The first playoff match in the Asia-Pacific region of the Overwatch League is in the books and the London Spitfire were knocked out of the competition by the Chengdu Hunters 3-1 earlier today.
In each of the last three series that these teams have played against each other, the scoreline ended up being a 3-0 for one team or the other. This is, in part, due to the same reasons that both teams came into playoffs as the two lowest seeds. They both play with the kind of aggressive flair that’s hard to find success with consistently.
Both teams look to empower their star DPS players as their only win condition. But in this series, the Hunters showed that they just have a greater number of damage threats than the Spitfire. The Spitfire seemingly rely solely on their DPS star Glister for big plays, while Chengdu has Jinmu, Leave, and Molly who have the mechanical skill required to carry their team at any given moment.
The first map in the series was Nepal. Despite both rounds reaching an overtime situation where each team was at 99-percent point capture, Chengdu pulled through thanks mostly to their style of play.
Control maps often favor the more mobile and aggressive team compositions, like dive, because these compositions excel in taking space away from the enemy. This is a strength of Chengdu’s since their in-game leader Ameng generally prefers to play Wrecking Ball, a dive-oriented main tank.
This dynamic carried over into the second map. Elsa and Lateyoung played so aggressively on the Winston and Zarya, creating an incredible amount of space for Yveltal to fly into the middle of teamfights to look for Mercy resurrections.
It won’t be the fantastic Mercy play that will be remembered from this series, however. It’ll be the awful lapse of concentration on the part of the Spitfire toward the end of the map that cost them King’s Row. Of course, the first “C9” of the playoffs came from Cloud9’s OWL team—and we can almost hear the memes being made about it right now.
Generally, this series was a one-sided snoozefest. But during the third map, Glister proved why his team affords him so many of their resources in-game. Volskaya Industries has long been one of the premier sniper-centric maps, so it was strange to see Chengdu not opt into the Widow duel when Glister was finding multiple triple kills across the map.
Perhaps even stranger than the decision to allow Glister to shoot freely from his sniper’s perch was Chengdu’s choice to play without Ameng and Molly on Volskaya. After the map loss, however, they were promptly substituted back in on Havana, where the team canceled the Glister show and secured the organization’s first playoff series win.
The Overwatch League playoffs continue later today with three matches. The Los Angeles Gladiators will kick things off against the Toronto Defiant at 2pm CT, followed by the Atlanta Reign facing off against the Boston Uprising. The day will close with the Dallas Fuel and Washington Justice battling it out.