A day after the group stages for EU finished, the Contenders NA Season Zero Group Stage wrapped up. While the teams advancing out of Europe were guaranteed at least an opportunity to play in Contenders Season One, the teams that made the cut in North America are not out of the woods yet. Only six of the remaining eight teams will join Team EnVyUs and Rogue in Contenders Season One.
Fortunately for the viewers, every match streamed on Sunday mattered, even if that wasn't necessarily the case for every map. In fact, North American Overwatch fans were treated to an extra map of action in the wee hours of the morning, a replay of a tiebreaker between Kungarna and Cloud 9 initially played off-stream. While the other groups weren't quite as close, their final qualifying spots all came down to one final match.
Selfless never returned to their pre-Dafran-ban form, and lost all three matches they played this weekend. That left the remaining three teams of the group tightly packed, with an emphasis on tight. All of the matches without Selfless within the group Sunday were a draw, except for the match between the eventual second and third place finishers.
While FaZe Clan didn't win a single match last weekend, they responded when it counted. Their victory over CLG became the difference between a trip to the playoffs and an early exit. Team Liquid won the group in large part because of their strong performance, and in small part because they kept a consistent performance this week.
As predicted by most, LG Evil rolled through Group B with ease. If anything was surprising, it was just how easy it was for our villains. LG Evil was the only team in North America and Europe to go a perfect 6-0-0. On the other side of the table, You Guys Get Paid? finished last in the group and exit the tournament without ever playing a streamed match.
The battle for second place showed promises of excitement, as EnVision Esports and Toronto Esports battled it out with a playoff spot on the line. However, it quickly became a one-sided affair, in no small part to recent EnVision addition ConnorJ, and the match quietly finished in a 4-0.
The Korean imports of Immortals seemed to have settled into their new homes quite well, as Immortals sported the best map score of any other North American team en route to their group victory. Tempo Storm continued to be the punching bags of the group, that is with one exception.
The newly rebranded ARC 6 could have gone into their final match with second place clinched had they just done to Tempo what every other team in the group had done. Instead, Tempo managed a tie with A6, setting the scene for a contest with FNRGFE for second place in the group. Still, all ARC 6 needed was a tie to advance, planting the odds in their favor. This did not phase the Cinderella corndogs, as they cruised to map win after map win to secure the match with help from their newest addition.
The day for the group of death started with a Tweet from mykL and rebuttal from Kaiser creating a suspenseful opening match that gave users' F5 fingers an early exercise. The match ended with a draw and the group only got more interesting.
While Hollywood Hammers were eliminated early after a rough move to Los Angeles, and while Renegades cruised through the group, they each had a say in who got second place regardless. Hammers clawed their way to a draw with Kungarna in one match while Cloud 9 fought to take the final map from Renagades in the other match in a series of results that conspired to force a one map tiebreaker between Kungarna and Cloud 9. The rivalry would be renewed on a best-of-three Oasis tiebreak. Players were bound by oath to not spoil the results of the match before it was streamed, and so fans who stayed up well past their bedtimes were treated to the match with the same excitement and suspense as if they had watched it live. Kungarna would triumph over tournament favorites Cloud 9, sending the originators of the 2-2-2 flag meta packing.
The four teams knocked out in the quarterfinal will play in a playoff to decide which two teams play in Contenders Season One and which two teams will be twiddling their thumbs at home in the first season. Of course, the teams that make it out of the first round will be playing for their share of a $50,000 prize and the right to call themselves champion of the beta season of Overwatch Contenders. You can check it out next Sunday, July 2, at 6 EST on twitch.tv/overwatchcontenders and on the over.gg match ticker.