The 2022 Overwatch League runner-up San Francisco Shock opened the 2023 season with a 3-2 win over the Toronto Defiant on Thursday as West Region qualifying began for the Spring Stage Knockouts.
In the day’s other matches, the Washington Justice defeated the London Spitfire 3-1, and the Florida Mayhem downed the Vancouver Titans 3-1.
The Overwatch League format is different this year, with lower-level teams getting the chance to compete with the top-level squads.
The season format will now see teams amass points based on their results in regional qualifiers rather than the standard league standings that were in place in previous years.
The Spring Stage will be followed by the Midseason Madness event, while the Summer Stage will be followed by the season-ending playoffs, but the makeup of the events will be different for the East and West regions.
Spring Stage qualifying matches will determine how the West teams are seeded in the Spring Stage Knockouts and which West teams make Midseason Madness.
On Thursday, the Shock opened with 2-1 win on Antarctic Peninsula before the Defiant claimed Blizzard World 3-2 and Shambali Monastery 3-2. San Francisco rallied to take the series by winning New Queen Street 1-0 and Oasis 2-0.
After the Justice took Oasis 2-0, the Spitfire pulled level with a 3-2 decision on King’s Row. Washington then captured Junkertown 3-1 and New Queen Street 1-0.
The Mayhem began with a 2-0 win on Lijiang Tower and a 2-1 triumph on Hollywood. The Titans extended the series with a 2-1 victory on Havana before Florida sealed the series by taking Colosseo 1-0.
Three West qualifying matches are scheduled for Friday:
–New York Excelsior vs. Atlanta Reign
–Houston Outlaws vs. Los Angeles Gladiators
–Vancouver Titans vs. Los Angeles Valiant
Overwatch League Spring Stage Knockouts, West Region qualifying
T1. Florida Mayhem, 1-0
T1. San Francisco Shock, 1-0
T1. Washington Justice, 1-0
T4. Atlanta Reign, 0-0
T4. Boston Uprising, 0-0
T4. Houston Outlaws, 0-0
T4. Los Angeles Gladiators, 0-0
T4. Los Angeles Valiant, 0-0
T4. New York Excelsior, 0-0
T4. Vegas Eternal, 0-0
T11. London Spitfire, 0-1
T11. Toronto Defiant, 0-1
T11. Vancouver Titans, 0-1
–Field Level Media