Dartfrog Logo

The Overwatch Contenders’ Gauntlet: Second-tier but still premiere

The Gauntlet

The Overwatch Contenders’ Gauntlet was a monumental event for the tier 2 scene and showcased the best of each region. Previously, the Overwatch Contenders scene had little to no cross-region LAN events. The Atlantic and Pacific Showdown were the preliminary competitions to determine which ten teams would compete in The Gauntlet.

This year’s Gauntlet was insane, with more than a few upsets during the event.

The Group Stages

The group stage was ablaze this last weekend with the opening match of Element Mystic vs. Talon Esports . Talon put up a fight against the superpower that is Element Mystic, but of course, the Korean team found their stride. Europe’s only team in The Gauntlet fell quickly to XL2 Academy and subsequently Talon Esports, wiping them out of the competition. Element Mystic took down XL2 Academy sending the NA team to face their first defeat of the competition, Talon Esports. XL2 fell short on Route 66 and Lijiang Tower and Talon Esports claimed supremacy thanks top Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong.

In Group B, the matches were one-sided up until Gen.G esports took on Team Envy. In the first round, Team Envy sent the Gladiator’s Legion to the loser’s bracket only to defeat them again after losing to Gen.G esports. Gen.G’s match against Team Envy was exciting, and Sung “WooHyaL” Seung-Hyun’s Sigma play was extraordinary.

The Finals

On the first day of finals, Team Envy, XL2 Academy, Talon Esports, and Gladiator’s Legion fought for their opportunity to remain in the competition. In the end, XL2 Academy and Talon esports moved on but ended up out of the competition by Friday. Gen.G was vulnerable against Team Runaway and got sent to the lower bracket for a tense match against Talon Esports. ATL Academy came to play in their opening match against Element Mystic barely losing 2-3 to Korea’s top team. They came back strong against XL2 Academy and eliminated them from the League while Element Mystic sent Team Runaway to the Losers’ bracket.

What ATL Academy did on Saturday was a feat that should be admired. Fusion University proved that Korean teams are on a higher level when they changed regions. ATL Academy knocked two of the top Korean teams out of championship contention, proving that NA is anything but incapable. First, ATL Academy warmed up by taking on Korea’s number three team, Gen.G esports. They won with a 3-0 and this was only the beginning of what they had planned. Their showing against Team Runaway left jaws on the floor as the favored Team Runaway lost 4-0 to ATL Academy. This win sent them to the finals for a rematch against Element Mystic, and while they lost, it was not in vain.

A Feat of Its Own

The Gauntlet was a first of its kind for the second-tier Overwatch scene and provided some shining moments for the underdogs. With the Overwatch World Cup coming up at the end of the month, the shoo-in for Korea’s win carries much less weight. Despite Element Mystic being favored to win The Gauntlet, all teams gave everything they had, and the quality of competition shows. Many have hope for more large scale Contenders events as this is where the new superstars will be coming from, with most of the Overwatch League expansion teams pulling from previous Overwatch Contenders teams.

Follow Dart Frog on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Twitch for all the latest Overwatch news and analysis.