The May Melee began in earnest on Sunday with the Eastern region's qualifying round, which saw the Shanghai Dragons and Chengdu Hunters pick up wins.
In what might be the match of the year so far, the Shanghai Dragons (4-1) outlasted the Philadelphia Fusion (4-1) and picked up a 3-2 series win. This series was a clash of top teams finding themselves against a tough opponent, particularly for the DPS. For Shanghai, reigning league MVP ByungSun "Fleta" Kim got to go up against Philadelphia star JaeHyeok "Carpe" Lee, which made this series an instant classic for viewers.
Shanghai started with a 2-1 win on Nepal in Game 1, then the teams fought to a 2-2 draw on Volskaya Industries. The Fusion came up swinging after this, taking Eichenwalde 2-1 and full-holding Havana 1-0 to go up 2-1 in the series.
The Fusion enjoyed a strong performance from main tank Dong-Gyu "Mano" Kim, who was aggressive in his attempts to create space for his team. After Game 4 on Havana, the Dragons changed up their strategy so that they put more focus on killing Mano and protecting flex support Min Chul "IZaYaKI" Kim.
IZaYaKI was a standout throughout the series, showing that he should be in the "elite support" conversation. Shanghai took Ilios 2-1 in Game 5 to force a series-deciding Game 6 on Watchpoint: Gibraltar. Gibraltar was a clash of wills between Fleta and Carpe, with Carpe keeping the Fusion alive through spectacular plays on Widowmaker. Unfortunately for Carpe, the Dragons were too much for the Fusion to overcome. Shanghai took the map 5-4 in overtime to punch their ticket to the May Melee while handing the Fusion their first loss of the year.
In Sunday's other matchup, the Chengdu Hunters (4-1) defeated the Seoul Dynasty (3-2) by a 3-1 margin. The Hunters started with a lineup composed mostly of players coming off of the bench, perhaps in an attempt to throw the Dynasty off guard. Whatever the intention, it helped Chengdu pick up a 2-1 win on Busan to start the series.
From there, the Hunters played their standard lineup and dominated with it, taking Hanamura 2-1 to go up 2-0 in the series. The Dynasty showed some fight with a Game 3 win on Blizzard World, full-holding the first point for a 1-0 win, but the Hunters recovered on Watchpoint: Gibraltar, taking that map 3-2 to secure a 3-1 series win. With the win, the Hunters qualify for the May Melee, bringing their signature chaotic style to the final four.
The May Melee continues on Sunday with four matches:
Toronto Defiant vs. Florida Mayhem
Dallas Fuel vs. San Francisco Shock
TBD vs. Washington Justice
TBD vs. Houston Outlaws
Overwatch League standings, with win-loss record and map differential
1. Washington Justice (West), 4-0, 9
2. Houston Outlaws (West), 4-0, 7
3. Philadelphia Fusion (East), 4-1, 8
4. Chengdu Hunters (East), 4-1, 8
5. Shanghai Dragons (East), 4-1, 5
6. San Francisco Shock (West), 3-1, 5
7. Florida Mayhem (West), 3-1, 3
8. Toronto Defiant (West), 3-1, 2
9. Seoul Dynasty (East), 3-2, 5
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