With most results going as predicted last week and only a single game remaining for each team, things are rather more straightforward in North America. EnVyUs and FaZe Clan have secured qualification. EnVision are all but there as well. Rogue and FNRGFE are tied on match wins in the fourth and fifth spots, Rogue edging into playoffs by a single map win currently. Looking at the fixtures FNRGFE are odds-on to steal the spot at the last moment, but as this season of Contenders has shown, nothing is guaranteed. As with European side, it is worth reminding ourselves of the tiebreaker rule:
4.8.1 Standings Tiebreakers. In the event that two (2) teams are tied in Standings at the end of the Regular Season, the first Tiebreaker will be total Maps Wins (the team with the higher number of Map Wins during the Regular Season will break the tie). If total Maps Wins is tied between the two (2) teams, the tied teams will play a Best of 3 on Ilios to break the tie.
The prediction games are neck and neck at the top as well. Mert brings in a two-point lead above Harsha in the final week. While Scrubasaurus and myself are fortunate that the top four in this race progress through to playoffs as well. However, a new threat looms over the horizon that can potentially shake things up.
Saturday 23rd September 23:15 CEST / 17:15 EDT / 06:15 KST
To keep their playoff dreams alive and recover from a horrific season Rogue must beat the best team in Western Overwatch, else they rely on Renegades to get their first win of the season. Rogue still have the same roster that saw them go on that incredible win streak but their players will have to dig deep to get the win here.
Rogue was the last Western team to beat EnVy back in April and while most of the players will be the same, this is a vastly different landscape. A Rogue win would make the playoff race super tense but I just can’t see it. Hopefully, the Rogue players find a home in Overwatch League because despite their results this season their players are too good not to be in it.
Earlier in the year this match would have been surrounded by insane amounts of hype. Rogue's fall from grace, however exaggerated it may be, has nullified some of this excitement and EnVyUs are now the hot favorites to take the Season 1 championship. I believe Rogue are a still a formidable team, especially now that they have sorted their visa issues, but EnVyUs have come out on top since the end of Apex Season 3.
Scrubasaurus 3-0 (4-1 by Contenders scoring)
I was struggling to decide how this match would play out, so I decided to be the first of us this season to predict a map ends in a draw. The one thing I am confident in is that EnVy will win the match, but am unsure how closely Rogue will play them. This could be a 3-2, 4-0, or anything in between based on how Rogue plays. They are definitely a better team than they were at the beginning season, and are probably playing better than EnVision at the moment, but unfortunately for them their troubles at the beginning of the season lasted too long for them to make the playoffs.
Rogue might be reinvigorated by their return to North America, but the stagnancy they experienced while waiting on visas likely harmed their playoff chances considerably. EnVyUs is the best team in North America, and while Rogue will have the ability to either take Volskaya Industries or Watchpoint: Gibraltar (less likely), EnVyUs should win every other map.
Saturday 23rd September 01:15 CEST / 19:15 EDT / 08:15 KST
EnVision could still not qualify if Rogue and FNRGFE win by significant margins and they lose all their maps against FaZe. An unlikely scenario but EnVision have looked shakier last week with their more experimental strategies.
EnVision exploded onto the scene in the early season but have since faded, they should still qualify but will have to step up seriously to compete in the playoffs. This will be an interesting test for them but I think they’ll struggle to take a map.
EnVision are in a kind of awkward place now that their win-streak has come to an end. Whilst a quality team for sure, I'd be hesitant to place them alongside teams like FaZe and EnVyUs. This match should be a relatively smooth affair for FaZe.
EnVyUs handled EnVision easily last week and I expect FaZe to replicate that this week. Fortunately for them, they played exceptionally at the beginning of the season and have earned a spot in the playoffs after needing to buy-in their way into Contenders.
FaZe is definitively the second best team in North America discounting Rogue, as their form is still unknown. They should dispatch EnVision in a somewhat close series, but I think it will be less close than many expect. EnVision might be for real, but their flaws have been exposed and they don't have the pound-for-pound talent that FaZe is stacked with.
Sunday 24th September 23:15 CEST / 17:15 EDT / 06:15 KST
FNRGFE have been in great form as of late and have the weakest team to play in their final match. All they have to do is take the win here and rely on EnVy to dispatch Rogue. It’s in their hands but tension will be high as they will not want to fall over this final hurdle.
It’s squeaky bum time for the corndogs. They have done all the hard work, they just need to beat the worst performing team in Contenders Season 1. They can win, they should win and if they play like they have been playing recently they will win.
FNRGFE have rounded into form at the perfect time and look to have secured themselves a playoffs spot. With the momentum behind them, the bottom team should not be too much of an obstacle for the corndogs.
FNRGFE should look dominant in this match and as a result, with a little bit of extra help from FaZe, should get into the playoffs as a three seed. Even if they don't get the third seed, their opening match should be interesting as they have proven themselves to be able to compete with North America's two best. As for the match itself, I'm excited to see Mangachu on Winston again.
Renegades' struggles are simply too apparent for me to predict even a single map victory with any semblance of confidence, and FNRGFE is really hungry for a playoff spot with this tournament's likely being their last hurrah. With corndog shirts on the way, I believe FNRGFE should wipe Renegades clean.
Sunday 24th September 01:15 CEST / 19:15 EDT / 08:15 KST
The final game in North America shares a similar fate to that of Europe, in that it doesn’t affect the playoff standings. Neither team is able to qualify. Kungarna will likely go their separate ways after this game while Immortals will continue repairing themselves for Overwatch League.
A bit of a nothing game to finish off the group stage but with nothing left to play for, I expect team Kungarna to get rolled over here. Immortals still have a lot to do to get ready for Overwatch League but this game should not be too challenging even in their current form.
This should be a short, meaningless end to the regular season. Kungarna are a dead team walking whilst Immortals still have motivation to try as to work towards fixing some of the issues that have arisen for them this season.
Kungarna looks weaker and weaker every week. I think the team will reach its valley this week by being dominated by an Immortals team that has struggled all season. Immortals has disappointed plenty of times this season before, such as losing a map to Renegades last week, so there's a chance I'm completely wrong and Immortals ends up on the losing end. However, I think Kungarna will disappoint more than Immortals this week.
Kungarna has been split for quite some time, while Immortals has spent more time bonding. While Kungarna started the season strong, they have declined more and more with each coming week. Immortals have not yet necessarily found their foothold, but they should be able to right the ship against a team in turmoil.