If the incredible action from the North American and European editions of the Overwatch PIT Championship have not been enough for you, the April edition of the Overwatch Monthly Melee is here to keep you going.
This edition of the Overwatch Monthly Melee initially featured 6 invited teams joined by 2 teams fighting through a qualifier for a chance to win their share of the $10,000 prize pool. Despite receiving a direct invite, LG Evil decided to turn it down to give the roster a break, making room for an additional team to earn their spot through the qualifiers. For the five direct invite teams, top North American contenders Rogue, Selfless Gaming, LG Evil and Immortals will be joined by Meta Athena, competing all the way from Korea, and NRG, finally returning to action after rebuilding their roster and then rebuilding again. They are joined by Denial, East Wind and Tempo Storm- fresh off fighting their way out of the twelve team double elimination qualifier event. These 8 teams will now compete in the typical double elimination bracket.
The overall $10,000 prize pool will be split up accordingly:
- 1st: $6,000
- 2nd: $3,000
- 3rd: $1,000
Selfless Gaming have long since established themselves as a team to beat in North America. Unfortunately for them, their last two matches played in the North American PIT Championship against Rogue and then Team Liquid have shown exactly that. However, despite losing both these matches, the team put forward an incredibly strong showing, bring several of the maps to a close loss - clearly indicating this team has what it takes to contend for the top spot. With Rogue being seeded in the other group, Selfless should not have a very difficult time earning a top 2 seed for the group stage and entering the winners bracket during the playoffs. Barring any surprises, expect to see them continue their dominance and make an appearance in the Upper Bracket Finals.
After an incredibly long hiatus, rebuilding their roster, and then once again rebuilding the team, it seems like a dream that NRG will be competing in a tournament. It’s tough to predict what to expect from the team - their new pickups include iddqd and harbleu, both incredibly strong players who have pushed their teams to new heights in the past. With Seagull stepping down, the team brought in Mendokusaii last minute - if his ping holds, he too is an incredibly talented player on paper. The question then becomes is the team ready? Even with Seagull, the team had less than a month to really start developing strategies - a far cry from the time Rogue had before arriving to dominate the North American scene. While the talent of the individual players will carry them far, the true test may well be on Seamoose, who has been spotted coaching NRG recently. His challenge will be to adapt their strategies with Seagull to fit the new roster and for Ajax, the team’s in-game leader, to call these strategies. A top 2 finish in the group stages is not out of the question for this roster if they can bring together their talent and strategies to beat out the rest of their competition. With APEX Season 3 in their sights, expect them to bring nothing but their best.
Immortals has been quiet as of late, not competing in the North American PIT Championship. Irregardless, the team is still a top contender given their performance during the Carbon Series where they beat out LG Evil 3-1 in the Grand Final to win the tournament. It is tough to judge the team based on this performance as despite winning, their overall record 6-4 was a far cry from LG Evil’s 9-1 run. Additionally the Carbon Series was fraught with teams trying out new players and constantly rotating rosters. Either way, Immortals incredible win streak during the later weeks of the tournament indicates a strong team and we will now have to see what the team brings to the Monthly Melee given their break. Also of note is the report that the team turned down an invite to APEX Season 3 due to team burnout - what impact this has on their performance and future remains to be seen.
East Wind fought their way through the twelve team qualifier event to grab their spot in the group stages. The team notably beat out You guys get paid? and Rise Nation without dropping a map in their climb, only falling short to Denial Esports. The team is definitely up for an uphill battle during the group stages with the juggernauts Selfless and Immortals staring down at them. Even NRG, despite returning brand new, has experienced and top players to back them. Given the Monthly Melee’s format, we will see the team in the Playoffs regardless of their performance during the group stages. While a tournament victory seems unlikely for the team, their performance against their opponents throughout the Melee will likely have potential sponsors watching perhaps even Evil Geniuses who are rumored to be picking up the team. With the constant changes in the Overwatch meta, we very possibly may be seeing the making of our next big North American team.
Continuing their dominance in the North American scene, there really isn’t much more to say about Rogue. In line with their previous record, the team beat Selfless 3-2 in the Upper bracket finals for the North American PIT Championship and then handedly defeated Team Liquid 3-1 in the Grand Finals. With their incredibly dominant track record, the pressure will be high on the team to continue their run and win the Monthly Melee. Their match against Selfless especially showed signs of vulnerability for the Rogue roster and while they were able to seize the win in that particular match, another match up might easily go the other way. With their sights set on APEX Season 3 in the very near future, expect them to have been ramping up their practice to make a wave against their Korean competitors.
Seeing Meta Athena’s name as a competitor really makes me wish we had more LAN tournaments in the Competitive Overwatch scene. If this tournament were to be played with even ping, the outcome of this entire tournament could be entirely different. However, with the team playing from Korea, one can’t help but remember how the last Melee panned out for RunAway where they lost their first match in the playoffs. Ideally we’ll get a good taste of the innovative plays Meta Athena has become renowned for and let these memories tide us over until the start of APEX Season 3.
Denial has been on the list of up-and-coming teams for quite some time now and finally yesterday during the qualifiers the team proved their worth. They swiftly won all of their games in a dominant 2-0 fashion securing themselves first choice of group to join for the group stages. However, while the team looked strong in their matches, they were plagued by a strong backlash to their method of cutting former teammate jolson in favor of bringing in Silkthread for DPS. We’ll have to see if the team is able to put their roster issues aside and bring the same level of performance they did during the qualifiers in order to stand a chance during the Monthly Melee playoffs.
While Denial sailed through the qualifiers, Tempo Storm had to work a little harder for their spot. The team notably beat out Gale Force eSports in the upper bracket before falling to the lower bracket by the hand of Denial. For their last two matches, the team faced off and defeated Counter Logic Gaming and Rise Nation, both established teams. In a certain sense, this roster is quite tested and proved against other qualifier teams; however, their loss against Denial who are in the same group as Tempo Storm raises questions. The team’s performance over the duration of the Monthly Melee will be a strong indicator for where they lie in comparison to the rest of the North American scene.
As always you can follow along the action and progress of teams through our event pages and match ticker. Group stage information can be found here and will be played on April 15th. Teams will face off the others in their group in a Round Robin format to determine their seeds for the Playoff stage. Information on the Playoff matches can be found here and matches will be played on April 16th.
Graphics by Saloni Doshi Designs.