The Overwatch League 2022 Midseason Madness was a tournament that lasted nearly a full week, from July 18 to 23, with 12 of the OWL teams, featuring a $1,000,000 USD prize pool. We saw West teams travel to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa to minimize latency to the league’s servers in South Korea, while East teams will play from their home locations.
The Los Angeles Gladiators were crowned as the Midseason Madness champions after defeating the San Francisco Shock in a 4-2 series, narrowly halting a reverse sweep from the former two-time championship team. It’s the Gladiators’ second tournament crown of the season after winning the West Region’s Kickoff Clash tournament with a 4-0 sweep in June.
Though Los Angeles looked unbeatable in the Kickoff Clash, where they won 13 out of 14 games throughout the upper bracket, the Midseason Madness was a bit more of a struggle for the team. San Francisco Shock first knocked down the Los Angeles Gladiators to the lower bracket, where the Gladiators had to take down the Atlanta Reign to earn a spot in the final. They dispatched the Reign in a 3-1 series, and had only half an hour to recuperate before facing the Shock
The San Francisco Shock got to select the first map of the grand finals as they were the upper bracket winners. The series would start on Ilios, one of their most successful maps, but big plays from Gladiators staples like support FunnyAstro and likely MVP candidate Kevster netted the purple team the win.
Eichenwalde has also been a boon for the Shock, but a series of critical mistakes led to another map loss for San Francisco. The Gladiators ran an aggressive and successful dive; tank Reiner’s attacks matched up perfectly with his DPS, and the Shock’s backline couldn’t stay alive.
Watchpoint: Gibraltar, would be the following map in the series, which is one of the most beneficial arenas for sniper heroes. Though Kilo is the Shock’s ace shot, he was no match for legendary sniper ANS finally coming into his own for the first time this tournament. It was the closest map of the series, but more big mistakes added up to yet another loss for the Shock.
The Shock took the series to New Queen Street as they were trying to avoid the victorious arena of Colosseo, a strong map for the Gladiators and forced the tides to turn. For the first time in the series, San Francisco looked truly alive, and DPS dynamo Proper nearly completed the Fleta Deadlift in the Toronto streets.
Next, the Gladiators dragged San Francisco to Lijiang Tower, hoping their aggressive Doomfist play would pay off on the map’s enclosed points. Unfortunately, those walls just trapped them inside with Proper, who clearly wants to put some embellishment on that Rookie of the Year nomination. He ran circles around the Gladiators, who had to look for yet another route to victory
Dorado would be the final map of the series, and it was the most competitive yet, with both teams appearing to come into their own. Snipers were the absolute highlight of the Escort map, with Kilo arguably playing the best Overwatch of his career against ANS. Firing back, though, ANS deleted his opponent’s DPS and backline when it mattered the most. Just when fans were expecting an epic final showdown as the Gladiators rounded the corner of Point B on their second attack, no one from the San Francisco Shock was able to touch the cart.
The Gladiators head home with the share of $500,000 USD, which is nothing to scoff at. They’ll also be receiving four League Points, which will determine postseason placement. As runners-up, the San Francisco Shock earned $250,000 USD and three League Points, still a massive boon for seeding when the postseason hits.
The Summer Showdown qualifiers kick off August 11 with London Spitfire and Florida Mayhem opening up the tournament.