EU and NA Overwatch teams enter the PIT
The Overwatch PIT Championship begins action this Thursday. While it may not feature all of the best Western teams in the scene, both the North American and European tournaments are filled with importance.
There are many storylines to watch heading into both the month-long EU and NA tournaments. The top European team comes back to take back their crown, other European teams look to set themselves up for titles in the future, and North America fights against a French roster that has reigned supreme in recent months.
Both tournaments start on March 23 with two groups of six. The teams will play a single round-robin best-of-three series with the top four teams moving on to a double elimination playoff stage. These are the first major tournaments for both regions in a while, and will show which teams are the strongest in NA and EU.
Four Western teams competed at the Overwatch APEX season two and three were eliminated in the group stage. EnVyUs was the only team to make it to the second round but failed to win a series in the tournament’s second group stage. Though eliminated in the group stage, Misfits showed a lot of improvement at the Overwatch APEX and will bring that back to Europe.
Misfits come back to Europe with aspirations of reviving their dominance in the region and Rogue look to continue their strong run in North America among NA teams.
The European title seems already wrapped up. Misfits is the strongest team in the region, and there isn’t much competition on their level. That’s especially true with the new dive meta, which doesn’t play to some European teams strengths—Ninjas in Pyjamas in particular. Though North America will be more competitive, Cloud9, Fnatic, and EnVyUs will be notably absent. Cloud9 and EnVyUs decided to take a break while Fnatic failed to make it out of the qualifiers, meaning the tournament will not feature NA’s top teams.
Misfits come back to take the crown
Misfits had a tough start to the year. They were put into the “Group of Death” in the Overwatch APEX season two going up against the likes of Lunatic-Hai, LW Blue, and Afreeca Freecs Red. Though the team fought hard, that wasn’t enough to make it out of the group, and they finished third.
The last time Misfits competed against European competition was at DreamHack Winter, where the team didn’t drop a series and cruised to victory. That tournament was held back in late November 2016, and many things, including the meta and team rosters, have changed since then.
With their reported move to the North American region, Misfits will look to take one last European title to cement themselves as Europe’s best team. The team looks strong even in the new meta, while other European squads have struggled to adapt to the new strategies. Misfits should be leaving Europe on top.
Who will fill the void?
EUnited will be joining Misfits in a move to NA. eUnited would have been the top contender for the title after they picked up the ex-Reunited roster.. With these two teams leaving, there is a gap at the top that a European team must fill.
There are a few names that come to mind as potential top European teams: NiP, Team Dignitas, and Laser Kittenz. NiP has some proven success but that was months ago, Dignitas has LAN experience but has not attended many tournaments overall, and Lazer Kittens is a new org but fields experienced players.
NiP has a good track record, but most of that success came back in the quad-tank meta where they innovated the strategy. Since then, the only tournament they played in was a Finish event with little strong competition. It’s unknown whether the team has been able to adapt to the new meta.
Team Dignitas’ roster was introduced in February and lacks first-place finishes. Though the team does not have those event wins they still have high placing finishes at tournaments. Their most recent LAN was two months ago at the XTRA Cup where they took home second place. The team has strong potential but is unproven against the top European teams.
Laser Kittenz is a newly formed organization that picked up the remaining members of the Bench Boys roster as well as some other European players. Finley "Kyb" Adisi and Sergi "Winghaven" Torras Aragonés are experienced players with proven success. The players around them look set to round out the roster but will need to prove their strength.
Some other organizations that can fight for the throne include Vivi’s Adventure and Movistar Runners. Vivi’s Adventure has won multiple weekly and monthly tournaments and smashed their way through the qualifiers. Like Vivi’s Adventure, Movistar Runner has success in online tournaments but did not impress at their most recent LAN tournament.
Can NA take down the French?
In the absence of the top NA teams, Rogue has dominated the events they’ve played in. They’re on an unbeaten streak of 12 series. The French roster made a move to the region and has proven themselves against the North American competition.
At the recent Alienware Monthly Melee, Rogue faced a tough challenge in Selfless. The North American squad brought their two series close and pushed Rogue to the limit. Selfless will be competing in NA Overwatch PIT tournament and will be a strong test for the French team.
There are other NA rosters that look strong online and will hope to join Selfless as a challenge for Rogue. LG Evil, Renegades, and Immortals all can play at a high level but will need to reach that point against Rogue in order to end their streak.
European and North American teams will look to prove themselves with the Overwatch League looming closer and closer in hopes of getting a place in the league. Both regions’ teams will try to topple the status quo and take down the top organizations.