Washington Justice, Toronto Defiant advance in Overwatch League 2021 play-ins

They'll return for more single-elimination matches on Sept. 5.

Photo by Tonya McCahon via Activision Blizzard

Two high-stakes, single-elimination play-in games officially kicked off the Overwatch League postseason today. During play-ins, six West Region teams and three East Region teams will be fighting for the final three slots in the official double-elimination playoff bracket, which will begin on Sept. 21. 

Before they can secure those final spots, though, teams have to take down their opponents in the do-or-die play-in matches. Two West Region teams, the Washington Justice and Toronto Defiant, swept their adversaries today and will move on to the second phase of play-in games on Sept. 5. 

Washington Justice vs. Paris Eternal 

Last week, the higher-seeded Washington Justice chose to face the Paris Eternal instead of the Boston Uprising in the first round of play-ins. For a Justice roster that took only one win in the Countdown Cup tournament cycle, it seemed like hubris to select a seemingly powered-up Eternal.

Thanks to the lack of Hero Pools in the postseason—meaning all heroes are available for play—Washington looked infinitely more comfortable and confident today against the Paris Eternal than they have in weeks. The Justice swept the Eternal with a 3-0 scoreline. 

Legendary carry DPS Jang “Decay” Gui-un, who was a nightmare for his enemies during the 2020 postseason, continued his reign of terror on heroes like Symmetra and Reaper. Fellow DPS Kim “Assassin” Sung-wan and main tank Kim “Mag” Tae-sung looked renewed and ready to fight on their comfort heroes.     

Boston Uprising vs Toronto Defiant 

Analysts and fans expected this series to be more competitive than the first match, but the Toronto Defiant had no time to opt into map five shenanigans. The Boston Uprising enjoyed leaning into the speed granted to them with no Hero Pools, running Reaper and Lúcio compositions, but the Defiant’s crisp roster held them off.

In another 3-0 sweep, Toronto’s DPS and tank lines showed how they’ve leveled up throughout the season. Over the past few matches, Defiant DPS Jeong “Heesu” Hee-su has stepped into stardom for his team, pulling out clutch victories. Main tank Kim “SADO” Su-min has also seemingly upgraded, ready to balance aggression with caution on behalf of his teammates.

The Overwatch League season ends here for the Paris Eternal and Boston Uprising. They’ll finish with an eighth and ninth-place West Region ranking, respectively. The winners of today’s two matches will face the higher seeds in the playoffs tomorrow.

During the Watchpoint post-show, the San Francisco Shock chose the Toronto Defiant as its opponent for tomorrow’s play-in match, which begins at 2pm CT. The Houston Outlaws will have to face the Washington Justice shortly after at 3:30pm CT. These are, once again, do-or-die matches for all teams involved. The teams that claim victory tomorrow will head to Hawaii in the next few weeks as a part of the league’s backup plan for playoffs and Grand Finals.  

East Region play-in matches begin at 4am CT on Sept. 5, where the Philadelphia Fusion will take on the Hangzhou Spark. One winner will move on to face the Seoul Dynasty at around 5:30 CT, and the winner of that match will earn a spot in the postseason bracket.  

About the author

Liz Richardson

Liz is a freelance writer and editor from Chicago. Her favorite thing is the Overwatch League; her second favorite thing is pretending iced coffee is a meal. She specializes in educational content, patch notes that (actually) make sense, and aggressively supporting Tier 2 Overwatch. When she's not writing, Liz is expressing hot takes on Twitter and making bad life choices at Target.