The Summer Showdown landscape became clearer on Friday as the Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators and Washington Justice picked up wins. Here's how the action went down:
In the main event of the evening, the Western region's top seed, the Dallas Fuel (8-3, 13 points) picked up a 3-0 win over theHouston Outlaws (9-3, 9 points). The Outlaws needed a win on Saturday to keep their Summer Showdown hopes alive after dropping a series to the Boston Uprising (6-5, 5 points), but couldn't get it done in front of a raucous Fuel crowd at the Arlington Esports Arena in Arlington, Texas.
The Fuel started strong, taking a 2-0 win on Oasis. Then, the two sides split an action-packed Hanamura 2-2. Dallas took over after that, taking Hollywood 2-1 and Watchpoint: Gibraltar 2-1 to secure the 3-0 series win.
Dallas shined across the board against Houston, particularly DPS Yeong-han "SP9RK1E" Kim, who finished with 52 final blows, 19 more than the next player. With the win, the Fuel all but secured themselves the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Summer Showdown Knockout Round.
In other Friday action, the Los Angeles Gladiators (8-3, 8 points) picked up a convincing 3-0 win over the Toronto Defiant (6-5, 6 points) in a match with huge implications for the Summer Showdown. The Gladiators needed a win to stay alive in Summer Showdown qualification while the Defiant would've likely locked up a spot in the Knockout round with a win.
The Gladiators started strong with a 2-1 win on Lijiang Tower, despite some heroics from Toronto's rookie DPS Luka "Aspire" Rolovic. Then, Los Angeles set an OWL record on Temple of Anubis, completing their first attack with 5:33 on the clock, the fastest time ever. This would eventually lead to a 5-4 win, leading to a 1-0 full-hold win on Eichenwalde to secure the series sweep for the Gladiators.
Finally, the Washington Justice (7-4, 7 points) picked up a 3-0 win over the London Spitfire (0-12, 0 points). The Justice started hot with a 2-0 win on Lijiang Tower and stayed in control throughout the rest of the series. Washington went on to full-hold Temple of Anubis for a 1-0 win before taking Eichenwalde 3-2 after a lengthy overtime push petered out for London.
The OWL teams are competing in three weeks of matches to determine qualification for the Summer Showdown's double-elimination playoff brackets, which will be contested July 11-18.
The top six teams from the West and the top four teams from the East will make the initial playoff rounds. Two teams from each region will advance to the double-elimination final playoff round.
The Summer Showdown qualifiers continue on Saturday with six matches:
New York Excelsior vs Philadelphia Fusion (East)
Los Angeles Valiant vs Chengdu Hunters (East)
Hangzhou Spark vs Shanghai Dragons (East)
Atlanta Reign vs Boston Uprising (West)
Toronto Defiant vs Dallas Fuel (West)
Washington Justice vs Los Angeles Gladiators (West)
Overwatch League standings by region, with win-loss record, map differential and league points
1. Dallas Fuel, 8-3, 12, 13
2. San Francisco Shock, 9-3, 13, 9
3. Houston Outlaws, 9-3, 11, 9
4. Los Angeles Gladiators, 8-3, 14, 8
5. Washington Justice, 7-4, 8, 7
6. Atlanta Reign, 6-5, 10, 7
7. Paris Eternal, 6-6, -1, 6
8. Toronto Defiant, 6-5, -2, 6
9. Boston Uprising, 6-5, 4, 5
10. Florida Mayhem, 4-8, -9, 5
11. London Spitfire, 0-12, -29, 0
12. Vancouver Titans, 0-12, -31, 0
1. Shanghai Dragons, 9-2, 18, 14
2. Seoul Dynasty, 9-3, 14, 9
T3. Philadelphia Fusion, 7-4, 9, 7
T3. Hangzhou Spark, 7-4, 9, 7
5. Chengdu Hunters, 6-5, 4, 6
6. New York Excelsior, 4-7, -5, 4
7. Guangzhou Charge, 3-9, -18, 3
8. Los Angeles Valiant, 0-11, -31, 0
--By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media