We now have the final four teams for the Overwatch League Countdown Cup playoffs. The Gladiators qualified for the playoffs after an insane play, ‘Shocking’ San Francisco’s players on Havana.
The semifinals of the Overwatch League Countdown Cup West saw San Francisco Shock face off against the Los Angeles Gladiators. The match was an extremely important one as the winner would qualify to the Countdown playoffs.
The Gladiators won Illios while San Francisco Shock won the next two maps on Hanamura and Blizzworld. The Shock were painstakingly close to the playoffs, needing just one more win to qualify. The Gladiators were fighting for survival as a loss on Havana would mean elimination. And the Shock almost had it, until the Gladiators surprised them with a move that was not only different but caught Shock completely by surprise.
Space and Shu Distract Gladiators
The San Francisco Shock had already completed their attack. They did not manage to push the payload to all three points reaching only 89.70 meters after two checkpoints. The Gladiators need to cross this distance to win the map, by no means an easy feat. After nearly spawn-camping the Gladiators, it was to disregard the Gladiator’s chances of completing the map.
The San Francisco Shock players had positioned themselves on the high-ground. This position allowed them to contest the cart without taking a risk constantly poking at the enemy from safety. The high ground advantage gave the Shock higher chances of pushing back the Gladiators. Or that’s what they thought!
An insane play by the support and off-tank duo of Jin-seo “Shu” Kim and Indy “SPACE” Halpern caught SFS by surprise. The duo converged on the high ground in an ‘in-your-face’ style play.
The San Francisco Shock players were clearly not expecting this move and the aggression proved to be too much for them. The ensuing mayhem was enough to put any Shock strategy in disarray.
Shu went in first, drawing everyone’s attention towards his Baptiste. He tanked a lot of damage, but he had to fall in order to take cover, heal up and basically survive. By this time, Space’s D’va was already behind the enemy, bombarding the Shock with Rockets. Amidst all this confusion, Space eliminated Twilight’s Baptiste and Matthew “super” DeLisi’s Orisa.
The Shock’s strategy of camping the high ground and poking damage behind Orisa had failed miserably and the Gladiators had a two-person advantage.
And Birdring pops Heads
After getting the initial kills and securing a 6v4 advantage, it was only a matter of time before the Gladiators pushed the payload through the point. Ji-hyeok “birdring” Kim helped clean up, removing Charlie “nero” Zwarg, Minki “Viol2t” Park and Hyo-bin “ChoiHyoBin” Choi from the point. Without Orisa’s shield and caught completely out of position, the San Francisco Shock players were sitting ducks.
This was a very daring and aggressive move, one that surprised Overwatch League fans and players alike. The Reddit thread by Ezraah highlights people’s reactions to the play, with fans marveling at the play and praising Space and Shu. Shu would eventually win the MVP award for this series and rightfully so.
The Gladiators also won the final map of Oasis and secured the playoffs berth. The Overwatch League Countdown Cup will resume on August 20 with the playoffs matches featuring the top four teams. Seoul Dynasty faces off against Atlanta Reign while Los Angeles Gladiators will play against Chengdu Hunters in the playoffs.
Here are the playoffs bracket for the OWL Countdown Cup: