David Milam
Staff Writer

In a dominant final showdown the Philadelphia Fusion avoided elimination with a series sweep of the Washington Justice and with it punched their ticket to Seoul to attend the Overwatch League Grand Finals.

The Overwatch League had only just begun its third season before being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the online nature of esports, the Overwatch League has been making a name for itself emulating traditional sports through the hosting of home and away matches in various arenas worldwide. Therefore, it was not spared the oncoming slew of season delays faced by other sports leagues. This forced the league to reconnect with their online roots through the hosting of remote online matches.

Due to issues competing over Wifi with teams located half the globe apart the league was forced to compensate by splitting into two regional groups, an Asian league and American league. The remainder of the season was then completed with the separate leagues competing internally and ending with separate playoffs. The separate playoffs ended with two victors from each league advancing to the Grand Finals. The finals will mark the first time since the seasons restructure that Asian and American teams will be competing against each other.

“Champion the Future” is the catchphrase for the 2020 Overwatch League Play-offs. Photo courtesy of Overwatch.com.

The Philadelphia Fusion had a fantastic regular season, ending with the best record in the North American regional league with 24 wins to 2 losses. Their playoff journey started out just as dominant with sweeps of both the Los Angeles Gladiators and Los Angeles Valiant.

After their first two wins they advanced to the winners bracket final where they fell to the defending champions, the San Francisco Shock. Moving down to the losers bracket they were able to climb back up with sweeps of the Florida Mayhem and Washington Justice, winning the losers bracket and securing their spot in the Grand Finals.

This year’s Grand Finals will be hosted in Seoul, South Korea, a country praised for its handling of the pandemic thus allowing for a safe environment for the teams to compete in person. The Philadelphia Fusion will be joined by the San Francisco Shock, Shanghai Dragons and Seoul Dynasty as all four teams will compete locally on the same server for the first time in many months. 

Before the long-awaited tournament can kick off though the arriving American teams must complete a two week quarantine period before joining their Asian counterparts. Once their quarantine period is complete the four teams will compete in a double elimination bracket in order to crown this year’s champion. 

Interested viewers will be able to watch the entirety of the Grand Finals for free live on YouTube via the Overwatch Leagues official channel when the tournament begins on October 8th.