The dust has settled over the North American and European qualifiers for Overwatch Contenders Season Zero and the group stages on both sides have been set. Both qualifiers had over 600 teams sign-up, and among them included some familiar faces on some not-so-familiar teams. A few of these mix teams had good showings, qualifying for the group stage or ending up just a match short. These teams include FNRGFE, Bazooka Puppiez, Ninjas with Attitude, and Kelvin and the Chipmunks, but what exactly are their statuses? Just Contenders mixes or new contenders in the mix?
- Casey "buds" McIlwaine (DPS)
- Matt "clockwork" Dias (DPS)
- Austin "Muma" Wilmot (Tank)
- Carl "enigma" Yangsheng (Flex)
- Daniel "Boink" Pence (Support)
- Chris "Bani" Benell (Support)
As the highest seeded team in either region among those listed, FNRGFE has the honors of going first in this article. With two-thirds of the former Gale Force eSports included as part of the team, it's hard to say if the "corndogs" are a successor to GFE or if they should be treated as a new roster. According to main tank Muma, FNRGFE plan on staying together after Contenders and are currently on the hunt for an organization.
The team performed well above expectations and are off to a promising start in the tournament. For engima and clockwork, two players cut from a rebuilding NRG, the tournament could have been considered a success before they even qualified for the group stage. The team knocked out NRG in the Round of 32 before winning their next match to qualify. That match, a Round of 8 match versus Selfless, is where most would have expected their run through the qualifiers to end, but they would not be denied. They ended up falling to eventual qualifier winner FaZe. After ending up with a seeding in the top four, it seems as if the additions of Buds and enigma have given a spark to the former lineup of GFE.
- Toni "Ube" Häkli (Flex)
- Artem "kensi" Budiak (DPS)
- Mihail Cristian "Meza" Păunecu (Tank)
- Metehan "Mete" Aksüt (Flex)
- Ruben "Rubikon" Zurabyan (Support)
- Rikard "klanton" Lundberg (Support)
- Kiryl "Anak" Nikalayenka (Substitute)
When Bazooka Puppiez first showed up on the Contenders' teams page, there were some who thought it was proof that Laser Kittenz really had been making a sister team. They had brought in way more than six players – this new roster was full of well-known names who had played on top teams – and the logo and name matched with that of LK. That was not the case, after all. Bazooka Puppiez is made up of ex-Team LDLC players, plus Rubikon, who came together for the sake of playing in Contenders. According to the Bazooka Puppiez Twitter, they have similar intentions to FNRGFE, and hope to find an organization together.
The team bested GamersOrigin to qualify for group stages before falling to Team Singularity Ninjas in the quarterfinals. The team is hoping to be picked up by an organization together, and audiences everywhere hope that organization lets them keep their name and logo.
- Marcus "Realzx" Vining (DPS)
- Patrick "Wat7" Marwal (Tank)
- Hafþór "Hafficool" Hákonarson (Flex)
- Emil "eMIL" Sandgren (Flex)
- Elvinas "evokje" Padegimas (Support)
- Kha "iPN" Nguyen (Support)
- Michael "MikeyA" Adams (Substitute)
- Michael "moursi" Moursi (Substitute)
This team is technically not a new team. Last Fall, NWA was potentially the best unsigned team in Europe, constantly putting up stellar performances in weeklies. Then the roster became one of the first examples of a team that shined too brightly, too quickly, as the roster was picked apart and split between several different organizations before it ever had a chance to find one for its own. Since then, the organizations of most of the original lineup have left Overwatch and their rosters have split, giving the players the opportunity to put the band back together. New ninjas that weren't with the original roster include eMIL and iPN, as well as MikeyA and Moursi cheering their squad on from the bench. While NWA hasn't made any plans yet, flex player Hafficool believes the team will continue playing together after Contenders.
NWA made it to the semifinals of day two before dropping to a revitalized GamersOrigin. NWA can take pride that they have already performed well enough to be part of the reason why NiP are the third highest seeded ninjas in Europe.
- Brandon "Seagull" Larned (DPS)
- Calvin "Calvin" Chau (DPS)
- James "Cloneman16" D'Arcangelo (Tank)
- Nicolas "NicolasTJO" Aubin (Flex)
- Alex "Ajax" Jackson (Support)
- Taylor "b1am" Forrest (Support)
- Brian "Kephrii" St. Pierre (Substitute)
- Bradford "PYYYOUR" Ross (Coach)
- Matt "flame" Rodriguez (Analyst)
Kelvin and the Chipmunks are the biggest outliers on this list for a number of reasons. They didn't qualify for the group stages (although they did finish in the top 16 among North American teams that participated in the qualifiers). They were the most watched team of any team participating by far in large part due to Seagull being on the team and streaming matches. In fact, not only were their matches streamed, but their scrims were streamed, as well. When this team was first announced, some likened it to the American version of Team Välfärd, a roster made up mostly of players who had previously played on top tier teams and were streaming their scrims to educate viewers. Rather than split after their lone tournament appearance like the players of Välfärd agreed to do after the second TaKeOver qualifier, viewers might see Kelvin and the Chipmunks again. Coach PYYYOUR left the door open to plans for the possibility of the team playing together again in the future or randomly for sets of scrim blocks.
On day one, they lost to Selfless in the Round of 16. On the second day, they lost to CLG in the quarterfinals, a placing that would earn them the right to play in a round robin for an opportunity to qualify for groups. They would be unable to beat their round robin opponents, however, and thus fail to advance into the next stage.
It seems as if none of these teams want to suffer from the same fate as the original NWA, with even the most uncertain of the teams liking their chances of staying together. While Contenders initially seemed as if it was going to be a great opportunity for longtime players to come out of hibernation and showcase their skills to teams, it appears many players now hope Contenders ends up being a great opportunity for their new teams to showcase their skills to sponsors and organizations.