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Overwatch Contenders Playoffs: Teams to Watch Around the World

Last month, we published an article about teams you should watch as Contenders kicked off in its seven world-spanning regions. With most regular seasons finished and playoff pictures decided (or even starting already), now would be a good time to give you an idea as to which teams you should be watching this post-season!

These teams should consistently deliver amazing games, and with 40+ days left til OWL 2019 kicks off, you have literally nothing else to do. Get in here and watch some games.

AUS – Sydney Drop Bears (5-0, +20)


I listed ORDER as my regular season team to watch down under, and they’ve certainly done their due diligence this season (with a 4-1, +15 stretch). That said, there are only two teams in the world that can claim to have as good a run as SDB. Their perfect season has been mind-boggling in the best ways, but their post-season run will decide the legacy they carry into 2019. This is the team to watch in Australia right now, as it has been throughout the entirety of 2018.

Their match against Breakaway Esports (2-3, -6) in the quarterfinals isn’t particularly concerning, but their recent roster change is. Leyton “Punk” Gilchrist was recently called away to Uprising Academy – continuing Boston’s trend of off-color, non-NA talent acquisitions lately – and that leaves a gap in the roster that must be filled by assistant coach and substitute flex player Marin “Shoyo” Tomicic. He’s been with the team since February, so it’s not like he’s a stranger to the squad, but I’ve frankly never seen this guy play. It remains to be seen if they’ll roll with him or find a new OT – perhaps Mindfreak flex Chris “Christoph” Seely?

Predictions:

SDB don’t have anything to worry about. A 3-0 win against Breakaway is a no brainer, but Heist (who I predict to take it over Blank Esports) might give them a tiny bit more trouble. Not enough to stop them from making it to the finals, of course. Once they’re there, I’m predicting a finals match against ORDER, my regular season team to watch, and a win for the Bears. AUS playoffs start Sunday, January 6th at 4 P.M. PST.

SA – based tryhards (5-0, +20)


As expected, BT have carried the legacy of their former org with ease. Even with Nicolas “Klaus” Ferrari and Renan “alemao” Moretto leaving for Uprising Academy and Boston Uprising, respectively, new faces like Tiago “wings” Righi and and André “lubbock” Carravieri have picked up the slack without a moment’s pause. With a perfect season under their belt – again – based tryhards are set to make another championship run, with little standing in their way. Their quarterfinal match against FURY (2-3, -5) should be no big deal, but a semifinal match against Isurus Gaming (4-1, +9) could be spicy.

Predictions:

Nothing can stop this team, but if anyone were to try, they would want to do so right now. Two new players and fairly sudden losses means BT is more likely to slip this season than it has all year – not that I think that will prevent them from taking it all again. Their post-season run might be marred by a map loss or two against their finals opponent, (I’m predicting the 5-0, +15 LFTOWL to meet them there,) but I don’t think their first two matches will be anything to stress over. BT will deliver as they always have. Watch them before they’re all plucked away by OWL teams! SA Playoffs start Tuesday, January 8th at 1:00 P.M. PST. 

PAC – Talon Esports (5-0, +17)

I picked Xavier Esports (4-1, +4, led by young star Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong) as my team to watch in this region’s regular season. They certainly delivered, but in such a close region, I have to go with the top dogs. Talon dropped two maps this season – not quite perfect, but close enough – and consistently crushed the competition. They make damn good entrances, too.

Predictions:

This region is one of the closest in the world, and I expect the playoffs will reflect that. Talon will push past Cyclone Coupling (3-2, +1) before facing off against Kephrii and the boys of GE Pantheon (4-1, +5). GEP have thrived on throwing teams off their game, but it remains to be seen if they’ll be able to do that against Talon. I’m guessing it’ll be a no. Once they make it to finals, expect a flashy showdown against Talon and Xavier (4-1, +4) or Hong Kong Attitude (4-1, +10) – their semifinal match might be the most entertaining of the set. PAC Playoffs start Thursday, January 10th at 3:00 A.M. PST. 

KR – RunAway (5-0, +14)


RunAway fans are always a bit cautious when their team starts doing well. Theirs is a history built on near-misses and second place finishes, so when it looks like RunAway are pushing for a championship run, the average reaction is usually “I’ll believe it when I see it” even when plays like this are common fare.

Along with that skepticism comes an almost desperate optimism. They have to be able to win this season. Look at these plays, and at their run so far, with an all new roster to boot. Look at Flowervin, and everything she’s been able to accomplish this year. There’s no way they don’t win again. Right?

Predictions:

We’ll see. A quarterfinal rematch against a flagging KDP (2-3, -7) should be interesting, and it only gets weirder from there. My pick for their semifinal match-up, GC Busan Wave (4-1, +9) have looked pretty good this season, with strong performances from Kim “Edison” Tae-Hoon and Lim “ION” Ji-Heon. If RunAway makes it to the finals, they’ll most likely face off against Element Mystic (4-1, +13), who have… well, this guy. Cautious optimism is definitely the name of the game. KR Playoffs start Friday, January 4th at 8:00 P.M. PST. 

NA – ???


We’re not quite ready to talk about North America yet. The playoff picture is largely decided, but seeding is far from set. Major games in Week 7 (FU vs ATL, UA vs 1G) will lock the bracket in place, and from there we’ll start our conversation. Perhaps in a followup video?

I’ll say this much for NA: the region is stacked. Fusion Uni, ATL Academy, Second Wind, and XL2 all look terrifying to go up against, but the plucky 3rd and 4th strings in each group will always have the opportunity to upset if given enough time to flex onto something crazy. If you were considering watching something else this week, I’d hope you’ve since rescheduled. That new Black Mirror special can wait, I promise.

EU – Morning Stars (5-0, +11)


As much as my bias might like to send you in One.PoinT’s direction, I can’t pass over the Morning Stars in good conscience. They’ve swept through their group like a tornado sweeps through the Midwest, and I don’t think they’re losing momentum anytime soon. These guys are scary good.

Predictions:

This region is as stacked as NA or KR, and the bottom half of the bracket might see the biggest games of the season. Once the Morning Stars beat SMC, they’ll have a match against Angry Titans (3-2, +5) or Winstrike (3-2, +7), who are two of the best GOATS variant squads in the land. If they make it past their tough semifinal bout (and odds are good that they will,) I predict that they’ll face off against One.PoinT (4-1, +11) or group rivals Team Gigantti (4-1, +8), whom they narrowly beat in a 3-2 game in Week 1. No matter how this bracket shakes out, it’ll be worth watching. EU Playoffs start Tuesday, January 8th at 9:00 A.M. PST.    

CN – T1w (5-0, +20)


Chinese Contenders got off to an early start, so we have a lot more to work with in terms of predictions for this region. Even if I didn’t know how the first round of quarterfinals ended, though, I’d be picking T1w as my team to watch. Again. There’s no escaping this team’s dominance, and every team in China knows that T1w will be the squad to beat. After crushing Lucky Future in the quarterfinals, LGD are up next – and should pose about the same level of challenge.

All of T1w’s games this post-season will go like this. That’s good for them, and really, really bad for everyone else.

Predictions:

Team CC (4-1, +9) should take down BTRG (3-2, +4) without too much issue. Flag Gaming (5-0, +11) should crush Triple Six Legend (2-3, -6) and CC with ease. Flag might take a map in the finals, or maybe even two, but it really won’t matter. T1w are just too dominant. Get ready for some carnage. CN Contenders are already underway, but the next matches take place on Saturday, January 12th at 3:00 A.M. PST.

 

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Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

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