With fans in attendance for the first time in three years, the Dallas Fuel stormed back after dropping the first map to win three straight and down the Houston Outlaws 3-1 in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday night, advancing to the grand final of the Overwatch League playoffs.
The loss sends the Outlaws to a do-or-die, lower-bracket final against the San Francisco Shock on Friday, with Houston looking to earn a rematch with the Fuel. A Shock win would create a grand final featuring the top two seeds from the regular season (Dallas finished first, San Francisco second).
The championship match is scheduled for Friday night.
The Shock made it to the final by way of two wins Thursday, sweeping the Seoul Dynasty 3-0 in the lower-bracket quarterfinals and the Hangzhou Spark 3-0 in the semi. The Spark got past the London Spitfire 3-1 in the other lower-bracket quarterfinal.
The $2.5 million season-ending playoffs — which began with 12 of the 20 OWL teams — started in an online format but moved to the Anaheim Convention Center for Thursday’s and Friday’s matches. It’s the OWL’s first in-person playoffs since 2019.
The championship side will earn $1 million, and the runner-up will pocket $500,000.
The Fuel, who went 20-4 in the regular season, fell to Houston 2-1 on Nepal to open their upper-bracket final. But Dallas won 2-1 on King’s Row, 2-1 on Route 66 and 1-0 on Colosseo to complete their perfect run to the grand final.
The battle came after a pair of lower-bracket quarterfinals to open the day. First, the Shock made quick work of the Dynasty — 2-1 on Lijiang Tower, 3-1 on Paraiso and 2-1 on Dorado.
The Spark advanced in the next match. After Hangzhou won 2-1 on Lijiang Tower to open the match, London took King’s Row 3-2. Hangzhou answered with a 4-3 win on Route 66 then closed out the match 1-0 on Colosseo.
That set up Thursday’s final match. The Shock opened with a 2-1 win on Oasis, but the Spark took King’s Row 4-1 to even up the match. San Francisco again took the lead with a 4-3 win on Circuit Royal, and Hangzhou could not answer as San Francisco won 1-0 on Colosseo.
Overwatch League playoffs prize pool
1. $1 million
4. $250,000 — Hangzhou Spark
5-6. $100,000 — London Spitfire, Seoul Dynasty
7-8. $55,000 — Los Angeles Gladiators, Florida Mayhem
9-12. $35,000 — Philadelphia Fusion, Shanghai Dragons, Atlanta Reign, Toronto Defiant
–Field Level Media