Atlanta Reign Win Playoff Series Off San Francisco Shock 'C9' Error

The playoff quarterfinals between the Atlanta Reign and the San Francisco Shock was one of the most electrifying matches of the 2019 Overwatch League season. Both teams adapted to each others play extremely well, and the series went to a full seven games. While the series was viewed to be more favored towards the Shock, it was actually the Reign who managed to pull through, and the Shock lost the last game in the most embarrassing way possible, from a C9.

The term C9, stems from the esports organization Cloud9, the same organization that owns the London Spitfire. Prior to the Overwatch League, Cloud9 participated in the OGN Apex series, and was viewed as being one of the strongest western teams. During the second season of the OGN Apex series, Cloud9 played against the Korean team, Afreeca Freecs Blue, where they famously pulled off the most iconic C9 in professional play.

During the control center portion of Lijiang Tower, Afreeca Freecs Blue had captured 99% of the objective, and Cloud9 managed to push into overtime. While Cloud9 managed to push the team fight into their favor, destroying the opposing tank line, they completely forgot about the objective, and ended up losing the second round. In essence, a C9 is when a team forgets about the objective to win a team fight, and ends up losing because of it.

In the series between the Shock and the Reign, the final map being played was Rialto. The Reign had less than 40 seconds to make the final push and win the map. The fight was favored towards the Shock, whose players had significantly more health during the course of the fight compared to the players on the side of the Reign. However, despite this health differential, the Shock were too distracted by Joon "Erster" Jeong's Doomfist who was attacking the frontline of their team. While they managed to eliminate Erster from the fight, the Shock expended too many resources into killing Erster that they forgot about the objective, and pulled a C9 to lose the series.

Coming into the playoffs, both the Shock and the Reign were seen as being the top two teams during the fourth stage, with each team winning all seven of their matches for the stage. However, because the Shock were so dominant during the GOATS meta, they were the third seed team in the playoffs, whereas the Reign had to fight their way through for the sixth seed. Although they were not favored, the Reign pulled a massive upset against the Shock, and will be playing against the New York Excelsior in the winner's bracket semifinals on Sept. 8, at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Photo courtesy of Blizzard