Most of the matches went as expected last week in Europe but the standout result was eUnited losing to 123, meaning the Season Zero champions are yet to gain a win as we move into the second half of the group stage. Bazooka Puppiez and Team Singularity are slumming it out with eUnited in the no win club. Which leaves a neck and neck battle for playoff spots as Europe ramps up to six games across this weekend.
Over in prediction battles we see a two horse race emerging in the tables, Harsha and Mert lead the way with the latter clinging on to a one point lead from Week 2. I find myself squarely in third place, saved by my faith in FNRGFE while Scrubasaurus continues to live up to his name rounding out the bottom of the table. Here is what we thought of this week's games as we move into the second half of the group stages.
Friday 8th September 18:00CEST / 12:00 PDT / 01:00 KST
123 remain unbeaten at the top of the Season 1 table while Gigantti finds themselves narrowly in a playoff spot thanks to map difference. This will be another crucial high-level game that helps decide the playoff spots.
Two wins this week would most likely secure Gigantti a playoff spot but their first competitor is 123 who had a good result last week and are unbeaten so far. I expect 123 to take the win, snillo has gone from strength to strength in his new DPS role and the rest of the roster compliment him nicely. Gigantti still has the star power to cause an upset here with strong performances from LiNkzer and Davin but they aren’t as polished as 123. Should be a hell of a game either way.
One of the harder matches to predict this week, as 123’s undefeated streak has come against teams who still remain without a win three weeks into the competition. On the other side, Gigantti’s one loss came against the in-form Misfits with the team otherwise looking formidable. In the end I expect LinKzr and Davin to pop off and get the Finns over the line.
Gigantti has looked really good in this season of Contenders, but 123 looks even better. I don't expect a blowout but I don't expect the match to be particularly close, either.
This is easily the hardest match to decide, and perhaps will be the hardest match to predict throughout the entire Contenders season. Both 123 and Gigantti look like legitimate contenders for the second seed in Europe, but I'll predict Gigantti to come out with the victory in overtime simply because LiNkzr has discovered another level ever since joining recently. His +60 K/D performance last weekend was no fluke, and it's his job to deliver again against elite opposition.
Friday 8th September 20:00CEST / 14:00 PDT / 03:00 KST
Both teams are currently without a win so far but both looked better after roster changes last week. With playoff chances looking unrealistic, this will be a match for pride and to avoid the embarrassment of finishing the season without a win.
Somebody's losing streak has to come to an end. The roster Singularity has cobbled together is very talented and with more time would become a genuinely good team. While Bazooka Puppiez looked better with Nesh last week I think they have bigger issues than their Tracer player and will most likely get beaten again here.
Similarly difficult to predict is what type of performance we’ll see from Singularity this week. The replacement roster was thoroughly beaten by Misfits last week, although this was not unexpected. Whilst I do still believe the roster is stacked with talented players, I’ll write them off once again due to the impromptu nature of the team, even against the Puppiez who are as of yet without a win. Hopefully Singularity has been putting some practice together as a unit and will be able to secure a map victory.
Honestly, I have no idea what to expect from this match. I think just about any result is possible. The new mix playing under Singularity's name looks promising, and Nesh is proving himself an upgrade over kensi. This is a toss-up, but if I have to guess, it would be Singularity in a full set.
Singularity might not be an established roster, but their players are all quite good and were even able to make Misfits sweat on both Nepal and Numbani. Bazooka Puppiez, on the other hand, have taken a single map the entire tournament and it was off the back of an insane performance by Nesh. I think Singularity should win here, but if Nesh is able to pull out similar performances today on more than just Watchpoint: Gibraltar, Bazooka Puppiez might have a chance.
Saturday 9th September 19:00 CEST/ 13:00 EDT / 02:00 KST
eUnited find themselves bottom of the table without a win, they would need a perfect record from here out to stand the slimmest chance of qualification and some major mistakes from the teams above them.
This is the easiest game eUnited have had so far and should be the one to get them out of their slump. As I mentioned before the new Singularity roster looks promising and it would be a big statement if they can pick up a win here but eUnited aren’t as bad as their loss streak suggests.
The same logic applies here, additionally eUnited should be hungry for a victory after a disappointing three weeks. I’d be surprised if they let a map slip through their fingers.
eUnited should get their first win of the season here. I expect them to start improving, but I have my doubts it will be enough to make it into the playoffs. One more loss and playoffs will be a near impossibility, and I expect their play to reflect that. Like I said, Singularity looks promising, but eUnited is an extremely good team despite their early under performances.
I think this is finally the week where eUnited manages to overcome their losses and finally pull out a victory. As stated earlier, Singularity is not an established roster by any means. If eUnited's teamwork is not up to snuff at this point in time, it never will be; this is a must-win game for them and they'll do it against a team that has only existed for two weeks.
Saturday 9th September 21:00 CEST / 15:00 EDT / 04:00 KST
Since revamping their roster Misifts have started to look like the team their star talent always suggested they could be. GamersOrigin have also looked a lot better following roster changes but fell short last week in their first game against one of the top teams.
Misfits haven’t dropped a map yet and I don’t expect them to start here. GamersOrigin still have a decent chance of making playoffs and a loss here won't affect those too much as every other team is losing to Misfits as well.
I was tempted to give GamersOrgin a map here, as the team has been for the most part a pleasant surprise. However, even with Leaf going nuts on the Doomfist I don’t think the Frenchies will have much luck against Europe’s new top dog.
Gigantti couldn't take a map off of Misfits, neither should GamersOrigin.
GamersOrigin certainly looks solid this season, but Misfits is currently on another level. Even when they look their weakest, on the brink of defeat, they somehow manage to win every map. I don't expect this trend to change when I know that they are very aware of GamersOrigin's threats and how to play against them.
Sunday 10th September 19:00 CEST/ 13:00 EDT / 02:00 KST
One of the best will take on one of the worst in the penultimate game in Europe. Misfits are looking to secure their playoff spot early and Bazooka Puppiez are looking to redeem themselves in any way they can after a string of disappointing.
This is probably going to be brutal, there is way too much quality on the Misfits side for the Pupz to stand a chance.
If GamersOrigin can’t take a map off of Misfits it follows that the Puppiez will not be able to either. Misfits are simply a different breed altogether.
Gigantti couldn't take a map off of Misfits, neither should Bazooka Puppiez.
This should be one of the most lopsided matches of the entire season and it'll take more than just a dominant performance from Nesh to aid Bazooka Puppiez. Doesn't help that he will be contending against Logix, who has more and more become the best European Tracer.
Sunday 10th September 21:00 CEST / 15:00 EDT / 04:00 KST
Cloud9 EU move into Week 4 with Surefour and Kragie added to the bench and will face off against one of their closest competitors in Team Gigantti. An important game for both teams as we move into the final stages of qualification.
The teams are very evenly matched player for player and the game will likely come down to the slimmest of margins. Gigantti probably has the better supports. Tank wise SPACE seems a more accomplished D.Va than zappis while the Winstons are very evenly matched. The Finns have the advantage in the DPS department but MikeyA and Nevix are no slouches. Gigantti will need strong performances from Davin and LiNkzer to take the win but I think they are up to the task.
Surefour or Kragie could make a surprise appearance and really shake things up this match but I still have to give Gigantti the benefit of the doubt. They have been better off for changes made to their roster and should finish the regular season in the second or third position, depending on the result of their match against 123.
Will we get the same C9 roster as last week or will one of their new subs get some playtime? Regardless, I think this should be an exciting match. I think the C9 roster is good enough to make it close, but not good enough to overcome the Finns.
In what should be another close match, I expect Cloud9 to take their two map choices before faltering against Gigantti, who have somehow managed to drive me to insanity in picking them to win two high-stakes matches this week. I think that with the time given to accommodate everyone to new roles and the level that LiNkzr is on, it will be hard for any non-Misfits squad to take down the team. However, this matchup certainly has the potential to swing either way, and Gigantti knows how to break my heart better than any other team.