Team Envy, Misfits lead as Overwatch Contenders in NA and EU approaches
Overwatch Contenders began its initial season with thousands of teams, but come this weekend, a champion for each region will be determined.
Season zero fed into Overwatch Contenders season one, which pit 16 teams against each other across two regions, North America and Europe. Six weeks of regular season play knocked those 16 teams down to eight. When the playoffs begin on Oct. 7, that number will be decreased once again.
In North America, Team Envy, FaZe Clan, EnVision Esports, and FNRGFE will compete at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles on Oct. 7. Rogue, Immortals, Kungarna, and Renegades were eliminated. Misfits, Team Gigantti, 123, and Cloud9 represent the European teams, as GamersOrigin, Team Singularity, eUnited, and Bazooka Puppiez were eliminated earlier from the tournament.
Here are the matchups.
Team Envy vs. FNRGFE
Envy is heading into the Overwatch Contenders semifinals with a 7-0 record—they haven't lost a game in the tournament yet. They'll come up against FNRGFE, who has a 4-3 record as the fourth seed. Envy is coming into the weekend with a clear advantage: They're going to set the tone of the match as the tournament leaders, but they've also got a ringer in Brandon "Seagull" Larned. Announced in September as part of Envy's Overwatch League roster, Seagull wasn't listed as part of the Overwatch Contenders roster until recently. And now he's listed as a substitute player on the tournament's site—and FNRGFE just found out about it recently.
They've practiced for standard Envy play, but Seagull adds another level of complexity, regardless of whether he will be played or not. FNRGFE is coming into the tournament to an unknown, and that's an advantage for Envy. Past results loom, too: In mid-September, Envy beat FNRGFE 3-1 in their week five matches, falling to the unsigned team on Watchpoint: Gibraltar after they'd already won the series.
Envy is the clear favorite heading into this matchup—and it'll be surprising to see any team take them out, let alone FNRGFE.
FaZe Clan vs. EnVision
FaZe Clan and EnVision are more equally matched than Envy vs. FNRGFE, despite EnVision's unconventional start. The EnVision roster had initially failed to qualify for Overwatch Contenders season one, placing seventh in season zero. But after Team Liquid dropped out, EnVision bought their slot. Their success thus far has surprised everyone: It's clear they've worked hard to get to where they are.
But FaZe Clan's journey to the semifinals went mostly unchallenged, as the team only lost to Envy in the second week of matches. It was just in late September, too, where FaZe defeated EnVision 4-1, and they didn't even technically drop a map: Hanamura ended in a draw, which gave both teams one point. FaZe is already looking past EnVision and toward beating Envy in the finals, according to an interview with FaZe coach Ko "NamedHwi" Se-hwi.
Misfits vs. Cloud9
Like Envy, Misfits is entering the Overwatch Contenders semifinals with no losses. They'll come up against Cloud9 in the first match, a team struggling to stay in the tournament. As the fourth seed, Cloud9 just barely squeezed into the top four. Misfits beat Cloud9 with a 4-0 score on the first week of Overwatch Contenders, but it's been a long time since then. But Misfits likely aren't worried about Cloud9. If anyone, it's GamersOrigin who gave Misfits their biggest struggle—and GamersOrigin didn't make it out of groups.
Team Gigantti vs. 123
Team Gigantti is the likely favorite heading into their match against 123, but 123 certainly shouldn't be discounted. They will, however, be at a disadvantage come the weekend. Russian tank player Denis "Tonic" Rulyov was denied a United States visa ahead of the tournament, so 123 had to make a last minute replacement. David "nomy" Ramirez, NRG Esports' new tank player, will step in—and despite his skill, it'll be a challenge.
Team cohesiveness in a game like Overwatch is important. Team Gigantti has mastered it, and 123 will need to find it quick. 123 has already lost to Team Gigantti, 1-3 in week four matches, but they're still not out of it.
Overwatch Contenders for North America and Europe begin Oct. 7 at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles. Matches will continue into Oct. 8, where a champion will be crowned for each region. Following the finals, Europe and North America will go head-to-head in a Team Deathmatch battle.