The second tournament cycle of the 2021 season has wrapped up and this last week delivered some of the best Overwatch I could hope for right at the very end. Let’s get right into it.
As a reminder, four teams participated in this week’s double elimination bracket. Two from the East region and two from the West. Over in the East we have the Shanghai Dragons and the New York Excelsior. In the West we have the Atlanta Reign and the Dallas Fuel.
The week started off with two statement victories for the teams from the West. In convincing 3-0 victories both the Dallas Fuel and the Atlanta Reign defeated their opponents with ease sending them down to the lower bracket.
In this first day both New York and Shanghai looked lost against the compositions and styles that the Dallas and Atlanta squads brought to the table. The tournament had only just began and the narrative that the Eastern teams were just overall weaker in this current meta was beginning to take hold.
The second day started off with the upper bracket match between the Atlanta Reign and the Dallas Fuel. I expected this series to be closer than it was, but it was a 3-1 victory for the Fuel as they barely broke a sweat sending the Atlanta Reign down to the lower bracket. Dallas Fuel would now be awaiting their opponents in the grand finals.
Down in the lower bracket, we start off with a match between the Shanghai Dragons and the New York Excelsior. This match was a sad affair for the Excelsior as the Dragons delivered them a quick 3-0 and eliminated New York from the tournament. The Dragons next opponent was one I considered a stronger one, however the Atlanta Reign didn’t prove to be much of a challenge for the Dragons either and they had their second clean sweep victory of the tournament.
The stage was set for rematch of the May Melee grand finals, we would have the Dallas Fuel facing off the Shanghai Dragons in a first to four series.
The Grand Finals
Going into this series, everyone was predicting that the Dallas Fuel would win this series. After all, their first match against the Dragons earlier in the tournament looked like they had the Dragons figured out and this match would be a 4-0 win for them.
We started off the series with two quick map wins for Dallas. The series had started off going in the direction that everyone had predicted. Shanghai’s bunker based compositions proved no match for the Fuel’s faster Lucio-Moira compositions.
The Dragons at this point decided to fully opt in to the Wrecking Ball based composition instead. Successful piledriver engages by the Dragons’ main tank Fate combined with a strong focus on taking out Fuel DPS Sp1rkle kept the Dragons in the series with a victory on map 3.
The fourth map Rialto proved to be a roller coaster of emotions with the high of 5K self destruct from Void to close out the Dragons’ initial attacking round and then to the lows of Shanghai being defeated eventually.
The series was now 3-1 in favour of Dallas, the Shanghai squad faced down the barrel of match point. From this point forward it became as much of a game of mental fortitude as it is of Overwatch. The Dragons have been in this position before; in last year’s May Melee tournament where they brought back the finals series against the Seoul Dynasty from a 3-0 match point to a 4-3 victory.
Could they do it again? Faint bits of hope blossomed in me, the Fuel looked shaken up by the Wrecking Ball based compositions that the Dragons were running. The momentum of the series hung at the precipice of shifting over towards the Dragons.
But first, they had to beat the Fuel on Busan. In an extremely close 99% to 99% affair, they close out the map with a 2-1 victory. The Dragons had persevered. The momentum has started tipping their way.
The Fuel opted to go to Eichenwalde for the 6th map. While it felt like the Dragons were back in this series, match point still hung over them like the sword of Damocles. The Dragons however just kept improving and in a stellar defence were able to hold off the Fuel from completing the map on their attack and brought the series to the seventh and final map.
The score was now 3-3, Dallas’ map pick for the final map of the series was Junkertown. By now, the momentum had shifted even further in the series in favour of the Dragons. The Fuel were forced to match the Wrecking Ball with Fearless playing that hero. This played right into the Dragon’s hands. They were by far much better at that composition and the Fuel didn’t have enough time to improve to match them.
In a heroic defence from the Dragons with a clutch play from Shanghai DPS Lip, the Dragons held the Fuel just before point B on their attacking round to win the series.
The Shanghai Dragons had done it again, with the pressure of a series at match point over their heads, they persevered and closed out the series with their first tournament victory this season. Fantastic performances from the entire Shanghai squad but I would be amiss if I did not mention Fate and his Wrecking Ball turning the series on its head. He was so good that it forced the Fuel to match. In my opinion, Fate should have been the player of the match.
The June Joust tournament started off slow but it ended with an absolute barn burner of a series. This finals was one of the best series I’ve seen this season.
That said, I am looking forward to the Summer Showdown and a new meta. I have mentioned earlier that I’m not a huge fans of the Neo-GOATS composition that had dominated the June Joust so I want to see what new meta solidifies over the course of the Summer Showdown.
Like the last tournament the League will be taking a week off, the Summer Showdown starts on June 25. See y’all then.