Fans’ anticipation for Overwatch Contenders Season One has finally been sated with the competition’s beginning on August 19th. The initial Season Zero was solely used to determine the teams involved in the new Season One. The inaugural season will take place over the course of about five weeks. This time does not include playoffs. Eight of the very best teams from Europe and North America will face their regional opponents. They will determine who will get the crowns of the best on their continents. In Europe, all eight of these teams labored through the rigorous ladder, facing teams upon teams just to make it into Season One. This battle-hardened lineup includes eUnited (Season Zero Champions), Misfits, Cloud 9, and Bazooka Puppiez, just to name a few.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, two notable teams received invitations to join the competition: Rogue and EnVyUs. In addition, these two titans will play against six other teams that had grinded their way to the top. These veteran teams are as follows: Immortals (Season Zero Champions), FaZe Clan, FNRGFE, Kungarna, 5 Hour Energy © Detroit Renegades, and Envision. Envision had been knocked out from the competition, but purchased Team Liquid’s spot in Season One. The first day of competition featured two matches per region. There were some of the heavyweights in each region facing off against one another. It will be remembered as the beginning of one of the highest levels of Overwatch ever played.
Match One: Misfits vs C9:
Despite the acclaim for their opponents, who are still a relatively new team, it was an easy victory for the new Misfits roster. They recently added premier DPS Logix and flex Cwoosh. Facing off against the old Laser Kittenz roster, who had been acquired by C9, Misfits showed that their upgrades were purely insurmountable for their unaccustomed foes. Logix proved to be a valuable pick-up. He brought a new level of depth to a roster which already had a star DPS in TviQ. Meanwhile, the new C9 hasn’t showed the type of skill that allowed them to get into Contenders in the first place. The final score of the first-ever match in Overwatch Contenders was a quick 4-0 in favor of Misfits.
Match Two: Team Gigantti vs eUnited:
Formerly Nynjas in Pyjamas, the almost-entirely Finnish roster of Team Gigantti was able to dish out a surprising upset over the European Contenders Season 0 champions in eUnited. The entirety of eUnited was simply overpowered by their opponents. But most certainly not due to a lack of individual skill. After all, the team possesses world-renowned players such as Boombox, who is widely regarded as the best Zenyatta player in the world. Perhaps the lack of team play for eUnited due to the World Cup caused disorganization in the group. Regardless, the team will certainly feel disappointment with their performance. This matchup’s final score was 3-1 for Team Gigantti.
Match Three: EnVyUs vs Immortals:
In what was essentially the most anticipated match of the day. Reigning champions Immortals faced off against what is perhaps one of the best teams in the world in EnVyUs. While many anticipated a strong showing from Immortals, EnVyUs proved that their time playing in South Korea was worth it. The team was able to play an incredibly aggressive playstyle, ultimately dominating Immortals. Even in the rare cases where EnVyUs would surrender a large amount of distance on an escort/hybrid map, they were able to blitz past whatever point Immortals reached. Effect was even able to utilize Doomfist efficiently on the side of EnVyUs. It proved that the team is still the best in the west, maybe even the world. The final score was 4-0.
Match Four: Envision vs Rogue
After purchasing a slot in Contenders from the recently disbanded Team Liquid Overwatch, Envision was one of the weaker performers entering the competition. They were a team who hadn’t even qualified for Season One in the first place. To make things worse, they were scheduled to play against Rogue. And they have been on the same level of dominance as Immortals and EnVyUs in recent weeks. However, in what was probably the most surprising upset of the day. Envision was able to pull out ahead of Rogue, proving themselves to be worthy of their position in the season. It seems completely illogical that such a dominant team as Rogue is able to defeat Immortals in the BEAT Invitational, yet lose to a team who hadn’t even secured a spot in Contenders until fate allowed them to do so. The final score was a shocking 3-1 for Envision.
Conclusions of the first set of matches
After this first day of competition, the standings for each region are essentially irrelevant; after all, only half of the total teams have played thus far. However, after the first few days of competition, perhaps once each team has played about three-to-four games. One may be able to fully predict which teams are at what level of play in comparison to their adversaries. However, until then, each team has a chance to prove themselves to be a top-tier performer, above the level at which they already play.
Thus, the very first set of matches in Contenders Season One, and in regular Contenders history, has proven to be a turbulent one, to say the least. With the fall of Rogue and eUnited to early negative records, it seems that this first season of Overwatch Contenders is going to be one of major upsets and underdog stories. However, this is only the beginning of the season. Teams are sure to still be working out the kinks in their play and in their roster; perhaps one could say that this was a rather irregular first night to an Overwatch Competition. To be fair, it’s unlikely that these events will happen once each team has had a chance to fully rejuvenate themselves. However, as casters and analysts have stated over and over again throughout the course of the night, and throughout the course of the first few matches, anything can happen in the game of Overwatch.