The final two days of matches of the 2019 Overwatch League season ramped up the action in a multitude of ways, including higher stakes for the players: win, and you get to dunk a superfan of your opponent.
The KitKat Rivalry Weekend was hosted by the Los Angeles Valiant at The Novo at L.A. Live this past Saturday and Sunday. Like the other homestand events earlier in the season--in Dallas and Atlanta--the weekend was two days of intense Overwatch play, but the Valiant stepped it up with various activities, including caricature artists, gamer-inspired food, an an exhibition 1v1 match before the games on Sunday.
The most fun was had inside the arena, where two large dunk tanks waited. Self-proclaimed 'superfans' volunteered as tribute and put their fates in their teams hands. The fan of the winning team stayed dry. The fan of the losing team?
To sweeten the deal, KitKat also offered these fans a years supply of KitKats, while the winning team had a donation made on their behalf to St. Jude's Hospital.
To open the weekend, it was Atlanta Reign vs. Dallas Fuel. The Reign have been on fire recently, and were the clear favorites going into this match. Unsurprisingly, Atlanta won, and the Fuel fan took a dunk in the tank. Next came the Boston Uprising vs. New York Excelsior, and the Boston fan was dunked by the 2018 MVP SeongHyun "JJONAK" Bang. The third match of the day was explosive between the top two teams of the League, San Francisco Shock and Vancouver Titans. They went an exciting five maps, but in the end, the Vancouver fan was the one who got wet. The last match of the day was the most exciting, the Battle for LA, as the LA Gladiators took on the LA Valiant. Though it was hard fought, it was a heartbroken Valiant fan that was dunked.
Sunday brought four more matches to The Novo, and four more soaked fans, much to the delight of their opponents. Hangzhou, Atlanta, and Vancouver all had the chance to pull the trigger to dunk a fan; and to the sadness of the hometown crowd, another Valiant fan got dropped in the cold water, as the Valiant finished out their homestand weekend without a win.
But despite the cold water, the players, crowd, and even the casters and analysts all voiced how much they enjoyed the dunk tanks, with a few saying they hoped the tanks would become a regular part of the playoffs or even the 2020 Overwatch League season. Though the dunk tanks seemed a silly gimmick on paper, in reality, they were thoroughly enjoyed.