The first round of the Overwatch League's North American Summer Showdown tournament was an explosive bracket-buster, with three big upsets occurring Friday.
Throughout the day, the teams with the superior Genji player generally came out on top, a testament to the power of the newest flavor-of-the-month DPS.
In the only non-upset of the day, the eighth-seeded Paris Eternal took a 3-1 series win over the ninth-seeded Dallas Fuel.
The 13th-seeded Washington Justice dumped the sixth-seeded Los Angeles Gladiators 3-1. The 11th-seeded Toronto Defiant knocked off the fifth-seeded Los Angeles Valiant 3-1, and the 10th-seeded Houston Outlaws defeated the seventh-seeded Florida Mayhem 3-1.
The quarterfinal field is set for Saturday:
No. 1 San Francisco Shock vs. No. 13 Washington Justice
No. 4 Vancouver Titans vs. No. 8 Paris Eternal
No. 3 Philadelphia Fusion vs. No. 10 Houston Outlaws
No. 2 Atlanta Reign vs. No. 11 Toronto Defiant
The Eternal, in their victory over the Fuel, fielded a DPS lineup of Terence "SoOn" Tarlier and Nicolas "NiCOgdh" Moret, which worked to moderate success. Running brawl-style team compositions featuring NiCOgdh on Mei, Paris took Lijiang Tower 2-0 but came up short 2-1 on King's Row, entering the half tied at one apiece.
After the break, though, the Eternal swapped in the dynamic, rookie DPS duo of Ki-hyo "Xzi" Jung and Yeong-han "SP9RK1E" Kim, who took over the series. SP9RK1E ran his signature Genji while Xzi played hitscans such as Ashe and Widowmaker to battle Dallas' own star DPS, Gui-un "Decay" Jang. In this way, the Eternal took a 3-2 win on Hanamura and closed the series out with a 1-0 full-hold of Watchpoint: Gibraltar.
Dallas had high hopes entering the Summer Showdown, with the Fuel's coaching staff giving Decay time off to prepare for a tournament run. With a lackluster performance at the tournament, though, the Fuel's playoffs hopes are starting to look less and less realistic.
In the first upset of the day, the Outlaws took out the Mayhem, a May Melee finalist. Houston had come up just short in its most recent outing against Florida, losing 3-2. This time, though, the Outlaws came prepared. Their tank line looked significantly more confident in their matchup against the Mayhem's respected front line while the DPS battle went heavily in Houston's favor.
Florida started strong with a 2-0 win on Busan, but Houston responded with a dominant showing of its own, taking Blizzard World 1-0. After the break, the Outlaws continued their hot streak with a strong 5-4 win on Hanamura, which wasn't as close as the score would indicate, and a 1-0 full-hold on Rialto to take the series 3-1.
The struggling Defiant took a stand with an impressive result against the Valiant. Perhaps it was comments made by the Valiant coaching staff that lit a fire under the Defiant, or maybe it was the best meta for Toronto since the start of the season. Whatever the case, the Defiant seen on Friday seemed unaware of the team's long slump.
Led by brilliant DPS play from Andreas "Logix" Berghmans and Brady "Agilities" Girardi, Toronto rolled over Los Angeles, which had made some seemingly last-minute changes to the lineup. After the Valiant won Busan 2-1, the Defiant came back with a 4-3 win on King's Row, a perfect 1-0 full-hold on Temple of Anubis and a commanding 6-3 victory on Junkertown.
When the moment mattered most, the Defiant were able to seize the series momentum. Now, Toronto moves onto a quarterfinal matchup against the Reign, who selected the Defiant for their matchup as the second seed. It's hard to say which version of either team will show up to that series, with both sides having the potential to sweep the other.
The final matchup of the day was the most shocking upset, as the Justice cruised past the Gladiators. Los Angeles has been mercurial to say the least this year, with confusing wins and losses littering the team's match history. With the talent on the Gladiators' roster, most expected L.A. to make quick work of the Justice, who had to fight just to earn their spot in the Summer Showdown.
Washington not only looked like the stronger team Friday, though, but it exhibited a confidence that Los Angeles could only dream of emulating.
The key to the Justice's turnaround was DPS Ho-Sung "TTuba" Lee, who looked like a legitimate all-star on Genji and averaged 24.3 Eliminations per 10 minutes on the hero in the series.
The Gladiators struck first with a 2-1 win on Busan, but then the Justice went on to take King's Row 3-2, Temple of Anubis 1-0 and Junkertown 2-1.
The Justice might have their run cut short by the top-seeded Shock, but their progress in getting to the quarterfinals is commendable.
The seven-team Asia bracket of the Summer Showdown opens with the quarterfinals Saturday:
No. 1 Shanghai Dragons, bye
No. 4 London Spitfire vs. No. 5 Seoul Dynasty
No. 2 Guangzhou Charge vs. No. 7 Chengdu Hunters
No. 3 New York Excelsior vs. No. 6 Hangzhou Spark
The semifinals and final of both the North American and Asian regions will be played Sunday.
Matches in the Summer Showdown do not count toward the league standings, but the top teams in both regions will get bonus wins added to their regular-season records. The tournament champions will each receive three bonus wins, with the runners-up getting two bonuses wins and the third- and fourth-place teams adding one bonus win.
Overwatch League Season 3 standings, with match record (W-L), map record (W-L-T) and map differential:
1. (Pacific East) Shanghai Dragons, 18-2, 47-12-1, 35
2. (Atlantic South) Philadelphia Fusion, 15-2, 44-17-0, 27
3. (Pacific West) San Francisco Shock, 14-2, 35-11-2, 24
4. (Pacific East) Guangzhou Charge, 13-6, 38-34-0, 4
5. (Atlantic North) New York Excelsior, 12-5, 41-20-2, 21
6. (Atlantic South) Florida Mayhem, 11-5, 30-20-0, 10
7. (Atlantic North) Paris Eternal, 9-6, 32-27-0, 5
8. (Pacific West) Los Angeles Valiant, 8-7, 27-28-0, -1
9. (Atlantic South) Atlanta Reign, 7-6, 27-18-0, 9
10. (Pacific East) Seoul Dynasty, 7-7, 18-23-1, -5
11. (Pacific East) Hangzhou Spark, 7-10, 27-37-2, -10
12. (Pacific West) Los Angeles Gladiators, 6-6, 24-24-4, 0
13. (Atlantic North) London Spitfire, 6-7, 21-27-0, -6
14. (Atlantic South) Houston Outlaws, 6-11, 27-38-3, -11
15. (Pacific West) Dallas Fuel, 5-8, 21-28-0, -7
16. (Atlantic North) Toronto Defiant, 5-10, 25-34-0, -9
17. (Pacific West) Vancouver Titans, 4-8, 14-26-0, -12
18. (Pacific East) Chengdu Hunters, 4-14, 24-43-1, -19
19. (Atlantic South) Washington Justice, 3-13, 17-41-1, -24
20. (Atlantic North) Boston Uprising, 2-13, 12-43-3, -31
--Field Level Media