London Spitfire wins inaugural Overwatch League title – ESPN
The London Spitfire won the inaugural Overwatch League title with a 2-0 sweep of the Philadelphia Fusion at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
7:03 AM PHT
The London Spitfire soared to a 3-0 win on Saturday, taking down the Philadelphia Fusion 2-0 overall and claiming the inaugural Overwatch League championship in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
From Stage 1 champions to a struggling middle-of-the-pack team, back to champions again, the road for the the Spitfire has been strenuous to say the least. London managed to peak at just the right time, though, winning a season-long six consecutive maps and improving to an 18-2-1 map record in its final 21 maps of the postseason. Philly fought with everything it had left to stay alive in the series, but against London’s world-class talent in every position, the Fusion couldn’t stop the Spitfire from claiming the $1 million prize.
On the day of the Overwatch League Season 1 finals at a sold-out Barclay’s Center, here’s the inside story of how Blizzard courted traditional sports owners to buy in to the most ambitious new venture in esports.
Overwatch League players from all over the world, particularly from South Korea, descended on L.A. within the last year. They all had to adjust to life outside their home countries, oh and play a game based on communication at a professional level.
Activision Blizzard is finalizing agreements for two Overwatch League expansion slots with organizations representing Paris and Guangzhou, China, league sources told ESPN.
At first glance, it’s easy to say that London’s driving force was DPS and finals MVP Park “Profit” Joon-yeong. From landing devastating Hanzo Dragonstrike ultimates, such as his massive five-kill ultimate while defending Junkertown in Game 1, to having the highest ultimate effectiveness among all Hanzo players with at least 20 minutes played in the playoffs, to dominating the frontline as Brigitte, Profit could do no wrong.
On closer observation, however, it’s clear that London’s supporting cast deserves just as much, if not more, credit than Profit. Throughout the playoffs, the frontline duo of main tank Hong “Gesture” Jae-hee and off-tank Kim “Fury” Jun-ho played phenomenally, setting up the rest of the team for big combos while neutralizing enemy DPS players, namely the Fusion’s Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok. If that wasn’t enough, the support core played a great series as well, with flex support Choi “Bdosin” Seung-tae playing well on Zenyatta and Roadhog while staying calm in the face of extreme pressure. In the end, this series was decided by great players coming together to form an amazing team, launching the Spitfire into the annals of esports history and creating what could become a postseason dynasty in London.
Try as it might, the Fusion simply couldn’t hang with London, consistently losing the frontline battle and with Carpe held down. DPS Josh “Eqo” Corona managed to inspire this squad with moments of raw skill as Hanzo, and Carpe did what he could as Widowmaker and Doomfist, but the rest of the team simply couldn’t hold it together. Flex support Isaac “Boombox” Charles looked outmatched going up against Bdosin, and was singled out several times by London’s devastating Orisa-plus-Roadhog “pulled pork” combo, but that wasn’t necessarily his fault. The Fusion took so long to decide how to attack London’s formidable formations that it allowed the Spitfire ample time to react, keeping Philly on the backfoot for most of this series. It’s sad to see the Fusion fall apart when it rode into the finals on a wave of momentum, but London ensured that Carpe couldn’t show the world how they do it in Philly and, as a result, the rest of the Fusion couldn’t stop the Spitfire.
The inaugural season of the Overwatch League now draws to a close, but professional Overwatch still goes on. The first Overwatch World Cup group stage begins on August 16 with Russia taking on Hong Kong, while the Overwatch League All-Star weekend will kick off on August 25.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report