The Showdown begins: Overwatch League weekend preview (June 13 to 14)

The Summer Showdown tournament begins with rivalry-fueling matches and a sparkling player debut.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment

The Overwatch League returns after a three-week recovery from the May Melee tournament, where the Shanghai Dragons and San Francisco Shock took home championships in their respective regions. Due to the success of the tournament model, the new Summer Showdown tournament will be the focus of June and July

On June 13, qualification matches for the Summer Showdown begin. The tournament will operate in the same way as the May Melee, with all 20 Overwatch League teams divided into two regions: Asia and North America. Games played during the first three weeks of the tournament operate as both regular-season games and opportunities to seed teams into a final tournament bracket. 

The Summer Showdown is also introducing a new twist to an often contentious part of the league, Hero Pools. One Hero Pools rotation will be used for the first two weeks of the tournament, then Hero Pools will be absent for the final week and the tournament bracket week. 

For this week and next week, DPS heroes Echo and Sombra will be out of rotation for all teams. Tank D.Va and support hero Brigitte join them on the bench. Teams will have to operate without Echo’s aerial domination or D.Va’s reliable ultimate absorption. Expect some wild choices from teams while they work around these difficult bans. 

As the Summer Showdown kicks off, we’re highlighting a few matches that showcase championship talent and rivalries continuing from the May Melee. 

London Spitfire vs. Shanghai Dragons 

The Shanghai Dragons are still coasting off of their championship win in the May Melee’s Asia region, but the quickly-improving London Spitfire roster wants to put an end to that ego trip. In the quarterfinals of last month’s tournament, the Dragons took out the Spitfire with a 3-2 score that was closer than many analysts expected. 

Shanghai went on to win the Asia title in a wild reverse sweep of the Seoul Dynasty, but it was the London Spitfire who proved that the top-rated team can bleed. Keep an eye out for Spitfire’s star DPS Lim “Glister” Gil-seong to take more bold duels with Shanghai’s damage dealers. This match kicks off the Summer Showdown at 3am CT on June 13.  

Paris Eternal vs. Boston Uprising 

He’s finally arrived. This match, which begins the North American Summer Showdown at 2pm CT on June 13, will likely be the first appearance of the Paris Eternal’s secret weapon, Kim “SP9RK1E” Young-han. The Eternal signed the former Element Mystic standout during the offseason, knowing full well he wouldn’t be eligible for the Overwatch League until his 18th birthday on May 31. SP9RK1E now faces the enormous task of living up to the community’s hype over his play. 

Despite having a rough season, the Boston Uprising have been on the upswing after adding new players and developing more cohesion. Boston’s goal in this match is to be more than a “practice run” for the fully-powered Eternal before the team faces the San Francisco Shock next week. Expect new Uprising off-tank Leyton “Punk” Gilchrist to get away with more Sigma shenanigans than anyone ever should.       

Atlanta Reign vs. Los Angeles Gladiators 

Both the Atlanta Reign and Los Angeles Gladiators hover around the top half of their respective divisions, never quite able to defeat the giants who rule the peak. The two teams haven’t faced off in 2020, so this match is a chance to step outside of their comfort zones. Each team puts an enormous amount of pressure on their tank lines, so expect to see main tank battles between Reign’s Blake “Gator” Scott and Son “OGE” Min-seok of the Gladiators.    

As a bonus, both teams have also turned the match into a charity opportunity. For every map played, the Los Angeles Gladiators will be donating $30 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. If fans participate in the poll and predict map winners correctly, their donation will double. The Atlanta Reign has matched this challenge and will donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Make sure to get your predictions in before the match begins at 6pm CT on June 13.  

Vancouver Titans vs. Toronto Defiant

The most recent “Battle for Canada” was during the May Melee, where the last-place Vancouver Titans threw their new roster at the ailing Toronto Defiant to claim the final spot in the tournament bracket. Toronto eked out a 3-2 win, but being nearly defeated by a roster that had been put together barely a week beforehand was a blow to the team’s self-esteem. 

This match, at 4pm CT on June 14, is the Defiant’s chance at redemption. After adding veteran main tank Seb “Numlocked” Barton alongside main support Harrison “Kruise” Pond, the team may finally have the leadership and direction it sorely lacked. The Titans, having had a chance at actual practice and development of strategies, are looking to prove that they’re more than just a roster of rookies.

The Overwatch League Summer Showdown tournament begins at 3am CT on June 13 when the London Spitfire take on the Shanghai Dragons. North American games begin with the Paris Eternal facing off against the Boston Uprising at 2pm CT on June 13.