It’s looking a lot like the 2021 season in the Overwatch League’s Summer Showdown tournament. The calendar may read 2022, but two of the top teams from last year have again regained glory amid changing metas that reward the teamwork and coordination they’re so known for.
The Shanghai Dragons won last year’s Overwatch League championship and two tournaments, including the 2021 Summer Showdown. Their biggest competition then was the Dallas Fuel, winners of the 2021 May Melee. Both teams had a healthy dose of time on the struggle bus at the start of the 2022 season and have only started soaring with the addition of Junker Queen and a whole lot of teamwork.
Even though an ocean (and regional rules) divide them now, Shanghai and Dallas both took home respective titles in two very different Summer Showdown finals.
East Region grand finals: Shanghai Dragons vs. Seoul Dynasty (4-2)
Before any of the West Region’s LAN festivities could unfold, the East Region side of the Summer Showdown tournament had to be wrapped up. Early in the tournament, the Shanghai Dragons demolished the Seoul Dynasty with a 3-0 scoreline, but the Dynasty wasn’t ready to leave grand finals in such an embarrassing fashion.
Stars like DPS Fits and one of the league’s veterans, Profit on his Summer Showdown special of Brigitte, brought the heat for the Dynasty against the dominant Dragons. Despite following Profit’s lead into aggressive battles–and tying up the series by map four, unheard of for any other team that faced the Dragons the entire tournament cycle–the Dynasty was eventually unable to keep up with Shanghai.
For years, Shanghai’s strength has been in gaining momentum during long games that wear out other teams. Tank Void and DPS LIP seemed to come back into full strength by the final two maps of the series, clutching it out and earning the Summer Showdown trophy.
This is Shanghai’s first Overwatch League tournament win this season, but the team is finally looking as dominant as it did by the end of their 2021 campaign.
West Region lower bracket: San Francisco Shock vs. Toronto Defiant (3-1)
Toronto made fans’ dreams come true by sailing through the lower bracket yesterday, backed up by the wild and enthusiastic home crowd. Unfortunately for them, that run came to an end at the hands of the Shock.
While Toronto was able to put up a good fight on first map Nepal–thanks to aggressive plays by support CH0R0NG and his teammates–San Francisco seemed to wake up by the beginning of their map pick, Hollywood.
With dynamo DPS Proper back on his usual itinerary of demolishing the entire backline, the Shock set themselves up to roll through the next three maps.
It may be the end of the line for Toronto, but third place in the Summer Showdown is a franchise high for the team and concrete proof a home crowd holds more power than many of us realized.
West Region grand finals: Dallas Fuel vs. San Francisco Shock (4-0)
San Francisco battled through Toronto Defiant in a dominant lower bracket semifinal series, looking confident, only to run directly into the solid brick wall that is the Dallas Fuel in a Junker Queen meta.
Lijiang Tower was a back-and-forth affair as it has been in many matches throughout the weekend and the Fuel even called up some of their more recent tricks to eke out the win. Yesterday, on the exact same map, Fuel tank Hanbin dragged Shock DPS Kilo into the abyss with his knife; today, the same fate befell him.
A last-minute Doomfist switch from Hanbin also reappeared in the finals.
Of all Dallas’ players, Hanbin was at the forefront of everyone’s minds, from casters to (undeniably) the San Francisco Shock. On Hollywood, the first of Shock’s map picks, Hanbin’s top-tier Junker Queen ultimates were timed astonishingly well with his DPS and support teammates. Dallas was able to target and eliminate some of San Francisco’s most clutch players, stopping them just before map completion and going up 2-0.
Dorado was more of the same. Though Shock’s biggest asset, Proper, was determined to not let his team fall, Dallas once again put forth strategic resistance to his plays. Fuel DPS SP9RK1E often teamed up with his support ChiYo to speed into the Shock’s defenses, eliminate a target, and get out alive.
By the time both teams headed to Colosseo, Dallas was rolling into Rome with a 3-0 lead and what looked like infinite levels of confidence.
San Francisco put up a decent fight, especially on the side of tank Coluge, but all of the cards seemed to be in Dallas’ favor as they pushed the bot to a 4-0 sweep.
“I worked really, really hard this finals,” said Edison, one of the match’s big stars, during a press conference. He noted how much confidence he’s built with this team to the point that today’s monumental victory was expected but strange.
“It feels like this victory came so easy for us, it still feels surreal to me.”
As the West Region champions, the Dallas Fuel have earned $75,000 and three League Points, putting them near the top of the season standings and setting them up for a good postseason placement. San Francisco will earn two League Points. On the other side of the league, the Shanghai Dragons earned three League Points and $50,000.
The Overwatch League returns on Thursday, Sept. 22 for the Countdown Cup.