It’s been an incredible week in esports with the Overwatch League coming to a thrilling conclusion to end the first stage, the Call of Duty World League ending Stage 2 and the NBA2K league nearing their playoffs as well. There is a lot to go over so let’s dive right in!
The first ever season of the Overwatch League has come to it’s conclusion after a thrilling weekend of playoff competition hosted at the Barclays Center in New York. The year provided everything both fans and Blizzard could have hoped for in an inaugural season; featuring high level competition and a variety of top teams that emerged over the course of the season. Of course at the end there can only be one champion but few entered the playoffs predicting that the London Spitfire would emerge as the victor.
After winning the inaugural stage of the season, it was a difficult year for the Spitfire. Despite entering the year as one of the favorites and doing so well in the opening stage they struggled to replicate that success in the later stages, being knocked out in the semi finals of stage 2 and failing to qualify for either the Stage 3 or 4 playoffs. This barely allowed them to qualify for the season playoffs, finishing the year in 5th place and only two wins ahead of teams that failed to make the cut.
Their recent pitfalls did not deter the Spitfire from their original goal however. Defeating both the Los Angeles Gladiators and Valiant in the opening playoff rounds London surprised everyone by knocking off two teams that had very strong performances in the second half of the year and had found more recent success. Even more impressive is that they were able to get these victories decisively; they swept the Gladiators twice after getting swept in their initial encounter and dispatched of the Valiant while only dropping a single map.
Their opponent in the grand finals would be the Philadelphia Fusion, who were able to upset New York in the opposing semi-final creating a finals matchup no analyst or expert predicted to start the playoffs. Looking like their dominant Stage 1 selves however, London was able to steamroll over Philadelphia as well, again only dropping a single map over the course of the two series.
London’s up and down season was an incredible demonstration of both determination and talent. While this roster always had the skill to be on top the challenges they encountered over the season often kept them out of that position. Watching a group figure it all out when it matters most after being on an up and down journey with them all year long was an elating feeling for fans of the team and competition in general.
With the first year in the books we’ll keep you updated over the offseason on any major roster changes or news from around the league. Also stay tuned for news on major offseason tournaments and events such as the Overwatch World Cup this fall.
The CWL has concluded its second stage of the year after an exciting weekend of playoff competition at the MLG Arena in Columbus where much the Overwatch League, the victor was a team few predicted. On the back of an incredible Winner’s Bracket run, Team Kaliber defeated every team they encountered, and most with ease, on their way to the championship.
Finishing in second in Division A over the course of the season, it was well understood that Team Kaliber was a strong team worthy of note. However their inability to even crack the top 8 at their first tournament together in Anaheim just a month ago prevented most from thinking they were a serious contender to win the playoff bracket this weekend. They were determined to prove those people were wrong.
It was immediately clear that Team Kaliber meant business when they opened the playoffs by dispatching of Unilad 3-1 and then sweeping FaZe, who themselves had just come off an incredibly close victory over OpTic Gaming. This placed them in the Winner’s Bracket finals against Rise Nation, who had won back to back offline events since the formation of their current roster. Despite this status Kaliber was not deterred, and were narrowly able to emerge victorious, giving them the upper hand in the Grand Finals.
Here they again encountered Rise, who quickly beat out Red Reserve to get their chance at revenge. The first series was an incredibly close encounter that went the full 5 games but Rise was able to get the win and force a third series between the two. Fortunately for Kaliber this final series was far more similar to their Winner’ Bracket Final encounter, and they were able to emerge as the Stage 2 Champs off the back of a 3-1 victory.
This doesn’t mean the end of Call of Duty action for the year though so fans have nothing to fear, Last Chance Qualifiers for the World Championship will take place between now and the beginning of the biggest event of the year on August 15th.
With two weeks of play remaining in the regular season two teams have now secured themselves spots in the playoffs: Knicks Gaming has a slot for winning THE TICKET and now Blazers5 Gaming join them due to their incredible regular season success, amassing an 11-1 record to date.
That means only 6 other teams can make it into the first ever postseason. In a prime position to secure those spots are the Pistons GT and 76ers GC as they have 8 wins so far on the season. With 9 teams having at least 6 wins however and 13 teams having gotten at least 5, the last couple of slots are still highly contested and almost impossible to determine.
These last couple weeks will certainly prove to be the most entertaining of the season to date as so much is still on the line. That means we are likely to see even more intense games and incredible performances, like Mehyar “AuthenticAfrican” Ahmed-Hassan’s record breaking 84 point game from last week. You can catch all the action live on the official NBA2K League Twitch channel.