OverWatch Contenders Group Announcements
Over the past two weeks, OverWatch fans witnessed more than 1,200 teams across North America and Europe competing for spots in the group stage of OverWatch Contenders Season Zero. After the dust settled, the top 16 teams were left to forge ahead and continue on a path to the Overwatch Contenders championship. The seeding - based on the performances of the final eight teams in each Open Qualifier - is below: (Blizzard Entertainment)
(images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment)
OverWatch Contenders Season Zero European Group stage begins on Saturday, Jun 17 5:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00). The North American Group stage begins the following day, on Sunday, Jun 18 11:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00).
You can watch all the games on the official Overwatch Contenders Twitch channel.
Thoughts on North America
With both Faze Clan and Selfless, arguably two of the strongest teams in the North American region being in group A, TeamLiquid and CLG will face a difficult challenge.
Of note however is the fact that recent actions by Selfless's star player and top North American talent Daniel "dafran" Francesca resulted in Blizzard suspending him from being eligible to play in Season 0 of OverWatch Contenders. Dafran is also suspended from participating in the current competitive ranked ladder season (season five), any competitions until the end of the current competitive ranked ladder season and the future OverWatch Contenders Season One. Without their star player, and with no replacement announced at the time of writing this article, it is unclear exactly where Selfless will finish in their Group.
UPDATE: It appears as though Selfless Gaming may have signed ex-BK Stars DPS player Lee "Carpe Jae-hyeok from Korea. If this is in fact the case, then Selfless, assuming they work well with Carpe, is in a good position to take one of the two qualifying spots from Group A.
Carpe for Selfless has been Confirmed
Toronto Esports in Group B will need to prove to the NA competitive scene that their qualification was not a fluke. Under the leadership of General Manager and SC2 ex-pro player Chris "HuK" Loranger, it will be interesting to see how they do.
In Group C FNRGFE is a team where each individual has a lot to prove. A team comprised of players who used to play for Fnatic, NRG and Gale Force esports placed second on the first qualifying day losing only to Faze Clan. These individuals want to show that even though their previous organizations either cut them, or dissolved, they deserve to be on the big stage.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment for those of us who have been following the scene for a while is the fact that YIKES! and Kungarna are in two different groups. For those who don't know, there is a strong rivalry between these two teams, built primarily upon the friction between the two squads.
Félix "xQc" Lengyel the French Canadian figurehead for YIKES! and popular OverWatch streamer has been vocal in his dislike for some of the members of Kungarna. In particular for the decision of the team to field Andrej "Babybay" Francisty. Some might know him better as "Flex", a CS:GO player VAC banned live on stream during an ESEA match for hacking. Needless to say, seeing these two teams facing off one another would have made for one fantastic storyline.
Thoughts on Europe
I will admit right now, I don't know too much about the EU scene so I apologize in advance for the fact that this commentary won't be quite as good as that based on NA. I hope to change this in the future.
eUnited, the European powerhouse that took second place to Rogue in TaKeOver 2 and won the first OverWatch Contenders qualifier against Misfits is the favourite to take group A.
Group B is extremely interesting thanks to the recent changes to
Laser Kittenz lineup.Recently, team owner Alicus picked up the ex-BK stars head coach Se-Hwi "NamedHwi" Go as an assistant coach for his own squad. Additionally, Alicus was previously the General Manager for Misfits, the first seed in this group.
In Group C, Ninjas in Pyjamas barely qualified and will have a lot to prove and a hard time doing it. NiP was one of the first teams to explore the use of three or four tanks which defined the metagame until fairly recently. With a meta shift to dive and three DPS compositions, they've really been struggling. It will be interesting to see if NiP can overcome their difficulties and go back to being a powerhouse in the EU scene.
Group D has both Movistar Riders and Cyclowns. Both teams have been posting strong results in weekly cups and have traded games against one another and are likely to get through based on their previous results and general skill level.
The other two teams however are nothing to sneeze at and on any given day could create chaos in the group with a couple of upset wins. The Finnish Alfa Squad is ranked 13th in EU on Gosugamers and while they haven't beaten either of the top teams in Group D yet, preparation might give them the edge on game day. The surprise dark horse - team 1 2 3 - showed some great gameplay in their qualifying run and they likewise could upend this group. While it would be a surprise for the top two seeds to not make it, its not entirely outside the realm of possibility.
I for one am very excited to see these stories unfold over the next few weeks and enjoy the inaugural season of OverWatch contenders. I am hoping to see a lot of upsets and great quality games now that these teams all have something to play for and their rosters are set for at least a few weeks if not months at least.