With two weeks of Contenders action behind us, we are starting to develop a clearer picture of where the eight teams in each region stand. Both North America and Europe have seen three teams emerge from the first two weeks unscathed, while three others have been unable to find a win. A pecking order is beginning to materialize in the standings, and where some teams have ended up so far is surprising, to say the least. Here's the rundown on Week 2 and where the teams stand in each region.
While 123, Misfits, and GamersOrigin all enter Week 3 with 2-0 match records, the way Misfits has achieved that record is the most impressive. Although 123 has also achieved an 8-0 map record—the only two teams in all of Contenders to have won every map so far—the difference between them lies in their opponents. Misfits vanquished two teams that have each won a match, while 123's wins have been against teams that haven't found victory so far. Misfits' Week 2 match highlighted their strengths against Team Gigantti.
Misfits stormed to victory against Cloud9 EU in the opening week, and when they faced Team Gigantti on August 27, a similar story unfolded. Misfits took a 2-0 victory on Nepal in game one, but the next game would go into overtime to decide a victor. Both teams reached the end of King’s Row, but Misfits were able to move the payload 40 meters—less than one meter over Gigantti—to secure the victory in overtime. Game three on Volskaya also required overtime, but Gigantti had no time left in the bank while Misfits had more than six minutes, allowing them to easily secure the series, 3-0.
This did not deflate Gigantti, however, who wanted to exit the day with at least a map victory, but it was not meant to be. Misfits managed to hold the payload on the final point of Dorado at 83.56m after forcing Gigantti to spend much of their time moving through the second point. On offense, Misfits moved through map quickly, giving themselves nearly five full minutes to work with on the final point. With time again on their side, Misfits were able to calmly claim their victory and remain undefeated. The series beautifully demonstrated Misfits' tactic of using a pick to start a team fight and then capitalizing on their subsequent advantage, which they pulled off many times on Dorado to great effect.
Over in North America, Team EnVyUs, Kungarna, and EnVision are the three teams entering Week 3 with 2-0 records. However, all of them have dropped at least map, unlike their two undefeated European counterparts. EnVyUs was expected to show up at the head of the pack, but EnVision has surprised everyone with their play thus far, especially in Week 2 against Contenders Season Zero North America winners Immortals.
After earning a victory over renowned squad Rogue in their first match, EnVision had to play Immortals in Week 2. The series began with Immortals taking the first round on Lijiang Tower, but as they did in the previous week, EnVision were able to respond and take the second round. Immortals were again able to turn the momentum and secure the round and opening game. Unfortunately for them, that would be all the success they'd find in this series.
Game two on King’s Row went into overtime, but EnVision had more time in the bank than Immortals. After executing a full hold, EnVision achieved the 33 percent capture progress they needed to secure victory. Game three was the most one-sided affair of the series, with EnVision capping the entirety of Volskaya Industries while Immortals were unable to secure the second point.
The final game was a back-and-forth contest on Watchpoint: Gibraltar that went into overtime, but EnVision was able to do more with less time. They moved through the end of the first point all the way to the third point without leaving the payload, and then managed to prevent Immortals from moving past the first point themselves, to secure the series win, 3-1. An interesting point of note from the series is that EnVision won despite Immortals getting the first kill in four more fights than they did. Immortals were seemingly simply unable to translate that advantage into consistent team fight victories when it mattered most.
After two weeks of play, Season Zero winners Immortals and eUnited are both at 0-2. For Immortals, they have at least played two of the three undefeated teams in their region, suggesting their season should get easier. For eUnited, they still have to face all three undefeated teams. Despite their starts, both rosters possess tremendous skill, and are capable of rising in the standings as the season progresses.
With both regions having multiple teams tied for the top spot, and others searching for their first victories, Week 3 will be full of intense and exciting matchups. The action resumes live on Friday, September 1 with two exciting North American matches starting at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT on Twitch and MLG.tv (see schedule for details).