Yesterday, the top eight teams in North American Contenders went head-to-head in four matches to determine who continues on their playoff run. Current champions Fusion University almost fell to an astonishingly good Team Envy, but came out with a 3-2 score. Successful unsigned organization Second Wind beat First Generation with another 3-2. XL2 took down Uprising Academy with a 3-1, as did their future opponents ATL Academy, who defeated NRG Esports (3-1). Read on to see who we think will move on to the Grand Finals on Sunday, January 13.
North American Contenders has had a long, fun, and sometimes wild Season 3. We saw teams enter into an arena dominated by a triple-tank, triple-support meta in which their success banked on coordination and split-second decisions. Many teams failed. As it stands, eight teams remain to battle it out this weekend for national dominance.
In the final week of regular season North American Contenders competition, we saw teams secure miracle playoff positions and keep their dreams alive. Group A was a predictable bunch, where top teams continued their dominance and renewed the hype for the postseason. Group B was an entire other animal; three teams’ playoff dreams came down to map count and last-minute spoiler plays to confirm seeding.
Stay tuned later in the day for the really good stuff: playoff predictions.
Four down, one to go. After a short break for the holidays, North American Contenders returns with the final week in the regular season. While Group A’s playoff group is pretty solidly decided, Group B is still a middle ground toss-up that will come down to map differential. Remember that, due to the holiday, Week 5’s matches are on Wednesday and Thursday instead of Tuesday and Wednesday. (I can only assume this switch is because nobody wants to be playing competitive Overwatch hungover.)
“Overwatch League is not an anime.”
Those words echoed across the OWL Twitterverse two days ago, a pebble thrown into a still offseason hiatus lake. It was another hot take from Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles, a lead analyst and caster of the Overwatch League, a criticism of the emotionality and unreasonable hope some fans have towards their teams. It’s true: The Overwatch League isn’t an anime. But traditional sports have benefitted from the storylines, plot twists, and redemption arcs inadvertently built by their teams for centuries. Why shouldn’t we?
Woaaahhhh we’re (over) halfway there 🎵. It’s Week 3 of North American Contenders, and we can start thinking about playoffs. XL2, Second Wind, ATL Academy, and Fusion University have already secured their playoff spots and their domination of games this week shows that. Other teams gave us a reason to keep rooting for them – namely, First Generation, Uprising Academy, Team Envy, and NRG Esports, none of whom made it easy for their competitors this week. And yet other teams…better start planning their pity parties. As far as individual matches go, keep reading to get the full recap.
The second week of North American Contenders is complete, and we’re getting a good dose of holiday spice. If you missed out on some matches, never fear, we have you covered. Due to personal circumstances, I missed recapping Week 1 of Contenders, but don’t worry. The “theme” of Week 1 applies to this week’s matches as well: Academy teams can bleed, don’t underestimate the importance of a D.Va, and Second Wind creates miracles. Read on for recaps, match MVPs, and next week’s predictions!
Contenders season is upon us. It’s a very exciting time, but for many fans who are new to the Overwatch League and the Overwatch esports scene as a whole, entering into the wide open world of Tier 2 competition is daunting. I’ve heard a lot of excuses.
“I don’t know any of the players, who do I root for?”
“When is it even on? Isn’t it ALWAYS on?”
“I only know OWL, I feel like I’m not informed enough to start Contenders now.”
Good news. I’m here to get you on the Contenders train.
I’ll be blunt with you, especially those of you who have only watched the Overwatch League. There’s still another two months until OWL returns, there’s nothing else on, and whether you admit it or not, you’ll miss the action of games eventually. Luckily for us, there are seven – yes, SEVEN – active regions of Contenders that are almost always playing. Here are ten good reasons, from Contenders talent, coaches, and analysts, to stop crying into your stack of Outlaws jerseys and join the Contenders party.
In the last few months, six of the eight new expansion teams participating in Overwatch League’s second season have revealed their branding and team colors. Fans eagerly await branding reveals, whether to see how new teams fit in the League or to find out how ugly the jersey they’re buying for their favorite player will be. In any case, I found that many media outlets have posted brand updates, but haven’t really passed judgement on them. That’s what I’m here for.
This year’s Overwatch World Cup featured teams from all across the world, stacked with talented players and coaches. Before Blizzcon, a math equation developed in the minds of many viewers: more Overwatch League players + World Cup = an easy win. But by the time Team USA, Team France, and Team Finland were unceremoniously knocked out of competition on Day 1, it became obvious that wasn’t true. If three of the most OWL-player-heavy teams couldn’t do it, who could?
The underdogs, that’s who. I’ve decided to highlight a few players who showed their mettle, helped their teams, and gave game-winning performances at the World Cup…and who aren’t in the Overwatch League.* Yet.