Europe's finest turned up on Saturday (minus Cyclowns) with one clear goal: qualify for playoffs to secure that lucrative Season One spot and a shot at $50,000. After last week's action a lot was still undecided. Upsets across the board meant most groups had at least three teams with a realistic shot of qualifying.
Despite the array of matches and potential for close, group-defining series, the games selected for streaming were all unfortunately duds... at least until the final match of the day where eUnited squashed Team Expert's dreams. While not the most spectacular of matches, they did serve as a showreel for many of the teams making it through to playoffs.
ESPORATI continued their expected route, getting thoroughly trounced in Week 2. They fielded an upgraded roster featuring Txao, velan and N1kola but still lost every game 4-0. Though their misfortune set the stage for a tense three way battle for qualification.
After starting the day with a 4-0 loss to eUnited, Bazooka Puppiez clutched their must win game against Team expert to cling to their qualification hopes. BP went on to win 4-0 against ESPORATI as did Team expert. While eUnited catapulted themselves to the top of the group and into a qualification spot, Bazooka Puppiez and Team expert were left neck and neck. Team expert may have lost both games up until that point, but their strong performances in Week 1 meant their fate was still in their hands.
One final game against an eUnited side that had been on fire today. One map win would secure at least a tiebreaker for the (mostly) Germans, two map wins would ensure qualification. The Puppiez could do nothing more but clench and look on as they prayed for eUnited's hot streak to continue. The first map was a convincing 3-0 to eUnited, as was the second but this was not unknown territory for expert. In last week's fixture they also lost the first two maps against eUnited before bringing back the next two. It was still within reach. Alas, Anubis would be lost as well, though it was closer. With one map left to hang on their play-off dreams on, cRNKz strapped on his teammate-laden backpack as they made one final attempt on Route 66. A poor push, barely past the first check point, was not what Team expert would have hoped for, but a spirited defence meant eUnited only captured first point with 26 seconds remaining. A complete misuse of ultimates would be Team expert's final mistake, as it opened the door for eUnited to take their third consecutive 4-0 of the tournament.
A true horror show of a day for Team expert, throwing away their impressive Week 1 performance. They are now left with the prospect of Open Division and the open road. Whether this is enough to keep the team motivated remains to be seen. If you are a fan of car crashes and natural disasters you can check out the VODs.
Though Team expert's exit stole the headlines, let it not be forgotten that eUnited thoroughly outclassed every opponent in Week 2 and will go into playoffs as one of the favourites.
A far less dramatic spectacle was a foot in Group B. Misfits and Laser Kittenz cemented their place in playoffs breezing past a NWA side with two stand-ins and a Team Esporters Cyberathletes side who lacked experience against this level of competition.
The most notable result was Misfits beating Laser Kittenz, getting some revenge for last week. This would ultimately secure Misifts the top seed going into playoffs and a much easier draw in the quarter-finals. Misfits looked like a top quality side in the opening match on stream but inconsistent form has hurt them before. An easier side of the bracket might be the ticket they need to gain their first championship since going full Swede.
Team Singularity continued their steady climb to notoriety as Kragie's Bastion antics were lighting up the stream. They secured top seed off the back of solid performances in both weeks and should be a team to watch as we enter the playoffs next week.
Following NiP releasing one of the longest standing rosters in Overwatch the newly christened Rest in Pyjamas proved they were dead in acronym alone. With the addition of Davin the Finns took victories over their two biggest rivals.
By the time RiP lost to their bogey team in Gamers Origin, the crumbling fortunes of Vivi's Adventure meant their second place spot was already secure. With only a week to prepare for playoffs, there are still a lot of questions to be asked of RiP, but on paper this line-up seems much more suited for the age of dive.
If you missed Chef Sideshow's recipe for success and don't know your 123's from your ABC's, then you had better start paying attention because these guys are for real. Not content with knocking out notable teams in qualifiers, then managing a draw against one of Europe's best dive teams, Movistar Riders. In Week 2 they went one step further and beat the Spanish based hombres 3-1. While Movistar were attempting to incorporate new starter, destro, this should not take away from the meteoric rise of 123.
Movistar still qualified as expected with Cyclown's folding and Alfa Squad struggling to match the more experienced side. Though this second place finish has plotted a collision course for a rematch of Europe's kings of dive, seeding Movistar against eUnited. At TaKeOver 2, eUnited won 2-0 but Movistar are no pushovers and will be out for blood.
With all that said and done the European field has been filtered down to a top eight.
The top side of the bracket looks to be the more stacked, but there will be no easy games from this point on. You can catch all the action on Saturday 1st July from 17:00 CEST (08:00 PDT) in the same place twitch.tv/overwatchcontenders and as always our match ticker will be the place to be for all the latest scores from all games.
Where will 123's upward surge end? Will Misfits maintain their form? Who will be crowned the kings of European dive? Can Laser Kittenz sign enough Koreans in time to win next week's game? We'll find out next week when the saga continues...