With the 2021 Overwatch League (OWL) Play-In stage behind us, the playoffs can finally begin. The league organizers have unveiled the playoffs bracket on Monday, September 6, as eight teams remain in the race for the coveted trophy and the lion’s share of the $3,200,000 prize pool.
Justice, Shock, and Fusion Thorough Into The Playoffs
Washington Justice, San Francisco Shock, and Philadelphia Fusion are the final three OWL esports teams to enter the playoffs. They have fought their way through the Play-In stage, where they had to face five challengers in their respective divisions.
Philadelphia Fusion started their journey into the OWL 2021 Playoffs in the first round of the Eastern Play-In stage. There they met with Hangzhou Spark, who they beat without any real issues (3-1).
Since the Eastern Division had only three teams in the Play-Ins, a win against the Spark earned Fusion a spot in the grand finals. They met with Seoul Dynasty, who finished the regular season in third.
The Fusion were expected to struggle, but they proved all the doubters wrong. They obliterated the Dynasty 3-1 and secured the final ticket for the OWL 2021 Playoffs.
Washington Justice were just as impressive in the Western bracket. Having finished the regular season in sixth, the Justice started in the quarter-finals, where they met with Paris Eternal.
Many favored Paris Eternal to win the fixture, but Washington Justice had other plans and won with a clean 3-0. In the second round, the Justice faced Houston Outlaws, who proved to be a tougher opponent but not challenging enough for the high-flying Justice.
Washington outfit edged out the Outlaws with 3-2 on Sunday and booked a spot in the playoffs for the first time in the organization’s history.
Joining Washington Justice and Philadelphia Fusion are San Francisco Shock, who had the shortest road to the OWL 2021 Playoffs.
The reigning OWL champions struggled a bit throughout the regular season and finished in fourth. However, the Shock delivered when it mattered and stomped Toronto Defiant (3-0) in the Western Play-In stage.
Eight Teams Remain
Washington Justice, San Francisco Shock, and Philadelphia Fusion have earned their right to compete in the OWL 2021 Playoffs. There they will join Los Angeles Gladiators, Shanghai Dragons, Dallas Fuel, Chengdu Hunters, and Atlanta Reign, who have all received direct invites to the season-culminating event.
The Watchpoint desk aired a selection show only a couple of hours after the OWL Play-In stage concluded. It allowed team representatives to select their OWL Playoffs round one opponent, with the higher-seeded teams offered priority in choosing their next opponents.
The three highest seeds in the league – Dragons, Fuel, and Hunters – got to select their next opponents from the four lower seeds remaining in the playoffs. They could choose from Reign, Shock, Justice, and Fusion.
Los Angeles Gladiators were not included in the selection. As the fourth seed, they were left to face the remaining team in the pot.
As the league’s top-seeded team, the Shanghai Dragons got to pick their round one opponent first. They chose the back-to-back champions, San Francisco Shock, who beat them in the 2020 OWL Grand Finals.
Next up were Dallas Fuel, who chose Washington Justice. Meanwhile, Chengdu Hunters picked Atlanta Reign as their round-one opponent, leaving the Gladiators to face the Philadelphia Fusion.
OWL Playoffs Kick-Off on September 22
The 2021 OWL Playoffs will kick off on Tuesday, September 21, with the fixture between Shanghai Dragons and San Francisco Shock, followed by LA Gladiators vs Philadelphia Fusion, Dallas Fuel vs Washington Justice, and Chengdu Hunters vs Atlanta Reign.
OWL Playoffs Round One Match-Ups
- Shanghai Dragons vs San Francisco Shock
- Dallas Fuel vs Washington Justice
- Chengdu Hunters vs Atlanta Reign
- Los Angeles Gladiators vs Philadelphia Fusion
The second round of the playoffs and the first round of the Losers’ bracket will play out on Wednesday, September 22. The action will continue until Saturday, September 25, when the top two teams will face off in the grand finals.