ESC Spring 2023 Overwatch 2 Playoff Review: Cardinals on top cover image

ESC Spring 2023 Overwatch 2 Playoff Review: Cardinals on top

The ESC Spring 2023 Overwatch 2 Championship is in the books. Let’s look at all the action and who was named champions this past weekend.

The 2023 Esports Collegiate Conference (ESC) Overwatch 2 Semifinals and Championship presented by Nelnet Bank (Member FDIC) took place on April 28 and 29. At the end of the competition, only one of the four teams came out victorious, taking home the ESC Spring 2023 crown.

Nelnet Bank was thrilled to support the ESC Overwatch 2 Championship event this year and looks forward to watching the action play out next season. Nelnet Bank knows the collegiate esports community works tirelessly to bring opportunities to students as they develop and prepare for their futures.

The work of students, teams, and event coordinators doesn’t go unnoticed. The team at Nelnet Bank wishes the teams, players, and everyone else the best of luck next year as the tournament came to a crescendo last weekend!

2023 ESC Overwatch 2 Bracket heading into Semifinals
2023 ESC Overwatch 2 Bracket heading into Semifinals

Universities left competing for the ESC Spring Overwatch 2 Championship:

  • Ball State University
  • Miami University
  • Northeastern University
  • Ohio University

The tournament was a cumulation of an eleven week round robin regular season competition that started back in late January. Teams had the opportunity for revenge and glory after making it past the Quarterfinals. Lets take a look at how the playoffs broke down and who came out as the ESC Champion.

Semifinal 1: Miami get revenge on Northeastern 4-3

After falling to Northeastern University in the regular season 3-0, Miami University were able to punch their ticket to the championship final. Miami was able to not only get revenge from the regular season but also last year's championship match. The reigning champions were knocked out of the competition in the Semifinals after a tremendous season.

The series started heavily in the Huskies favor with Northeastern going up 2-0 in the best of seven series on Lijiang Tower and Kings Row. Miami responded with two of their own maps with Shambali Monastery and New Queen Street tying up the series 2-2. Adapting to Miami's game plan, Northeastern was able to sweep Nepal and bring them one map away from going to the championship.

From there Miami had to respond to keep their hopes alive on Midtown. With a 1:06 left on the clock for Northeastern to pass the second checkpoint, Miami held on and took Midtown 3-1.

Map seven, here we go.

Both teams playoff hopes came down to a push map on Esperança. Following the last push map on New Queen Street, Miami got an immediate 131.28m start. The starting push ultimately led Miami to winning the series 4-3 and continuing their chance at another ESC Championship

Semifinal 2: Ball State flies past the Bobcats 4-1

Number one seeded Ball State University continued their path of destruction in the Semifinal match. The Semifinal win set them up with a chance to win their first ever ESC Championship Trophy in all supported games. Although the Bobcats lost, they continue to get better and turn heads in the conference.

The series started with Ball State taking Lijiang Tower and Blizzard World "with quick work" as RichRad stated on broadcast. However, Ohio did not want to go without a fight. Junkertown was next up and Ball State looked like they were going to send the series to match point. Ball State was able to hold Ohio from securing the first checkpoint and looked to be going up 3-0. The Bobcats were able to respond. They held the Cardinals even further back from the first checkpoint securing Ohio their first map in the series.

Ohio brought the momentum into Colloseo. It looked like they were about to tie the series up after gaining an 111.47m lead. Ball State had other plans. The Cardinals were able to go all the way from the 111.47m mark and push the robot to victory in overtime. This setup match point heading into Oasis. Ball State was able to secure the series on Oasis in a 2-0 fashion.

Championship Final: The Red Bird Rivalry goes to the Cardinals

With Ball State and Miami making the Finals it setup for the Red Bird Rivalry. In the regular season Miami was able to take the rivalry 3-2. For Miami, this was their third Overwatch finals in a row and an opportunity for a second ESC Overwatch Championship. On the other side, for Ball State, it was their first appearance in the Finals and a chance for thier first ESC Championship.

Nepal started out strong for Ball State. The Cardinals won the first point but then Miami responded tying it up heading into the third. Ball State was able to secure the map after NinjaCurlyFry continued to heat up with the overclock on Sojourn. Miami started King's Row on attack. Another overclock and blizzard from NinjaCurlyFry and Spencer allowed Ball State to prevent Miami reaching the second checkpoint. With a fast first-point capture, Ball State had plenty of time to secure the second map in the series.

Shambali Monastery was next up and Miami needed to stop Ball State's momentum. The RedHawks were able to get the escort nearly to completion. But, another blizzard from Spencer and annihilation from Manwe prevented the RedHawks from pushing into the third checkpoint. Ball State responded and got the cart all the way to completion and setup match point in the series. One win away from their first-ever ESC Championship.

Heading into one of Miami's best modes in New Queen Street, Ball State continued their momentum and got 93m immediately. Miami continued to hold off the inevitable for nearly six minutes. Finally, Ball State broke through Miami's defenses. They then pushed the bot all the way to the finish line. This allowed Ball State to secure their first-ever ESC Championship.

Stay tuned on for more Esports Collegiate Conference news and updates.