After a long day of battle, another two teams are headed home from the 2021 Overwatch League playoffs. Unlike on the first day of elimination matches, the teams playing on Sept. 23 avoided clean sweeps and took their opponents to the very limit. Only four teams remain to fight it out when games resume on Sept. 24.
The night kicked off with a final display of the deep rivalry that developed between the Atlanta Reign and Los Angeles Gladiators over the course of the 2021 season. In many of this year’s matches, Atlanta’s rush style seemed to be kryptonite for the calm, practiced Gladiators squad.
In their lower bracket match, that trend continued. Both teams traded maps back and forth until the fifth map, Nepal, where Atlanta’s DPS shifted into high gear. Sniper Kai Collins and flex DPS Oh “Pelican” Se-hyun, stunners throughout the series, clutched out the match and sent the Gladiators packing with a 3-2 score.
Not satisfied with the extensive five-map series earlier in the broadcast, the San Francisco Shock and Chengdu Hunters took their lower bracket showdown into high gear. Over six maps, the two top teams threw even punches to stay alive in the postseason.
First map Lijiang Tower was an easy win for the Shock, but the Hunters came back to life on Anubis and forced the team into the first draw map of the playoffs. King’s Row went to the Shock thanks to heroics by off-tank Choi “ChoiHyoBin” Hyo-bin.
Just when San Francisco thought a win would be easy, Chengdu kicked it into overdrive. This year’s MVP, Xin “Leave” Huang, came alive in his team’s moment of need and went wild in the Shock backline on maps four and five to nearly force a reverse sweep.
On final map Havana, Leave and aerial expert Hu “JinMu” Yi made life extremely difficult for the Shock, stopping the latter team from fully completing the map. San Francisco DPS Charlie “nero” Zwarg and ChoiHyoBin went to work on defense, however, and completely shut out the Hunters with a 3-2 scoreline.
Tomorrow, the San Francisco Shock will face the Atlanta Reign at 8pm CT in another round of the loser’s bracket. Only one of those teams will move on to a second match, taking place immediately after, against the Dallas Fuel.
The Shanghai Dragons have already clinched a spot in the grand finals, which begin at 8pm CT on Sept. 25.