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The inaugural Overwatch Contenders Gauntlet is coming up, bringing together tier-two teams from all around the world to decide who is the best. It’ll be a big tournament for prospective Overwatch League players to make their mark, with a healthy dose of regional pride on the line.
As season two of Contenders wraps up globally, the top 10 teams are slowly being decided. So, if you are wondering who has made the Contenders Gauntlet so far, we have compiled a list of teams for you.
North America: Team Envy, XL2 Academy, ATL Academy, Gladiators Legion
Four academies, four NA Gauntlet attendees. After going on a tear at the Atlantic Showdown to get another spot for the region, there was a lot to fight for across both North America West and North America East in season two of Contenders this year.
In the West, it was Dallas Fuel’s Contenders team, Team Envy, who took out the title with a clean 7-0 season. As players like Ashley “Trill” Powell were promoted to the Overwatch League, Envy brought in talent from other regions like British Hurricane’s Seb “numlocked” Barton and Hafþór “Hafficool” Hákonarson.
ATL Academy, Atlanta Reign’s Contenders team, went one better in the East, only dropping one map across the entire season on their way to dominance. Led by Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger, who was dropped by the Reign mid-season, ATL Academy dominated the East with their unstoppable GOATs and great 2-2-2 flexibility.
Both XL2 Academy and Gladiators Legion wrapped up the other two spots after finishing second in West and East, respectively. XL2 were forced to rebuild from the ground up after the region lock rules came into effect in 2019 but found a stable roster in season two to make it to the Gauntlet. The Gladiators Legion were the only team to take a map off ATL Academy through the season in the final, and will be looking to go a few better in South Korea.
Another Academy team will be taking center stage at the Gauntlet, but this time it’s from a Chinese franchise. LGE.Huya, who are partnered with the Chengdu Hunters, took down Shanghai Dragons’ Team CC in the Contenders China final to qualify for the Gauntlet.
While China did originally have two spots for the Gauntlet, LGE.Huya bowed out early in the Pacific Showdown to Pacific’s Talon Esports, meaning the region lost a spot in the 10-team tournament. But, the half-Korean half-Chinese roster came back with a vengeance in season two, finishing up second in Group A before running through the playoffs.
Pacific: Talon Esports
Talon Esports are three-time champions of Contenders Pacific. While they had some issues early on in the year, they rebuilt the roster in time for season one 2019 and only bolstered it heading into season two. Young gun Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong, who played for Thailand in OWWC 2018, and veteran Ubon “oPuTo” Dara, headline this underrated team, who are looking to turn some more heads come October.
They clawed their way from the loser’s bracket of the Pacific Showdown to secure a spot for the region in Korea, and then dominated the competition in season two by only dropping one map. Now back on the international stage, Talon have a lot to prove for the wider Pacific region, and they will be one of the underdogs to watch out for.
Europe: HSL Esports
While teams like Gigantti, Clockwork Vendetta, and the British Hurricane have dominated the headlines of Contenders Europe, HSL Esports will be the European representative at the Gauntlet. A team made up of OWWC stars like Denmark’s Mads “fischer” Jehg and Russia’s Ilya “Txao” Makarov, the Italian-based organisation went from Open Division to Contenders champions in the space of two months.
The Royal Road dream is still alive, and a win at the Gauntlet will make for one of esports best Cinderella stories. Their OWWC experience will be key to their chances of making a run, and it’s very possible that HSL could upset the competition.
Korea: The final three spots
Korea is the only major Contenders region who hasn’t locked in their spots for the Gauntlet. South America and Australia don’t have any teams attending the tournament after failing to qualify through the Showdowns, with Korea soaking up the final three teams.
In contention to take the final spots are table-toppers O2 Blast and Gen.G Esports, Pacific Showdown champions Element Mystic, fan favorites Runaway, North American imports Fusion University, and the veterans of GC Busan Wave. Contenders Korea wraps up on Sep. 1, meaning it’ll be a couple more weeks until the host nation has its representatives locked in.
The Overwatch Contenders Gauntlet starts on Oct. 9.