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It’s been an exciting start for the 2019 Overwatch League playoffs. After the quarterfinal matches on Sept. 5 and 6, four teams have moved on the winner’s bracket. The Vancouver Titans, Los Angeles Gladiators, New York Excelsior, and Atlanta Reign will face each other in the winner’s semifinals. This year, the league has embraced a double-elimination bracket for the season playoffs, so the four losing teams will have one more chance to prove their mettle in a lower bracket.
The quarterfinals began on Sept. 5 with the first-seeded Vancouver Titans taking on the eighth-seeded Seoul Dynasty. For the playoffs, the Titans brought in their new main tank, Hwang “TiZi” Jang-hyeon, who had to fight off amazing Sigma plays by Seoul’s Hwang “Marve1” Min-seo. While the Titans eventually took the series 4-2, the Dynasty made their mark by defeating the Titans on Numbani, a map the team hasn’t lost in the Overwatch League or Overwatch Contenders in over two years.
Next, the Hangzhou Spark were up against the Los Angeles Gladiators. At first, it looked like the Gladiators were about to sweep the Spark, going up three maps in the series with little resistance. Something in Hangzhou’s ranks shifted after a second halftime and they won two maps in a row, pushing the game to a seventh tiebreaker map. On final map Watchpoint: Gibraltar, Los Angeles rallied their ranks and took the series 4-3.
Of all the quarterfinal matches, the one between the New York Excelsior and the London Spitfire was the most one-sided. London struggled to adapt to New York’s overuse of offensive Bastion coupled with well-coordinated attacks. While the season one champions managed to take a map due to the heroics of London DPS Park “Profit” Joon-yeong, once the series wrapped around to a second Control map, it was all New York’s game. The Excelsior won the series 4-1.
In the last quarterfinal match, the San Francisco Shock faced the Atlanta Reign. Both teams logged a perfect record during stage four and found a resurgence of power within the role lock meta. Atlanta DPS Andrej “BABYBAY” Francisty and Shock DPS Kwon “Striker” Nam-joo both had impressive Reaper plays that carried their team. While the match was close, the Atlanta Reign won the final map Rialto after the Shock stepped off the payload for a brief second.
On Sept. 7, the loser’s bracket games begin. The Seoul Dynasty will face the Hangzhou Spark and the London Spitfire will take on the San Francisco Shock. When a team loses again, they’ll be eliminated from playoff contention. The winner’s semifinals begin on Sept. 8, where the Vancouver Titans will take on the Los Angeles Gladiators and the New York Excelsior will face the Atlanta Reign.