Written by Dave Throop
Season 0 of Blizzard’s Overwatch Contenders league has come to a close with champions being decided in both Europe and North America. Hundreds of teams were whittled down into group stages which finally seeded a single elimination 8 team tournament July 1st and 2nd. Learn more as Overwatch Contenders comes to a close.
This was the most important Overwatch tournament to date thus far. Contenders offered a large $50 000 prize pool for the winning team along with guaranteed slots in season 1 of Contenders. While information on Overwatch League has been limited thus far, Contenders has been set up to be the ‘minor’ league making performing here critical for those with professional aspirations.
Playoff action began in Europe and was rather one sided right from the start. All four initial series were 3-0 sweeps, quickly removing half of the teams from the competition. The semi finals were slightly closer, but the victories were still very decisive as both series would end in a 3-1 score line. 123 walked past Bazooka Puppies while eUnited dismantled Lazer Kittenz in order to advance to the European finals.
With both teams having done so well all day, they were performing at their peaks just in time for the series that mattered most. Despite this, when the two met in game the difference in abilities was apparent. While 123 was able to secure Oasis, eUnited was the favourite and showed it by playing far better on the rest of the maps and the series overall. While 123 was certainly able to make a statement for themselves as a team, they eventually fell 4-1 and eUnited were crowned the European champions.
While eUnited gets to take home $50 000, 123 will be content knowing their performance will have garnered the attention of many prolific esports organizations that have yet to solidify their Overwatch roster.
The next day action began in North America and gave us a more interesting first round of play. LG was upset by Kungarna and removed from the competition in a swift 3-1 loss. One series also ended up going the full give games. FNRGFE was able to scrape by the Detroit Renegades in an intense series that would be indicative of what lay ahead for FNRGFE.
Immortals looked unstoppable in their first two series, advancing to the finals without dropping a single map, making one semi final a short affair. The other between FNRGFE and Team Liquid proved to be far more interesting. The series went the full five games with the deciding match being played on Nepal. To make the series as close as possible, this final map also went the full five rounds setting the stage for the most controversial moment of the tournament.
In a moment many casual players will have heard a complaint about in game, a player from FNRGFE is able to get onto the point in order to contest it turning over to Team Liquid’s possession. The game did not seem to register his presence on the point however, and Liquid secured it with a player from FNRGFE directly in the center of the point. You can watch the clip for yourself here.
With the anomaly going their way Team Liquid was able to secure the round, game and series in order to put themselves in the championship against an unmatched Immortals roster. There was no cooling off period for Immortals in this tournament, and while the series was ultimately closer than the scoreline suggests they were able to easily walk past Team Liquid and win the North American title 4-1.
You can watch the VoD for the final North American series here if you missed the action live, and all previous Contenders series including European action on the official Overwatch Contenders Twitch channel.
It is not clear yet what the next step for these teams will be as the community patiently awaits more news from Blizzard. One thing is certain for them however, and that is that their performances at Season 0 of Overwatch Contenders will give them an advantage over other players looking to make a career out of professional Overwatch.
Dave Throop is a decade long esports fanatic from Toronto. Originating in console FPS and sports games he has since expanded to PC games and MOBAs to become a fan of nearly all major competitive titles across multiple platforms. His favourite titles include Halo, Overwatch and League of Legends.