Contenders Trials is officially on its way as seven teams battled it out on the first day of the season, each team determined to push their way through to the next Contenders season. The format round-robin, and every team will end up playing each other once. Second Wind got a day off as GGEA was confirmed to drop out since they failed to lock in the roster in time.
Bye Week played against Euphoria off-stream and won with a 3-1 scoreline.
The GOATs vs Skyfoxes match was streamed by multiple players’ POVs. These players included:
All streamed perspectives came from the GOATs side of the match.
Simultaneously, Phase 2 played against Shu’s Money Crew in an intense rematch. SMC previously beat Phase 2 twice in Open Division Playoffs. Streams included:
A big thanks to @BroadcastDotGG for tweeting out that these players streamed the match.
Goats vs Skyfoxes
As a previous member of Skyfoxes, Boostio was determined to get back at the team who benched and removed him from the roster. He started off the match with an inspiring pep talk, and motivated his team as they started the first match on Ilios.
The map started off promising. GOATs used Winston, Dva, McCree, Brigitte, Lucio, Zenyatta to make their way to the first point: Lighthouse. Using the geometry of the objective, they prevented Skyfoxes from even making a proper engage and took the round 100% to 0%.
Ruins was not as pretty. GOATs replaced McCree with Widowmaker due to map benefits, but it seemed as if Boostio could not do enough to make up for the swap. Every time Goats engaged, they were counterdove and out-damaged. Skyfoxes took the round 100% to 18%.
Next was Well, and it was a much closer matchup. GOATs decided to go back to what they had been running previously. Fights went back and forth as the teams appeared to be equally versed on this portion of the map. Eventually, it was time for GOATs to retake the point, but they were held at a stalemate for about 30 seconds. The prolonged fight allowed Skyfoxes to control the pace and wipe out the GOATs, taking the round 100% to 82%, and winning the first map.
Despite the loss, GOATs entered Hollywood with utmost confidence as someone in the voice channel claimed that, “they can’t touch us on Hollywood.” Their attack was shaky, but they managed to push their way through the first two points until they were held only a couple meters before the final checkpoint. It was still winnable, but against a team like Skyfoxes, it would be tough to hold.
Skyfoxes came out and took first point right out of the hands of GOATs who were running their standard composition. During the second point, someone mentioned that they may need a Widowmaker to outsnipe Claris’s, but they decided not to go with that idea. This may have been a poor choice as Claris was allowed so much space and got tremendous value. This generated enough momentum for Skyfoxes to push through third and take Hollywood.
GOATs were still not out of it as their attack on Hanamura was phenomenal. They demonstrated a dominant full dive to take both points with 3:22 left on the clock. The idea of reverse sweep must have flickered in the minds of the players and viewers, but the thought of it diminished quickly as Skyfoxes one-upped the attack, finishing with 4:12. Going into extra rounds, Skyfoxes were the defense, and they were the ones who successfully adapted. They stopped GOATs from aggressively attacking and nearly full held them. GOATs managed to push to second, but were stopped short without a tick. Skyfoxes then pushed both points to secure the match.
The lack of confidence in the voices of GOATs was apparent as they had already lost the match. They were full held on Rialto, and then their defense crumbled as Skyfoxes took the match 4-0.
Phase 2 vs Shu’s Money Crew
It started out with Phase 2 being the dominant team. They took Ilios well with a perfect score. Then SMC pulled back Lighthouse. It was down to ruins, and it was Phase 2 to take the map.
Hollywood followed, and it was definitely the favorite for Shu’s Money Crew. Brandito absolutely dominated on Doomfist. They rolled through the first two points easily as he ability comboed and destroyed Phase 2. SMC would have capped faster if not for Phase 2’s stall that lasted about a minute and a half. Pushing through, 1:42 remained. On the defense, Phase 2 showed a variant of GOATs comp. “They’re on GOATs. They’re right where we want them,” Brandito said with confidence. His statement held true as Shu’s Money Crew put up a nearly invincible defense. Phase 2 managed to cap two ticks, but not the point, giving the map to SMC.
After a glorious win, SMC fell right back into the gutter as Volskaya did not seem to be the map for them. They forced Phase 2 to cap both in overtime but failed to cap both themselves. Whether it was Phase 2’s adaptation or failure of execution on the side of SMC, it began to feel as if the Open Division champions were fading off, and P2 only needed one more map.
For the Rialto attack, Shu’s Money Crew turned it back on, capping all three points with 2:41. Defense for them was a bit rustier, and Brandito was not getting his normal value on Doomfist. He was finally forced to swap. For a long while, SMC and P2 battled in the final choke, and it seemed as if SMC would win right there, but Phase 2 pushed through with less than a minute remaining.
In extra rounds, SMC held Phase 2 at the second corner on the track. With such a short distance and a significant time advantage, it appeared as if Shu’s Money Crew would easily be able to finish off this map, but Phase 2 put up a strong defense. After wasting tons of time getting picked and staggered, it came down to the last fight. In overtime, Brandito uppercut Duplicate (playing Reinhardt) to allow Baboon to hit the map-saving Earthshatter. This pushed it into the final map, Oasis.
Oasis was in no one’s favor. The variety of rounds made either side eligible of taking it. University first went to Phase 2 100% to 57%. City Center followed and it was an incredibly close match-up. It was 99% to 99% with Phase 2 on the defense. They took an aggressive fight, but this may have been a mistake. SMC peeled it off and took a three for one trade. They then pushed forward and took the point to take the round. The final round of the final map was upon them. It was the decider, but it was Phase 2 who had control over the fights. SMC walked out not entirely sure what to do on Garden, and their lack of preparation was finally abused by their well-versed opponents. With a 100% to 68% round score, Phase 2 won the map and the match, along with taking revenge for the matches in Open Division.
These matches were some of the best showings in Overwatch. It is a shame that they are not being properly broadcasted. In fact, viewers in the Twitch chat hardly even knew what Trials was. They were wondering if they were tryouts or scrims. Hopefully in the future, North American (and other regions) Trials will be broadcasted so that we may properly view the highest stake tournament in the entirety of the Path to Pro.
To view the tournament page, see their Liquipedia.