Friday, 22 June 2018

Nine Contenders Players To Look Out For Before Contenders Season Two

With Contenders trials in full swing and only a few weeks until the second season of Contenders starts, it’s now the perfect time to take stock and give notice to those players currently in Contenders who should be the ones to look out for throughout the season. We’ll take a look at two players from the Chinese, European, Korean and North America Contenders scenes and my reasons why they are the ones to look out for, as this season is an important one to make an impression with there being potentially six new expansion teams going into the Overwatch League.

In Season One we saw Lucky Future Zenith win in China, the British Hurricane win in Europe and the Battle of The Atlantic, X-6 Gaming win in Korea and the Fusion University take home the North American title. While these teams won their respective regions not all of the best players played on these teams and we’re about to look into these scenes a little further and I’ve selected nine players who will all be OWL eligible for Season Two.


Ou "Eileen" Yiliang, LGD -  DPS

Eileen is a Chinese DPS player that's been a DPS that everyone has wanted to see play competitively for a while and is quite possibly the Chinese scenes worst kept secret. Known for his projectile DPS hero pool especially when it comes to both Doomfist and Genji, Eileen is one of those home run hitters that can change the momentum of a team fight in an instant. Turning 18 in Sepjtember, Eileen will likely land with a Chinese team and could have the opportunity to choose where goes, with Shanghai Dragons more than likely rebuilding with an completely new Chinese roster and Bejing rumoured to be the second Chinese team coming into the Overwatch League. Eileen will be in a great position to come into and make some noise instantly. I'd personally love to see him paired up with current Dragons DPS player Diya, the returning Miraculous Youngster DPS Leave or continue his DPS partnership with Shy.

Joon "ErsTer" Jeong, Lucky Future Zenith - DPS

While Eileen is the best Chinese DPS player playing in Contenders China, it could be said that ErsTer is the best DPS player in the entirety of Contenders. He's a carry DPS player that has the hero pool of a supportive DPS player, and he's known for his incredible Genji  & Dommfist play. The fact he's able to switch from Widowmaker, to Reaper, to Tracer or Solider 76 and back again, makes him invaluable and deadly in any composition. Lucky Zenith won season one of Contenders China and with three full Korean rosters currently with the potential of at least a fourth, means that ErsTer who turned 18 in May should be high on any of these teams who's either looking to rebuild or wanting to add that extra piece for their arsenal, because I don't think it will be long before he's a #1 DPS player on an OWL team.


Petja "Masaa" Kantanen, Team Gigantti - Main Support

While the European Contenders crew missed him from their players to watch, Masaa as one half of the best and most feared Support line with Ripa in European Contenders. Team Gigantti have an ability to find the best undiscovered Finnish players in the national scene and get them ready to be picked up for the Overwatch League. A main support who's one of the best Lucio players in Europe, Masaa can also play Mercy meaning that he has the flexibility within compositions to change to either for the current meta, he should be in line for another good season. His performances last season was one of the reasons why Team Gigantti almost retained their European Contenders title, especially when he was a constant annoyance for the British Hurricane with his ability to prolong team fights with great healing recognition and positioning. Masaa should be the ideal player for a team rebuilding that want to have an emphasis on strong support play.

Hafpor "Hafficool" Hakonarson.  British Hurricane - Flex Tank

Hafficool is the best Flex Tank not with an Overwatch League team and a player I consider to be the best European D.Va in the game. Be it those dominating performances on D.Va with a ridiculously timed Self Destruct from unexpected angles or the fact that he can play a range of DPS heroes both hitscan and projectile if the Hurricane wanted to switch to a triple DPS composition. His hero pool and willingness to use it for the better of the team was one of the reasons the Hurricane won Season one , are on a great place to defend their title going into season two and the reason that Hafficool is known as the Hurricanes most versatile player. With teams rebuilding and up to six expansion teams, it's hard to think that Hafficool won't be with an Overwatch League team after this season.

Oliwer "Lateks" Fahlander, Orgless & Hungry - Main Tank

Lateks comes into Contenders season two off the back of a fantastic Open Division which they won fairly convincingly with Northern Lights as their shotcaller and captain. Having played on teams such as Red Reserve and Jigsaw, Lateks get to step up to the Contenders scene with Orgless & Hungry and show a Reinhardt that's one of the best in Europe when it comes to mechanical but his ability to lead from the front with his comms, is invaluable. His transition from Northern Lights should be made a lot easier with his tank line partner Leodeddz and Projectile DPS player Caspere who join him from both Jigsaw and Northern Lights. It will be interesting to see if Lateks can handle the step up in competition as well as I think he will. 


Kang-Jae "Envy" Lee, Meta Bellum - Off Tank

Considering he was being viewed as one of best Off Tanks in the Overwatch League going into stage three, it came as a huge surprise when the Los Angeles Valiant released Envy before stage three, despite Space becoming age eligible. Envy found a place back in Korea with Meta Bellum and has a point to prove with both his performance in game and his rumoured attitude outside of it. Statistically he had one of the best D.Va's in the league but he can also play both Roadhog and Zarya to a very high level. Envy will be able to use his experience of playing on an international team to help Meta Bellum in Contenders Season Two but also to try and get back to the show.  

Dong-Eun "Hooreg" Lee, Runaway - Supportive DPS

If there's one player currently waiting for the new season season to start, so that he can prove his doubters wrong it's Hooreg. With one of the most versatile pools in the game, the exceptions to play like Profit and Birdring where both too high and unrealistic for him to achieve while at the Spitfire, causing Hooreg to be evaluated unfairly. Runaway should be the ideal team for him to show his worth and bounce back to prominence, especially with the prospect of being a part of the triple threat DPS core with Haksal and Stitch. Hooreg and Haksal should compliment one another perfectly, while Hooreg and Stitch could lead to some interesting compositions. He will have a point to prove to get back into the Overwatch League and who knows, maybe Busan Runaway ft Hooreg the dream can become a reality. 

North America

Adam “Beasthalo” Denton, Fusion University - Main Tank

When you’re on a team with talented up and coming players such as Alarm, Elk, Whoru & Zachree, it’s hard to get that small remaining piece of the spot light and make a name for yourself. This is what Beasthalo has had to fight for last season and due to this, it resulted in a lot of people expecting more from him and devaluating his performance throughout the Contenders North America Season One when he was good enough to get a trial invite for the USA Overwatch World Cup team. While he can play both Orisa and Reinhardt, Beasthalo excels in dive comps with Winston and is able to coordinate with Whoru well and cause enough of a distraction to let his team follow up. Having just turned 18 in June, Beasthalo has every chance of stating a claim as one of North America’s best main tanks.

Eoghan "Smex"O'Niell, NRG - Off Tank

Currently one of NRG's best players and a someone who's looking ready to take the step up to the Overwatch League. Smex has been on the contenders scene since season 0, when he first played with Singularity before moving to NRG for season one and two. Known for having a nasty Roadhog, Smex's versatility shines through with his ability to consistently play the three Off Tank heroes well and with the added bonus of being able to shot call or take over a game when required. The most interesting thing for me to look out for is how well he pairs up with recent DPS signing Rascal, especially in Dive compositions as it will show how well he can play with players who are known have Overwatch League quality.

These nine players are the ones I'm most excited to watch in Contenders season two, which officially starts on the 1st July with the Chinese region. If you're wanting to know more about the schedule, you can find it here. Season two is the first big chance for the players in Contenders to make a name of themselves and get selected by an Overwatch League franchise. So I fully expect the level of play to be higher than last season and a great season to watch at that. 

(You can follow more esport and Overwatch related content by following me on twitter @haloofthoughts)

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