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Contenders Trials EU Recap #1: Strong Starts & Not So Strong Starts

Contenders Trials kicked off across the pond this past weekend, and like their American counterparts, things got off to quite the start. Three teams are undefeated at the moment, with another handful just behind (and a couple hanging out towards the bottom, where they definitely don’t want to be. Isn’t that always how it goes, though?)

While these games are decidedly easier to go over on your own thanks to Broadcast.gg, I’ve still taken some time to get all the key info down for you to chew through over your morning’s Full English or scone or whatever. Get the kettle on!

 

British Hurricane


Week 1 Results: 4-0 vs Osh-Tekk Warriors, 3-2 vs HSL
Current Standings: 1st (2-0, +5)
Next Week’s Matches: Tea & Biscuits, SMC EU, Bazooka Puppiez

Not much has changed for the British Hurricane since they were relegated out of Contenders last season – but at the same time, something has definitely happened to this team.

I’m not just basing that off of the scorelines – a dominant sweep against a hamstrung Osh-Tekk and a close game against HSL don’t tell us that this team is OWL bound or anything. What is telling about this team is how cleanly they could put together a game plan. Hurricane swapped comps often, but always knew just wanted they wanted out of each pick – and more often than not, they got exactly that. Nesh and Kyb were a delight to watch, and Hafficool is as solid as ever with support from Fusions and the backline of Bock1 and FunnyAstro. Put ’em all together, and you’ve got yourself a 2-0 start.

 

We Have Org


Week 1 Results: 3-1 vs HSL, 3-1 vs SMC
Current Standings: 2nd (2-0, +4)
Next Week’s Matches: Copenhagen Flames, Osh-Tekk Warriors, Tea & Biscuits

Despite the slightly less impressive scoreline, We Have Org cleaned up nicely in their Week 1 match-ups. A map or two here and there won’t go amiss when you only need to make it into the top four at the end of the day, after all. Unless those maps decide if you end Trials in fourth, or in fifth…

It’s a little too soon to get that dour. For now, We Have Org are looking like a solid, Contenders level team, with the coordination and balance required to survive this chaotic meta. Zerggy, Midna, and Karra make for a hell of a trio, diving in and knocking people around like they own the place while IDXD, Kangakanga, and ShonP kept fights clean and tight. An important note: these guys win their 1v1s. Often. When it’s just you and the other guy, it’s good to know that you’re the fastest draw. Keep ’em comin’, pardner.

 

Copenhagen Flames


Week 1 Results: 3-1 vs Tea & Biscuits, 3-2 vs Bazooka Puppiez
Current Standings: 3rd (2-0, +3)
Next Week’s Matches: We Have Org, HSL Esports, SMC EU

love this team. Maybe it’s just their story – a squad formed from the ashes of an imploded Eagle Gaming, EU Contenders’ Season 2 champs and hometown heroes all wrapped into one; or maybe it’s their mechanical ability, forged over months of grueling playtime and careful planning with skilled coaches and analysts – some of whom are rumored to be moving into the big leagues very, very soon.

Maybe it’s just Hqrdest.

Whether he’s patiently waiting for his chance to kill the enemy Reinhardt, or taking matters into his own hands and… well, killing the enemy Reinhardt, this guy has got his list of things to do figured out. Click faces, win games. Check and check. He’s well supported by four other former teammates (and Hayko, who hails from 6nakes,) and the squad works together flawlessly to execute set plays like the ones above again and again and again. Sure, they’re not perfect – nothing ever is – but it’s beautiful, in a “turn your head just so” kinda way. These guys have style. Let’s hope they have some consistency to pair with it.

 

Shu’s Money Crew (EU)


Week 1 Results: 3-2 vs Bazooka Puppiez, 1-3 vs We Have Org
Current Standings: 4th (1-1, -1)
Next Week’s Matches: HSL Esports, British Hurricane, Copenhagen Flames

This particular Money Crew is doing well enough so far, clinging to a fourth-place spot after a mixed bag of a weekend against Bazooka Puppiez and We Have Org. Tea & Biscuits are right on their tails, though, and any slip-up will cost them dearly – especially with some tough matches against British Hurricane and Copenhagen on the horizon. They’re not out of this yet! Kolsti and Trispear have impressed so far, and there are plenty of players on this team with a real clutch factor – which you can never ignore in a game like this.

 

Tea & Biscuits


Week 1 Results: 1-3 vs Copenhagen Flames, 3-2 vs Osh-Tekk Warriors
Current Standings: 5th (1-1, -1)
Next Week’s Matches: British Hurricane, Bazooka Puppiez, We Have Org

Another team with some tough matches for Week 2, T&B will really need to bring their A-game when the #1 and #3 seeds come to call. They certainly didn’t last week, even with their scoreline showing them tied for fourth place – a close 3-2 against Osh-Tekk doesn’t exactly scream “we’re ready for Contenders” from what we’ve seen so far. To be fair, though, this is a roster of untested talent. Like any new team, they’ll face their growing pains, and have to deal with them one way or another – that is, they’ll either be crushed, or start crushing. Like Second Wind across the pond, Tea & Biscuits could simply be biding their time for a spectacular comeback. Or maybe not. Who knows!

 

Bazooka Puppiez


Week 1 Results: 2-3 vs SMC, 2-3 vs Copenhagen Flames
Current Standings: 6th (0-2, -2)
Next Week’s Matches: Osh-Tekk Warriors, Tea & Biscuits, British Hurricane

Oh, Puppiez. Last week I told you that there’s nowhere to go but up. In response, you won four maps, nearly equalling your Contenders S2 total of six, and proving that there’s actually a second option – staying just where you are.

There are so many bright spots on this team – Mete has been a revelation on Wrecking Ball, a hero many teams still struggle to understand, and his synergy with cRNKz carried over perfectly well from their time together on Team Germany. Milkyman plays a very complimentary style to Mete, cleaning up and getting out efficiently while making space for Khave and Sab to do their thing in the backline. This team should be pretty good. They’re just missing little tiny pieces.

Let me put it to you this way – this team was two tiebreakers away from being ranked fourth, rather than sixth. Two maps away from being in Contenders, or out of Contenders. (Theoretically, of course. There are still plenty of games to play.) Remember how I mentioned a couple maps here or there won’t always go amiss? For Bazooka Puppiez, that is decidedly not the case. If they can’t turn things around in their three games this weekend, those two maps could very well be what sends them home, or worse – back into the depths of Open Division.

A positive note – these three games make a perfect curve of difficulty. A (hopefully) easy game against Osh-Tekk, a slightly more challenging, but still winnable match against Tea & Biscuits, and a challenging tustle with British Hurricane to cap it all off. If the pupz can build some momentum by the time they get to that last match, then we’ve got ourselves quite the comeback.

 

HSL Esports


Week 1 Results: 1-3 vs We Have Org, 2-3 vs British Hurricane
Current Standings: 7th (0-2, -3)
Next Week’s Matches: SMC EU, Copenhagen Flames

I’m not quite sure what to think of HSL’s results this weekend. Sure, the 0-2 scoreline is pretty grim, but I feel that there’s always more to see than just the numbers. HSL’s engagements were well coordinated and aggressive, their individual mechanics weren’t that bad, and their map differential tells you that these games were, by and large, fairly close. So what gives?

The answer isn’t that simple, but can be boiled into one frustrating word – comms. Ultimates were often used at weird times, and the tank line often moved in very different directions. When the whole point of your composition is to stick together and support one another, HSL’s frontline made it easy for their enemies to walk in and rain hell. So that’s exactly what they did.

On the bright side, Hidan has definitely still got it. He nailed sleep darts and made pushes work single-handedly on a variety of heroes. On the not so bright side, Progi was signed to One.PoinT before he even managed to play a single game with this team. Which probably explains the frontline problems.

 

Osh-Tekk Warriors


Week 1 Results: 0-4 vs British Hurricane, 2-3 vs Tea & Biscuits
Current Standings: 8th (0-2, -5)
Next Week’s Matches: Bazooka Puppiez, We Have Org

It’s been a rough week for Osh-Tekk. When you’re already the dark horse in a competition full of Europe’s best Overwatch talent, losing half your starting roster doesn’t really say “welcome to the neighborhood.” With such a severe handicap in synergy, it’s no surprise that OTW’s games went the way they did. I’m not sure if the normal roster will come back for Week 2 or beyond, but this team really needs to take a breath and start over if they want any chance at making it anywhere beyond 8th place. They had a close game against Tea & Biscuits, and the Warriors may yet get another chance when they face off against Bazooka Puppiez – another 0-2 team, albeit one with a lot more to lose.

 

 

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