After months of Open Division and Trials play, Contenders Australia is finally ready to kick off. Twelve teams are set to compete in the competition after many extensive roster shuffles. The hype for the return of major tournament play to Australia has only be accentuated by news that the event's playoffs will be played on LAN.

OCE Rankings

The Open Division playoffs have come and gone since the last edition of the Oceanic Rankings, as well as the entirety of Trials Australia. Results from these tournaments, alongside those of a one day $800 USD cup, have been analysed by some of the scene's most prominent community figures to produce a list of the top ten best teams currently competing in the Oceanic scene. This edition's panel was comprised of Face, Genome, Grafix, Smashbrutha, AVRL and Knellery.

It is worth noting that Contenders team Alter Ego will be absent from these rankings. AE have yet to announce replacements for their players that recieved bans for terms of service violations, and as such will go unranked for now.

1st: Blank Blue

Image source: Blizzard ANZ

  • 1st Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia
  • 3rd ANZ Overwatch Community Tournament: March 6th

In the last set of rankings I wrote that this squad had the opportunity to prove themselves as true top dogs in the Open Division playoffs. It turns out that they did just that, stringing together five straight victories to cement themselves as Open Division champions. Since securing the top Open Division spot, the roster has joined the Blank Esports family as Blank Blue, although at the time of writing no official announcement has been made besides a brief tweet.

Blank Blue's first place finish was the realization of the roster's potential to be a championship team. Complimenting the four former Athletico players that won the ESL ANZ Championship with talented supports has payed off after months of sitting just outside the top 3.

The team's Open Division title was well respected by the panel, although they were not unanimously the top team in these rankings. With both Dark Sided and MGC currently looking dangerous, it's hard to call Blank Blue the sole favorites to win Contenders, especially given the length of the tournament. However, they are undeniably talented and now have the tournament results to back their claim to the throne.

2nd: Dark Sided

  • 3rd Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia
  • 1st ANZ Overwatch Community Tournament: March 6th

Dark Sided have jumped up a spot despite losing ckm and Kura to Blank Esport's Pacific Contenders team. Playing with their old roster, Dark Sided had a relatively strong showing in the Open Division playoffs, taking down Alter Ego, Stunner Meal and MGC. However, they were upset twice by Skrylla, who were previously ranked 6th in this series.

Clearly impressed by Skyrlla's superior playoffs performance, Dark Sided swiftly poached usmc, Swilko and Addy from the squad after losing talent to Blank. The team also added former 4Legs DPS termo to finalize their rebuild.

However, these pickups weren't enough to justify their placement over MGC without first being proven in tournament play. On the 6th of March a $800 USD community cup was held, in which Blank Blue, Dark Sided, MGC and Serenity competed. Nevertheless, one team stood out from the pack, namely Blank Esport's main roster (minus ieatuup).

Dispensing some friendly revenge against their former players, Dark Sided took down Blank in the cup's grand final, earning themselves $480 USD and the necessary tournament showing to justify their accession up these rankings. Whilst the upset came in an ultimately unimportant one day cup, the victory was a clear indication that Dark Sided have not missed a beat. Maybe they've even improved.

3rd: Masterminds GC

  • 4th Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia
  • 4th ANZ Overwatch Community Tournament: March 6th

For their standards, Masterminds didn't have an impressive showing in the Open Division playoffs. The team fell to the lower bracket after being swept by Skyrlla in a surprising upset and then were eliminated by Dark Sided 3-2 in the Loser's Semifinals. Nevertheless, their playoffs run wasn't a complete disaster, as they did pick up a victory over Kings Gaming Club (now the Sydney Drop Bears) in the lower bracket.

MGC can move on from this disappointing showing, as their 4th place finish safely secured them a Contenders spot. The team will now look to the future with their new recruits, yuki and taki, who signed to the team following the conclusion of the Open Division.

The addition of yuki is particularly notable due to his reputation as one of the best Australian DPS players. Last year he took his game to new heights with Kings Gaming Club, consistently turning in star performances that helped the team to earn a reputation as the best in the region. MGC will now be the benefactors of his carry level talent, adding to their stacked eight man roster.

An interesting story line to follow will be how Masterminds manage their bench players. Unlike the Overwatch League, Oceanic Overwatch hasn't typically called for talented substitutes. Tails could likely seek out a starting spot on a quality team if he wanted to, and as such how the team uses him off the bench will be intriguing.

Whilst ranked below Dark Sided for now, only a single panel vote separated MGC from the second ranked team. Blank Blue, Dark Sided and MGC are currently viewed as three championship contenders competing in Contenders Australia. This was reflected in the panel's votes, with a noticeable gap between the top three and the fourth ranked team.

4th: Sydney Drop Bears

  • 5th-6th Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia

Off all the teams that underwent major roster changes, the Sydney Drop Bears were arguably dealt the roughest hand. The squad formerly known as Kings Gaming Club and 4Legs had a rough time replacing yuki after he left the team late last year. Initially they started off the Open Division playing with ex-Blank Esports DPS Aetar, however they were unable to secure him permanently.

The Drop Bears then lost their long-term flex support tongue to Blank Esport's rebuild. Sometime after this, termo also departed from the team to join Dark Sided. After maintaining a relatively consistent roster during the latter half of 2017, the Drop Bears brought in new faces in an attempt to maintain their high level of play, namely Jordation and Bertlog. Billa also joined the team after spending some time away from the competitive scene.

Major changes didn't stop the 4Legs boys from securing a partnership with a mysterious new organisation, although like Blank Blue this deal has yet to be announced.

After riding a consistent roster to multiple high placements in 2017, it is no longer certain that the Drop Bears will be able to hang with the very best the region has to offer. This was reflected in the panel's votes, with most placing the team behind the top 3. Whilst their new pickups are capable, this team will once again have to prove themselves before they can climb back up the ranks.

5th: Legacy Esports

  • 5th-6th Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia

This roster was picked by the panel as the 5th best Oceanic team across the board despite signing with Legacy Esports, one of Australia's largest esports organisations. Owned by the Adelaide Crows, an Australian Football Team, Legacy's entrance into Australian Overwatch was met with much enthusiasm from fans.

However, the former Stunner Meal roster lost two of their most talented pieces, StunneR and Saphira, following the conclusion of the Open Division. This led to an open recruitment drive that saw the organisation sign Wuvo and Dench.

Wuvo has been one of the more prominent DPS players in the region, playing for top teams such as Scylla Esports, 4Legs and Space Retrievers. However, he has had trouble sticking with a team for an extended period of time, earning himself a reputation as a journeyman.

It remains to be seen whether Legacy's level of play will drop off after losing two core members. Week 1 matches against Dark Sided and Kanga will challenge the team off the bat and will be an important opportunity for Legacy to prove that they deserve to be regarded as a top five team.

6th: Kanga Esports

  • 7th-8th Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia

Kanga slightly exceeded expectations after being ranked 9th in the last edition of the Oceanic rankings. The team managed to best lower ranked teams Witchhunt (now JAM Gaming) and Pantheon (now Tainted Minds) before being eliminated by Stunner Meal 3-2. However, this didn't free them from Oceanic shuffle.

As Ausrhino moved on to that other class-based shooter (no not TF2), Tub and Marsto found themselves looking for a team. Whilst it seemed possible that Kanga were going to fully refresh their roster at one point, they ultimately kept on Roro, Pzza and Guzto from their original Open Division squad. Skyrlla refugees Davi and Bane found a new home in the pouch of Kanga, whilst Dutch player Ziggy signed with his first Oceanic squad.

Ultimately these moves were deemed to have improved the team by the panel, as they have jumped up to 6th in the rankings. Whilst it's an outside chance that they'll pose a serious challenge to the top teams in Oceania, Kanga look to be a formidable opponent for middle of the pack teams.

7th: JAM Gaming

  • 9th-12th Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia
  • 1st Contenders Trials Season 1 - Australia

Formerly known as Witchhunt, this roster found a new home at JAM Gaming after taking home first place in Trials with a 7-0 record. Off all the squads to make it out of Trials, JAM were clearly the most respected by the panel, sitting just under Kanga.

It's easy to focus on former Team Australia and Blank Esports DPS Aetar when talking about JAM. However, whilst the draw of his star power is undeniable, the solid roster that turned in a 100% win rate in Trials should not be ignored. Backed by the coaching of StunneR and Birdy, JAM have the opportunity to climb up the rankings in the next edition.

8th: NoCturnal Predators

  • 16th Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia
  • 2nd Contenders Trials Season 1 - Australia

NoC Predators had a rough draw in the Open Division regular season, playing top teams Your Name Here, MGC and Skyrlla. This saw them drop to 16th, only just securing a spot in Trials. However, this didn't dissuade the team, as they went on to secure a Contenders spot.

The Predators were only slightly above Serenity in the panel's votes, with both teams finishing Trials with a 5-2 record. Unlike JAM, the Predators are unlikely to challenge many of the teams ranked above them. However, their efforts have not gone unnoticed, thus earning them a respectable home at 8th in the rankings.

9th: SereNity

  • 9th-12th Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia
  • 3rd Contenders Trials Season 1 - Australia
  • 5th-7th ANZ Overwatch Community Tournament: March 6th

Named after the region's most beloved coach and supersub, Serenity had a similarly strong showing in Trials after just missing out on the Open Division playoffs. As such, dedicated spreadsheet enthusiast spinda has finally found the top ten team he deserves.

SereNity won't be turning in many big upsets this season. Despite this, they have the talent to take down lower ranked teams. Their first Contenders fixture against Tainted Minds will likely provide SereNity with the chance to secure themselves a place in the top ten.

10th: Tainted Minds

  • 9th-12th Open Division 2018 Season 1 - Australia
  • 4th Contenders Trials Season 1 - Australia

Tainted Minds originally missed out on the top ten in these rankings. However, with Alter Ego disqualified following a ban wave, they've managed to just barely make it. Formerly known as Pantheon Esports, the team made changes after Trials, bringing in members of Tainted Mind's original roster, as well as babyporo.

These changes weren't enough to impress the panel, as the team received only a few votes. With only one Contenders squad ranked below them, Tainted Minds have a lot to prove come Contenders.


As mentioned previously, Alter Ego were disqualified from this edition of the rankings after their roster was drastically altered by bans handed out by Blizzard. Originally they held a middle of the pack spot and were respected as a hard working team looking to climb the competitive ladder.

Tribute should also be made to the second place roster from the Open Division playoffs, Skyrlla, who would have been highly ranked had they not fallen victim to another wave of the Oceanic shuffle.

Contenders Australia kicks off on Monday with Kanga Esports vs Blank Blue. The Oceanic rankings will continue to rate these twelve Contenders squads throughout the season, but for now let this edition guide you through the opening stages.