The finalists from last seasons Contenders are the only teams to not face major organisational changes. Given their success, you’d expect that.
Trying to keep the core together is crucial for these teams, while trying to pinch that extra bit of talent or two just to truly round out your roster and really hail for that winners title.
Season 2 will consist of a 6 week regular season, with the grand final being held at Rod Laver Arena during the Melbourne Esports Open.
Blank Blue, Dark Sided, Masterminds and Sydney Drop Bears all return to Season 2 Contenders with only one goal – winning.
If you’re unfamiliar with Overwatch roster roles, here’s a handy key.
Although Blank Blue might live in the shadow of their sister team, Blank Esports, they are by no means weak. The team of local young guns will be looking to replicate the main teams Pacific success back home in Australia after falling excruciatingly close last season. A 2nd place finish in their group in Season 1 set them up for a favourable playoffs spot, where they beat JAM Gaming 3-0. However, at LAN, they fell down to Masterminds GC, who had stormed off an almost perfect 19 and 0 regular season on their way to the grand final.
“After restructuring and refocusing we’re looking to take our tournament run deep into Rod Laver Arena”
– Smash, Coach for Blank Blue
The team has only made one change coming into Season 2, with the addition of “Aetar” from JAM Gaming. Casting Season 1 grudges aside after being knocked out by Blank Blue in playoffs, “Aetar” will provide a boost in the hitscan DPS department for Blank Blue. “Micro” will be moving to the bench as a result of the change, but knowing substitutes in Overwatch, we could definitely see a bit of rotation between the two to shake things up.
“Smash”, Blank Blue’s coach told us that the team is positive and they are setting their sights on the finals again, “After restructuring and refocusing we’re looking to take our tournament run deep into Rod Laver Arena.” In a season where there’s so many teams in with a chance of making it to the Melbourne Esports Open LAN, Blank Blue will surely have a few tricks up their sleeves to make it there.
Dark Sided had a very strong group stage finish, with a map record of 18-2, placing just behind Masterminds. However, they weren’t able to make it to the final as they placed 3rd. They had a very close semi-final with Drop Bears, but fell short with their 2 – 3.
“The team are confident they will get the win in the opening match.”
– Project, Coach for Dark Sided
In a trend that is becoming seemingly common among the teams, they have shaken up their roster with a completely new set of players for Contenders Season 2.
Coach “Project” had a few things to say about matchmaking vs tournament and growth in the Australian region:
“It would’ve been nice for the meta the players are on to stay relevant to their matchmaking experience but with Blizzard’s patching and tournament schedule that will never be the case. I feel this hinders the growth of the game and players as there is no support in this region to learn the multitude of heroes required to participate at the top level.”
On their opening match against Masterminds in week 1, “Project” stated: “The team are confident they will get the win in the opening match.”
Masterminds had an excellent run in the first season of Contenders and were on top after the group stages. However, they were not able to secure the win in the finals, with the Sydney Drop Bears proving too strong.
“We’ve never missed a LAN since the start of Overwatch in this region, and this Contenders season will be no different.”
– Polter, Co-owner of Masterminds
They have featured many roster changes this year such as “Knellery”, “Dalsu”, “Tails” and “Colourhex” all leaving the team.
The Masterminds co-owner “Polter”, spoke with us about these changes: “After finishing 2nd in season 1 a lot has changed for us during the off season with James “Taki” Daskalou being the only remaining player from that roster. To the naked eye it appears we have come off the worst from the latest roster shuffle, but we have some extremely talented players who are out to prove their worth against the best in the region.“
They are no doubt ready to take the title from Drop Bears as “Polter” explains their dedication to practising: “We’ve never missed a LAN since the start of Overwatch in this region, and this contenders season will be no different. We look forward to redeeming ourselves and taking 1st place in Melbourne.”
Masterminds certainly have a lot of motivation to win this season.
Sydney Drop Bears
In the group stages of Season 1 the Sydney Drop Bears were 0-4’d by Masterminds. However they then went on to become the inaugural winners of clean sweeping Masterminds right back with a 4-0 in the grand final.
“The team is extremely confident in our ability to defend our Australia Contenders title”
– Face, Coach for the Sydney Drop Bears
Interestingly, the Drop Bears picked up “Colourhex” from Masterminds in the off-season. Speaking of the roster change, Drop Bears Coach “Face” explained: “We picked up ‘Colourhex’ who has really lent a lot of flexibility and skill to our roster and has been meshing well with the team.”
On their focus for the upcoming season, he said: “Right now, we are primarily focusing on getting a grasp on the new meta and increasing our synergy together as a team. Moving into the new season, the team is extremely confident in our ability to defend our Australia Contenders title and we can only improve from here.”
The Sydney Drop Bears sound confident and are looking to fight tooth and nail to keep their title as the current Contenders Australia champions.
Season 2 of Overwatch Contenders Australia starts tomorrow, Monday 2nd July at 12pm AEST. Tickets are now also available for the grand final at the Melbourne Esports Open – find them here.
You can catch more Overwatch Contenders coverage throughout the season here on Snowball Esports, as well as following the action on the Overwatch Contenders Twitch channel.
Written by Ann “Luna”.