With an extra two games this week, the North American side of Contenders Season 1 is moving into crunch time as it could be do-or-die for some of the teams languishing at the bottom of the table. With only four teams qualifying and Rogue and Immortals getting off to rough starts, it has really opened the door for the rest of the pack.
This week we are changing the format up a bit to allow all staff to give their 2 cents to try and prove they know what they’re talking about. Surprisingly Mert leads following last week thanks to three perfect score predictions, though Harsha leads in true prediction accuracy. Thanks to FrozenJackal for the official, unofficial scoreboard. The extra games this week will give us even more opportunity to try and navigate the minefield that is predicting Overwatch, check out the guy's opinions on this week’s fixtures.
Friday 1st September 02:00 CEST / 20:00 EDT / 09:00 KST
Immortals are suffering at the bottom of the table despite winning Season Zero and are up against a star studded FaZe team who are unlucky to be mid table. Both teams will play two fixtures this week that will go a long way in deciding their fate.
Each map will be close but all should go the way of FaZe. Immortals are in a real slump right now and I do not see this ending here. While I still feel FaZe are over dependent on their star players, with how unorganised Immortals have been recently I expect ShaDowBurn and Carpe to get a lot more space than they did last week against EnVyUs.
Immortals vs FaZe is one of the more exciting matches this week and will be highly impactful on the two teams playoffs chances. Both boast an impressive depth of talent, leading me to believe that things will be kept close. While I expect Immortals to bounce back from a rough start to the competition, in the end FaZe should be able to get over the top and take home a win, especially given their recent boot camp.
Immortals, like eUnited, is another team playing below expectations so far. Unlike eUnited, they already have an OWL spot and these players don't want to ruin their chances at playing in the inaugural season. On top of that, it doesn't seem like the NA core of Immortals is too fond of change: While it had been noted that the last roster change the squad made before the Koreans came in was back in December, it may be less known that their last change before they chose to replace Jer with Verbo was before the first qualifier for the Overwatch Open, when much of the core came together. FaZe is looking like the 2nd best team in NA right now, but I expect Immortals to play at a whole nother level, even above the way they played in Season Zero. All that being said, it will not be easy with the way FaZe is playing them, and I expect this match to be the first of the season to go the distance.
While I do expect Immortals to actually improve throughout this tournament, I think that FaZe presents itself as too strong an opponent to give the benefit of the doubt to Immortals. The series should be close, but the sheer starpower on FaZe should be enough to hold Immortals off, especially given their showing against EnVyUs. Immortals does certainly have upset potential in this matchup, especially with failure to qualify for playoffs looming as a serious threat.
Friday 1st September 04:00 CEST / 22:00 EDT / 11:00 KST
Two teams going in polar directions. While EnVision have skyrocketed to the top, Renegades are in freefall. EnVision have beaten the tougher teams but it will be paramount they do not slip up against the weaker sides in order to secure a playoff spot. This will be the first of two tough games for Renegades and probably their best chance to get a win.
You would have to be a madman to bet against EnVision for the third week in a row. Jaru has been the catalyst for this team going from strength to strength and they show no signs of slowing down. Especially as they come up against a Renegades side that looks to be the worst in the region currently. Despite strong players, the team looks unbalanced, I think it will take roster changes to get Renegades back on track.
I slept on EnVision in week one. I slept on EnVision in week two. I will not sleep on them in week three. I am fully convinced that McGravy will continue to peak his microphone as his team picks up yet another win, sorry Renegades.
I will doubt EnVision for one more week. The team is playing well, but I think Renegades is a better team than they have looked so far. This game could go just as easily in favor of EnVision, but I believe Renegades will step it up to show that their conquering of the group of death in Season Zero was no fluke. If Renegades don't show up here, I don't think they will show up at any point in this season.
EnVision has shown that they are here to stay with victories over both Rogue and Immortals, and they should improve to 3-0 this week against a reeling Renegades that has struggled so much. Renegades seems to be ignoring the playstyle that got them so far, instead choosing to leave Mangachu on his weak D.Va while the team presents no real pressure. They've additionally lost every clutch opportunity they've been dealt, so I have little to no confidence in this team.
Saturday 2nd September 23:15 CEST / 17:15 EDT / 06:15 KST
winz will return for the French side as they look to stablise following their Week 1 defeat to EnVision. Meanwhile, FNRGFE have strengthened their bench with MESR and Rob420 but will likely still field the same starting six. FNRGFE lost their first two games despite making them competitive affairs, they’ll need to start putting wins on the board soon before the season gets away from them.
While FNRGFE are yet to get a win, Rogue only claimed a win against one of the worst teams in Contenders. The corndogs definitely have the better tank line but the key battle will be how well Muma and coolmatt69 can do against the DPS threats of Rogue. If the tanks can contain the French trio then Clockwork has enough about him to expose the back line of Rogue and this could be the tipping factor in what should be one of the closest games of the weekend.
Rogue aren’t playing under ideal circumstances at the moment and it feels like any team could potentially upset them. They did manage to right the ship after dropping the opening map to Renegades last week and still retain the teamwork that once lead to them accumulating a monster win-streak in North America. FNRGFE certainly have the talent to take advantage of Rogue’s struggles but their recent performances don’t inspire enough confidence for me to predict an upset.
I feel dirty predicting a loss for the corndogs against a struggling Rogue team, but I have to stay consistent with the logic that led me to predicting an Immortals victory and close game out of eUnited. Rogue has also looked poor, their playing conditions have not been notably great, and many believe they have gotten complacent after a year of dominating the west. They can't afford to do that anymore if they hope to play in the Overwatch League alongside their countrymen and friends. The only reason why I don't have them winning by a larger margin is that I think FNRGFE is better than the results have shown. Almost all of their map losses have been excruciatingly close, and I think they will start earning their victories soon. I wouldn't be surprised if I was wrong here and they began that string of victories with this match.
While Rogue might be struggling considerably this season, FNRGFE has failed to impress me so far in Overwatch Contenders. The team's coordination seems off akin to what Renegades have been showing, and like Renegades, they seem to lose every single clutch opportunity. Rogue should be able to pull off a victory relatively easily.
Saturday 2nd September 01:15 CEST / 19:15 EDT / 08:15 KST
The self-proclaimed kings take on the best team Western Overwatch has produced, both teams are unbeaten and look on course to qualify for playoffs. A few changes to the bench for Kungarna but this will likely not affect the starting lineup. This will be a true test of how far Kungarna has come.
The biggest test for both teams so far but EnVyUs have a swagger about them that makes them look unbeatable. Kungarna might take Control as EnVyUs look least comfortable on this mode and have relied heavily on EFFECT’s Doomfist to carry them through these maps. I expect EnVyUs to flex through the rest of the series though.
Kungarna are on a roll after picking up wins in their first two matches, taking down Renegades and FNRGFE. However, EnVyUs are a step up from the team’s previous two opponents. The boys in blue have looked fearsome since returning to the west, adapting to the introduction of Doomfist into the meta with ease. Kungarna may have earned the title of giant killers after knocking out Cloud9 last season but EnVy will continue to tower over them this week.
EnVyUs is a good team with good players with good aim. I don't expect Kungarna to get any closer to them than EnVy's other opponents have, both of which I believe are better than Kungarna.
EnVyUs is the best team in the west, and they should take the fight to Kungarna with ease. While an opportunity on KOTH might allow Kungarna a map, the raw skill and teamwork on EnVyUs should result in a victory regardless, especially when some of Kungarna has failed to show up even in their victories.
Sunday 3rd September 23:15 CEST / 17:15 EDT / 06:15 KST
Another tough game for Immortals as they look to claw themselves off the bottom of the table. Rogue have had a similarly disappointing start but recovered somewhat against Renegades last week. Both teams went into Season 1 expecting to qualify and this game will be integral to both teams playoff campaigns.
A rough start for both teams, while Rogue got a win last week they did struggle at times vs Renegades. It is a hard one to predict but I think Immortals are in a slump in form and can improve quickly by sorting out their tank line comms and getting Hyped back in. With Rogue the problems seem much deeper, their lack of D.Va is certainly an issue but they have also lost their aggressive edge. Maybe winz’ return will change this but I don’t know if they can pull it together in time for this weeks game.
While I don’t believe FNRGFE will be able to take advantage of Rogue, the players at Immortals should have better luck. They won’t be without incentive to pick up a win either, as there are plenty of challengers for one of the four available playoffs spots this season and their chances of earning a playoffs spot fade with each loss.
Both of these teams are looking to begin their climbs back to the top of NA with solid performances this week. Both of these teams should play better than they have been playing the past two weeks, but it's hard to see Rogue having much success against Immortals until one of their DPS players becomes more comfortable off-tanking.
In a matchup of two slumping giants, I expect Immortals to show us the form they claim to have regained and finally take down the bogeyman of Rogue. The matchup can certainly go either way, and I expect it to be close, but the threat of failure should be more apparent to an expected 1-2 Immortals than to a 2-1 Rogue. If they succeed, it must be here.
Sunday 3rd September 01:15 CEST / 19:15 EDT / 08:15 KST
Renegades find themselves in a similar position to Immortals, where they need to take something in their two fixtures this week to realistically keep their playoff dreams alive. FaZe probably aren’t the team you would want to play in that situation but it might be do or die for the Renegades by this point.
A tough start to Contenders for Renegades which will probably worse here as their fourth game of the tournament is against a stronger than ever looking FaZe squad. Renegades will need every last drop of their 5-hour energy to avoid finishing this week with an 0-4 record, I am not hopeful though.
Renagades were in better shape last week with J3sus back in the rotation, taking a map off Rogue and keeping the match generally close. Nevertheless, it seems highly unlikely that they’ll pan out as a playoff team this season of Contenders. While they’ll put up a decent challenge, FaZe’s depth of talent will overwhelm them in the final match of week 3.
FaZe is looking incredibly strong so far and they will be looking to redeem themselves should my previous predictions be correct and they lose to Immortals. The 5-Hour Energy Detroit Rengegades should put up a decent fight if they are as good as I believe they are, but the strength of this new FaZe roster should be too much for them.
FaZe Clan is the second best team in North America until another team proves they can compete. Renegades is not that team.