The Summer Showdown heated up on Friday as the Shanghai Dragons and the Chengdu Hunters advanced to the Grand Finals. Here's how the action went down:
In the Upper Bracket Finals, the Shanghai Dragons (10-2, 15 points) asserted their dominance over the rest of the league by taking out the EasternRegion's other representative, the Chengdu Hunters (7-5, 7 points) in a 3-2 barn-burner. Both teams played the Wrecking Ball and Pharah-led compositions that helped them blow through the Western teams on Thursday.
This series came down to the wire despite the Hunters' slow start. The Dragons carved out a 2-1 win on Ilios and a 2-1 win on Temple of Anubis to take a 2-0 series lead, threatening to blow Chengdu away from the jump. The Hunters responded emphatically, taking Eichenwalde 4-3 on the back of DPS Huang "leave" Xin, who popped off in Chengdu's overtime defense.
Shanghai was reeling as the Hunters took Watchpoint: Gibraltar 3-2 to send the series to a tie-breaker round on Busan. Chengdu adapted to Shanghai's dive by putting leave on McCree to help combat the Dragons' Wrecking Ball, but then the Dragons made adaptations of their own.
Shanghai DPS ace Byung-sun "Fleta" Kim took Pharah for the first time all series on Busan, leading to a 2-0 win for Shanghai to secure the series. It wasn't easy, and the Dragons had to tip their hand and reveal some strategies, but they qualified for their third straight Grand Finals.
In the Lower Bracket, the Dallas Fuel (9-3, 14 points) survived against the Atlanta Reign (7-5, 8 points) in a 3-2 series. Both teams started on the Western Region special, Symmetra-brawl, on Lijiang Tower, which the Fuel took 2-0. The Reign responded with a 2-1 win on Hanamura. On King's Row, Atlanta forced Dallas to adapt, putting DPS Yeong-han "SP9RK1E" Kim on Pharah. The Fuel's strategic shift worked, giving them a 6-5 map win.
With their backs to the wall, Atlanta played one of their bread-and-butter defensive compositions, taking Route 66 3-2. In the tie-breaking match on Nepal, both teams struggled, but it was Dallas coming out on top with a 2-1 win, eliminating Atlanta and moving on to the Lower Bracket Finals.
In the Lower Bracket Finals, the Chengdu Hunters made quick work of the Dallas Fuel in a 3-0 sweep. The Hunters stayed true to their Wrecking Ball compositions, which worked wonders against the Fuel. Chengdu started with a 2-0 win on Lijiang Tower, then took Temple of Anubis 3-2, putting Dallas on the back foot. The Hunters wouldn't give the Fuel time to recover, demolishing Dallas on King's Row 2-1 to advance to the Grand Finals for a rematch against the Shanghai Dragons.
The OWL teams have been competing in three weeks of matches to determine qualification for the Summer Showdown's double-elimination playoff brackets, with two teams from each region advancing.
The Summer Showdown concludes on Saturday:
Chengdu Hunters vs Shanghai Dragons
Overwatch League standings by region, with win-loss record, map differential and league points
1. Dallas Fuel, 9-3, 14, 14
2. San Francisco Shock, 9-3, 13, 9
3. Houston Outlaws, 9-3, 11, 9
4. Los Angeles Gladiators, 8-4, 13, 8
5. Washington Justice, 8-4, 9, 8
6. Atlanta Reign, 7-5, 13, 8
7. Paris Eternal, 6-6, -1, 6
8. Toronto Defiant, 6-6, -4, 6
9. Boston Uprising, 6-6, 1, 6
10. Florida Mayhem, 4-8, -9, 5
11. London Spitfire, 0-12, -29, 0
12. Vancouver Titans, 0-12, -31, 0
1. Shanghai Dragons, 10-2, 20, 15
2. Seoul Dynasty, 9-3, 14, 9
T3. Philadelphia Fusion, 7-5, 5, 7
T3. Hangzhou Spark, 7-5, 5, 7
T3. Chengdu Hunters, 7-5, 5, 7
6. New York Excelsior, 5-7, -3, 5
7. Guangzhou Charge, 3-9, -18, 3
8. Los Angeles Valiant, 0-12, -34, 0
--By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media