumper in the main tank battle, the finals were every bit of brilliant Overwatch we wanted.
Meanwhile, the story of an unusual underdog tale saw the Seoul Dynasty knock the New York Excelsior out of the competition in the quarter finals. It’s more than fair to say this was one of the most shocking developments of the entire playoffs, considering the Excelsior strolled into the playoffs with a cool, undefeated run only to lose to a team that clinched a spot with a 4-3 record. The Dynasty’s 3-1 victory was well achieved though, as the Excelsior seemed to show remnants of their tragic failure at the season playoffs last year, where they ‘sandbagged’ too hard. There is no doubt New York will come back stronger next stage however, as the team is unlikely to let a loss like this crush their confidence. The future for the Dynasty on the other hand is looking very bright.
As a final point, for the first time in its history, an esports tournament was broadcast on a major national network in the US. The semi-finals and finals of the playoffs were shown across popular US station ABC in an effort to bridge a gap between being mainstream and a niche form of entertainment for gamers. Understandably this was met with some harsh criticism, as the more conservative viewers of ABC lashed out, saying things such as “video game competition on national TV? Is there nothing better for ABC to air?”. Still, even though this massive development in esports received some hate, largely this is great for its future.
That about wraps up the playoffs and similarly, stage one. Overwatch League will continue with the second stage of the season on 4th April. Until then be sure to keep an eye out for new transfers and roster acquisitions over its downtime these next ten days.