After the conclusion of the European group stages, we had filtered down hundreds to eight. From here on out it is single elimination, no second chances, no room for failures. With all eight teams qualifying for Season One it's all about the £50,000 prize pool and the chance to be crowned the best team in Europe.
The map pool will continue to be limited with the following maps available to pick from:
- Hybrid - Eichenwalde, Numbani, Hollywood
- Escort - Watchpoint: Gibraltar, Route 66
- Assault - Hanamura, Temple of Anubis
- Control - Lijiang Tower, Nepal, Oasis
The higher seed for each match in the quarterfinals will get first map choice, while the lower chooses the side. From there on it will be losers pick for the map, while winners pick the side.
For the semifinals and final the first map pick will be randomised with no seeding available.
The map choice will be limited by game mode in the following order:
- Map 1 - Control
- Map 2 - Escort
- Map 3 - Assault
- Map 4 - Hybrid
- Map 5 - Control
For the final the series will be extended to a best-of-seven with the final two maps limited as such:
- Map 6 - Escort
- Map 7 - Hybrid
The action kicks off from 16:00 CEST later today with the first two quarterfinals starting off-stream so start stretching your F5 fingers. The stream itself will be in the usual place on twitch.tv/overwatchcontenders with Left Guy and crew bringing you the best action from both on and off stream. The full schedule is as follows:
- 16:00 CEST / 07:00 PDT / 23:00 KST Quarterfinal 3 - 123 vs Rest in Pyjamas [off stream]
- 16:00 CEST / 07:00 PDT / 23:00 KST Quarterfinal 4 - Misfits vs Bazooka Puppiez [off stream]
- 17:00 CEST / 08:00 PDT / 00:00 KST Quarterfinal 1 - eUnited vs Movistar Riders
18:00 CEST / 09:00 PDT / 01:00 KST Quarterfinal 2 - Team Singularity vs Laser Kittenz [off stream]
19:00 CEST / 10:00 PDT / 02:00 KST Semifinal 2 - Winner of Quarterfinal 3 vs Winner of Quarterfinal 4
21:00 CEST / 12:00 PDT / 04:00 KST Semifinal 1 - Winner of Quarterfinal 1 vs Winner of Quarterfinal 2
23:00CEST / 14:00 PDT / 06:00 KST Final - Winner of Semifinal 1 vs Winner of Semifinal 2
The biggest clash of the opening quarter final sees a rematch from TaKeOver 2 where eUnited beat Movistar Riders 2-0. Since then eUnited have gone from strength to strength, peaking last weekend where they did not drop a single map. Meanwhile Movistar lost to 123 and struggled past Alfa Squad. While Movistar have had another week to adjust and incorporate destro into their set up, all cards point towards an eUnited victory.
eUnited have the sharpest dive in Europe and are firm favourites to take Season Zero, despite having the harder side of the bracket. It will take a colossal effort from Movistar to beat eUnited at their own game but if they somehow manage to secure the win it will give them huge momentum moving through the rest of the competition.
Laser Kittenz had a comfortable transition through the group stages and their multi-continental roster is starting to come together. Trading maps with Misfits has started to cement their place as one of the better sides in Europe, but to continue their journey they will have to overcome another team on a similar trajectory, Team Singularity.
Singularity have a style centred around enabling Kragie which often leaves Mande with a lot of opportunity to convert frags. The key battle will be how much freedom the two Danes are allowed against the Laser Kittenz dive. Laser Kittenz have the talent on their roster to shut down Singularity but they will have to work in tandem today to achieve victory. This will likely be a very close game though poor execution from Laser Kittenz could seem them swept away if they are not careful.
The people's champions, 123, continue their march to glory. Coming from nowhere to take first seed in their group, only a fool would underestimate this team now. With so few of their matches broadcast there is still plenty to learn about 123, but the future looks bright. With their opening playoff game against a RiP side that are still figuring out the pieces to their new roster this is a great opportunity for them to progress.
RiP however should not be counted out. One of the longest standing rosters in Overwatch history has a new lease on life. The additions of Davin and LiNkzr have modernised the Finnish dinosaurs and made them battle ready for playoffs. A resurgent performance in Week 2 secured their playoffs spot and without the support of an organisation. Now they will be keen to impress potential suitors as the Overwatch League continues to build its pro player shopping list.
The final matchup is the biggest mismatch. Misfits breezed through the group stages only losing to Laser Kittenz. Since their disappointing LAN showing in Germany they have looked more cohesive and ready to reaffirm themselves as a true contender in Europe. Misfits have had the ingredients for success for a long time now and today will be the perfect time for it to all come together. They are playing a tank heavier style than most teams but this might be their greatest strength. We have same teams try and fail to match eUnited's dive, with the exception of Rogue. A different style might be crucial in stopping them if they meet in the final.
We should not get ahead of ourselves too much though, as Bazooka Puppiez cannot be counted out. They have a talented roster, littered with former pros, and have the potential to capitalise on any weaknesses Misfits leave exposed. It's unlikely, but every dog has its day.