After days and days of waiting, the top six teams in the NA Contenders Power Rankings are finally here. If you’re arriving here and are curious why this piece is only covering the top six, check out my Week 4 Power Rankings (#7-#12). That article, paired with this one, will provide a full set of rankings for NA Contenders.
Week 4’s electric matchup between XL2 and Second Wind lived up to every bit of the hype surrounding it, going in favor of Second Wind. With this and the other results of the week, there is certainly a lot to process with this week’s rankings. Does Second Wind deserve to jump ATL Academy with this big win, or does ATL’s win over First Generation move them to the top spot? How far will XL2 fall after losing to such a solid Second Wind squad? Let’s find out.
Undisputed Top Four, Yet Again
1. Second Wind: 4-0 (+3)
Week 1 Result: 3-2 Victory over Gladiators Legion
Week 2 Result: 4-0 Victory over Skyfoxes
Week 3 Result: 3-1 Victory over Team Envy
Week 4 Result: 3-2 Victory over XL2 Academy
Sometimes to be the best, you have to beat the best. Second Wind, an unsigned non-academy team, now sits atop former NA Contenders powerhouses like Fusion University and XL2 Academy. Regardless of how the remainder of the season goes, this team has made a statement this year and has everything to be proud of. There is no debate about it, Second Wind is the best team, academy or unsigned, in all of NA Contenders.
— Second Wind (@SecondWindGG) December 20, 2018
Their last game of the season pits them against an NRG Esports team that can’t seem to decide whether they are good or not, trading weeks getting swept and looking decent. Second Wind has had no such problem with consistency and should dispatch of this team and move to a perfect 5-0 on the season. The biggest question surrounding these players and coaching staff isn’t next week’s match, but which ones of them (or all) will be picked up by an OWL/Academy team when the season is over. With a strong finish to the regular season and postseason, Second Wind will be the commodity of the offseason for OWL teams.
Edit: This piece was written prior to the release of star main support player, Carson “CarCar” First. While this is a serious hit to the team, they remain in the #1 spot. This is due to their overall strength so far this season and the proven ability of their remaining players and coaching staff.
2. ATL Academy: 4-0 (No change)
Week 1 Result: 3-1 Victory over Mayhem Academy
Week 2 Result: 4-0 Victory over Uprising Academy
Week 3 Result: 4-0 Victory over Kungarna
Week 4 Result: 3-1 Victory over First Generation
This week ATL Academy suffers from being the overlooked sibling at the top of the table. Their 3-1 victory over First Generation was a massive achievement and helped bolster this teams strength of schedule for the season. It also moved them to an impressive 4-0 on the year. They would absolutely be in the #1 spot if it weren’t for Second Wind’s historic year. For now, they’ll have to settle at #2.
They will be put to the test yet again next week as they face up against Fusion University in the game of the week. The winner of this game will have the #1 seed in Group A and will have the bragging rights of having finished the season 5-0. While Fusion University has scraped by in nearly every one of their matches, they consistently find a way to win in crunch time. ATL, on the other hand, has only dropped two maps all season. This one will be interesting.
3. XL2 Academy: 3-1 (-2)
Week 1 Result: 3-1 Victory over Team Envy
Week 2 Result: 4-0 Victory over NRG Esports
Week 3 Result: 4-0 Victory over Skyfoxes
Week 4 Result: 2-3 Defeat by Second Wind
That match against Second Could have gone either way at several different points; however, Second Wind always pulled through when it mattered. This was also the first big test against this XL2 team this season, with their previous three opponents touting a 3-9 record between them. Against the first real challenge this team faced, they came up with a close loss. While this isn’t anything close to a signal to worry about the legitimacy of XL2, it does show that they are just as vulnerable to a loss as anyone else when it comes down to it.
— Mangachu (@Mangachu_) December 20, 2018
Gladiators Legion and XL2 can spend next week sharing stories about how each lost to Second Wind as they match up in the last game of the regular season. This game has massive playoff implications for the Legion. If they are swept and Team Envy has a good showing against Skyfoxes (who, as a reminder, have yet to win a map this season) the Legion will be potentially eliminated from the playoffs. With all of this at stake, look for Gladiators Legion to give XL2 all they can handle next week.
4. Fusion University: 4-0 (-1)
Week 1 Result: 3-2 Victory over Uprising Academy
Week 2 Result: 3-1 Victory over Kungarna
Week 3 Result: 2-1 Victory over First Generation
Week 4 Result: 3-2 Victory over Mayhem Academy
It’s always tough to justify dropping a team in the rankings after a loss. It’s even tougher to justify keeping them below a team that they have a better record than! But, despite both of these things, Fusion University deserves to be at the #4 spot overall.
In 75% of their games this season, FU has only managed to win by one map. In addition, every game they have played this season has been against opponents who are below them in the rankings. With these non-convincing close victories, mixed with the fact that these are all games that FU was favored to win, FU doesn’t make a great case to climb in the rankings this week. With Second Wind having beaten the formerly best team in the league, FU necessarily takes a hit.
THAT’S IT!! We pull off the reverse-sweep to stay UNDEFEATED in Contenders!!
— Fusion University (@FusionUni) December 19, 2018
Fusion Uni and all of their fans will have an opportunity to make their case next week in the game of the week against ATL Academy. Each of these teams is undefeated but have also not been challenged by a great team as of yet. Can Fusion University continue to find ways to win against ATL, or will this finally be the end of their multiple-season winning streak? You best tune in and find out.
Outside Looking in: The Top Contenders
5. Uprising Academy: 2-2 (+3)
Week 1 Result: 2-3 Defeat by Fusion University
Week 2 Result: 0-4 Defeat by ATL Academy
Week 3 Result: 3-2 Victory over Mayhem Academy
Week 4 Result: 3-1 Victory over Kungarna
As of now, there are five teams I would consider to be “Contenders” and of them all, Uprising Academy looks the best. In the past two weeks especially, this team has really begun to hit their stride and look to finally be gelling well together. They have almost the exact same resume as First Gen in terms of which teams they have beat and lost to, however, they have won their last two games while First Gen has dropped their last two. With all of this in mind, Uprising Academy is the top team on the outside looking into the top four.
My rankings will be put to the test as they match up against First Gen this week. As mentioned, each of these teams has had nearly the exact same seasons so far, just in reverse order. This is going to make for a very interesting matchup to close out the day of games on Wednesday. While the game of the week is the one just before it in ATL vs FU, this game is a close second and is sure to provide some great Overwatch.
6. First Generation: 2-2 (-1)
Week 1 Result: 3-1 Victory over Kungarna
Week 2 Result: 4-0 Victory over Mayhem Academy
Week 3 Result: 1-2 Defeat by Fusion University
Week 4 Result: 1-3 Defeat by ATL Academy
This team, maybe more than any other, has had a tough set of games down the stretch. After looking so strong to start the season, the strength of their opponents has been getting the better of them lately. Because of this and their failure to keep the game against ATL closer, they drop down to #6 in this week’s rankings. Even so, this is a team that you do not want to sleep on going into the postseason.
They close out their season against an Uprising Academy team that is in much of the same boat as they are. If the Group B standings remain as they are currently, the loser of this match will go up against Second Wind and the winner will face XL2. It’s going to be an uphill battle for each of these two teams, regardless of how this game goes. In any case, it should be a good one.
We made playoffs for Contenders!
— Tensa (@Tensa_The_Sage) December 19, 2018
As a reminder, NA Contenders takes a break for the holidays but returns back after New Year’s on Wednesday, January 2nd at 6:00 pm CT with a full two days of great matchups. You can watch NA Contenders on the Contenders Twitch channel and can continue to keep up with each week’s Power Rankings here, at The Game Haus.
To catch up on previous weeks Power Rankings you can click on any one of the following links:
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