Following a day of heartbreak and shock in Europe, North America will take centre stage tonight. It has been a turbulent time for many of the North American teams with roster swaps a plenty. As the new look rosters compete with the longstanding ones both have the same goal; win as much of the $50,000 as possible and more crucially qualify for Season 1. With Rogue and EnVyUs getting a free pass to Season 1 it means only six of the eight playoff teams will make it through. Contenders has already shown the door to many notable teams, Cloud9, CLG and Selfless to name a few. Only two losses separate these teams from failure, there is no room for error.
The rules and format will be exactly the same as the European playoffs, with the addition that the 7-8th place finishes will not qualify for Season 1.
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 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 11:00 PDT later today with the first two quarterfinals starting off stream. 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 screen. The full schedule is as follows:
- 11:00 PDT / 20:00 CEST / 03:00 KST Quarterfinal 1 - Immortals vs FaZe Clan [off stream]
- 11:00 PDT / 20:00 CEST / 03:00 KST Quarterfinal 2 - LG Evil vs Kungarna [off stream]
- 12:00 PDT / 21:00 CEST / 04:00 KST Quarterfinal 3 - Renegades vs FNRGFE
13:00 PDT / 22:00 CEST / 05:00 KST Quarterfinal 4 Team Liquid vs EnVision [off stream]
14:00 PDT / 23:00 CEST / 06:00 KST Semifinal 1 - Winner of Quarterfinal 1 vs Winner of Quarterfinal 2
16:00 PDT / 01:00 CEST / 08:00 KST Semifinal 2 - Winner of Quarterfinal 3 vs Winner of Quarterfinal 4
18:00 PDT / 03:00 CEST / 10:00 KST Final - Winner of Semifinal 1 vs Winner of Semifinal 2
The 5-6th seeding games will be happening off stream after the Quarterfinals, but the exact timings are not yet known. Once we have more information we’ll bring you the updates and scores on our match ticker.
Since the addition of their Korean staff and players Immortals have gone from strength to strength. Comfortably finishing top of one of the tougher groups, they have a new lease on life and are returning to the form that helped them win the NGE Winter Premiere way back in January. Although there are no clear favourites in the North American side of the tournament, Immortals' name is definitely up there. While they should win this Quarterfinal, whether they have had enough time together as a unit to beat the other big names is a question we will get an answer to today.
FaZe on the other hand, have changed half their roster and have picked up a series of talented individuals but have shown inconsistent form. Drawing more than winning in the group stages, they have excelled on Control and Assault maps but faltered on Escort and Hybrid, perhaps due to the recent formation of the six and a lack of time to practise sufficiently on all modes. The best-of-five series will feature two Control maps and one Assault map, although Immortals are favourites for this fixture, the format lends itself to FaZe’s strengths as they would only need to win those three maps to progress.
On one side we have the team that qualified with the most successful record in groups, LG Evil, while on the other we have Kungarna, who had to go all the way to a best-of-three Oasis tiebreaker against Cloud9 to qualify. LG Evil did have an easier group but their solid, coordinated play has made them a staple in discussions about the best teams in North America (minus Rogue and EnVy of course). They were commanding in all their games and will enter this match as favourites.
The ever-confident mykL and the rest of Kungarna fought tooth and nail for their place here, taking at least two maps off every team in the group of death. They earned five draws in total and, like FaZe, they perform very well on certain modes but poorly on others. Escort and Control are Kungarna’s preferred modes, and again, the format of the tournament plays to this as two Control maps and one Escort map would be enough to see them through. LG Evil should win, but this tournament has been a breeding ground for upsets and we could well see another one here.
This is the clash of two of the most in-form teams currently. Renegades took the group of death by storm and in doing so have made themselves front runners for the title. Everyone expected Renegades to be competitive in the group but the fashion in which they made their way to the front of the pack has excited fans. They are peaking at right time and will be looking to keep their unbeaten run going into the final stretch.
Standing in their way is a team without a sponsor, without a team house and without the same level of experience playing as a unit, FNRGFE. They are a team formed purely for the purpose of playing in this tournament and despite their limited play time, they look like one of the fiercest. With incredible talent in every position, they have quickly gelled to create the team that we saw cause upsets all tournament long, most recently with the 4-0 thrashing of ARC 6. With limited exposure to this team it is hard to say whether they are going through their honeymoon phase or if we can expect to see continued rapid improvement. Luckily, we will be able to witness live on stream whether FNRGFE, the wildcards of this tournament, can take another scalp.
The most lopsided Quarterfinal features a Team Liquid side that has finally started to deliver on its potential. The catalyst seems to have been the addition of APEX Season 1 champion, INTERNETHULK, as head coach. Despite struggling in qualification, once all their players were bootcamping together in the States they excelled, topping a cutthroat Group A. With Fury stepping in for id, Liquid has become yet another American team that has found a new level of play with a Korean infusion.
Their opponents are attempting to incorporate an even newer addition, with former Toronto Esports player Jaru on trial. While an impressive player, Jaru will be trying to fill the sizeable boots of ConnorJ, who is rumoured to have a more lucrative deal lined up. This puts EnVision on the back foot. They were underdogs to begin with, but the loss of a star player make it even more likely that EnVision will end up in a fight to the death to qualify for Season 1. Though saying that, we thought the exact same thing yesterday before Bazooka Puppiez eliminated Misfits in three straight maps. Anything is possible in Contenders.