The Overwatch Varsity Series wrapped up play-ins for the post season last week. It’s set the table for the upcoming playoffs and one team took us all by surprise. The Ohio State esports squad clawed their way to a play-ins finals appearance against the University of Washington. Coming out of the losers bracket, they didn’t just win they dominated this final. This puts them in a much more favorable position come the post-season proper, and could give them an easier ride through the competition.

Reset City

Going into this bracket, Ohio State wasn’t particularly favored to do much. Teams like Midland, Washington and Ashland looked much more poised to make a run at the top position. Washington, in particular, ran it up against quality teams and looked virtually unstoppable.

However, when the Grand Finals came around Ohio State had other plans. On the first map, Lijang Tower, Ohio state was able to control so much space with the Grab on the Symmetra. His play combined with Performance on Mcree/Junkrat, completely negated Washington’s Tracer based composition. Ohio State’s more methodical style allowed them to hunker down on the points and get out to an early lead.

Moving to Numbani, both teams ran almost the same compositions as the game before. However, Washington was able to finally get some momentum after capturing the first point. But Ohio made a great call and shifted Parker to D.Va and Grab onto Tracer during their defense round. The ground the Washington attack down to halt holding them to only two points.

After the side switch, Washington went to a double hitscan composition with Ashe and Mcree. However, the Buckeyes completely blew them up and captured the point in 50 seconds. After a brief stalemate at point B, Ohio slowly pushed towards the point. Washington’s Stealthninja ended up dying during a critical fight allowing Ohio State to drop a couple of ultimates and resetting the bracket.

Wrapping It Up

Now that the two teams were on equal footing, the match returned to Lijang Tower/Night Market, but it was more of the same. Ohio State began to play with the confidence of a team that knows its going to win. OSU’s Potatoes on Reinhart hit a massive Earthshatter that allowed Performance flank Washington and secure a huge double kill. The Control Center round was still the Performance show. Their team play with Grab’s teleporters confounded Washington and brought OSU to match point.

Washington had to respond as the game moved to Kings Row. Washington looked a lot more competent for the first two points. Tribiab finally looked consistent but it all fell apart at point C. Ohio State had Grab switch to Genji and, boy, was that ever smart. Parker threw up a great Gravitic Flux and Grab went to work. Triple Kill.

OverwatchContenders – Grab Grabbin’ Them Kills

Watch OverwatchContenders’s clip titled “Grab Grabbin’ Them Kills”

Ohio got real confident on their attack round running a Symmetra/Bastion DPS line. Ohio had no idea how to deal with the uncommon make up of Ohio State. The Buckeyes looked untroubled for the entire round and eventually they marched on to the win.

This series was a serious coming out party for Ohio State’s Performance. In conjunction with Grab and Parker, OSU’s team play was immaculate. There were moments where Washington looked feckless and most of them came by way of this emerging DPS player. Showing great control and quality on the McCree, Performance all but clinched the series with a critical Deadeye on Kings Row. For sure, Performance is a player to watch moving into the playoffs.

Matchups For The Big Dance

With the play-ins complete, we now have a layout of what the playoff matchups should be.

  • University of Washington vs Grand Canyon University – Until their fateful meeting with Ohio State, Washington looked like the run away favorites for the play-in crown. Will the loss be a stain on their confidence?
  • University of North Texas vs Boise State University – Boise State is a team that feels like it should be performing much better than they have in the past year. They’ll have a tough opponent in North Texas.
  • Fresno State vs Iowa State – Only two teams from California made it, and Fresno has the misfortune of being the lesser. But the match with Iowa State could be a push. This one has the potential to be a barn-burner or a snore fest.
  • UT Dallas vs University of California Irvine – This should be a great match to watch. UCI and UT-Dallas are two great teams and either one could win the whole shebang.
  • Miami University (OH) vs Ohio Northern – NORTH vs SOUTH OHIO!
  • Midland University vs Akron University – Can Akron steal some of the juice away from their Rocket League team and topple a solid Midland?
  • University of Missouri vs. Northeastern University – Mizzou should sweep away an underrated Northeastern. But will the band from Boston stand tall once again?
  • Ohio State vs George Mason University – THE Ohio State esports team proved that they are a force to be reckoned with in Overwatch. But George Mason is a legacy esports school that wouldn’t need to do much to put up a better fight than Washington did.

The Playoffs proper begin on the Overwatch Contenders YouTube and Twitch on December 5th at 3pm eastern time.

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