Dominance was the word of the day during the Overwatch League semifinals, held throughout the week. The London Spitfire took on the LA Valiant. Then the Philadelphia Fusion sought revenge against NYXL.
During the first matchups on Wednesday, both the Fusion and Spitfire took early leads over their opponents. This shocking double upset set the tone for the remainder of the semifinals. The NYXL and the LA Valiant were the clear favorites, going into these matchups. They were the #1 and #2 seeded teams in all of the Overwatch League. But someone new to the Competitive Overwatch scene wouldn’t have known it, watching those games. Both teams looked completely lost as the Fusion picked up a 3-0 victory over the NYXL. The match between the Valiant and Spitfire was closer, going the full five maps and ending in a 3-1 victory for the London team.
But in the Playoffs, the matchups are played to a best-of-3. Meaning the NYXL and the LA Valiant weren’t out of the game yet. They just needed to win both of the subsequent games. That, however, didn’t happen. In a turn of events that shocked the scene, both the Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire cleaned up their top-seeded competition in their very next games. Neither team had to play the third game, walking away with 2-0 semifinal wins, immediately after upset wins over the Uprising and Gladiators.
The Spitfire played an insane game against the Valiant, on the back of some amazing plays. A perfect halt-hook combo on the Valiant’s Mercy player and shot-caller – Custa – opened up Dorado on their attack. They kept up the momentum, not losing a single fight until the final point. But they still took the map in the end, 3-2. An incredibly unorthodox composition on Oasis took the Valiant by surprise with a Tracer, a Soldier 76, and a Reaper. This particular variant of the Triple-DPS composition was certainly bizarre, but it worked.
But it all came down to Eichenwalde for the Valiant. To stay alive in the series, they needed to win that map. A feat that looked impossible after the Spitfire’s blistering fast finish. And despite the Valiant finishing the map, themselves, they couldn’t hold in Time Bank to keep themselves in the series. Even if they managed to win, however, things would’ve been tough. In order to win the matchup, the team would have needed to pick up five more maps afterward. A major factor in this matchup was the Flex support play. Bdosin is known as a Zenyatta player, and one of the better ones in the Overwatch League. But when needed, he flexed onto other roles and made serious problems for the Valiant. Also, Profit and Birdring went insane throughout the match. And constant pressure on the Valiant’s DPS prevented them from getting much done.
The Spitfire wrapped their matchup with a dominant 3-0 victory. But the Fusion came far closer to having to play that third game, as the NYXL gave them a serious fight. The score went back and forth. On Junkertown, the Fusion completed the map, stalling the NYXL with an incredibly aggressive Point C hold despite Pine being fully awake and doing Pine things. But the Fusion lost Lijiang Tower on the back of some questionable composition choices and odd positioning.
Then came King’s Row. A positional mistake from main tank Janus on the NYXL allowed the Fusion to breezily pick up Point A. Then, at the end of Point B, they should’ve lost a fight. But remember what I said about Pine doing Pine things. Carpe decided to do Carpe things, putting his team in his backpack to carry them through the point with a quick 3-K. They finished the map without losing a single fight and full-held the NYXL to pick up the map win. However, they were brought to a screeching halt on Hanamura. The NYXL is undefeated on that map. Despite both teams picking up Point A quite easily, the Fusion couldn’t get any progress on Point B. The NYXL rolled through Point B themselves, picking up the single tick they needed to win the map, tying up the series.
It all came down to Dorado. If the NYXL don’t pull out this win, they go home. And after just barely losing this map in their previous match against the Fusion, it seemed possible. They barely stopped the Fusion’s push, just shy of the end. Largely thanks to some amazing survival skill from their Mercy player, ARK. Meaning there wouldn’t be any time bank. All the NYXL would need to do is finish the map. And they steamrolled their way through points A and B on their attack. However, they got the wind knocked clean out of their sails on Point C. The decider, however, was their pulling a strategy swap with only a minute remaining, going from Widow-Tracer dive to Triple-Tank Triple-Support. In the end, it wasn’t enough. EQO’s Pharah unmade their composition and they couldn’t build the ultimates to win out.
These matchups were incredible. Also, in the case of that last one, incredibly stressful. Whether you’re a Fusion fan or an NYXL fan, that game went down to the wire. But it’s difficult to say any teams were more deserving to move on than the two that did. Now all the remains is the Overwatch League Grand Finals. It’s a rematch between the Fusion and the Spitfire, starting on Friday, July 27.