London Win Overwatch Stage 1 Playoffs In Reverse Sweep

London Win Overwatch Stage 1 Playoffs In Reverse Sweep

Image credit: Robert Paul, Blizzard Esports

After a long, almost 12-hour day of competition, the London Spitfire emerged victorious last night in the first stage playoffs of the Overwatch League. After dropping two maps to the New York Excelsior, the Spitfire surged back and took three straight to reverse-sweep the finals and win the playoff bonus.

Though the stage playoffs have no impact on the regular season nor the League playoffs, they do provide a cash prize for the proven top team of each stage – $US100,000 ($128,090) for the winner, and $US25,000 ($32,023) for the runner-up, plus bragging rights.

London had easily the hardest route into the playoffs, playing its last regular season match against the Excelsior to start the day and then beating the Outlaws to get a shot at New York again. What London showed across 14 total maps was resilience, adaptation, and a whole lot of stamina.

The first map, Junkertown, did not start well for London. Kim “Pine” Do-Hyeon was thorn in the Spitfire’s side, peppering them with sniper bullets and flanking their less durable heroes.

In extra rounds, the Excelsior ran over a surprise tank strategy from the Spitfire and secured the early advantage. Headed to Oasis next, the New York players shone on the control map. Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-Ryeol and Bang “Jjonak” Seong-Hyun both had stellar performances, and it seemed the finals might end in a sweep.

But on map 3, London started to recover. A quick offence round gave way to a stalwart defence from the Spitfire. The Excelsior would crack their defences, but London forced them to take their sweet time doing so. In extra rounds, the Spitfire out-capped New York and kept the series alive at 1-2.

The fourth map gave London even more confidence, as players like Kim “Birdring” Ji-Hyeok started to outplay their Excelsior counterparts. Birdring’s pick-offs as Widowmaker were the silent killer of New York this match, frustrating its offence at every turn.

The Excelsior, meanwhile, continue to force a Genji-Tracer dive composition that isn’t making the kind of impact you would want from your damage-dealers. London take the map and tie it up at 2-2.

Of course, it all came down to one map. As the clock ticked into the early hours of the morning for the Spitfire’s home crowd in London, the final clash on Dorado would determine the stage 1 champions. The Spitfire exhibited a strong offence, with one moment in particular showing the team’s ability to capitalise on openings and take a mile when given an inch by the Excelsior.

The Excelsior meanwhile continued to push their Genji-Tracer strategy, hoping against hope it will click. This was not the same New York from maps 1 and 2 — it seemed like London had shaken their confidence in the run-back, and now New York seemed unsure of itself. Those little hesitations would be costly, as New York failed to push the payload as far as it needed to go and fell to London, 3-2.

The London Spitfire can now claim itself the champion of stage 1, taking home a cool $US100,000 ($128,090). The Overwatch League is on a short hiatus, but will return February 21, where a rematch of London and New York will headline the first day of stage 2.


  • Elephant in the room, I feel there needs to be more rules regarding diversity on some of these teams.

    • I think there needs to be rules about where the players come from. When a lot of the teams are just rebranded south korean teams that are meant to represent different countries, it feels a bit silly. Wouldn’t it make more sense to at the very least require your players to be citizens of the country/region they’re representing?

      • There are only very loose rules on the matter in traditional sports (some not having any rules), why should this be any different?
        It might give some people a good feeling, but would it cost better players their places on teams? Almost certainly.

        • why shouldn’t it? This isn’t a traditional sport, it’s still finding it’s feet and it’s not controlled by physical differences. Theres no reason to have teams completely made up of all male/female players or players from one cultural background.

      • I get buying players from other teams, you want to get whatever edge you can, thats sport now days, but I agree with you, when its an all Korean Team representing London… its a little lame. including some sort of rule around having a diverse team though would also have them sort after female players who as we know have been overlooked some.

        despite their standings I like Dallas Fuel, I like their Team Diversity and their constant attempts at breaking the meta.

      • I don’t recall stating it should be limited to certain teams? I think all teams would benefit from having a more diverse roster. I just think London Spitfire are a good example in the lack of and that it’s lame but there are obviously other teams.

        as for Quotas, maybe? or maybe the team leader/organiser/owner or whoever needs to keep record of players they’ve approached to show they’ve at the very least attempted to build a diverse team.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!