In the Overwatch League’s North American Summer Showdown mid-season tournament, Paris Eternal and Philadelphia Fusion emerged as Finals contenders after starkly different roads to the Final. The second seed Philadelphia Fusion lambasted their way to the top with successive 3-0 victories over Houston Outlaws and Toronto Defiant. Sixth place Paris, on the other hand, faced tougher opposition as they gutted out victories over San Francisco Shock (3-2 Semifinal) and Vancouver Titans (3-1 Quarterfinal) en route to the Final. In the end, Paris Eternal received praise for their mid-season form and were crowned Summer Showdown champions, as they received a much-needed boost to close out the season.
The rise of Genji (Sp9rk1e and Eqo)
If the Summer Showdown and past couple weeks of the Overwatch League has taught us anything recently, it’s that teams with elite-level Genji players can quickly turn games on their head if given the right resources. Sp9rk1e has put in an honorable mention for most impactful Genji in the league after the heroics he was able to pull off against LA Valiant and SF Shock in his last few outings. If the meta continues in this state, there is no denying the shift in guard for teams that were reliant on Ashe and Doomfist too heavily before. Paris Eternal’s domination on the defensive end was almost capsized by Eqo’s ability on Genji to go head-to-head with Sp9rk1e at every turn, and elite performances with the hero were abundant throughout each day of competition.
The beauty of Paris Eternal this tournament didn’t come down solely to Sp9rk1e’s play. The past few weeks, Paris’ playstyle was deemed ‘one-dimensional’ by commentators within the Overwatch League who felt they relied too heavily on their talisman DPS player to make plays. Instead, this tournament saw a new level of focus and teamwork ability on the side of Paris Eternal as XZI, BenBest and FDGod all played admirably against their counterparts on key maps. FDGod’s synergy with BenBest on their Lucio and Reinhardt combination proved to be decisive against SF Shock and Philly Fusion.
At times, they showed true glimpses of championship winning DNA given the multi-faceted threats at DPS. Even with XZI playing remotely and at a different time zone still stuck in South Korea, Paris Eternal were able to deliver a commendable performance against better opposition.
Competing for the future
This Summer Showdown victory was a testament for what’s to come during the final few weeks of Overwatch League action. Paris Eternal’s coaching staff showed the importance of being proficient with your team roster even while playing remotely, as they switched between NikoGDH, SoOn, Hanbin and NoSmite regularly in ways that confused their opponents and complicated matchups over the course of five to seven games.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the best of North America and Asia will reintegrate themselves as Paris Eternal and Guangzhou Charge both take lessons away from their exploits during this tournament. Philadelphia Fusion once again lick their wounds from another second place finish as they look to close out the final weeks of Overwatch League strong. Winners of the APAC 2020 tournament Guangzhou Charge will also look to solidify their place amongst the top of the playoff seeds after their dominant drubbing of Shanghai Dragons over the weekend.
The return to online competition since COVID has changed the way teams at the highest levels are competing, and the emergence of players dominating the spotlight that would otherwise be ‘too nervous’ to compete on stage in front of a packed audience is manipulating the playing field for the better during this era. An unforeseen advantage from online LAN competitions, but a positive one nonetheless as Paris and Guangzhou both emerge as unlikely contenders after this weekend.
Image Credits: @Overwatch League