Despite arguments dating back to 2018, this weekend's Summer Showdown proves what we've known all along: The Overwatch League is an anime.
In a tournament bracket that allowed higher-seeded teams to select their opponents, neither the North American or Asian regions' seemingly indomitable villains, the San Francisco Shock and Shanghai Dragons, were able to repeat May Melee championships. Instead, the Guangzhou Charge and Paris Eternal completed their underdog redemption arcs and brought home first place's $50,000.
The Shock and Dragons were obvious favorites. Until Sunday, neither had lost more than two games all season—the Shock's last loss coming in March and the Dragons' in early May. The Charge, meanwhile, have six losses this season (as do the Eternal).
While Paris' Sp9rk1e proves that he is a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, Guangzhou's championship caps off an impressive undefeated run since its defeat in the May Melee.
North American Knockout Stage
Friday, July 3
Dallas Fuel 1-3 Paris Eternal
Houston Outlaws 3-1 Florida Mayhem
Toronto Defiant 3-1 Los Angeles Valiant
Washington Justice 3-1 Los Angeles Gladiators
Saturday, July 4
Paris Eternal 3-1 Vancouver Titans
Toronto Defiant 3-2 Atlanta Reign
Washington Justice 0-3 San Francisco Shock
Houston Outlaws 0-3 Philadelphia Fusion
North American Finals Bracket
Sunday, July 5
Toronto Defiant 0-3 Philadelphia Fusion
Paris Eternal 3-2 San Francisco Shock
Paris Eternal 4-3 Philadelphia Fusion
Asian Quarterfinal Stage
Saturday, July 4
Chengdu Hunters 0-3 Guangzhou Charge
Seoul Dynasty 3-1 London Spitfire
Hangzhou Spark 0-3 New York Excelsior
Asian Finals Bracket
Sunday, July 5
Seoul Dynasty 0-3 Shanghai Dragons
New York Excelsior 0-3 Guangzhou Charge
Guangzhou Charge 4-2 Shanghai Dragons
Full schedule and standings available here.
While the Charge's tanks (Cr0ng and Rio) and supports (Chara and Shu) have gone mostly unchanged all year, the team has rotated its DPS. Nero started alongside Eileen at flex DPS in Week 13, but it's been Happy sniping away and helping grant Eileen the space to capitalize on Genji's recent buffs—proving himself to be one of the league's most versatile damage-dealers.
In the quarterfinals against Chengdu, Eileen frenetically chipped away at the Hunters with Tracer. But it was in the semifinals against New York that he started to prove what would be a lasting truth all Summer Showdown: Genji is back and more deadly than ever.
On the first map against the Excelsior, Ilios, Eileen abused Genji's dash resets to chain his Dragonblade into five kills. Then, on Blizzard World, he threw the momentum shift far out of New York's reach with an absurd, close-quarters slaughterhouse—including four final blows.
In the quarter and semifinals best-of-fives, Guangzhou didn't drop a single map. That changed against the Dragons in the finals, as Shanghai eked out two wins in the best-of-seven, in part because it was bold enough to run meta-averse lineups involving DPS like Sombra and Echo.
But boldness isn't enough to break an underrated team on an incredible hot streak. With Happy pulling attention away with his ranged hitscan prowess and Eileen maximizing Tracer and Genji's mobility to distract the team, Guangzhou forced Shanghai into a full C9—embodying how draining the Charge's consistently aggressive style is their opponents' focus.
With the Bongo Blade meta in their pocket, the Charge have cemented themselves as one of the most intriguing storylines to follow this season. And one has to wonder if their arc will meet its end against Paris in the 2020 Grand Finals.