Can Dallas Fuel defend their title in the 2023 OWL Playoffs starting today in Toronto

Yeonghan ‘SP9RK1E’ Kim warming up for OWL tournament play.
Yeonghan ‘SP9RK1E’ Kim warming up for OWL tournament play.(Dallas Fuel)
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 1:06 PM CDT
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(Gray News) - The Overwatch League (OWL) Playoffs and OWL Grand Finals for the 2023 season are taking place in Toronto, Canada, this weekend. The event is being held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre and comprises eight teams fighting for the largest piece of the $1,855,000 prize pool.

The Tournament starts at 1 p.m. ET on September 28 and finishes the evening of October 1. You can watch all of the action on the official OWL YouTube channel. Five of the eight teams competing this weekend are from the West region, while the remaining three are from the East.

The format of the tournament includes three separate brackets. A draft system decides how the eight teams split into two groups of four. Both groups compete in a double-elimination bracket within their group. The top two teams from each group will then move on to the Grand Finals Bracket.

There are only two rounds in the Grand Finals Bracket due to only four teams reaching this stage. The semifinals are structured so that the teams placing first in a group are matched against the second-place team of the opposite group. Being a single-elimination format, the winners of the semifinals are automatically in the Grand Final. Third place is a match between the losers of the semifinals. The structure of all the matches throughout the tournament is best-of-five maps.

The draft deciding the two starting groups of the OWL Playoffs places the power in the hands of the two top-seeded teams. They start the draft by selecting the team they want to see in the second match of the opposite group. The drafted teams then decide who they want to oppose the team chosen in the opposite group. Then, those teams choose out of the remaining teams who will face the top-seeded teams in the first match of each group bracket.

Atlanta ReignDallas Fuel
Hangzhou SparkFlorida Mayhem
London SpitfireHouston Outlaws
Boston UprisingSeoul Infernal

Teams qualified for the OWL Playoffs either from tournament wins or the Play-Ins. The Hangzhou Spark and Seoul Infernal qualified via the Spring Stage East Knockouts. The Atlanta Reign, Florida Mayhem, and Houston Outlaws qualified based on placing in the top three of the West Summer Stage Qualifiers.

The three remaining teams had to fight through the Play-Ins to claim their spot. The Play-Ins were a two-bracket setup, one for each region. Both brackets included an upper and lower bracket. The East only sent a singular team from an overall grand final, while the West sent the winners from both finals.

Boston Uprising won the West Upper Bracket Final, claiming their spot. London Spitfire, who fell to Boston in the Upper Bracket Semifinals, won the Lower Bracket Final to qualify. In the East, Dallas Fuel were flawless through the early stages of the Upper Bracket and beat the Seoul Dynasty in the Finals to qualify.

Dallas Fuel almost qualified during the Spring Stage East Knockouts but lost in the Grand Final of the Second Bracket to Seoul Infernal. Despite this, they have found their way back into the final event of another OWL Season and will be able to defend their World Champion title this weekend.

The OWL Playoffs will be live-streamed on the Official OWL YouTube channel throughout the weekend. The tournament starts Thursday at 1 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. CT / 10 a.m. PT.

Gray Television is an investor in OpTic Gaming.