There’s another underdog in town.
On the back of DPS duo, Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee and Josue “Eqo” Corona, the No. 6 Fusion took down heavily favored top-seeded New York Excelsior, 2-0, in the best-of-three series, to advance to the first-ever Overwatch League Grand Finals at a sold-out Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“All season, we were the team that missed preseason, didn’t have a core coming from a known team,” Fusion coach Yann Luu said. “A lot of people, analysts, thought we weren’t going to go far. But we were comfortable in the players. We know we can compete with anyone in the league.”
Game 1 of the finals will take place Friday, with Game 2 and 3 on Saturday. For the Fusion, who have played all their matches in Burbank, California, the final series against the No. 5 London Spitfire will be a test.
"It's going to be a huge change," Luu said. "It's going to be about which team can stick and adapt their routine to that location. The next few days, we'll practice a bit when we have time. But it's about relying on what we already built and make sure we're ready for London."
Excelsior, widely considered the most complete team in Overwatch League, had just six losses entering the semifinals series. But that didn’t faze the Fusion, who stunned the Overwatch world with a 3-0 victory Wednesday in Game 1, followed by an impressive 3-2 overtime win Saturday in Game 2 at Blizzard Arena.
“The matches were not one-sided,” Luu said. “All those maps were highly contested. But we knew we had to put everything on the line every single match. Mentality-wise, we were ready for it.”
It was a statement victory by the aggressive Fusion, who convincingly defeated the Robert Kraft-owned Boston Uprising in the quarterfinals, 2-1. For the Excelsior, owned by Jeff Wilpon, the series loss was a stunner.
It was the first time Excelsior was dealt back-to-back losses in 2018.
“I don’t think any of us felt like we had something to lose,” Corona told reporters at the post-match press conference. “After all, everyone was against us as if New York was going to win. We came in with the mentality that we just need to focus on our role as a team and what every player needs to do inside the game. That helped us a lot.”
In the finals, the Fusion will meet a familiar foe in the Spitfire, who moved effortlessly through the post-season, beating the Los Angeles Gladiators and Los Angeles Valiant by a combined map score of 12-4. Led by one of the league’s best players in Joon-yeong "Profit" Park, the Spitfire, like the Fusion, struggled down the stretch of the regular season but have found new life with Overwatch’s new meta in the postseason.
“They’re a team that is similar to us,” Luu said. “High skill ceiling, inconsistent throughout the regular season. It’s going to be a very tough match, they have very good playmakers at DPS, and their supporting cast is competent. They are peaking at the right time.”