After a stunning run through the loser’s bracket, the third-seed San Francisco Shock have earned a place in the second Overwatch World League Grand Final, where they will face winner’s bracket qualifiers Vancouver Titans at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Sept 29.
The climax of the second season of the OWL will be an exciting one as not only will the two best teams of the year collide, but it will also be a matchup between the winners of Stage 1 (Vancouver) and Stage 2 (San Francisco) of the season, plus in the four matches between the teams in league and playoffs this season, the honours have been equal with two wins apiece.
Stunning run after initial defeat
To earn that spot in Philadelphia, the San Francisco Shock did things the hard way. Drawn against sixth seed Atlanta Reign in the opening Round of matches in the Playoffs, the Shock went down to a surprising 4-3 defeat, which dropped them into the Losers Round at the first possible opportunity.
However, the shock of that defeat to the Reign seemed to ignite the Shock, who certainly found their spark in the lower bracket. A 4-0 win over the defending champions, London Spitfire in the Losers Round 1 was an indication of what was to follow as in subsequent Rounds, the Los Angeles Gladiators and then the Huangzhou Spark all fell by the wayside by the same 4-0 scoreline.
However, the Loser’s Round Final pitted the second seed New York Excelsior, narrowly beaten 4-3 by Vancouver Titans in the Winner’s Round final, against the Shock and this was expected to be a much closer contest. While each individual contest was indeed a tight affair, it was the Shock who triumphed claiming yet another 4-0 win to earn that Grand Final spot.
It was an epic performance by San Francisco Shock and at the heart of it was again was the league’s MBP, Jay “sinatraa” Won. The man who has been a key factor in the Shock reaching the finals of each Stage of the season (winning Stage 2, losing Stage 1 to Vancouver and Stage 3 to a revitalised Shanghai Dragons).
Who will win the final?
Given their stunning run of success through the loser’s bracket, it is going to be interesting to see what odds the esports bookmakers have on San Francisco Shock to win the event, especially considering they are taking on a team that, in seed ranking at least, is rated as a superior team.
It is also worth noting that Vancouver finished top of the Overwatch League standings, losing just three of their 28 matches all season long. San Francisco Shock finished third in those standings, but what is interesting is that their Match Difference was +66, compared to the +61 record of Vancouver, both considerably the best Match Difference records in the league.
It promises to be a huge and exciting end to the OWL Season 2 at the end of September.
Not sure where to place your bets? Have a look at what Unikrn is offering to esports fans.
Images courtesy of the Overwatch League / Blizzard Entertainment