The London Spitfire downed the Philadelphia Fusion in back-to-back series, including a 3-0 sweep in the Grand Finals, to claim the inaugural Overwatch League (OWL) Championship and the $1 million prize in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
When the London Spitfire took the stage for the Grand Finals, they were met by a barrage of boos from the crowd at the Barclays Center. While the Spitfire were the clear favorites to win it all, their underdog opponents from Philadelphia had the crowd behind them.
However, once the matches started, the booing subsided and eventually died out. The Spitfire quieted what was once a raucous Philly crowd as they inched closer to victory. Once the deed was done and the Spitfire triumphantly raised the trophy, all the crowd could do was cheer for the first-ever champions of the Overwatch League.
While it may seem that the Spitfire’s run to the championship was inevitable, it had not always been so clear cut during the regular season.
While the team started off strong and were crowned the Stage 1 champions, the Spitfire teetered from being a middling squad to contenders to being middle-of-the-pack again. While the squad fell to the Los Angeles Gladiators in the first round, the Spitfire seemed to have peaked at the right time. Their triumphant march to the championship saw them come back to sweep the Gladiators, dispatch the other LA team, the Valiant, in the semifinals, and culminated in their back-to-back domination of the Fusion.
No matter how their road to the championship may have looked like, the Spitfire did what their team was expected to do. The roster was star-studded from the beginning, combining two top pre-OWL South Korean teams — GC Busan and C9 Kongdoo Panthera. From there, it was just an issue of finding out which of the team’s array of top-notch pieces fit and sending out those that did not.
Park “Profit” Joon-yeong became the face of the franchise, earning the Finals MVP award for producing flashy game-winning plays out of thin air throughout the playoffs. While Profit may now be the team’s most celebrated player, he was only one piece of the Spitfire’s vaunted puzzle.
If anything, Profit’s excellence was a product of the system that his team instilled. The roster was constructed with seven players taking on whatever roles suited them and three supports that would give them the space to do so. The frontline was anchored by main tank Hong “Gesture” Jae-hee and off-tank Kim “Fury” Jun-ho, who both proved instrumental in either setting up combos for the team or taking out enemy DPS players. Flex support player Choi “Bdosin” Seung-tae stood out as well, lighting it up not only during the finals, but also in the postgame media conference.
“I didn’t think it would be this easy. Next year I hope we play against a stronger team,” said Bdosin.
Sure, such an audacious statement would definitely draw out some boos, but as we’ve seen from the finals, the booing can only make the Spitfire want to soar to greater heights.
(Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment)