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How a semi-finals clash became a highlight of the Overwatch Summer Series

Brigitte is the new kid on the block in Overwatch. (Wikimedia Commons)
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28th February, 2017
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Neither took out the top spot, but Scylla eSports and JAM Gaming delivered the most entertaining match up of the weekend.

It’s not always about the victory, as proven by the two runners up of last weekend’s Overwatch Oceanic Summer Series tournament.

After weeks of open qualifiers, eliminations and the playoffs, the region’s best got to show what they had to offer. At the end of the playoffs series, number one seed Fusion Girl finished first, as expected, only dropping two games in the entire tournament.

They demonstrated their strength in the Oceanic region once again, closing out the finals with a clean 3-0 victory over Scylla eSports, who landed second. Despite the loss, it’s the match up against third placing JAM Gaming that was one of the best.

It’d be a shame to let either team be diminished in the wake of the finals wipe, as through it both Scylla and JAM more than proved why they deserved their place in the region. Even more impressively, this full best of five came off the back of flat 2-0 and 3-0 wins most of the tournament.

Despite caster predictions, the players on both sides elevated their play with amazing comebacks and tight competition.

But what led these teams to be as strong as they were? Sure, both ended up in the top six, but neither had the smoothest ride there. This was important for both teams though, giving them constant opportunities to try out new things and hone their plays through the Summer Series.

Scylla’s journey through the qualifiers is what led the vast majority of predictions to put them second. Aside from a close brush with Mastermind, Scylla stayed in the upper bracket, showing off their strong mechanical play and game sense. Players ‘Wuvo’ and ‘SpOoNzL’ are to thank for this dominance, regularly celebrated as their Genji or Tracer plays decimated the opposition’s back lines.

JAM Gaming, however, found themselves knocked into the lower bracket by Love Shack, fighting through three more teams in order to qualify for the final spot of the playoffs top six. Even with the knockdown, they fought hard and won their way back into the running.

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As much as I’d love to have seen a reinvigorated rematch of JAM versus Love Shack on the final day, Fusion Girl made short work of them, allowing the excellent semi-final series to happen.

At this point in the tournament, Scylla had been afforded plenty of time playing against the winning teams in the qualifiers. Even though both teams already ranked highly in Oceania, the match up was pinned as being fairly one sided. As I’m sure you’ve realised already, it was quite the opposite.

On paper, Scylla were better. ‘Saphira’ plays an excellent Ana, allowing ‘Sp4rky’s Reinhardt to be quite aggressive. Couple that with the damage dealing duo of ‘Wuvo’ and ‘SpOoNzL’, creating plenty of room to move. In practice though, JAM adapted well to their opponents’ strengths, opting for varied comps like triple DPS heroes to combat their impressive team play.

The first match saw the two teams battle on Lijang tower, a strong starting point for JAM Gaming. ‘Render’s Reaper’ powered through the Scylla tanks and allowed poke DPS like Tracer to target the back lines of the opposition. Scylla’s ‘Saphira’ would have had a very bad day, being taken out reliably and stopping him healing up anyone hoping to contest the point. ‘Wuvo’ was a powerhouse on the Genji during this match, but it was far from enough to carry Scylla through.

The second match, on Hollywood, was the turning point for the series, as Scylla showed off just how well they can execute as a team, and as individual heroes. SpOoNzL’s Roadhog pick poked holes in the JAM line-up, capitalising on out of position foes and aggressive plays with frightening accuracy.

Once the king of the hill mode popped up again on Oasis, JAM took the lead. Thankfully for Scylla, it was a best of five, as this win would have knocked them out at any other stage of the tournament. JAM prioritised targets well and even opted for three DPS heroes to keep Scylla locked down, with even a five-man resurrection from Saphira’s Mercy unable to secure a victory. Unfortunately for JAM, maps four and five were payload mode.

The finale of the best of five, on Eichenwald, summed up the series rivalry. With mere millimetres in the last payload push, Scylla set themselves up just the tiniest bit better, managing to push back any hope of contesting from JAM as the win was secured. Scylla proved they have the edge when it comes to payload maps, and that slight edge is what won the day.

It was a varied series filled with some of the best Oceanic Overwatch action seen to date. While Fusion Girl will be interesting to watch as international level competitors, Scylla and JAM should be on that list too. If other teams can grow and develop to the same level, Oceania might just grow to be an Overwatch powerhouse in the future.

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