After victories last Saturday, both the London Spitfire and the Seoul Dynasty have passed their first tests in the Overwatch League playoff rounds. Both the Dynasty and the Spitfire will advance onto the main playoff stages where they will face the New York Excelsior and Vancouver Titans, respectively.

The Spitfire are the current defending Overwatch League champions. Seoul may have been the team with the highest expectations before the league’s inaugural season kicked off and undeniably still bear the weight of those expectations despite never really meeting them so far. Being South Korea’s home team also may have added pressure on the Korean team.

Both teams have a decent shot at the Overwatch League Title with rosters packed full of talent; however, this is despite both teams’ inconsistent performances throughout the 2019 season. After their victory in last year’s competition the Spitfire came into this season riding on high. The Dynasty came into this season clearly focused on redemption after a disappointing inaugural season during which the Dynasty failed to qualify for a single stage playoff as well as being eliminated from season playoff contention.

Both teams now have a shot at fulfilling the expectations of themselves and their fanbases alike. For the Spitfire, greater consistency is the key. Their preparation for their match up against the Shanghai Dragons was mainly focused on coming up with different gameplans depending on whether Bae “Diem” Min-seong or Yang “DDing” Jin-hyeok were starting alongside Jin “Youngjin” Young-jin in the DPS role.

The defending champions nearly gifted their opponents the game but somehow managed to dig their claws in and stay alive on Watchpoint: Gibraltar and King’s Row. The Bo7 series eventually went to an Overwatch League record 8 maps, eventually ending on Ilios, where the Spitfire were in the end, able to conquer Shanghai.

When all seemed lost, Spitfire support Choi “Bdosin” Seung-tae had to rally his team: “I feel like on Ilios Ruins, enemy took it to 99% and we were just thinking, ‘Oh, maybe we go to Korea, go home … but he said some things about hero changing, strategy and other good things. We heard his voice, and we changed heroes and position. I don’t know how we won.” 

Unlike the Spitfire, the Dynasty’s inconsistency, roster swaps, and struggles adjusting to the new 2-2-2 role lock meta, the Guangzhou Charge was heavy favorites as one of the teams to advance to the final playoff stages. Despite all this however, Seoul beat Guangzhou in a much more convincing fashion than London beat Shanghai, notching up a 4-1 scoreline (including a draw on Horizon Lunar Colony).

“Guangzhou is good, but we’re good enough to go against them,” Seoul support Yang “Tobi” Jin-mo said. “Guangzhou has this strength where Nero plays Pharah, and he’s really good at that. To counter that, we used McCree, and that worked … I can’t say that we have the best mentality overall if you look at our Stage 2 and 3 matches; in our big matches, we lost because we didn’t have good mental, and that could be our weakness … My role is to take care of other players mentality, and as a big brother helping out other players, naturally my mentality also became better.”

The Vancouver Titans will be a major test of this improvement for Seoul in the main playoff stage and although they did upset the NYXL in the Stage 1 playoffs this season, will certainly be the biggest staked game Seoul have ever played for. 

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