Normally watching any competition, you can expect some underdog to rise from the ashes. There’s never any super major shocks. But there’s always one team that gives analysts, gamblers, and bracket fiends trouble. In the Overwatch League, for the most part in the past competitions, things went pretty much exactly how you would expect. But that was then. This was the Summer Showdown, where nothing seemed to make sense and brackets were demolished within the first round of matches.
Going into the Summer Showdown the San Francisco Shock, reigning Season 2 champions and the champions of the May Melee, were the favorite. It wasn’t even a question in most people’s minds. Most people expected it to be a rematch of titans with the Shock going against the Mayhem in the finals. But things weren’t so easy this time around for these seemingly unbeatable teams.
3 of the favorites to make it into the quarterfinals didn’t make it that far. In those 3 matches, the underdogs ended up taking them 3-1. Houston took out Florida Mayhem, who thought that just because the last match between them was close that this didn’t mean that they would get that close again. They didn’t get that close again; they did much better. The Toronto Defiant made it look easy enough against the LA Valiant. Probably the most shocking of all, the Washington Justice (a team that has its fair share of struggles this year) ended up 3-1 against the LA Gladiators. These wins pretty much took out every bracket, but made everyone excited for the matches to come. This was surely an epic start to the tournament.
The quarterfinals practically went the way everyone expected. Philly went 3-0 against Houston. Houston fought hard, but they just couldn’t do it. Carpe is a freak of nature and easily shut down Danteh, which seems to be the ticket to winning against Houston. I didn’t think the team should be too down on themselves after that match. Philly is just a beast of a team. The Shock rolled the Justice in another 3-0 match. Paris beat Vancouver 3-1. The only real surprise of the quarterfinals was the Defiant going up against the Atlanta Reign. Defiant took the match to an exciting tie-breaker, winning and proceeding to the semifinals.
The start of the semifinals wasn’t necessarily that interesting. Philly easily took 3-0 on the Defiant. However, the match against Paris and the Shock was such a thrilling match that it really gave me mixed feelings. That was easily one of the best matches of Overwatch League I have seen in a long time. Maybe even ever. This exciting match when went all the way to the tie breaker, with SP9RK1E popping off so much throughout the match and helping make the difference to upset the Shock.
My fear was that the finals wasn’t going to be anywhere near as exciting as the semifinals was. That there was going to be a simple 4-0 and it’d be done with. That would have been such an anticlimactic way to end the match. Except that wasn’t what happened. In a game that felt like it would go on forever (in only the best way possible), this epic back and forth went all the way to the tie-breaker. The last map of the stage was just so incredible that if you didn’t see it, you need to go back. Paris failed to make it all the way to the end of Rialto, though they came pretty damn close. Philly looked like they weren’t going to make it past the first point, thanks to Xzi popping off as Widow. Except Eqo wasn’t going down that easy and took on the cleanup by himself. They looked like they were going to roll the next point as well, but then things started to go wrong for Philly. They fell apart (which at this point, unfortunately, choking is kinda their thing). After the team fell apart, Eqo tried to be the hero again and popped dragonblade in hopes to be the hero. Except he was shut down. Then Xzi did it again with popping off and cleaning things up, as if to say “not this time”. That’s where the match ended.
This tournament was such an exciting event. Normally things in these Overwatch League tournaments go exactly how you expect, but this time nothing seemed to be typical. I hope the next round of tournaments brings just as much excitement. And I hope the Uprising get their stuff together to actually participate in it, which will be rough with their upcoming schedule especially since they are playing the Shock.