The Overwatch League 2022 Playoffs Preview – Exciting Match-Ups, Predictions & More

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The Overwatch League 2022 Playoffs Preview – Exciting Match-Ups, Predictions & More

With the Countdown Cup Play-ins closing, here's everything you can get excited about in the upcoming Playoffs.

The release of the highly-anticipated sequel has revitalized Overwatch's esports tournament. As the post-season games came in full swing, the professional league event received a breath of fresh air with new maps, two new heroes, and a new game mode, Push. Set to reach its height on October 30, the Grand Finals will take place in sunny Anaheim, California, where the $2.55 million prize pool awaits the best of the best. Eight from the west and the four from the east will clash against each other in the biggest post-season Overwatch event — and the fans can't wait.

The Lead-up

Countdown Cup Play-ins, With the final twelve teams hitting the ground running for Anaheim's OWL stage, victory has never been closer. Here's a quick recap of what went down for those who haven't been following the Countdown Cup.

Day 1

Chengdu Hunters went up against Guangzhou Charge in a tight match-up that saw a lot of nail-biting moments. The best-of-3-maps bout saw epic highlights from Leave's Sojourn gameplay as both teams heavily contested payload objectives. Guangzhou fought back with coordinated plays and refused to get swept before the fourth map, but Mmonk's impressive sleep darts halted any momentum the enemy could've used for a team kill. A solid but close match highlighted the improvements the Hunters needed to adapt to score such a lead against such a higher-ranked team.

The second round of East winners had Chengdu Hunters fight Hangzhou Spark. Pineapple and Bernar clutched out the very first round despite Jinmu's Sombra being a major nuisance. Ga9a had absolute control over the second map as his team won 3 Paraiso points with a minute to spare. The Spark was able to answer back with Shy's big Sojourn plays, however, and quick wins in El Dorado secured their ascent, and kept their season alive.

Day 2

Florida Mayhem scored a straight 3-0 score against Boston Uprising on the second day of Play-ins. A lot of rookie talent on both sides gave way to extremely tense fights. Both teams sported the same composition, which made the second Eichenwalde map a very close match. All the while, the Zarya meta pick flexed its strength for the second day in a row. But try as they might have, the final Circuit Royale map couldn't be taken away from Mayhem.

The western region continued its infighting as Washington Justice faced off against Toronto Defiant. Finale's strong start as Genji gave the Toronto team enough of a push to take complete control. Washington Justice wasn't able to regain their composure for an organized response after their blunder of a first game as cracks formed on their armor. Despite their Offense heroes focusing on the enemy's Baptiste to earn any late-game advantage, the #9 seed couldn't find any worthwhile counter against Heesu and Chorong's team plays as they gave up more maps and suffered the second clean sweep of the day.

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Credit: Tempus Rob for Activision Blizzard

Day 3

Yesterday's winners duked it out on the third and last day of Countdown Cup Play-ins. Utilizing popular teamfight comps proved that Florida wasn't one to waste any time. After their first map win, Defiant's Heesu was an absolute asset when it came to the Colosseo Push defense. That being said, he inevitably couldn't do much alone against their opponent's positioning and better AOE heroes. Through consistent playmaking and sheer grit, Mayhem secured their spot in the Playoffs amongst the best in the west.

The loser's bracket started off with Boston vs Washington, with the former seemingly holding their own in the first few minutes of the match-up. The game would eventually turn against their favor as outnumbered attempts often saw Justice lose against the 10th seed. Assassin correctly gauged the enemy's capabilities in the second map and made himself a high-priority target, but a lack of overall game cohesion lost them the match point.

Boston Uprising went forward to fight Toronto Defiant and lost in the very last play-in match for OWL's Countdown Cup. Choosing more to peel for their supports and stay turtled up on objective points encouraged the Defiant to opt for aggressive plays, and Finale answered the call. The Dragonblade + Graviton Surge combo remains supreme. This ability to model your playstyle as a team in a situational capacity is a big perk that has seen bigger teams advance to finals. Toronto Defiant reaped the rewards.

What's to Come

Upper Bracket Round

The first day of the OWL's Playoffs will see four major league teams duke it out in the Upper Bracket Round.

London Spitfire's record of never suffering a 0-3 loss against anything but the high-ranking OWL teams is testament to their strong willpower, but only time will tell if they'll be able to beat a team that was able to take down 3 eastern teams in their last 5 matches. Either way, both teams have exhibited crisp form in late-game teamfights, but only Fusion was able to defeat the Shanghai Dragons recently. William “SparkR” Andersson going up against Fusion's ZEST is sure to be an incredible firefight fans won't want to miss.

The second game will be a rematch between the Shanghai Dragons and the venerable Spark, who made the gods in Seoul Dynasty bleed when they bagged a close win early in October. If they emerge victorious in this precarious match-up, it'll officially make Hangzhou the dark horse of this year's OWL. If you can beat 2 of the 3 top teams in the Grand Finals, you can beat anyone. The pressure will reach all-time highs, especially for the Spark's DPS star player “Shy” who will need to outperform “Fleta” and his quick (and almost supernatural) headshots.

Florida Mayhem has seen an impressive winning streak in their previous matches. Slashing their way through the competition, they've kept their season alive and well with intelligent positioning that gave the US team some of the fastest wins in Overwatch League history. “Hydron” has always picked up the slack for his team during uncertain moments. But with that said, we've seen a few minor slip-ups cost teams big-time in past series. Nevertheless, Florida Mayhem's “strength in numbers” mentality has carried them this far, so it'll be a coinflip if we'll see a future upset in their rematch against the Atlanta Reign underdogs.

The Toronto Defiant stayed true to their name as they clawed their way out of the loser's bracket to triumphantly get into the Playoffs. But they may find themselves in dire straits in their match-up with the Houston Outlaws. We've watched “Mer1t” and his indomitable Sojourn absolutely shred Dallas Fuel's backline and win a game against the giant in Week 23. Any team would be wary of Houston at this point in the game, so Defiant will need to summon every ounce of fight in them to compete well.

Upper Bracket Quarterfinals

Four of the strongest seeds in recent Overwatch League history await the teams that will make it out of the upper bracket alive. By historical precedent, the Seoul Dynasty powerhouse has only suffered consistent losses against two of the strongest Chinese teams. With the Dragons and the Spark still on the board, they still have a chance to lose their footing if they're not prepared.

The Dallas Fuel celebrated a massive winstreak that started way back in Week 15 only to get broken after their fight with the Houston Outlaws. But their supremacy has only been questioned, not lost. Legendary plays have been witnessed from this hard-hitting OWL group. Kim “SP9RK1E” Young-han's mastery over everyone's favorite robot ninja has made every insta-locking Genji main bow their head in reverence, and a skillful match-up against someone like “Finale” has the potential to make any Overwatch crowd roar.

Semifinals, Quarterfinals, and Grand Final

It's tough to say who will go up against who at this point, but future match-ups will surely seed out the best of the best. All of the competing teams taking the Grand Stage live at Anaheim— the home of Blizzcon — for the first time in 3 years have all signs pointing to a rejuvenated OWL Grand Final. Overwatch 2's popularity is still at its zenith, and with the Overwatch League's YouTube channel recently gaining one million subscribers, saying that a global comeback is on its way for not only OWL, but the title as a whole isn't that much of a stretch.

Overwatch League Playoffs Schedule

Upper Bracket Round 1, October 30

  • October 30, 5:30 PM CST (12:30 AM CET)
    • LDN vs PHI
  • October 30, 7 PM CST (2:00 AM CET)
    • SHD vs HZS
  • October 30, 8:30 PM CST (3:30 AM CET)
    • ATL vs FLA
  • October 30, 10:00 PM CST (5:00 AM CET)
    • HOU vs TOR

Upper Bracket Quarterfinals, October 31

  • October 30, 5:30 PM CST (12:30 AM CET)
    • DAL vs TBD
  • October 30, 7 PM CST (2:00 AM CET)
    • SEO vs TBD
  • October 30, 8:30 PM CST (3:30 AM CET)
    • SFS vs TBD
  • October 30, 10:00 PM CST (5:00 AM CET)
    • GLA vs TBD
The Overwatch League 2022 Playoffs Preview – Exciting Match-Ups, Predictions & More
Paul Goño
Paul started writing for ESTNN in 2022, the same year he beat his first Souls game. An avid fan of RPGs, his all-time favorites include Baldur's Gate 3, Assassin’s Creed and Kingdom Hearts 2. Besides being a professional nerd, he still struggles to get over the broken PS2 memory card that stored years of his save files.