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NA Contenders Trials preview: The GOATS prep for one last ride as the Skyfoxes take flight

Before every season of Overwatch Contenders, Blizzard does a little housekeeping. They shuffle things around a bit, rearrange the furniture, that sort of thing. We call this housekeeping, Contenders Trials; a sort of half-way point between Open Division and Contenders proper.

At the end of a Contenders season, the bottom four teams are put on the chopping block. Their opponents – the top four teams from the most recent Open Division season – are happy to do the chopping, if given the chance. Every team has a chance to claim (or reclaim) greatness. They just have to hope their axe is the sharpest.

Many of you might not be entirely familiar with these teams, and the vast majority have completely changed their rosters to give themselves the best chance in Trials. To help with that, I’ve compiled a quick introduction for each team, and given them a grade corresponding to their chances (in my eyes) of making it to Contenders.

 

Fight for Your Life


Bye Week

Roster Changes

Head Coach: FrAgOn out, JSR signed

Flex DPS: Minish –> Retired, Jade moved to starting roster from sub position

Support: Jkw out, Calyoon signed

Flex: Hobbs signed

Bye Week were tied for last place (with Second Wind) in Season 2 of Contenders, taking only three maps in the entire season after breaking through from the previous season of Trials themselves. Alec “Shereshoy” Bynum struggled with a wrist injury for a good portion of the season, and the team never really built the momentum required to approach a winning game, much less a winning season. To avoid falling back into Open Division, the team has made some roster moves – patching the holes left by the departure of veteran support player Joey “Jkw” Wavering and the retirement of David “Minish” Modisette, their flex DPS.

I’m not personally confident in Bye Week’s chances. They’ll have to hope that their additions will solve the problems they faced all season – which is a pretty tall order. There’s always a chance, though!

 

Skyfoxes

Roster Changes

Tank: DPS and AceOFSpades out, moop3y and Midnight in

DPS: Jaru and Boostio out, k1ng and claris in

Support: Hidan and Jer out, Luna, Swimmer and Snow in

Flex: Guru out

This is a roster rebuild I can get behind. The Skyfoxes’ changes are extensive – hardly surprising, given their third-to-last finish last season – and they’re packed with high caliber talent from a variety of sources. The strongest changes are at support, where former Boston Uprising healer Mikias “Snow” Yohannes joins Open Division star Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy and former LW Blue ace Gyeong-ho “Luna” Jang. Look for Snow to step up in a leadership role, given his OWL experience, but don’t sleep on the rest of his squad either. Luna is a grizzled veteran, moop3y played for Mayhem Academy, Midnight for XL2 and claris for Samsung MorningStars Black. This team should have the experience to pull together and give us quite the show. Hopefully.

 

Second Wind

Roster Changes:

Coaches: Quinze out, Maid signed, Flubby moved from Support

Tank: Moop3y and Ginger out, Akawa, frdwnr, and Janitor signed

DPS: Wub, Zaxal and ShaDowZ out, Ezire, Saucy, and Sit signed

Support: SuhPoze out, Flubby transitioned to staff, CarCar and HaKu signed

Oh, Second Wind. A tied-for-last performance last season left many wondering how you had managed to get to Contenders in the first place. You heard that criticism, though, and changed virtually everything – which may or may not work.

Ezire, Saucy and Sit have all done well for themselves in Open Division, and may be the edge Second Wind needed. They’ll have to hope that their damage-dealers can sync up with the rest of the squad, who join Second Wind with a wide variety of experience levels (and ages – CarCar is only 16!).

 

GGEA

We didn’t know a whole lot about GGEA’s Trials plans until reports started surfacing on Friday- first from newly minted Second Wind coach Maid, and again from David “Benchmobdc” Cecconi. Per Benchmob’s report, GGEA have had a freeze placed on their hiring processes, leaving their efforts to sign new staff and players at a standstill. While they were apparently working towards fixing the situation before the Trials submission deadline on Friday, they failed to do so, and will therefore not compete in Trials at all. 

It’s anyone’s guess as to what that means for the future of the organization. Will the org resettle once they’ve figured out their finances, and push back through Open Division on their way up the Path to Pro? Or are we witnessing the first death of an academy team?

 

Fight for a Chance

Shu’s Money Crew (NA)

You’ve heard a bit about Shu’s already if you read my article centered around this season’s OD champs – and of course you read it, right? You read all my stuff, right? (Right?)

Anyhow, not much is changing about good ol’ SMC, who cruised through the competition to a Trials berth and the aforementioned championship. Their tongue-in-cheek bravado might be tested against some more experienced teams, especially now that Sombra/Doomfist compositions have had some time under the microscope. Will they be able to withstand the pressure, scoring a Contenders slot as easily as their Trials spot? More importantly – will they have enough time between games to full-clear Mythic Uldir every week?

 

Phase 2

Roster Changes

DPS: Far out, Samito signed to a sub role

Little in the way of roster changes so far for Phase 2, but they hardly need them. Their second-place finish was impressive, and they only ever lost to Shu’s Money Crew, once in the Winners’ Finals and again in the Grand Finals. That says something – they’re really gonna need to work on their Doomfist counters- but they’ve had time to prepare, and they still have the clutch factor needed to take on any foe. Plus, their GOATS comp is better than GOATS’ GOATS comp, which is a weird sentence to write.

 

U4 | Euphoria eSports

DPS: Pugz out, Kittens signed

Tank: Hosay out, NewFaceGuy signed

Support: Reo out, Reptile signed

There’s not a whole lot out there about U4, but they put on a good show in Open Division, dropping out against GOATS in the Losers’ Semis after securing their Trials spot. Kittens is a strong Tracer, and Matman and Pika have good synergy together. They’ll have to hope they can hold their own against opponents that have already shown themselves to be their betters. GOATS and Phase 2 are still here, and will need to be dealt with sooner rather than later if U4 wants any chance to move forward.

 

GOATS

Roster Moves

Tank: Gator out, Nomy and Chayne signed

DPS: Ezire and Sit out, naGGA and Enkae signed

Support: Ichor out, Hooey signed

Remember how I said Phase 2’s GOATS comp was better than GOATS’ GOATS comp? Yeah, that might not be true anymore. After signing two huge additions in the frontline – former San Francisco Shock star David “Nomy” Ramirez and Bye Week ringer Shayne “Chayne” La Rocque – this squad looks straight scary. Just in time for Halloween, too.

The tank line won’t be the only scary part about this roster. Nikolai “naGGa” Dereli was Team Denmark’s projectile specialist and Estevao “Hooey” Gama is a very experienced support player. He has been around in some capacity since 2016, most notably with Tempo Storm alongside players like Mangachu, sleepy, kellar and Beasthalo. It looks like the GOATS are ready for one last ride.

 

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1 comment

Overwatch Contenders Trials NA: Week 1 Recap • The Game Haus October 11, 2018 at 3:29 pm

[…] Reminder: The stats listed for these teams all include a free win against GGEA, who failed to submit a roster in time to participate in this season’s Trials. You can read a bit more about that here.  […]

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