The first regular season of Open Division is nearly over, but do you know any of the teams fighting for Contenders trials spots yet? Maybe one or two, perhaps, but certainly not the top 10, I’d bet…
Let me help with that. Here are the top 10 NA Open Division teams- all 10 are at least 9-1, but many have differing Opponent Match Win Percentages, or OMW%. This value accounts for the average match win rate of each of these team’s opponents, giving us a rough approximation of their strength of schedule throughout the regular season. It’s crucial for determining the hierarchy of these closely matched teams, especially with playoff spots on the line.
No matter what their record is, teams will be playing an 11th match outside of their normal 10 games to help decide the top 16. 10-0 teams are guaranteed a playoff spot, but the 9-1 and 8-2 teams could still switch places if things get a bit crazy. There are still a lot of spots on the line!
The top 16 teams will advance into the playoffs, which are a seeded double-elimination bracket format. The top 6 from those playoffs will be going to Contenders Trials this season, to face off against Phase 2 (formerly Kungarna) and Skyfoxes for a chance to secure a Contenders spot in one of the two new regions – NA West and NA East. We still don’t know how that split will go, specifically, but we’ll get there when we get there.
Chicken Contendies (10-0, 85 OMW%)
Alright, meet your 2019 Open Division #PathToPro roster!
We still out here yeetin' this wheat
— Chicken Contendies (@ChickensGG) December 17, 2018
Now this is a team. While it’s filled with relative unknowns – as most of these teams are – they’ve got just enough star power to make it work. SuhPoze has experience from being on the original Second Wind roster back in 2018 Contenders Season 2, and Harbleu is… well, Harbleu. One of the oldest names in the game, with a proven capacity for performance. His leadership is definitely a key factor in CC’s success so far, but it’s a team effort that’s gotten them to 10-0. Let’s see how much farther it can get them…
Also, this logo is freakin’ cute, so they get extra points there.
The Dogmen (10-0, 85 OMW%)
Roster: Matman909 (Main Tank), Janitor (Off Tank), Iced (Hitscan), Speedily (Flex DPS), Felty (Main Support), Berd (Flex Support).
The Dogmen have quite the roster on their hands this season – as they did last season. They were so, so close to a Trials berth, and will definitely be using that as a motivator when playoffs kick off again next weekend.
Beyond the already stacked roster, the Dogmen’s main appeal has been its star-studded staff. ATL Academy’s flex support Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman is the co-founder and namesake of the team, alongside prominent streamer and Dallas Fuel coach Justin “Jayne” Conroy. The two set out to give players their first opportunity to work in a professional team environment. With multiple playoff appearances under their belt, you can’t say it hasn’t worked, either!
Against the Grain (10-0, 82.5 OMW%)
A team fit for victory, expect to see them high on the leader-boards 🏅
— ATG_AgainstTheGrain (@ATG_Esport) December 9, 2018
I’ll admit I don’t know much about this team, but that should definitely change soon. They’ve gone up against former Contenders players and experienced OD veterans with hardly a scratch to show for it. Let’s hope that momentum can carry into the playoffs, too.
This team is a testament to the quality of players on the competitive ladder right now, despite its struggles as a game mode. There’s something to be said for out-of-the-blue pickups in Overwatch – do names like Jjonak or Sleepy ring any bells?
Mirage (9-1, 87.5 OMW%)
We're ready to take on the competition in @AskJayne's Tournament of Future Champions tonight!
Catch us in action LIVE now!
— Mirage (@MirageSportE) January 19, 2019
Mirage intrigues me as a team. There are plenty of rumors swirling right now about them and some potential involvement in Toronto’s new Academy team… but that’s a story for another time.
Regardless of their potential connections, Mirage is a solid squad in and of itself. They came close to a Contenders berth in 2018, but have never quite been able to close the gap. Now might be their time, though? A strong coaching staff, a solid roster and some fresh graphics have given Mirage their cleanest shot at the big leagues. With six spots up for grabs, it’s easy to see Mirage moving up. These guys have it all (well, except that tenth win, but hey).
Alpha Gaming (9-1, 87.5 OMW%)
We're happy to announce our new Alpha roster that will be competing in the first season of Open Division 2019!
— Alpha Gaming (@AlphaGaming_OW) December 4, 2018
A Top 5 team with a Top 5 roster. Alpha have been a name I’ve known for some time, having managed the CORE Network the team has participated in for a couple seasons now. If their scrims are any indication, this team is scary – and their near-playoff finish last season should be easily surpassed this weekend.
Keep an eye on Daiya, Alpha’s resident flex support – he’s got some impressive mechanical potential, and has more than a few clips to prove it. More than anything, he knows about the grind – he swapped regions from EU to North America to work for this chance. That work ethic should serve Alpha well. (We’ve also interviewed him before! Check it out!)
Portal of Gaming (9-1, 87.5 OMW%)
While you guys slept on us we upgraded our roster. Here is our offical roster going into the last week of Open @owpathtopro
— Portal of Gaming (@P0Gaming) January 16, 2019
This is another team that I don’t know much about, but if their tweets are to be believed, I’ll regret sleeping on them.
On top of a clever logo and a bold social media presence, this team’s record speaks for itself. They’ll need to keep the pogs coming if they want to push past some of the other teams on this list, though.
Triumph (9-1, 87.5 OMW%)
Prepare for glory. Prepare… for Triumph.
— Triumph (@TriumphGamingGG) January 4, 2019
Now here’s a team I can talk about.
Full disclosure: I work as the Social Media/Community Manager for Triumph, and I’m pretty proud of that. This is a roster I’ve studied extensively for a few weeks, now, and they’ve got quite the list of people assembled for this Open Division run.
The roster itself is a mix of new and old – veterans like Bye Week’s Alec “Shereshoy” Bynum and Underwater Squad’s Lucas “Peebimitsu” Nettesheim, and new blood like Sun “Sun” Kim, Harrison “Mystiic” Potter and Enrique “Joobi” Triana. Dany “Awkward” Novak and Head Coach Andrey “Fragon” Katz worked together on Team Israel for the 2017 World Cup (where we first met the Fusion’s projectile star Jose “EQO” Corona). Assistant coach Yomar “Milo” Toledo was on Seagull’s first roster, Luminosity Gaming, back in 2016 as well.
Like other teams on this list, the staff is where you’ll really see Triumph shine. GGEA’s old Head Coach Bradford “PYYYOUR” Ross is at the helm here, flanked by Fragon, Milo and a host of other helpers. Together, they’re working to develop their players as people – something some teams forget from time to time.
My bias is far too strong to talk about this team for much longer, but please – keep an eye on these guys. They won’t disappoint.
Path to Poverty (9-1, 85 OMW%)
Moving into the second half of 2019 Open Division S1 here is our official roster 😎
— Path To Poverty (@PathToPoverty) January 6, 2019
An appropriately tongue-in-cheek name for a roster that’s been glibly stomping through Open Division this season. PTP have proven that you don’t need a big budget to win games – just some big brain coaches and a solid roster to work with. Jolfe and Hotdate make for quite the front line, and they’ve got plenty of support from the rest of the squad, too. Especially when your Lucio can bounce around like this. Please, though, let the GOATS name variants go. No one knows what BonGOATS is!
Bongoats > goats pic.twitter.com/MW9Yutj331
— Mason Herwegh (@Anghell1c) January 13, 2019
Shout-out to Ieuan “vowels” Hall, PTP coach and friend of The Game Haus, as well. He’s taking his first steps into coaching with this team, and proving that the Path to Pro is for more than just the players. Good luck!
Horizon Zephyr (9-1, 82.5 OMW%)
— Horizon Zephyr (@HRZ_Zephyr) January 11, 2019
HRZ is another team of unknowns, but that doesn’t mean they can’t turn it up with the best of them.
a nice eat from this open match (round 10) pic.twitter.com/F0ZqHOOOhE
— Spoodie (@Spoodie_ow) January 21, 2019
Solid game sense and fundamentals will take you a long way in Overwatch, and it looks like this is a team that knows that well. They’ll need those in spades when playoffs get underway.
Young Guns (9-1, 82.5 OMW%)
Proud to present "Unison"
Special thanks to all involved.
— Young Guns (@YoungGunsGG) January 20, 2019
The last of the top ten, Young Guns have assembled a roster with a solid chance to push through playoffs. (They have a great logo, too…)
I know a couple of these players, but I don’t know if many of you do. Keep an eye on Javion – he’s one of three major NY locals in the Overwatch scene, so when XL2 starts looking at players to join their roster…
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment