Contenders Australia playoffs are right around the corner. As per the Contenders rule book, the top four teams from each group will advance to the playoffs. The top seeds will then face the lower seeds from the opposing group in a single elimination bracket. The semifinals and grand final will be played on LAN, with the venue expected to be the ESL Studio in Sydney.

OCE Rankings

Genome, Grafix, Smashbrutha, AVRL and Smeves had a wealth of information to look over this time around. Each cast their votes on who they perceive to be the ten best teams in the Oceanic region. These votes were then averaged out to produce this edition of the Oceanic Rankings.

1st: Blank Blue [-]

  • 3-0 Contenders Match Record
  • 11-1 Contenders Map Record

Australia’s Open Division champions have continued to enjoy success in Contenders. They are currently tied for the top spot in Group A with a 3-0 W/L record. Fixtures against Tainted Minds and SereNity were unsurprisingly one sided, with neither team coming close to stealing a map.

Blank’s last two matches of the group stage should be more of a challenge, as they are set to face playoffs bound teams Dark Sided and Legacy. A victory over Dark Sided will secure them the top seed in Group A, while a defeat will most likely see them move down both the standings and the Oceanic Rankings. Legacy may not currently be considered to be on par with Australia’s best teams but they have undeniably separated themselves from the middle of the pack.

The top three spots were yet again tightly contested in the panel’s votes, with Blank, Dark Sided and MGC all receiving votes for the top spot. At this point in time, it still feels like all three have a legitimate shot at claiming the inaugural season of Contenders Australia.

2nd: Dark Sided [-]

  • 3-0 Contenders Match Record
  • 11-1 Contenders Map Record

Dark Sided and Blank currently share an identical record, despite DS having a slightly more difficult schedule so far. 4-0 sweeps over Legacy and Kanga have cemented their reputation as a top team. While they were no doubt disappointed after dropping a map to SereNity, the absence of their offtank Punk during the match clearly hindered their level of play.

A blockbuster matchup against Blank should be one of the best matches of the group stage. A win would be huge for Dark Sided, almost certainly securing them the top seed in Group A. After undergoing a major rebuild following the conclusion of the Open Division playoffs, Dark Sided are looking stronger than ever.

3rd: Masterminds GC [-]

  • 3-0 Contenders Match Record
  • 11-0-1 Contenders Map Record

It feels almost criminal to see Masterminds checking in at number three again. In a match that was predicted to be a close contest, MGC swept the Sydney Drop Bears. They are also the only Contenders Australia team to have not lost a map, the only blemish on their record being a drawn map against NoC Predators.

These impressive feats almost swayed the panel’s votes, with MGC closer than ever to moving up the ranks. Yuki has clearly been a huge addition to an already talented roster and has continued to be one of Australia’s brightest talents.

Despite their strong performance so far, MGC released their long-time main tank Knellery recently. Joyboy has been picked up in his place, departing from Alter Ego for greener pastures. The effect of this move on MGC’s play remains to be seen and could be a huge factor come playoffs time.

4th: Sydney Drop Bears [-]

  • 4-1 Contenders Match Record
  • 16-4 Contenders Map Record

The Drop Bears have played all five of their group stage matches, allowing us to properly assess where they stand. Previous prescriptions of the team as sitting below the top three but above the rest of the pack have been reaffirmed by their results. It was smooth sailing for the Drop Bears against JAM, Alter Ego, NoC and Surge. However, when push came to shove, they were swept by MGC.

This was truly a disappointing result. Most had predicted a close match, with the possibility of either team coming out victorious. Instead, a relatively one-sided loss left the Bear’s licking their wounds as their group stage came to a close. With this taste of defeat fresh on their minds, expect to see a highly motivated squad come playoffs time.

5th: Legacy Esports [-]

  • 3-1 Contenders Match Record
  • 12-4 Contenders Map Record

Some maps were close in Legacy’s bout against Dark Sided, but for the most part they were outclassed. Rebounding from this setback, the team went on to turn in three straight 4-0 victories, the most impressive of these coming against Kanga.

While these wins are encouraging, ultimately Legacy will be judged by how they perform against Australia’s best. As a squad with their eyes set on stealing one of the four available LAN spots, they’ll need to turn in a strong showing against Blank Blue. Their likely playoffs opponent will be the Drop Bears, a formidable opponent despite their recent poor performance against MGC. If Legacy can’t pose a serious challenge to Blank, it seems unlikely that they’ll be able to down the Bears.

6th: JAM Gaming [+1]

  • 2-1 Contenders Match Record
  • 6-7 Contenders Map Record

JAM have had a mixed Contenders run so far. On one hand, it looks highly likely that they’ll make it out of Group B. On the other, their two victories have been less than convincing. Alter Ego’s hastily built roster took them to five maps, even with their DPS player Trace absent for part of the game. They also dropped a match to Surge, who currently sit at the bottom of their group with only two map wins.

The release of Cazzette after their disappointing performance against Surge didn’t exactly do much to inspire confidence in the team. If they are able to stabilize with Prowlore in his place, JAM should defeat NoC Predators in their final group stage match. Don’t expect the same if they face MGC in the playoffs.

7th: Kanga Esports [-1]

  • 1-3 Contenders Match Record
  • 4-11-1 Contenders Map Record

Kanga haven’t exactly met expectations. They were pegged to be a middle of the pack team bound for playoffs. Instead, they’ve acquired only one victory in four matches. Even this win against Tainted Minds was soured by the fact that they drew a map.

A series of changes have been made to the roster as Kanga looks to salvage their group stage run. DPS player Guzto was replaced by Locus, and has since played as a substitute for the Drop Bears. Alter Ego support Merit also made his way to the struggling roster.

Kanga control their fate as their last match of the group stage draws near. A win against SereNity, who also hold a 1-3 match record, will see them advance to the next stage. Otherwise, Kanga will be eliminated with only a single victory to show for their Contenders season.

8th: SereNity [+1]

  • 1-3 Contenders Match Record
  • 5-11 Contenders Map Record

SereNity qualified for Contenders through Trials, placing third in the event. They now have a legitimate chance to secure a spot in the playoffs. This fact in itself validates their season as a success. Even if they fail to best Kanga, their growth as a squad has been a feel good story in the Oceanic community. Hopefully they stick together in 2018 and continue to grow as a squad.

9th: NoCturnal Predators [-1]

  • 1-2 Contenders Match Record
  • 3-8-1 Contenders Map Record

NoC Predators are another Trials team that has the chance to make playoffs. Their path is more difficult than SereNity’s however, as they still have to face JAM and Alter Ego. A win over AE would go a long way to realising their playoffs dreams, as they both have an identical match record. This will be a difficult task, as AE have looked stronger than NoC despite their roster troubles.

10th Alter Ego [NEW]

  • 1-2 Contenders Match Record
  • 6-7 Contenders Map Record

Alter Ego have not been able to catch a break. Three of their players were banned for the entirety of 2018 before Contenders even kicked off. Even after rebuilding they couldn’t find stability, as JoyBoy and Merit were poached. The fact that they still have a chance at playoffs is remarkable.

Unfortunately, AE will have to play out the rest of the tournament with their coach Recker on high ping. A win against NoC is still well within in their reach, but keep in mind that the team will be severely hamstrung in their remaining matches