The Overwatch League had to cancel live events with fans in Dallas for the playoffs and Los Angeles for the grand finale. It stinks, but unfortunately it was inevitable. The good news? The playoffs and the grand finals took place together and take place over five days. This week, Overwatch League fans, we’re having a blast.
Eight teams worked their way through 16 regular season games, four tournament cycles and in some cases play-in games to get there. Aside from seeding, we start from roughly zero. We’re in a double-elimination tournament, with the only team left standing on Saturday winning the 2021 OWL World Championship and $ 1.5 million.
Five teams from the West (North America and Europe) and three teams from the East (Asia-Pacific) qualified. Due to travel restrictions, it was not possible to bring all the teams together in one location for the playoffs. As was the case in each of the four tournaments, the Western teams traveled to Hawaii where they will face each other locally and face the Eastern teams on a direct connection to minimize the lag.
Western qualifiers are Atlanta Reign, Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, San Francisco Shock and Washington Justice. The three teams that have advanced from the east are Chengdu Hunters, Philadelphia Fusion (who are based in South Korea this season) and Shanghai Dragons.
There are some great stories here. The Reign are looking to build on a solid season in which they made a few trips to Hawaii. The Fuel was one of OWL’s strongest teams in 2021, and with iconic DPS player Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim finally teaming up with his teammates, Dallas has every chance of winning the big one.
The Glads are trying to keep up the pace after winning the last tournament, the Countdown Cup, after a slow start to the season. San Francisco, of course, is looking to complete the treble and cement its dynasty heritage with a third straight title. Although they had the best regular season record in the West, they failed to qualify for any of the tournaments. As for Justice, they aim to improve their magical playoffs starting in 2020, when they were so close to qualifying for the final four.
I will always have a soft spot for Chengdu and its hallmark of coordinated chaos. This brought them some success this year, as they reached the finals of two tournaments. Philly hopes to break through and maybe finally help legendary Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee, one of the best Monitoring players of history, to finally win OWL silverware.
Last but not least, we come to the Shanghai Dragons. They may have been the best OWL team over the past two seasons, which is still remarkable considering the 0-40 record in 2018. The Dragons have won two tournaments this season and, at least on paper, seem be the team to beat. . Like the Fuel, Shanghai failed to qualify for the Countdown Cup, but both teams had already qualified for the playoffs by then.
As always, you’ll earn five Overwatch League Tokens for every hour of live shows and callbacks you watch. There are also more perks to be gained during the playoffs and grand finals, including skins, sprays, and bonus tokens.
You can read more about these rewards, as well as how to earn them, here.
Information on “Overwatch 2”
During the pre-show and mid-game break in Saturday’s Grand Final, Blizzard promises more information on Monitoring 2. We’ll learn details about the Bastion and Sombra redesigns, take a closer look at the Bastion redesign, and see an exhibition match featuring OWL players.
If all goes according to plan, this weekend will be the last time we see OWL using the current version of To watch. The league plans to use an early version of Monitoring 2 when he returns in April, which will herald massive changes. Most important of all is the shift of teams from six to 5 to 5.
Matches will be played in the evening, US time, and in the morning in Asia. It might be difficult for fans in Europe to watch live, given that many games will be broadcast in the middle of the night for them, but there will be reminder broadcasts the day after each broadcast.
The action kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on September 21, with Washington Justice taking on Dallas Fuel in Game 1.
Here is the full schedule and YouTube streams for the 2021 Overwatch League Playoffs and Grand Finals. All times are approximate and ET. I will update this post during the week with each day’s matches and results.
Tuesday September 21 – Day 1
Washington Justice @ Dallas Fuel – 7 p.m.
Philadelphia Fusion @ Los Angeles Gladiators – 8:30 p.m.
San Francisco Shock @ Shanghai Dragons – 10 p.m.
Atlanta Reign @ Chengdu Hunters – 11:30 p.m.
Wednesday September 22 – Day 2
Day 1 reminder – 11 a.m.
Schedule to be determined