The qualifiers for Overwatch’s first six-figure tournament are now complete, and the eight teams—four from North America and four from Europe—that will fight for the ESL Atlantic Showdown title at Gamescom on Aug. 20 have been finalized.
Most of the names are who you’d expect, but with $100,000 on the line it’s interesting that a couple of big teams failed to advance.
In Europe, Misfits, REUNITED, Creation eSports, and Rogue ranked in the top four, securing berths at the main event. This should come as no surprise considering the four teams have been ranked as Europe’s best since Overwatch’s release in May, with no clear champion emerging among them.
The two teams closest to breaking the elite quartet’s grip on the European standings fell one game away from qualifying, with Creation eSports taking down ANOX 3-1 and Rogue sweeping Ninjas in Pyjamas.
In North America, the region’s top two teams had little trouble earning their Gamescom berths. EnVyUs continued what they now say is a 55-series undefeated streak, while Cloud9 managed to avoid the team that’s beaten them in multiple series recently, Team SoloMid, eventually qualifying after winning a close 3-2 series against Fnatic.
In the lower bracket, Fnatic managed to score their spot by beating upstart Ohno, who bested the recently-signed Method team in a surprising series. Fnatic continues to quickly improve, rounding into form capable of challenging Cloud9 and SoloMid.
For SoloMid, the road wasn’t as easy, placed into a lower bracket with a number of solid contenders like Team Liquid, NRG eSports, and NRG Red. Their surprise foe would be Team Liquid, who managed to beat former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal’s No. 1 team in Overwatch, NRG, in a 3-1 series despite playing with new fill-in carry player Gaven “Whaz” Sorensen, a former Quakecon CTF champion. But against SoloMid, Liquid only mustered one game, falling two wins short of reaching Gamescom.
The results mean that Brandon “Seagull” Larned, Overwatch’s most popular competitive player and streamer, will not compete at the game’s first six-figure tournament, failing to qualify just days after his team moved to NRG eSports. That’s a disappointing result for a team that’s long ranked among Overwatch’s best, but based off form over the last few months, it’s clear that Fnatic and SoloMid deserve it more.
The eight teams that will compete for Overwatch’s first major live event are now set, with two weeks left to prepare. EnVyUs, on their fifty-plus-series win streak, must be high on the list of favorites, but they’ll receive stiff competition from the rest of the field. And considering this is the first major live event, one featuring teams from both sides of the Atlantic, anything can happen.