The Atlanta Reign capped a perfect Overwatch League Stage 4 with a sweep of the Boston Uprising on Sunday in Los Angeles, clinching the sixth and final automatic playoff bid for the league.
The 4-0 victory highlighted the last day of Week 5 -- a two-day rivalry weekend hosted by the Los Angeles Valiant at The Novo at L.A. Live to cap the Stage 4 regular season -- and knocked the London Spitfire from top-six position to the No. 1 seed in the play-in tournament.
In other action, the Hangzhou Spark swept the Shanghai Dragons 4-0, the Vancouver Titans see-sawed past the New York Excelsior 3-2 and the San Francisco Shock spoiled the Valiant's homestand by sweeping them 4-0, denying Los Angeles' bid for the final play-in spot.
At the end of Stage 4, the two division winners and the four teams with the next-best records automatically make the playoffs. The teams that finish seventh through 12th will compete in a play-in event for two more postseason spots.
Atlanta beat Boston with victories of 2-0 on Lijiang Tower, 2-1 on Volskaya Industries and 3-2 on King's Row and Junkertown.
The victory put the Reign and the Spitfire both at 16-12, with Atlanta sporting a plus-19 map differential to take the tiebreaker over London (plus-six). The Reign finished Stage 4 at 7-0, including a victory over the Spitfire last week and a win over the Dallas Fuel on Saturday to set up Sunday's clinching win.
The Spark made quick work of the Dragons, taking Busan 2-0, Volskaya Industries 2-1, Hollywood 3-2 and Havana 3-1. Hangzhou clinched the fourth overall seed with the victory, locking the Los Angeles Gladiators into fifth.
The Titans and the Excelsior -- both of whom long ago clinched division titles -- traded maps throughout their match. Vancouver opened with a 2-0 win on Ilios, but New York took Hanamura 2-1. The Titans nabbed Blizzard World 3-2 before dropping Havana by the same margin. In the decisive map, Vancouver prevailed 2-1 on Lijiang Tower.
The Shock dispatched the Valiant 2-0 on Lijiang Tower, 2-1 on Volskaya Industries, 3-2 on Blizzard World and 2-1 on Junkertown to join the Reign in finishing Stage 4 at 7-0. The Valiant needed just one victory in two matches during their homestand to clip the Chengdu Hunters for the final play-in spot but came away with two losses.
The play-in tournament begins Friday, with the 12th-seeded Hunters facing the ninth-seeded Guangzhou Charge, and the 11th-seeded Dragons battling the 10th-seeded Philadelphia Fusion. On Saturday, the seventh-seeded Spitfire will take on the lowest remaining seed, and the eighth-seeded Seoul Dynasty will take on the highest remaining seed, with the two winners claiming the final playoff berths.
The eight-team, double-elimination playoff bracket begins with first-round matches Sept. 5-6, starting with the top-seeded Titans against the last play-in entrant on Sept. 5. The first round of the losers bracket will be Sept. 7, with the second round of the winners bracket a day later. All remaining matches but the Grand Finals will be played Sept.12-15.
The Grand Finals are set for Sept. 29 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, with the champion taking home $1.1 million and the runner-up pocketing $600,000.
-- Field Level Media