The top-seeded teams from the Overwatch League's East and West regions both lost Thursday as the May Melee got underway.
The Shanghai Dragons, the second seed from the East, earned a 3-2 win over the Florida Mayhem, the top seed from the West. The Dallas Fuel, No. 2 from the West, registered a 3-1 victory over the Chengdu Hunters, No. 1 from the East.
The Thursday winners will square off Friday with a berth in the final on the line. The Thursday losers will meet Friday, with the victor in that contest facing the loser of the winners-bracket match. The final is scheduled for Saturday night.
Both Shanghai and Florida had shown flexibility in play style in the weeks leading up to the event, and they delivered in a dramatic, six-map match. Shanghai took Game 1 on Ilios 2-0 using a dive composition, but then the teams drew Game 2 on Hanamura 1-1.
After that, the Mayhem played brawl in Game 3 on King's Row where they absolutely pummeled the Dragons to the tune of a 2-1 win. Just when Florida looked as if it had captured momentum with a dominant first-point hold in Game 4 on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, Shanghai swung the series back in their favor with an even fuller hold, taking the map 1-0.
Florida dominated Game 5 on Oasis 2-0 behind DPS Jun-ki "Yaki" Kim, who had a phenomenal series. In the end, though, the Dragons' clutch factor throughout the entire team was too much to overcome as Shanghai took Game 6 on Dorado 3-2 to take the series and move into the winners-bracket final.
The Fuel came into action Thursday with questions about how they would play against Chengdu DPS and Pharah specialist Yi "JinMu" Hu considering they didn't have a traditional hitscan DPS player to counter the Pharah. It turns out, though, that Dallas' Winston-Sombra dive playstyle could simply ignore the Pharah and kill the rest of Chengdu.
Exceptional play on Winston from tank Eui-Seok "Fearless" Lee kicked off the series as the Fuel posted a 2-1 in Game 1 on Nepal. Then, Dallas captured Game 2 on Temple of Anubis with a 2-1 score using a traditional Reinhardt-led brawl composition, threatening to sweep the series. The Hunters played well to extend the match, taking Blizzard World 1-0 in a dominant full-hold.
Dallas could have gone to a map where it might have forced Chengdu to mirror brawl comps in Game 4, but the Fuel opted instead to take the action to Watchpoint: Gibraltar, a map on which Chengdu looked dominant on in recent weeks.
Both teams fought hard to complete all three checkpoints in regular time, but it was the Fuel who won 4-3 in overtime on the back of a massive five-man EMP from DPS Dong-ha "Doha" Kim's Sombra. With that, Dallas secured a spot in the upper-bracket final.
The May Melee continues on Friday with three matches:
--Winners-bracket final: Dallas vs. Shanghai
--Losers-bracket first round: Florida vs Chengdu
--Losers-bracket second round: Loser of winners-bracket final vs. winner of losers-bracket first round
Overwatch League standings, with win-loss record and map differential
T1. Philadelphia Fusion (East), 4-0, 9
T1. Washington Justice (West), 4-0, 9
3. Houston Outlaws (West), 4-0, 7
4. Seoul Dynasty (East), 3-1, 7
5. Chengdu Hunters (East), 3-1, 6
6. San Francisco Shock (West), 3-1, 5
7. Shanghai Dragons (East), 3-1, 4
8. Florida Mayhem (West), 3-1, 3
9. Toronto Defiant (West), 3-1, 2
10. Dallas Fuel (West), 2-2, 2
11. Los Angeles Gladiators (West), 2-2, 2
12. Atlanta Reign (West), 1-3, -1
13. Hangzhou Spark (East), 1-3, -2
14. Paris Eternal (West), 1-3, -5
15. Guangzhou Charge (East), 1-3, -6
T16. New York Excelsior (East), 1-3, -7
T16. Boston Uprising (West), 1-3, -7
18. Vancouver Titans (West), 0-4, -8
19. London Spitfire (West), 0-4, -9
20. Los Angeles Valiant (East), 0-4, -11
--Field Level Media