5:45 p.m. EDTThe Spitfire have done it! London vanquished Philadelphia 3-0 in the second match of their best-of-three series to become the first champions of the Overwatch League.
Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer presented the Spitfire with the championship trophy, which was accepted by team owner Jack Etienne. “It’s been an amazing road, and this one belongs to London,” said Etienne.
The hardware kept flowing as Jun-Young “Profit” Park was named the T-Mobile MVP. During the final match, Profit totaled 27 eliminations, with nine of them coming on Dragonstrike kills. “[It’s an] indescribable feeling,” said Profit. “It feels great. Thank you, so much!”
Coming out of halftime, the Fusion showed some spunk on King’s Row, as they opened up on attack and delivered the payload. Unfortunately for them, the Spitfire answered with a full capture, and then after stopping the Fusion they needed only one tick on the point to seal the deal:
5:10 p.m. EDT
While Match 1 was a close affair in the first half, Saturday’s showdown has been fairly one-sided for London so far. The Spitfire secured both Junkertown and Lijiang Tower to put themselves one map away from claiming the first-ever Overwatch League championship, and Philadelphia will need to regroup—and fast—if they are to turn their title hopes around.
Junkertown has been a playground for huge ultimate combinations, and none were bigger than this Orisa Halt! from Jae-Hui “Gesture” Hong setting up a four-person (plus D.Va de-mech) Dragonstrike for Jun-Young “Profit” Park to stop Philadelphia in their tracks:
Lijiang was another comfortable 2-0 win for London, and they secured Night Market by playing well away from the point, needing only 10 final blows to complete the 100-0 capture.
Will the Spitfire make it a clean sweep, or will the Fusion flip things around after halftime? Stay tuned! —Emerald Gao
4 p.m. EDT
The second match between the Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire is about to get started. The Fusion must win this match to force a third and decisive match, otherwise the Spitfire will be the first champions of the Overwatch League.
The map set for the second match is: Junkertown (Escort), Lijiang Tower (Control), King’s Row (Hybrid), Hanamura (Assault), and Dorado (Escort).
3:50 p.m. EDTAs the beats of “No Brainer,” DJ Khaled’s latest summer banger, faded from the Barclays Center, the crowd’s attention turned to the business at hand, as Soe Gschwind found London Spitfire general manager Susie Kim backstage as her team waited in the wings.
Inquiring about the team’s less-than-stellar record on the first map of the night, Junkertown, Kim said that, while their performance on the dystopian outback escort map wasn’t great, all it had to be was better than the Fusion’s—and it is. Including playoffs, this season London has a collective 9-5 record on Junkertown, while Philadelphia has a wrong-way-around 3-10 record.
Does Kim think her team will be able to close it out? She does, with some qualification: “If they boys are on point today, we’ll be able to take it home.”
Meanwhile, Malik Forté had the sharply suited Philadelphia head coach Yann “Kirby” Luu ready for questioning, as Carpe and Neptuno clowned around on the stairs behind him. (Even though their backs were turned, the players seemed to realize they were on screen in the arena, as every playful movement sparked a cheer from the crowd, egging them on.) Despite his team’s dismal record on Junkertown, Kirby was undaunted: “We’re very confident going into this map.”.
Shortly thereafter, Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez emerged on stage for the last and most epic walkouts of the Overwatch League inaugural season. The swaggerish Philly came first, with each player striking poses, some more successfully than others. The loudest cheers were for the meek Carpe, waving his arms noncommittally at his fans, seemingly preferring to let his damage-dealing do the talking. As Goldenboy asked the crowd to make some noise for the Fusion, a great roar went up; one guy in the stands leapt to his feat and beat his chest, traditional sports–style, as he swiveled to incite the orange-and-black masses in his section.
As the London intros began, Goldenboy noted that “this team wants to end it here with a clean sweep,” a sentiment that was met with loud boos. But that didn’t faze a London team who were clearly feeling their oats, as they shimmied, shuffled, and strutted onto the stage. Fury, taking a page from Brooklyn’s own Jay-Z, whose music has been heard frequently in the Barclays Center this weekend, even brushed his shoulders off as he entered.
We’ll soon find out if all that swagger is warranted. —Hunter Slaton
3:30 p.m. EDT
Thirty minutes before the Grand Finals kicked off, DJ Khaled took to the stage at Barclays Center and dropped a 25-minute set on the enthusiastic crowd. Another one! —Amelia Savery
1:55 p.m. EDT
A man in Pharah eyeliner fans himself with a gladplane outside Barclays Center, surrounded by thousands of people in the increasingly stifling New York heat. The crowd is massive, but orderly, snaking out and around the arena in both directions.
Crowded close to the front doors are two London fans, Daniel and CK. “Yesterday we were here one hour early, today we were here two hours early,” said Daniel. The two friends raved about Profit and Gesture’s performance yesterday, and said even though they want London to take it all, they hope it goes to a third match against the Philadelphia Fusion. They’re enjoying the spectacle of the Overwatch League Grand Finals so much that they want it to go for as long as possible.
Further back in the crowd, in the glaring sun, a group of kids wearing London Spitfire caps weaves in and out of the lines, chasing each other with their gladplanes, laughing and screaming. —Amelia Savery
11 a.m. EDT
I guess they call New York the city that never sleeps because of the endless cacophony of car horns. The sound bounces off of buildings like tennis balls, filling the space above the heads of the morning masses. In downtown Brooklyn, you can’t turn a corner without spotting someone sporting gear representing the Overwatch League. Whether it be a team jersey, a cap, or a backpack, the streets are splashed with the colors of the league.
In the Dekalb Market Hall, a popular food destination, a woman in a Carpe jersey perches on a stool eating a crêpe. She peers over her breakfast at an NYXL fan ordering some food. Two Los Angeles Gladiators fans circle the market, perusing their options, while a Houston Outlaws fan scrolls through his Instagram feed, sipping a cold brew. —Amelia Savery