We've hit the end of first full season of Overwatch Contenders, getting our victor in Team Gigantti and (Now Dallas Fuel) Team Envyus. After a 4 game set against Faze that was closer than it looked they took home first place and the lion's share of $100,000. With the end of the season just behind us I wanted to take a look at some of the cool things that happened, take a journey with me?
On the European side of Contenders we had the minor upset of Team Gigantti beating Misfits in an absolute barn burner 4-3, working the game behind their big man Zappis. That bearded wonder, I feel, is the main reason Gigantti won that hard set against a revitalized Misfits. His play on Zarya was great and when being switched onto D.Va he still manged to take a lot of the damage away from his backline. That, coupled with newly vicious play from Davin and Linkzr, is why Gigantti looked great after suffering their only defeat at the hands of Misfits.
There's also the story of Gigantti that makes their victory even more sweet. After being dropped from Ninjas in Pyjamas earlier in the year, things seemed to be going downhill for them. Changing their name to Rest in Pyjamas for the rest of season 0, they were bounced out early in the playoffs by 123.
Then came Team Gigantti, who bought out the Rest in Pyjamas roster, and somehow, everything seemed to fall in place at just the right time. Linkzr woke up and started a killing spree, Zappis stopped any damage coming his way, and Davin is too fast too stop on Tracer when he's feeling it. The whole of Gigantti started to play together in a way we haven't seen since they popularized the triple tank composition. Things could not have come together better for Team Gigantti and I for one could not be happier that they did.
On the other side we have the, now known as Dallas Fuel, Team Envyus. This season of Contenders was all about proving why they are one of the best teams in the world. They completed this mission.
Envyus was absolutely dominant throughout this tournament, giving them hands out to anyone and everyone who wanted them. Every time I had to write about them I had to come up with a weakness in their gameplay, and by the next game it didn't exist anymore. This team is scary, just freaking scary. Effect has been improving his teamplay with every game. Mickie has gotten better at protecting and peeling for his support group. Speaking of the support group, Harryhook and Chipshajen are the best support duo under Ryujehong and Tobi. Period. They are so good at what they do it's insane to watch. They also added Seagull to their roster who added the sorely needed projectile proficiency to the team.
Season 1 of contenders also brought about the end of the Envyus name being attached to this team as we know it. As they go forth into the Overwatch League, they will be known as one of the Texas teams, the Dallas Fuel. As much as I am sorry to see them leave the Contenders scene I could not be more excited to see what they can do come this December.
Here comes a new challenger
This year being the first where you could buy a spot in the regular season, the selling of the spots from Team Liquid and Movistar Riders brought us Envision and GamersOrigin. Both teams were a pleasure to watch early in the season, proving that they were worth the money. GamersOrigin brought us the Doomfist specialist Leaf who brought us many awesome Meteor Strikes, and were just narrowly beat out for a playoff spot by Cloud 9.
We also had Envision come out and shock the world right out the gate on the North American side, beating Rogue and Immortals back to back. You can give them all the excuses in the book but it don't pretend that you called Envision doing what they did. The team played above and beyond what anyone expected, especially the first half of the season. They had great moments throughout and when they couldn't, they could lean on their star DPS, Jaru to give them a big play. Jaru is something special with his Doomfist and Genji, being an excellent playmaker when his team needs him to be. I'm mad hype to see what Envision can do going to APAC and Contenders season 2.
Fallen champs and great moments
Winning Contenders season 0 made the Madden curse look like a child's toy. This was not a great season for Immortals or eUnited.
At first we gave eUnited the benefit of the doubt with their week 1 loss against the eventual season 1 champions Team Gigantti. Shaking the cobwebs off from most of the team being in World Cup. This was not the case. eUnited would not win a game until week 5 against the equally bad looking Bazooka Puppiez. This should not have been the case for a team such as eUnited, their talent at every position is well known in the community. Kruise is an amazing Genji player, pulling plays from outta his ass whenever his team needed it. There's also Boombox, extra deadly with the entry kills from Zenyatta. There should have been no reason why we didn't get to see this team defend their title, and as of some yet unknown reason we didn't get it.
There is also the fact that eUnited will not be participating in the first season of Overwatch League, which is unfortunate. Around the time at which they were 0-4 it was announced that they wouldn't be. They will still be performing as eUnited as they find new teams, but it's likely that this will be the last we see of this version of eUnited. Which bums me out.
There's also had the champions on the NA side, the now LA based Overwatch League team, Immortals. Here's a visual representation of their season
That aside, Immortals has now twice shrank in a tournament when Envyus and Rogue are involved. The first happening early in the year after they came back from Apex. Immortals always shows such promise every time I see them but whenever they get up to fight a top team they can't get their shit together.
One problem I've seen from Immortals is their lack of a true Tracer player. Grimreality is a lot of things, but he is not a Tracer. It was also revealed from their Lucio player Verbo that he relinquished shotcalling duties during the season, which definitely showed in their play. Immortals have a lot of holes in their team currently and it is starting to show, doesn't make them bad, just means that teams that they were beating before are starting to notice. They have two options it seems, either shore up their defenses or find more players to help, they can't keep up with their current pace.
This season of Contenders was an absolute blast to watch, from the upsets to watching Envyus and Gigantti standing with their trophies in the end. Some personal favorite moments of mine were watching Logix terrorizing Cloud 9 week one. I also loved watching all the crazy Doomfist plays, especially all the massive 'Space Jams'. Absolutely bananas. I also loved talking to you all every week as you gave me feedback and advice on my writing. I can't thank you all enough and I look forward to talking about any upcoming events!
to the future
Nate Nanzer said in a short blurb during the Contenders LAN finals, "we recognize that the path to pro needs to be a system that rewards aspiring players, and the organizations that support them". While Contenders has been fun it hasn't shown us that it can be a legitimate path to pro yet as Overwatch League hasn't started yet. It hasn't really shown us the potential that it could be all that Blizzard wants it to be. I want nothing more than Contenders to show us the stars of tomorrow, and I'm hoping that once Overwatch League starts that it will.
Follow me on Twitter @NoOneLovesGary, I'm gonna be covering APAC and the upcoming World Cup as much as possible so let's talk about it! And as always any feedback is appreciated!