ATL Reign pulled off an explosive upset over the Dallas Fuel to earn their spot in the Overwatch League 2021 Grand Final match for the first time in org history.
They completed a perfect run through the losers bracket after losing to Chengdu Hunters in the first round. During their run to finals they defeated #8 Justice, #4 Gladiators, #6 Shock, and then finally the #2 seeded Fuel.
IR1S won the Player of the Match for his performance on Baptiste, which included 10.8k healing per 10 minutes and was highly influential in their win.
Atlanta will face off against Shanghai Dragons for the 2021 title on Saturday starting at 6:00 PM PST.
The last time Atlanta faced Shanghai, it was the first round of the Summer Showdown and they lost 0-3. That was several months ago at this point though and happened before the Reign's incredible rally at the end of the season lead by Main Tank Gator, superstar D.Va player Hawk, and Rookie of the Year DPS player Pelican.
In his interview with Inven Global before the playoffs, Gator said that they could easily beat Shanghai if they played well. Following the win against Dallas, Gator reaffirmed that claim, telling Danny Lim, "We should be able to easily beat Shanghai too, based on the way we play."
Even given Gators confidence, Shanghai will remain the favorite to win the Finals, considering their amazing season in which they won the June Joust, the Summer Showdown. They also have yet to lose in the playoffs, with their highly skilled players looking at the very top of their game. But to win, Dragons are going to have to figure out how to dismantle Atlanta's extremely aggressive and oppressive rush composition that has taken them this far. No other team has figured it out yet, so we will see if Shanghai can tomorrow.
Dallas Fuel had an amazing season, winning the May Melee and ending 2nd on the Overwatch standings. They ended their season in third place in the playoffs, which was disappointing for a team with such high expectations on their shoulders, but still the best finish in OWL season playoffs history.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.