As always the North American side of the tournament will directly follow Europe. The pack is more clearly divided on this side, with EnVyUs and FaZe finishing well clear of the rest of the competition. The challengers are EnVision, who had a strong start this season, and FNRGFE, who instead had a strong finish. While the favourites are clear for the North American side, LAN is the ultimate proving ground for any team and all parties will be keen to prove they are the best in North America.
The format will change for the Contender's playoffs, moving to best-of-five semifinals. For further details on these changes see our Viewer's Guide.
The prediction games will rage on into their final moments too, where Mert currently holds onto a two-point lead thanks to plenty of perfect scores. With six games over the course of this weekend, there is still time for it all to change. Our analyst's musings can be found below.
Saturday October 7th 23:00 CEST / 14:00 PDT / 06:00 KST
EnVyUs are undoubted favourites coming into this, when you take into account they have now added the one and only Seagull too. They look like one of the most well-rounded rosters on the planet. They come up against an FNRGFE team who fought their way into the fourth place spot, seeing off Rogue on the final day. They are certainly underdogs but will be eager to perform on the big stage.
This will probably be the best of all the semifinals, despite EnVy’s goliath status in Western Overwatch, FNRGFE has a realistic chance of pulling off the mother of all upsets. Going in their favour they have two control maps if the series goes to all five maps (Which I think it will), which are Illios and Oasis. Their Analyst, jcb, mentioned in a recent interview that these are strong maps for his team. FNRGFE are also strong on Assault, a mode EnVy has shown weakness on and in their regular season game, FNRGFE beat them on Watchpoint: Gibraltar. So that’s potentially four out of five maps they stand a fair chance on and they only need to win three to take the series.
Now as much as I would like this to happen, I don’t think it will. I think the late announcement of Seagull being available for Contenders has thrown a spanner in FNRGFE’s plans changing how they approach the match. Oasis and Illios are meant to be strong maps for FNRGFE but Control is one of EnVy’s best modes too. Also, Pharah is viable on several stages of both Control maps and EnVy now have Seagull to play that role if needed and he can certainly match buds. I’ll be cheering FNRGFE all the way but in the interest of staying ahead of Scrubasaurus I’ll side with EnVy.
Envy are an experienced world class team that is dedicated to improving due to their participation in the upcoming Overwatch Leauge. Their opponents are spirited but have split priorities, with Overwatch League commitments limiting the corndog's ability to practice as much as they would otherwise be doing. Having Seagull on the bench shouldn't really make a difference for Envy, as I believe they would sweep this fixture either way.
I think this will be a close 3-1, meaning most, if not all, of the maps will be tight. EnVy is the best team in the west, and despite the strong performances FNRGFE have put up this season, I doubt they will be able to topple the refuelled giants.
Envy is in the same boat as Misfits over in Europe. They've been slightly less dominant, giving up maps to both FNRGFE and FaZe, but I think they'll be looking to take the LAN portion of this event seriously. The map pool really doesn't matter in this case when this entire lineup has played on the same maps in APEX, so the onus is on FNRGFE to catch up on the new maps.
Saturday October 7th 01:00 CEST / 16:00 PDT / 08:00 KST
The teams played very recently in Week 6 and it was a comfortable 3-0 victory for FaZe, adding to what has been an intimidating series of performances from the squad since adding Carpe. EnVision, on the other hand, have lost their last three games and against the three teams accompanying them into playoffs. EnVision will need to recapture their early season form to have a hope here.
I think this will probably be the most one-sided of all the semifinals. EnVision has looked shaky in the most recent weeks but they were being much more experimental. I fully expect them to go back to what was winning them games early on to try and make a game of I, we should see a better performance than the last three weeks.
However, will that be enough to beat FaZe? Probably not, I think the FaZe roster is too stacked. EnVision might get a map if it goes to Escort but it’s unlikely to get that far.
FaZe have earned a reputation as one of the best teams in the west whilst EnVision have impressed as the surprise underdogs of this season. However, EnVision have had less success as the season has gone on. Predicting against the DPS duo of ShaDowBurn and Carpe on LAN would be a foolish move given this context.
EnVision surpassed everyone's expectations this season to even make it to the playoffs, let alone doing so as the third seed. Unfortunately, I believe their Cinderella story comes to an end here. A couple of weeks ago they weren't able to come away with anything more than a singular map draw against FaZe. I think FaZe will be even stronger this weekend than they were when EnVision last played them.
I don't really think EnVision has what it takes to get a map when they are playing with numlocked, who has been on the way out of the team for more than a week. They'll still try hard as a last hurrah before APAC, but FaZe has looked incredibly crisp throughout the entire event and many claim they might even give Envy a run for their money. Whether that is the case or whether MLG Vegas repeats itself remains to be seen, but I think they'll be able to sweep this series with relative ease.