Led by the top-ranked San Francisco Shock, each of the top four seeds won on Saturday to advance to the semifinals of the American region at the Overwatch League May Melee.
The Shock (8-2 in the regular season standings) overcame a slow start to take out the eighth-seeded Dallas Fuel (4-6) by a score of 3-1. The No. 2 Florida Mayhem (7-4) handled the No. 6 Atlanta Reign (5-5) and the No. 3 Philadelphia Fusion (12-1) dropped the No. 7 Los Angeles Gladiators (4-5), both by the same 3-1 margin. The No. 4 Los Angeles Valiant (5-6) outlasted the No. 5 Paris Eternal (7-5), winning 3-2 in the day's finale.
The Shock will face the Valiant before the Fusion battle the Mayhem in Sunday's semifinals. The final will follow on Sunday evening.
The Overwatch League's midseason tournament has the league's teams divided into separate regional brackets. Thirteen teams began in the North American competition, with seven in the Asian region. Both single-elimination events -- featuring a combined $225,000 prize pool -- end Sunday. All matches are first-to-three map wins, except for the finals, which will be first-to-four map wins. Seedings were based on teams' results over the first three weekends in May.
The champions will receive $40,000. The runners-up will get $20,000, and the third- and fourth-place teams will earn $5,000 apiece. All teams will also get $5,000 per tournament win.
While individual tournament matches do not count toward the Overwatch League regular-season standings, the top teams will be credited with standings bonuses. The first-place finisher will receive three extra wins in the standings. The second-place club will get two wins, and the third- and fourth-place sides will get one win each.
Dallas opened strong against San Francisco with a clean 2-0 win on Nepal, led in large part by the heroics of DPS Gui-un "Decay" Jang, who wowed as Widowmaker and other hitscan characters. But the Shock adjusted quickly, running double shield compositions that put tank Hyo-bin "ChoiHyoBin" Choi on Sigma. This let ChoiHyoBin dominate the server, shutting down Dallas' DPS while dealing significant damage to the Fuel's frontline.
To combat Decay's proficient hitscan, San Francisco put in rookie DPS Seon-chang "ANS" Lee, who was capable on precision hitscan characters like Widowmaker and Ashe. With the switch in playstyle, the Shock took King's Row 4-3, Hanamura 2-1 and closed out the series win with a 1-0 full-hold on Rialto.
Florida started strong against Atlanta with a 2-1 win on Busan and a 3-2 win on Hollywood. The Mayhem surged behind the combination DPS play of Sang-bum "BQB" Lee and Jun-ki "Yaki" Kim, who excelled on Ashe and Tracer, respectively. Atlanta showed signs of life in their 4-3 win on Temple of Anubis, but Florida closed things out with a 1-0 full-hold on Junkertown to take the series.
The Fusion looked in control during their 2-0 win on Lijiang Tower, and nonplussed when the Gladiators took Blizzard World 4-3. After some adjustments at the first break, Philadelphia stormed to the finish, taking a 2-1 win on Hanamura and a perfect 3-0 win on Junkertown to complete the series.
The final series of the day proved to be the longest, with the teams playing six total maps. The Valiant struck first with a 2-0 win on Busan, then Paris took King's Row 3-2, and the teams split Hanamura 3-3.
After the Valiant took the series to match point with a 2-1 win on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, the Eternal fought hard to stay alive with a 2-1 win on Lijiang Tower. In the deciding map, the Valiant soared to a 2-0 win on Oasis, securing the last spot in Sunday's semifinals.
San Francisco Shock (1) vs Los Angeles Valiant (4)
Florida Mayhem (2) vs Philadelphia Fusion (3)
Finals: TBD vs TBD
--Field Level Media