Contenders is the breeding ground for new and upcoming talent for the Overwatch League. With many of the top teams creating academies to compete in their respective regions, the level of play is already seriously high for what is essentially a tier two scene. But what teams and players have impressed? Let’s take a look first of all at EU Contenders.
The academy team for London Spitfire, Hurricane have been one of the top EU teams, finishing first in group A. Their strong tank play and solid support line are where they really shine, and while Kragie might not have hit the heights expected of him so far on Tracer, Kyb has quickly been improving in the flex DPS role. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, and their consistency can be questioned after their 4-0 loss to Orgless and Hungry, but Hurricane have buckets of potential, and will be one of the favourite to take the EU season one crown.
Players to watch:
Haficool – I’m tipping Hafi to be in high demand for season two of the Overwatch League. While primarily playing the off-tank role for Hurricane, he often flexes onto Soldier 76 and Widowmaker for control maps, where the British side like to run triple DPS. It’s this versatility that will make him valuable, and he has a track record of competing at the highest level too, after playing in APEX for Fnatic.
FunnyAstro – If you enjoy good Lucio play, watch this man. Considered one of the best in the world, his aggressive, playmaking style is a joy to behold. Rumoured to have tryouts for LAV before they looked elsewhere, he’ll need to quickly improve on the other support heroes. However, he probably has the highest potential of any support player in Europe, and that alone will make him a tantalizing pick up for any team.
Despite losing their playoff quarterfinal to Gigantti, this all French team has real quality. The likes of KnOxXx and NiCO have proven this already, having played on Rogue with the likes of SoOn, uNKOE and aKm. They revolve perhaps a bit too much around their Widowmaker team compositions, but I fully expect this squad to be competing for future Contenders titles.
Players to watch:
Flippy – This guy is an unreal Widowmaker, and when he pops off, Eagle Gaming roll through their opponents. His sniper play is definitely OWL quality, but there’s still a question mark over the rest of his hero pool. However, we all enjoy watching some nutty headshots, and Flippy provides plenty of those.
Barely scraping into the Playoffs, finishing fourth in group A, Gigantti have finally started to hit some form, dispatching Eagle Gaming 3-0 in their quarterfinal. While it’s been a slightly rocky first season of Contenders for the side, they have a history of competing and winning at the highest level, and this new squad will hope to replicate the likes of Linkzr, Biggoose and Shaz into moving up to the Overwatch League. For money, they have the best support duo in the region too.
Players to Watch:
Davin – The only member of the previous Gigantti side not to be picked up for OWL, he’s a man out with a point to prove. I’d rate him as the best Tracer in Europe, and he definitely has the talent to play the role at a higher level. Expect there to be a good chance we’ll see him competing against the best next year.
We’ll be covering both NA and Korea Contenders in the coming days, to keep you updated on the emerging stars, and what teams to root for (the answer is Runaway, for those asking).