The entire season of Overwatch Contenders will come to a close this weekend with the top four teams duking it out to see who will come out on top. With the playoffs being the first event to ever have been hosted at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, California, we certainly know being in a live environment with the roar of the crowd would change up the pace for some of the teams.
#1 Misfits vs #4 Cloud9
Oasis – Cloud9
Eichenwalde – Misfits
Volskaya Industries – Misfits
Watchpoint: Gibraltar – Cloud9
Ilios – Misfits
Cloud9 and Misfits met in week one in the middle of last August, but that was an entirely different Cloud9 roster. After some massive adjustments throughout the season, they’ve shaped up to find themselves with a four seed in the playoffs against the best team in the European region.
Knowing well they would need to find an answer for the powerhouse duo of Andreas “Logix” Berghmans and Kevyn “TviQ” Lindström, it was up to Cloud9’s carries to find a weakness throughout the best of five set. Opening things up on Oasis it was Cloud9’s Michael “MikeyA” Adams who kept Logix in check, finding a late kill on him in the first round to find an early lead. This ultimately transitioned into a big wave of momentum to put Logix down and find the early upset.
Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson and TviQ both played the Junkrat on Eichenwalde, providing a significant damage boost early on. Only TviQ ended up continuing with the pick throughout the map, but they managed to power through two checkpoints before Luís “Greyy” Perestrelo’s Sombra halted all progress. Misfits defense proved to be too strong with their opening hold on Point A pushing them down to the final seconds, not providing Cloud9 with much time for the remainder of the map. Tying up the series 1-1, this is the Misfits we expected to see all series long.
Volsyaka Industries is always a bit of a wildcard and quite often is the biggest worry for teams with the advantage. Sombra is a staple for assault maps and despite a few solid EMPs from Misfits’ defense, it wasn’t enough to stop Nevix and MikeyA’s onslaught.
The magic that we’re so used to seeing from Logix finally came to life on their offensive push. Although it was met with some resistance from Nevix’s Genji, they didn’t allow the underdogs to gain any more ground.
Cloud9 were on their back foot heading into an unlikely Watchpoint: Gibraltar map, one they’ve continued to struggle on all season long yet opted to select. Despite being held three times at the first objective during the regular season, Cloud9 endured, pushing through to nearly three checkpoints before a big misstep off of the payload, despite being in an advantageous situation to complete the map.
A strong middle phase of the map for Cloud9’s defense gave them a glimmer of hope as they attempted to push it to a game five. Things looked rough down the final stretch but in the end Cloud9 had the crowd roaring in their favor as they kept Misfits in check.
Both teams’ seasons came down to one best of three on Ilios which featured an early Widowmaker versus Widowmaker battle on Ruins. Tim “Manneten” Bylund found the best of that mirror matchup which ultimately forced Nevix over to a Genji late in the round.
Cloud9 stood tall throughout the series but ultimately couldn’t pull through, moving Misfits into the grand finals this Sunday. Arguably the best performance we’ve seen from Cloud9 all season long should keep their heads high despite not having the opportunity to face Gigantti or 123. Although it was quite the scare, Misfits managed to keep their perfect record on the season.
Here’s what Mannenten had to say on their victory:
“Obviously, we wanted the match to be more dominating, but it was very close and we have to give it our all. We heard coming into the match that Cloud9 was doing really good in practice online. What surprised me their decisiveness. How quick they were going for attacks and how fast they were.
I think we also played pretty bad the first game, we didn't communicate the way we wanted to. But, in the end we got the win."
Johan “CWoosH” Klingestedt’s post-game thoughts:
“We know the root of the problem, so to speak. We need to focus on our communication and synergy; we know that when we play together and well as a team we can crush anyone. We have a free day and we will try to figure that out. It's about teamwork, Overwatch is always about teamwork.”
#2 Team Gigantti vs #3 123
Ilios – Gigantti
Eichenwalde – Gigantti
Temple of Anubis – Gigantti
In week four of the regular season it was Gigantti finding a convincing 3-1 victory over 123. The big change since then comes from the side of 123, who will be without Denis “Tonic” Rulyov due to visa issues. In his stead it will be David “Nomy” Ramirez, who previously played for Immortals and will be on the San Francisco Overwatch League team. Nomy’s experience should’ve kept 123 close throughout the set, but it’s unfortunate given how polished 123 started to become as the season progressed.
123 got off to a hot start as Gigantti were a little slow to the punch, falling down early on as Tuomo “Davin” Leppänen and Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin couldn’t quite get into their groove. Perhaps it was Finnbjörn “Finnsi” Jónasson’s Widowmaker on Ruins that kept them in check, but after the opening round Gigantti took things away to seal a win.
123 stepped up to the plate and nearly hit a homerun on Eichenwalde with Hafþór “Hafficool” Hákonarson’s Genji being near unstoppable. This transitioned into great Junkrat play to seal an unexpected three points on Eichenwalde. Knowing they needed to find a way to one-up 123, Gigantti put LiNkzr on McCree as they pushed the payload in a dominant fashion.
The second attempt for Gigantti secured yet another win, but the big surprise here is how well 123 matched up with this team. Knowing one of their leaders in Tonic isn’t with the team, I don’t believe anyone imagined them putting up such a great fight against the number two seed from Europe.
A must-win situation for 123 went to Temple of Anubis. 123’s offense looked stellar to get the map underway, but as anticipated a Sombra and Junkrat for the second point defense was too much to handle. After a flip of sides Gigantti powered their way through the first objective. A change was in order with Reaper and Doomfist coming into the fray which ultimately set them up for success to find a 3-0 victory.
A terrific season for 123 came to a close but it wasn’t without a strong fight. Despite falling 0-3, they kept things close throughout all three maps. This result sets up a final to be remembered as Misfits and Gigantti will hit it off on Sunday.
Here’s what Joonas “Zappis” Alakurtti had to say following Gigantti’s games:
“We are going to watch the VODS between Misfits and C9. We have practiced the most vs. Misfits actually. 123 had their VISA problems, and the other high performing teams had OWL tryouts. So we mostly practice with Misfits four hours every day for the past two weeks. We really know how they play and they know how we play, but it has all been online.
We are really going to try and figure out how their play differs when on LAN.”
#1 Team EnVyUs vs #4 FNRGFE
Oasis – EnVyUs
Eichenwalde – EnVyUs
Temple of Anubis – EnVyUs
EnVyUs have been the undisputed best in the west and they decided to throw a curveball at FNRGFE. Brandon “Seagull” Larned joined the team very recently and they decided to put him to use right away in their first match, playing to his advantage given his experience with Pharah.
Although it’s been quite some time since Seagull has seen the stage, not having played for a team in an event in months, his Pharah lit up the skies on Oasis. EnVyUs pushed the pedal to the floor, hardly letting FNRGFE gain sight of the point itself. An intense turnaround was at the hands of Chris “Bani” Benell’s Sombra opening up a window of opportunity with the EMPs.
If Oasis set the stage for anything, it was that this match was going to be a highlight reel for Seagull, Timo “Taimou” Kettunen, and Kim “EFFECT” Hyeon. Even with these three tearing it up, FNRGFE held on in both rounds of the opening map, keeping it tight but not having enough gas in the tank to finish it out.
Heading into the second map EnVyUs brought Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod into the fold, utilizing each player to their strengths. This made things even tougher for FNRGFE who certainly found it difficult to find a solid game plan, never knowing what EnVyUs would toss their way. We all know EnVyUs’ defense is tough to break with Taimou’s Junkrat, but they were taken by surprise as FNRGFE brought one of their own to barrel them down with bombs and secure an early checkpoint.
Containing the rat couldn’t be done as EnVyUs’ outstanding coordination came to fruition as the time dwindled down on their own offensive push, allowing for them to complete the map and put themselves up 2-0. At match point and heading to an assault map, there was no telling what would happen given Bani’s past performances with Sombra, a hero he thrived with during the regular season.
Temple of Anubis proved to be more or less the same story for EnVyUs as it has been all season long. Perhaps a curveball of a map not having played it during the regular season, but Taimou’s Widowmaker went unscathed throughout the match, controlling the pace of the game and ensuring victory. A 3-0 for EnVyUs slots them in the finals on Sunday while FNRGFE’s season is certainly a great one to look back on.
After the match we asked Taimou what he thought about playing with Seagull on LAN:
“It was fun, It’s always fun to play with Brandon. He is a really uplifting person and personality-- he helps the team. He is also really skilled. It has been a running gag that he is either overrated or underrated but I think, mostly, he is underrated
I’m really happy that Seagull did well and the team did well today, I myself played like garbage“
EnVyUs’ coach Kyle “KyKy” Souder on preparing for the grand finals:
“Our prep is mostly looking through the VODS. I will find out what their Tracer does or what their Sombra player does, or how aggressive their support player is. We tailor our team style to be more around that information
We have a reactive play that adjusts to the next team we are playing. It is why teams have a harder time against us, because we are not playing our own style endlessly.”
#3 EnVision Esports vs # 2 FaZe Clan
Ilios – EnVision
Hollywood – FaZe Clan
Volskaya Industries – FaZe Clan
Route 66 – FaZe Clan
The final game of the day was a rematch of the week six matchup with EnVision and FaZe Clan. FaZe dominated their set 4-1 just two weeks ago in an online setting, but moving to a live event could turn the odds in EnVision’s favor given their recent experience.
EnVision expressed their disappointment in their performance during the latter half of the season, but that didn’t seem to shake them up on Ilios as Jani “Tseini” Kähkönen took complete control of the skies over George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha in the Pharah mirror match. This escalated out of control as the match progressed which transitioned into a clean, precise win for EnVision.
The heavy favorites in FaZe Clan came into Hollywood calm, cool, and collected, making EnVision work for every tick of the objective. It took them nearly all four minutes to secure Point A, but a game-changing Tactical Visor by Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey was enough to do the deed.
FaZe showed their potency with Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok’s Hanzo coming out on offense, utterly dismantling EnVision’s defense piece by piece. EnVision pulled through with a few great fights to try to hold them off, but FaZe looked completely in control of the map, tying up the series.
Two weeks ago these teams tied on Volskaya Industries and both were looking to find the edge heading into map three as they sought out the series lead. A strong hold from FaZe on Point A was 30 seconds shy of making a full hold on the objective before EnVision caught them off guard, securing two ticks on Point B.
FaZe Clan opened up the series big time with their push onto Point B. It took quite a bit of effort from their end to break the Sombra defense, but ShaDowBurn’s Genji carved out another win to give them the series lead.
EnVison’s entire season rested on the result of Route 66. They put their faith in Tseini’s Roadhog with the payload in motion, but Carpe’s Tracer kept him in check. Multiple chances for EnVision weren’t capitalized upon, giving prime opportunities for FaZe’s DPS players to shine, keeping them short of grabbing any distance with the payload.
FaZe’s defense set them up for success which ultimately led to an easy win, solidifying their spot in Sunday’s grand finals. With EnVision’s season now over, there’s no doubt their players have a bright future in Overwatch given what they’ve been able to accomplish this season after their purchase of Team Liquid’s spot.
- Misfits vs Gigantti
- EnVyUs vs FaZe Clan
- North America vs Europe Team Deathmatch Showmatch
The Season One Finals of the Overwatch Contenders will resume tomorrow at Twitch.tv./OverwatchContenders at 10am PT/1pm ET.