Going off the summary of the league’s website, the Overwatch Contenders League qualifying tournament takes place for two regions: North America and Europe. Within those regions, any team is allowed to apply to play for the tournament, free of charge. Over the course of a couple days, all the teams go through a single elimination bracket. Single elimination means that if a team loses, they’re done for the day. They can, however, try again the next day. The top eight teams from each day qualify for the group stage. The 16 teams from group stages in both European and North American tournaments will then compete a week later. Four teams seeded according to their performance within the first two weeks will battle it out in four groups, and the two top teams from each group advance on once again. So, the 16 teams will be brought down to eight. From there on, matches become a best of five, up from three, and the top four teams based on seeding slug it out. The final two teams from each region will battle in a best of seven and the winner gets $25,000 dollars as well as invited to Season One in the Contenders League. Once there, the prize pool becomes $100,000.
The Match of the Night: FaZe vs. FNRGFE
Saturday’s reigning supreme match, and there were a few, was Faze Clan versus FNRGFE. It was a brawl of a series that never displayed a clear winner till the waning moments. In the early rounds, it looks like FaZe might sweep, but FNRGFE comes storming back to tie. The final match alone is worth a watch for just the nail biting back and forth action and displays put on by either team. First, a little background on the teams.
FNRGFE is one of the top eight teams in the world of Overwatch currently. Muma is one of the best Winstons you may ever watch and anchors his team perfectly in their dives. Comprised of wily TF2 veterans like Clockwork and Enigma, FNRGFE’s DPS is overwhelming in their aggressive play style and superior tracking. They also have an incredible logo.
FaZe Clan initially began as a YouTube channel. During Call of Duty Black Ops 2, the team itself coalesced into something greater than its parts. It spiraled into FaZe now fielding one of the best Counter Strike teams and what looks to be a very congealed Overwatch team.
MAP 1: WATCHPOINT: GIBRALTAR
FNRGFE looks like it will snowball all the way to the last point from the outset. Lui (S:76) and ShaDowBurn(Tracer) on FaZe looked entirely outmatched by Clockwork and Buds, who put a shellacking on them on points one and two. FaZe lose high ground almost immediately on point 2 to FNRGFE thanks to Muma and Clockwork controlling hangar and the space shuttle. This forces FaZe to play behind and low which gives Clockwork open sight lines to harass them continuously. When FaZe is backed around the final corner of point three however, they come alive on defense managing to stop the progress and start punching their way back into the fight. Lui didn’t seem to get his legs under him as Soldier: 76 until this very last point. He takes the post up on the bridge, using Soldier: 76’s sustainability to maintain his perch. He suddenly morphs into the three archers in Samurai Jack, unloading on anyone or thing that come into his vision.
On offense, FaZe however proves that despite what looked like a lacking amount of DPS picks, Lui (Widow initially then S:76), ShaDowBurn (Genji), still worked their magic. They almost stall on first point, but after a great Dragonblade from ShaDowBurn, FNRGFE fall backward and never really recover. The pressure continued through the hangar and onto last point with FaZe never giving FNRGFE anytime to get a respite or hold their ground. Worse yet, FaZe doesn’t actually have to go all the way as FNRGFE. FNRGFE never actually finished the capture, stalling out right before the finish line. FaZe knows that done right, they would crash the point with enough people and win. FctFctn playing Winston for FaZe knows his ultimate, Primal Rage may be enough to swat FNRGFE off the cart to bump it just enough to the golden rectangle. Helping add to this is FNRGFE switching Enigma to Sombra which ultimately failed as the EMP never had enough time to charge. The ending wrote itself as the EMP went off late and effectively did nothing as FaZe cruises to a one to nothing lead in the series.
MAP 2: NEPAL
FNRGFE’s three DPS with Clockwork (S:76), Enigma (Tracer) and Buds (Genji) on Shrine proves overwhelming. FNRGFE flipped to a Mercy/Pharah combo (Pharmacy for reference and a good laugh) on Village and absolutely crushes FaZe. FNRGFE’s lopsided team comp hinged on their DPS having a big game and it pays off. FaZe comes storming back on Sanctuary with a massive back to forth and some really smart switching by Spree to play Zarya. Hitting the Graviton Surge put FaZe into a lane to win the round finally and maybe start the car to a comeback. It was all for not as the wheels came off thanks to Clockwork/Buds/Enigma putting on a clinic FaZe’s loss at Shrine looked repeatable all too quickly. With time silently ticking away, forcing FaZe to get desperate, they attempted a hail mary using Mei’s ult to crash the point. The round tied up with 99% for each team and Overtime stretching into eternity. FNRGFE dropped the gloves and let their players prove why desperation only goes so far. Clockwork rushed the point, pulling all of FNRGFE in tow, with tactical visor and swept FaZe soundly off. Within the span of a single team fight, Clockwork got yet another Tactical Visor and put the final nail in the coffin and once again crushing FaZe’s attempt to secure the point for good and the round.
FNRGFE’s comeback is a team effort but a few performances stand out, even among six players of incredible quality. Muma is one of the best Winston players in competitive Overwatch with incredible decision making skills and tracking. His play with Winston is a control point monster, using his great tracking ability to supplement a gun that already auto tracks to begin with. This seems redundant until you realize just how much of a pain it is to escape from someone’s sights if you’re squishy. No support player on FaZe has a moment to rest with Muma on them. He dives in at a moment’s notice and suddenly your Zenyatta is a smoking pile of parts, electrocuted to death. In shooters, Control Point is less about good aim and more about controlling chaos and getting picks, and Winston is the ultimate choice for that sort of thing. Props to Clockwork and Enigma who anchored the DPS for FNRGFE and allowed Buds to be patient and wait. The moment the fight gets out of hand, he pops Dragon Blade and serves FaZe up on a platter. To finish the overall composition for FNRGFE though is their supports on Boink and Bani. Zenyatta’s discord orb was a death warrant for anyone as you immediately see Muma’s Winston taking their life.
MAP 3: HANAMURA
The final map is a bit of a head scratcher. Temple of Anubis is the go to for the final round deciders, but instead, it is Hanamura this time. The last point of Hanamura is the Normandy Beach of defense, and this match particularly becomes an Oscar performance from both teams. Each team really shows just how much they are wanting to win at every turn.
Clockwork continues his rare form, dominating Lui in a Soldier head to head. This didn’t mean that FaZe couldn’t answer back. ShaDowBurn proved his worth, not only as a Genji but a solid pick up for FaZe altogether in every series. At no point during this series did he back away from proving his skill. DPS Players without fear are hard to come by, even in a game saturated with talent. His play radically altered the Gibraltar and Hanamura matches. The final score ends four to three in favor of FaZe.
Props to Spree as D.Va who put on a master class as the Mech Pilot. FNRGFE showed it isn’t as strong running the 2/2/2, their play being more gimpy. Enigma shows this as his DPS play on Tracer is leagues ahead. The three DPS set up works well in FNRGFE’s case because they can clean up mistakes using their solid DM (killing without being killed). When forced to play FaZe’s game however, their flexibility is tested and FaZe wins the war.
The match itself ends not because either team really loses the point, but because someone inevitably has to come out the victor. Both teams likely could’ve taken down their next opponent in LG Evil who FaZe clobbers two to nothing. It stands to reason however just how strong both FNRGFE and FaZe are at their respective games. Despite the loss for FNRGFE, they are sitting in the qualified section of the tournament. It’s still a long way to the finish line for every team as the next leg of the tournament looms ahead.