Last week’s North American fixtures essentially split the pack ino three groups. EnVyUs, EnVision and FaZe lead the way with four wins apiece and look very likely to qualify for playoffs. While FNRGFE, Kungarna and Rogue sit in the middle with two wins each and look to make it a three horse race for the final playoff spot. Lingering at the bottom are the winless Immortals and Renegades. After this week’s matches, everyone will only have one game left to decide their playoff fates, this week will be crucial for all teams hoping to make it to the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles for the LAN playoffs and their chance at $100,000.
Meanwhile, the prediction games are just as close after a three-way tie last week between Mert, Harsha and myself. Meaning for one more week Mert has clung to his single point lead. While Scrubasaurus fell further behind and looks out of contention for the title with only two weeks remaining.
Friday 15th September 02:00 CEST / 20:00 EDT / 09:00 KST
The weekend kicks off with the currently unbeaten EnVyUs against an FNRGFE team who have recovered from a rough start to the season to put themselves in contention for the final playoff spot. With no teams expected to take points of EnVyUs this season FNRGFE will likely have to look to their other games to secure their LAN spot.
I would love it if FNRGFE were able to take the win here against the goliaths of Western Overwatch. Though this is more fantasy than reality, despite FNRGFE having a talented roster that is getting better and better, EnVy is just too good. Their only weakness seems to be Assault, which coincidentally is a strength for FNRGFE so they could well take that map. Across the series, though I cannot see EnVy making as many mistakes as they did last week to give the corndogs an opening.
FNRGFE want your respect and perhaps they've earned it after rectifying a slow start with two straight wins. No beast is as intimidating as the EnVyUs colossus however, looming over the rest of the compeititon as the best team in the west. FNRGFE's wins have also been against struggling teams Rogue and Immortals. Whilst I do believe the corndogs have what it takes to earn themselves a spot in the playoffs, they shouldn't take down EnVy in this match.
I hope the Corndogs put up a fight, but EnVy has proven to be the best team in the region by far. It's hard to see them losing a map to anybody.
EnVyUs looks too good to drop maps to most teams in this tournament, and while FNRGFE is hungry for a playoff spot, I think it's likely that EnVyUs can take this without flinching given how strong they've looked throughout this tournament.
Friday 15th September 04:00 CEST / 22:00 EDT / 11:00 KST
Both teams currently hold two wins and are neck and neck alongside FNRGFE for the final playoff spot. Rogue, however, have played a game more making this is their penultimate fixture. Rogue’s final game is against EnVyUs, so this is a must win game for the Frenchmen. They have finally got their visas though and should hopefully be back and settled in LA for this game which may just be the boost they need to help the claw their way to LAN.
Rogue was more experimental last week and I think this is a sign of them starting to adapt and find their place a world still dominated by D.Va. Kungarna, on the other hand, has looked outmatched in their last two games. Beneath Rogue’s failings this season they still have one of the most talented rosters in Overwatch and I think their class will finally shine through this week.
This match should be the tale of two teams going in opposite directions, as Rogue are on their way to rectifying their visa issues whilst Kungarna look worse and worse every week. Rogue's unfortunate situation has lowered their reputation in the eyes of fans but I still believe that they are one of the best teams in the West given the right circumstances.
Neither team looked good last week, but I think Kungarna is the weaker team. mykL's Tracer continues to be far from impressive, and it seems like Rogue might (possibly?) be on the path to fixing their Visa situations. Whichever team wins here puts themselves into a good position to make the playoffs.
With Kungarna plagued by internal issues and discord, and Rogue finally back in their homes, the French side should be able to grab a victory relatively easily. While I don't think Rogue will be fully back in form, as they do seem to have some fundamental issues that aren't limited to their living situations, their regained strength combined with Kungarna's downwards trend should be enough to make this series one-sided.
Saturday 16th September 23:15 CEST / 17:15 EDT / 06:15 KST
This will be the second tough game for FNRGFE this week against another unbeaten side, EnVision. Who will be looking to seal their playoff spot and seeding for LAN. FNRGFE need the win more though, while they are gifted an easier final game against Renegades in Week 7, every point will count as we move into the final stages.
Most would write of FNRGFE in this game and while previous results would dictate that. I’m going all in on the corndogs again this week, I think they are a better team than they have shown. Also, EnVision has only beaten the weaker teams in Contenders so far. It will be a tough task but I’m holding out hope for the corndogs.
EnVision have slammed their competition so far, sending Rogue, Immortals, Renegades and Kungarna packing. Similar to FNRGFE's position however, wins against Renegades and Kungarna should be expected for teams with their sights set on playoffs and victories against struggling teams Immortals and Rogue perhaps mean more in reputation than they do in reality. Nevertheless, I'm taking a gamble by betting on FNRGFE here. Don't let me down corndogs.
EnVision looks unstoppable at the moment, but I think this game may be closer than people expect. I think FNRGFE has the ability to take a map and play the other maps closely. However, after their performances so far, I don't think EnVision is losing to any team that isn't FaZe or EnVy.
It's hard predicting against a motivated FNRGFE twice in the same week, but with likely OWL try-outs impacting their practice and EnVision looking like a top 3 team in NA, I think this matchup will be tilted solidly in EnVision's favor.
Saturday 16th September 01:15 CEST / 19:15 EDT / 08:15 KST
The two winless teams face off. Renegades looked as good as they have done in a while against EnVyUs last week while Immortals slump grows longer. Immortals roster changes last week suggest they have succumbed to their fate and are now looking to experiment with the roster as their focus shifts towards Overwatch League. While this game will not affect the playoff standings, both teams will be keen to finish the season with at least one win.
Renegades probably had their best performance last week despite losing 4-0, it was against EnVy after all so what do you expect. They are against an Immortals side that is still in the midst of a huge slump and last week started experimenting with starting line-ups, I think Renegades can capitalise on this and take their first win.
Immortals are no longer in contention for a playoffs spot and treated their play last week as a time to experiment with different line-ups. This clouds one's ability to predict how they will perform in the final weeks of the tournament. If Immortals still bring a desire to win I believe they can readily handle Renegades, the tournament's cellar dwellers.
Immortals has struggled throughout Contenders but Renegades has struggled and then some. I said a week ago that I don't think Renegades will take another map, and I am sticking to that. Immortals will finally notch a tally in the win column, even if it won't mean all that much to them.
It's strange how much this matchup resembles eUnited vs Bazooka Puppies. Immortals were the team that took Season 0 home and have been unable to find a victory throughout Season 1, while Renegades resemble Bazooka Puppies in that they've simply looked like the worst team in their region. In keeping with the theme, I expect Immortals to finally nab a victory, but given how they're not preoccupied with placing in Season 1, I think Renegades might be able to take their second map of the tournament.
Sunday 17th September 23:15 CEST / 17:15 EDT / 06:15 KST
FaZe come into this game only dropping points to EnVyUs. While Kungarna have lost their last two games and have come up short against all the top teams they have played so far. A Kungarna win looks unlikely but as we reach the climax of the season any maps they can take will be important as their map difference with FNRGFE is only one at the start of this week.
Kungarna have shown weakness recently, especially against teams with real star power and FaZe have this in abundance. FaZe will overpower Kungarna here and in doing so could end the king's playoff dreams.
Like their match against EnVy, Kungarna shouldn't have much of a chance against one of the West's better teams.
If Rogue could only muster a map draw against FaZe, and I predicted Rogue would beat Kungarna, it is only natural to think that Kungarna would do even less against them. Results aren't that straight-forward in the real world, but regardless, FaZe is extremely good and shouldn't have much of a problem dispatching Kungarna.
FaZe is the second best team in North America by all accounts, and with Kungarna slumping, they should be able to put on a show. I don't think it's likely that Kungarna gets a map in this matchup, as it should certainly be harder than their matchup against Rogue.
Sunday 17th September 01:15 CEST / 19:15 EDT / 08:15 KST
The weekend finishes with a bang as the two unbeaten teams at the start of this week go head-to-head. This will be EnVision’s first game against one of the other top three and will be a real test of how far they have come. While unlikely to affect either team’s qualification for playoffs, both sides will be looking to try and push themselves top of the table.
Since EnVision’s rise to the top this season everyone has been waiting for this fixture but I think it is overhyped. While EnVision is definitely good they haven’t played either of the two top teams and I think, while EnVision will put up a fight, this will be another EnVy victory.
I've heavily enjoy EnVision's underdog rise to the top this season, they're a treat to watch and a great storyline for Contenders to promote. However, you just can't look past EnVy's previous track record, as well as the fact that they've only lost a single map so far in the competition. EnVy should be able to sweep this fixture.
EV wins! EnVision might be able to take a map here, but I must hold firm to my beliefs that EnVy won't be losing another map. I think it will be an interesting series to watch that will give us a good sense of where EnVision truly stands against the best.
While EnVision has certainly looked solid, I don't think any team in NA is on the level of EnVyUs. With Junkrat buffed and Doomfist nerfed, the matchup should be even more tilted.