After two wild seasons, it’s all come down to this. Six regions will be competing in the first-ever Gauntlet, an international showcase where ten Contenders teams will set out to prove who is the best. The Gauntlet will be taking place in Seoul, South Korea from October 9-October 13. Tickets went on sale for The Gauntlet on September 9th, but most fans will probably be watching from the comforts of their own homes.
The Overwatch League season has officially drawn to a close with only Grand Finals remaining. After next Sunday, The Gauntlet will be the only major tournament fans will have until the World Cup. However, with little to no promotion from the Overwatch League, many often forget that the Contenders scene exists. The Gauntlet will be an excellent opportunity to bring in new viewers as fans wait for the 2020 season to begin.
So who all is competing? What’s at stake? What is the importance of The Gauntlet being held at the Giga Arena? Read below to find out!
- China – Lingan Esports & Huya
- Europe – HSL Esports
- North America (East) – ATL Academy, Gladiator’s Legion
- North America (West) – Team Envy, XL2
- Korea – Runaway, Gen.G, and Element Mystic
- Pacific – Talon
Over the course of two seasons, Contenders teams have competed among each other in their selective regions. The Atlantic and Pacific showdowns offered a few of the regions the chance to compete against one another, but most teams have never had the opportunity to go overseas and compete. The Gauntlet is unique in that it will be the first major LAN event that the unprofessional scene has seen in quite some time where teams from most regions will be able to meet.
Each team has proven to have the heart and dedication it takes to become a champion. Some, like HSL Esports, were considered massive underdogs who had to claw their way to the top. Others, like ATL Academy and Talon, crushed their competition with relative ease. With meta shifts and major upsets, the past two seasons of Contenders have been a wild ride. One can only expect The Gauntlet to be a reflection of that journey as well.
Both Runaway and ATL Academy have received a bye into the finals bracket as a reward for finishing first in separate Showdowns. The rest of the teams will be split into two groups, and those groups will have to duke it out in a double-elimination bracket. The Gauntlet will be played with role lock enforced, and it is important to note that matches will be the first to three maps. Only the winner’s, loser’s, and grand finals will be the first to four maps. With a $250,000 USD prize pool on the line, teams will be sure to be giving it their all. Viewers will be able to watch the streams in English, Korean, and in Mandarin from four different streaming sites: Zhanqi, NetEase CC, Bilibili, and Huya.
Blast from the Past
The Gauntlet will be held at the Giga Arena, a historic venue within the Overwatch scene. The Giga Arena was home to many APEX tournaments during 2016-2018. These tournaments were hosted by OGN (OnGameNet), a Korean television channel dedicated to esports. On July 7, 2017, OGN announced that no more Western teams would be invited to compete in their tournaments past Season 4 of APEX. In January of 2018, the APEX era came to a close as Blizzard would officially end their partnership with OGN.
This was a heartbreaking move for fans. OGN provided a special touch to their tournaments with the amount of work that they put into their productions. For two years, fans were treated to thrilling gameplay and light-hearted segments like having members of Lunatic-Hai compete in a singing contest that brought the community together.
According to a post on Reddit, founder of Runaway, Dae-hoon “Runner” Yoon was the first to confirm that Gauntlet would be under OGN’s production. Bringing back OGN brought a new level of hype for this tournament. While fans might not get to see the Runaway boys belt their hearts out on stage, OGN will definitely deliver the same level of high-quality production. Watching these teams compete on the stage where it all began will be a nostalgic treat, and fans who have been here since the beginning cannot wait for The Gauntlet to start.
For Glory, for Honor
Another exciting part of The Gauntlet is who will be in attendance. Organizers of the tournament made a splash by inviting all the teams in the Overwatch League to come and scout the talented players who will be competing. This move is extremely validating as the Contenders scene is often neglected by Blizzard. Definitely a step in the right direction, hopefully, this means that the scene will continue to see more of a blatant interest being made on Blizzard’s part in the future.
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