Stage 2 of the Overwatch League 2019 season has concluded, with the San Francisco Shock claiming the stage playoffs title.
The field of eight teams which started out playoffs was cut in half after four teams were eliminated in matches played on Thursday, May 9 and Friday, May 10.
In the first quarterfinal matchup, top-seeded San Francisco Shock, which had just completed a perfect stage, faced the eighth-seeded Shanghai Dragons. The run of perfection ended when Shanghai took the first map, Oasis, 2-1. San Francisco was unfettered, however, and proceeded to even the match’s score by winning Eichenwalde 3-2. San Francisco took the lead on Paris 4-2 then sealed the victory on Rialto 3-1. The San Francisco Shock was on to the semifinals and the next match would determine who it would face on Saturday, May 11.
The second match of Thursday night pit the London Spitfire against the Hangzhou Spark and this match didn’t go according to the chalk. Like in the night’s first match, the first map would be the only one the team which eventually lost the match would take. London claimed Oasis 2-1 but then lost Blizzard World 3-0. Hangzhou then finished the Spitfire off by winning Hanamura and Watchpoint: Gibraltar 1-0 to claim its spot in the semifinals against the Shock.
Friday night’s matches featured the other four teams vying for two more spots in the semifinals and neither match featured much drama, as the two teams which prevailed did so quite comfortably.
The New York Excelsior took on the Los Angeles Gladiators, winning Lijiang Tower 2-0, King’s Row 3-2 and Temple of Anubis 2-1 to win the match 3-0 and advance to Saturday. In Friday’s second match, the Vancouver Titans similarly dispatched the Dallas Fuel. Vancouver won Oasis 2-0, King’s Row 3-2 and Temple of Anubis 1-0.
Saturday’s first semifinal match between San Francisco and Hangzhou saw the Shock return to its dominant form, winning all four maps that the two teams converged on. After opening the match with a 2-0 win on Busan, San Francisco took Blizzard World 3-0, Hanamura 1-0 and Watchpoint: Gibraltar 4-3. The Shock gave themselves plenty of time to watch the next match to see who they would face in the Stage 2 Playoffs final.
The second semifinal match between New York and Vancouver wasn’t much more competitive. Vancouver won Busan 2-1, then the match was knotted up when New York took Blizzard World 3-1. The Titans then took control of the match with 3-2 wins on Hanamura and Rialto. New York sealed the deal on Lijiang Tower, 2-1.
The final between San Francisco and Vancouver was the one all the fans wanted, pitting one team which ran through a perfect stage against one that hadn’t lost a match yet in the 2019 season. The match was everything fans could have hoped for and more, requiring overtime to decide a champion. San Francisco took the first map, Lijiang Tower, 2-0. Vancouver struck back on King’s Row, claiming the second map 5-4. The Titans leaped into the lead on Paris 1-0, only to see that lead quickly disappear on Watchpoint: Gibraltar. The Shock won that map 4-3 then forced an extra map with a 2-0 win on Oasis. San Francisco finished the map and stage playoffs off on Blizzard World, claiming that map 2-1.
So ends one of the greatest stages for a team in the history of the Overwatch League. To complete a perfect stage leading into the playoffs and then hand Vancouver its first loss of the 2019 season is a feat that won’t easily be replicated. Headed into the third stage, the Shock has to be considered a dangerous team.