All eight teams had already qualified for Season 1, so the day was all about becoming champions of Europe. eUnited were looking to break the their second place curse, Misfits wanted to earn their first championship as a full Swedish roster, while Rest in Pyjamas looked to prove they were still worthy of a sponsor. As well as a host of up and coming teams looking to make their mark on the big stage. It was a day of shocks and upsets, all aboard the European roller coaster.
The off stream games kicked off the day, and what a start it was. Bazooka Puppiez rocked Misfits in their opening game, cruising to a 3-0 victory that left the Swedes in tatters. Meanwhile on the same side of the bracket the RiP revival was swiftly halted in its tracks by the ascendant 123.
On stream we got to see eUnited carry on where they left off, thoroughly outclassing Movistar Riders. The Spanish-based team have struggled to recreate the form that earned them their stature in the European scene. A lot of work is ahead of them as they continue to incorporate destro into their line-up.
The final match was also off stream and saw a promising Team Singularity beaten with little resistance by Laser Kittenz. A strong result that may be the beginning of Laser Kittenz team performances matching their roster quality. The rest of the day would determine how far they had actually come.
Off stream the four losers of the Quarterfinals played off against each other to determine the prize money split between 5/6th and 7/8th. Misifts continued their downward spiral losing to RiP 3-1. Singularity and Movistar went all the way in an insanely close series that was only concluded when Singularity won in the fifth and final round of the fifth and final map, Lijiang Tower. A small victory for the Danes, though ultimately all these teams are still qualified for Season 1. The Danes, Swedes and Finns will all be preoccupied with the World Cup Qualifiers over the next four weeks.
This paupers matchup kicked off the semifinals with the two remaining unsponsored teams eager to impress. The opening map, Oasis, was taken comfortably by 123. Mistakes was dominating kensi in the Tracer battle and, as a whole, 123 looked far more coordinated. As the match moved on to Watchpoint: Gibraltar, Bazooka Puppiez continually sloppy play allowed 123 to capture all three points. Things were looking dire for Puppiez, but suddenly Ube and kensi came alive and clutched several crucial situations that eventually allowed the Puppiez to complete the map. The second round culminated in a last gasp hangar phase that saw more miracles from the Puppiez as they held strong in to their defence to win the map barely a metre from defeat.
What followed was a return to the first map, as 123 maintained their solid teamwork and consistently outplayed their opposition. Rubikon was repeatedly exposed with little support from his team, and this allowed 123 to win the vast majority of team fights. Magnificent Self Destructs from Mete and decisive Dragon Blades from Ube kept them in with a fighting chance. Ultimately, Bazooka Puppiez were over reliant on these big plays. Despite their strong individual performances (kensi in particular), they never came together as a unit. 123 won both Anubis and Hollywood to clinch their place in Season Zero's European Final.
123 had come from nowhere and exceeded expectations tenfold already. Their Contenders story was not over yet though, as they had now earned themselves an opportunity to be crowned the best team in Europe.
It started on Oasis. eUnited struggled to find an answer to Greyy's Sombra play, which gave Laser Kittenz the platform they needed to secure the map. The opposite happened on Watchpoint: Gibraltar when there was no Sombra to contend with. eUnited's dive was able to pick apart a Laser Kittenz, who struggled to get a six man push going. eU tied things up with Kruise looking outstanding so far in the series.
Temple of Anubis was to be the third map and Greyy was at it again. His Sombra antics would help Laser Kittenz secure a quick opening attack with a clever move, hacking the Point B packs while his team capped A. eUnited hit back with an even quicker time, with 6:11 remaining. Some big Pulse Bombs from vallutaja helped eUnited delay Point A for a long time and from there it was relatively straightforward to take the rest of the map.
Eichenwalde would be the fourth map. Laser Kittenz had a promising start but as they moved into the payload phase they found themselves repeatedly picked before they could execute a proper engagement. This bled a lot of time off the clock and they were not able to capture second point. With the roles were reversed and hamstrung by their own poor attack, it seemed inevitable that Laser Kittenz would be unable to hold on. eUnited pushed over the line with time to spare, securing themselves yet another spot in a tournament Final.
The stage was set. On one side, eUnited who had continued to tower over their opposition with well executed dives. On the other, 123, who had taken Europe by storm, making it all the way to the top on their first attempt. 123 had been gifted an easier bracket, especially with Misfits falling so hard, but they were to face their greatest challenge yet.
It was an explosive start on Oasis as 123 took an early lead in the first round, but eUnited made a valiant run back before a superb Sound Barrier from Denia helped push 123 over the line. From there it was clear sailing for 123 on a map eUnited had struggled on previously.
The hype train would not slow down as 123 began Route 66 with snillo playing Mei on attack. Busting open the first point, 123 were putting Boombox under more pressure than any other team has managed in this tournament. The lack of a D.Va in eUnited's composition was being made apparent, so uNFfixed made the switch. Once again, as had been the trend for the day, eUnited's attack was better. The series tied 1-1 as we moved on to the Temple of Anubis.
A questionable choice from 123 given eUnited's recent performances on the map. In fairness, 123 also has a strong Anubis record, but eUnited would outshine them on the night with a strong defence and a well-snowballed attack from Point A to B. 123 could never recover and the map quickly went the way of eUnited to take the lead for the first time in the series.
After losing on two of eUnited's better maps, 123 took them to Hollywood. 123's fortunes did not change though as their defence was disposed of in rapid fashion. vallutaja, who had been so well contained in the early parts of this series, was now unleashed and picking apart 123 at his leisure. A spirited fight back from 123 allowed them to finish the map in overtime; they then had to defend first point to earn a draw but they were quickly undone and eUnited moved to tournament point.
As they moved back to Control, it would be Lijiang Tower and uNFixed was on D.Va, providing more support and cover for Boombox. While on the other side, bock1 was being bullied relentlessly as Kruise and vallutaja ramped up the pressure. 123, as ever, would not go down without a fight, but eUnited stayed composed and finished the series right there and then.
So it was that eUnited were crowned champions of Europe and had broken their second place curse. Thoroughly deserving of the title, they were the most polished team in the tournament by far. Going unbeaten throughout all stages of the tournament, their only blips were draws in the opening week of the Group Stages. They had the best dive execution in the tournament and the best ultimate efficiency. Despite having to play nine maps in a row to finish the tournament, their level never dropped and they will certainly be favourites going into Season 1.
123, while defeated, still exceeded everyone's expectations and should be riding high on the lists of potential investors and sponsors out there. Even against eUnited they held their own - they may have lost 4-1 but were competitive on all maps. Dennia was outstanding on Lucio and snillo has started to make himself a name as a Soldier 76. The entire team performed admirably to the bitter end. As the series went on the experience of eUnited shone through. They were able to adapt, giving Boombox the extra protection he required while simultaneously unleashing Kruise and vallutaja to create space and expose bock1 repeatedly. Regardless, 123 have undoubtedly proven their talent and earned many new fans along the way.
Remember, Top 8 have all qualified for the $100,000 Contenders EU Season 1, starting August 14th.
- 1st: eUnited ($25,000)
- 2nd: 123 ($10,000)
- 3rd-4th: Bazooka Puppiez ($4,000)
- 3rd-4th: Laser Kittenz ($4,000)
- 5th-6th: Rest in Pyjamas ($2,500)
- 5th-6th: Team Singularity ($2,500)
- 7th-8th: Misfits ($1,000)
- 7th-8th: Movistar Riders ($1,000)
- 9th-12th: Alfa Squad
- 9th-12th: Team eSporters Cyberathletes
- 9th-12th: Team expert
- 9th-12th: Vivi's Adventure
- 13th-16th: ESPORATI
- 13th-16th: GamersOrigin
- 13th-16th: Ninjas With Attitude
- 13th-16th: Cyclowns (dropped)
North America is up next with even more on the line with the bottom two teams being left out of Season 1. Stay tuned for a long summer of Overwatch.