The North American action just won't quit, as today sees the return of the BEAT Invitational for Season 2. This time eight of America's finest will be facing off in a double elimination bracket for $6,000. The cash will be split amongst the top three, with over half of it going to first place. Coming hot of the heels of Contenders NA Season Zero, it will be a shot at redemption for five of these teams who failed to qualify for Season 1. We will also get to see Rogue's much-anticipated return to North America. Despite a prolonged absence, the Frenchmen will come into this as favourites and should be more than ready to defend their throne.
All games will be best-of-fives with a couple of exceptions. The Lower Bracket Round 1 and Round 2, which will be best-of-threes and the final, which will be a best-of-seven.
The first map pick will be decided by a coin flip with the losing team picking the map from there. The team that does not pick the map will pick the sides. With the exception of the final where the team from the upper bracket will get to choose maps 1, 3, 5 and 7.
The map pool will be limited as follows:
- Lijiang Tower
- King's Row
- Volskaya Industries
- Temple of Anubis
For the best-of-five series another two maps will be added to the pool:
- Route 66
And for the best-of-seven a further two maps will be added to the pool:
If there are any drawn maps we will go to a best-of-three, randomly selected, Control map as a tiebreaker.
The tournament will take place across three days and all matches will be streamed on the twitch.tv/beatesports, as well as foreign language streams in Russian on twitch.tv/overwatchruhub and in French on twitch.tv/ogamingoverwatch.
The full schedule will be as follows (all series are best-of-five unless otherwise stated):
Friday - July 7th
- 14:30 PDT / 23:30 CEST / 04:30 KST Quarterfinal 1 - Immortals vs Counter Logic Gaming
- 16:15 PDT / 01:15 CEST / 06:15 KST Quarter final 2 - LG Evil vs EnVision
- 18:00 PDT / 03:00 CEST / 08:00 KST Lower Bracket Round 1, Match 1 (bo3)
- 19:00 PDT / 04:00 CEST / 09:00 KST Upper Bracket Round 1, Match 1
Saturday - July 8th
- 11:00 PDT / 20:00 CEST / 01:00 KST Quarterfinal 3 - FNRGFE vs ARC 6
- 12:45 PDT / 21:45 CEST / 02:45 KST Quarterfinal 4 - Rogue vs Tempo Storm
- 14:30 PDT / 23:30 CEST / 04:30 KST Lower Bracket Round 1, Match 2 (bo3)
- 15:30 PDT / 00:30 CEST / 05:30 KST Upper Bracket Round 1, Match 2
- 17:15 PDT / 02:15 CEST / 07:15 KST Lower Bracket Round 2, Match 1 (bo3)
- 18:15 PDT / 03:15 CEST / 08:15 KST Lower Bracket Round 2, Match 2 (bo3)
Sunday - July 9th
- 11:00 PDT / 20:00 CEST / 01:00 KST Upper Final
- 12:45 PDT / 21:45 CEST / 02:45 KST Lower Bracket Round 3
- 14:30 PDT / 23:30 CEST / 04:30 KST Lower Bracket Final
- 16:15 PDT / 01:15 CEST / 06:15 KST Grand Finals (bo7)
It is hard to argue against tipping Rogue for the top spot in this tournament. Despite an early exit in APEX Season 3, they bounced back instantly to win TaKeOver 2 in Germany. They have had the best dive in the West for a long time and with the meta showing no signs of abating, their reign is expected to continue. On top of this they did not have to play Season Zero as they were invited directly to Season 1. This break will have given them time to learn from their mistakes in Korea and come back even stronger. While the North American scene has been improving as of late, with it being a double elimination bracket Rogue would have to lose two series or at least one best-of-seven to not take the crown. To put that in to context, Rogue have only lost two series so far this year, first against Kongdoo Panthera, then Lunatic-Hai – two teams who are now the APEX Season 3 finalists.
The other team showing recent dominance has been Immortals, who looked a cut above the rest in Contenders Season Zero. The introduction of FaTe and KariV and the Korean support staff has changed the way they play for teh better. Their frugal ultimate usage gives them a huge advantage over most North American teams. Furthermore, their target selection has been top tier, but this weekend they are facing the masters of focus fire, Rogue, who will certainly be their toughest test to date.
Fortunately for Immortals they find themselves on the opposite side of the bracket, so their first encounter with Rogue could well be the Upper Final and it wouldn't be a surprise if we saw a rematch in the Grand Final too. Rogue are the team to beat here but they have had their dive stifled by Koreans before, so you can be sure Immortals will have been preparing to do exactly that.
The dark horse
FNRGFE find themselves oddly positioned between the rest of the teams. They do not appear to be as refined as Rogue and Immortals but are also the only other team to qualify for Season 1 in this tournament. They are a gifted team who thrive on momentum and at times they look as good as anyone, yet underwhelming at others.
While the talent of the roster means they can take maps off anyone, they still struggle to find the consistency to take series. FNRGFE have been on the rise for a while now, but this weekend's tournament comes only a week after Season Zero, so practice time has been limited. We should still expect them to rise above the remaining five teams and be competitive with Rogue and Immortals. If the stars align they may cause a notable upset.
For everyone else this tournament is about redemption; they all failed at various stages to qualify for Season 1 and have been left in the wastelands of the open circuit. All five have shown promise at one time or another but those memories are clouded by recent disappointments. While realistically they will not be taking the title, a deep run or even a Grand Final appearance will be seen as a significant win for these teams.
ARC 6 and CLG narrowly missed out on the playoff stage in Season Zero and both have made similar moves to try and improve their team. ARC 6 have added Custa, who adds much-needed experience to their mix of raw talent. While CLG have recruited perennial mercenary, silkthread, who will bring a little star quality to their previously lacking hitscan department.
EnVision were able to make playoffs but were unable to make any real impact. ConnorJ leaving raised big questions about the team's ability to compete at this level. Although they made it further in Season Zero than many of their opponents here, they were gifted an easier group and struggled to be up to the challenge. It seems unlikely that their fortunes will change here.
Their fellow Group B duds, LG Evil are in a downward spiral, crashing out of playoffs last week, followed by talks of taking a break. They were already committed to this tournament and will be lining out tonight desperate to prove they are still capable. It will be an uphill battle in this meta for them, but a good run here could provide a much-needed trampoline to break their fall and bounce back.
Lastly comes Tempo Storm, a team who were obliterated in the Contenders group stages, failing to live up to their early promise. They will have to perform this time around if they hope to be held in the same regard as other Tier 2 NA teams. They have brought in Luddee on Lucio following the departure of Jkw. With an opening game against Rogue and the reduced margin for error created by lower bracket best-of-threes, they will certainly have their work will be cut out for them. It could be another tough weekend for Tempo.