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Washington Justice and Philadelphia Fusion are the first two Overwatch teams to crash out of the 2021 OWL Playoffs. Both sides suffered losses in the first round of the lower bracket on Wednesday, September 22.
The Justice ended the 2021 OWL regular season in sixth place, with a 9-7 record and 11 points. Although they were far from topping the league, the Justice came only two points short of a direct invite into the playoffs.
Having finished outside top-three, Washington Justice entered the OWL Play-In stage, where they had to fight through the gauntlet for one of the two remaining invites for the playoffs.
Washington Justice started their journey in the Play-In quarter-finals, where they demolished Paris Eternal with 3-0. In the next round, Justice stunned Houston Outlaws, who they edged past in a five-map thriller (3-2) and earned a spot in the 2021 OWL Playoffs.
In the playoffs, the Justice met with Dallas Fuel, who many expected to dominate the series. But, once again, Washington Justice defied the odds and took the series lead.
After setting themselves up for success, Justice started to struggle and couldn’t match Dallas Fuel, who won the remaining three maps to complete the reverse-sweep. Still, Justice showed a lot of fight as they forced the Western champions to match point in all three maps.
After the unfortunate loss, Washington Justice dropped to the lower bracket, where they met with Atlanta Reign. The latter had suffered the same fate as the Justice in the opening round, where they lost to Chengdu Hunters (2-3).
Unfortunately, the Justice were unable to emulate their performances from the first round and proved to be no match for the Reign. The Atlanta outfit outmuscled Justice and won the series in straight maps, dropping only one game along the way (2-0, 2-0, 3-1).
With that loss, Washington Justice ended the 2021 OWL season in seventh-eighth place. However, as a consolation prize, they took home $50,000 in tournament winnings.
Like Washington Justice, Philadelphia Fusion had to fight for their right to participate in the 2021 OWL Playoffs in the Play-In stage. Having finished the regular season in fourth place, the Fusion earned a spot in the last-chance qualifiers for the Eastern division, where they met with Hangzhou Spark and Seoul Dynasty.
Fusion started their Play-In campaign with a win against Hangzhou Spark (3-1). To that, they added another convincing victory against the Seoul Dynasty (3-1) to book a spot in the final event of the year.
As one of the lowest-seeded teams in the 2021 OWL Playoffs, the expectations on the Philadelphia esports team weren’t very high. And it would be hard to say that they proved anyone wrong.
In the first round of the 2021 OWL Playoffs, Fusion met with one of the tournament favorites, Los Angeles Gladiators, who beat them 3-1. The Fusion have had some moments; however, they fell flat when it mattered and had to admit defeat to the superior team.
In the lower bracket, the Fusion met with the back-to-back OWL champions, San Francisco Shock. Expected to lose, the Fusion showed up and put up an impressive fight, tying the series at 2-2.
Unfortunately, the Fusion couldn’t deliver in the series decider. Despite their best efforts, the Fusion proved to be no match for the Shock, who crushed them 2-0 on Control – Illinois and eliminated the Philadelphia Fusion from the playoffs.
Like Washington Justice, Philadelphia Fusion earned $50,000 for finishing the 2021 OWL season in seventh-eighth place.
With Philadelphia Fusion and Washington Justice eliminated from the playoffs, only six more teams remain in the race for the 2021 OWL title. The action in the OWL Playoffs will continue on Thursday, September 23, with two lower bracket matches.
In the first lower bracket match, we will see the defending champions, San Francisco Shock, take on Chengdu Hunters. The latter have dropped to the lower bracket following a devastating 0-3 loss against Dallas Fuel on Wednesday, September 22.
The day’s second match will serve us with an exciting affair between Los Angeles Gladiators and Atlanta Reign. These two OWL esports teams last met in August, during Overwatch League 2021 – Countdown Cup, where the Gladiators won 3-0.
It marked only their second head-to-head victory of the year and their first since May (3-1). The other two meetings, which happened in July, ended in favor of the Atlanta Reign, who won both with 3-2.
Having shown that they can compete with the Gladiators, Atlanta Reign could present a tough challenge for one of the top OWL teams. However, the esports bookmakers seem to believe that this bout is Los Angeles Gladiators’ to lose.
Gladiators are priced as -204 favorites against Atlanta Reign (at +152). Meanwhile, Chengdu Hunters are priced as -213 favorites against San Francisco Shock (at +156).