In an astonishing 4-0 victory, third seed San Francisco Shock took the victory over No. 1 seed Vancouver Titans in this weekend’s “Overwatch” Grand Finals matchup. With the “Overwatch” League season coming to a close, all eyes were on the Shock and the Titans as the long-awaited rematch took place.
Both teams dominated throughout the 2019 season and slowly became one of “Overwatch” League’s best rivalries in its brief history. The teams met earlier this season in the first and second round finals. Each team secured one win over the other, leaving only the Grand Finals to prove who was the best “Overwatch” League franchise.
In this seven-game series, the first team to four wins takes home the trophy. The map type changes between each match and rotates between control point, assault, escort and hybrid. Each mode varies in its own way, but share a similar goal of surviving longer than the other team.
The Shock came into the match with the highest win-to-loss map ratio of any team and made a long comeback through the loser’s bracket after its upset loss to the Atlanta Reign in the first round. It had a historic 16-map win streak leading into the finals.
Vancouver, on the other hand, didn’t lose a single match on its way through the playoff bracket. Even with the Shock’s first defeat, both teams made it clear they wouldn’t lose again until they could put an end to their tied record.
With the new 2-2-2 locked meta, both teams were required to use two tanks, two damage and two healers for its player roles. The Shock and Titans’ star players Sinatraa and Haksal battled it out to prove themselves as the best Doomfist —a damage character available to all players— in the league. Sinatraa was recently named the MVP of the 2019 season, and Haksal was awarded the title of Rookie of the Year.
The first battle took place at Lijiang Tower with the goal to capture the point and hold it down until the team’s percentage bar increases to 100%. Both teams would have to complete this twice to secure the first victory. The high-energy arena clearly impacted the players, as the battle replicated fans’ excitement. The Shock swiftly took both wins, giving it a 1-0 lead on the Titans.
The Shock, now only three wins away from holding the trophy, readied itself for the next match. Strategically, the Shock’s coaching staff subbed out Sinatraa and Striker —both damage characters— for Rascal and Architect. The team had been using this tactic throughout the “Overwatch” playoffs, but Vancouver still couldn’t do anything stop its extremely flexible roster.
The next match took place on Eichenwalde, a hybrid map where one team had to capture a payload and push it to the end of the map while the other defends.
Instead of relying on Sinatraa’s Doomfist, the Shock switched to Rascal’s Mei and Architect’s unstoppable Bastion. The Titans’ frontline was unable to handle the massive output of damage. It put up its best effort as the map went to overtime, and the Shock proceeded to pull out a close victory in the last seconds of the match.
The Shock took the 2-0 lead going into halftime. After the announcer’s brief discussion with musical artist Zedd —who performed the opening for the Finals— the players returned to their PCs. Both teams seemed to be oozing confidence as they took the stage.
The third map took place on Temple of Anubis. This map required one team to capture two points while the other tried its best to defend. After this, the teams had to switch, and whoever made it the farthest would capture the victory.
Once again, the Shock switched their lineup, putting both Sinatraa and Striker back in the game. That being said, the Titans’ started off strong, capping both points with a comfortable two minutes left on the clock. It seemed Haksal had found his rhythm and started to outplay Sinatraa as Doomfist.
That showing was abruptly interrupted as Sinatraa turned it around with the help of Choihyobin, one of two tanks on the Shock. The outstanding teamwork from the Shock led them to a staggering 3-0 lead against the No. 1 seed in the league.
With perhaps the final match coming up, the Titans needed a player to step up now more than ever. The map was announced, and the Titans’ coaching staff once again didn’t make any substitutions. The potential final map would take place at Gibraltar.
Architect’s Bastion play cleared the way for the Shock’s long-awaited victory over their rivals. A historic run and massive upset had just taken place in one of the world’s fastest-growing esports leagues. The thousands of fans went crazy in the Wells Fargo arena as confetti fell from the stadium’s ceiling.
Players on both sides respectfully shared hugs and shook hands with each other. Choiyobin was announced as the Grand Finals MVP by the “Overwatch” League Commissioner. The Shock finished with a 20-map win streak, establishing a new “Overwatch” League playoff record.
This fantastical event has only added on to the new standard of esport league events. With the popularity of esports on the rise, the world may be looking at the newest favored form of competitive sports.
Contact Daniel Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.