Contenders Australia is almost wrapped up for 2019, so it’s time to reflect on this region’s outstanding talent.
What a year it was for tier-two Overwatch. The World Cup got expanded, allowing both Australia and New Zealand to send representatives to Los Angeles in October. The Pacific Showdown and Gauntlet were added, meaning Australia’s best Contenders teams got a chance to strut their stuff on the world stage.
As the quality of the scene increases, so does the quality of the players. Players in Contenders Australia dream of following in the footsteps of alumni like Kelsey “Colourhex” Birse or Ashley “Trill” Powell, both of which had their roots firmly set in Australian Overwatch before plunging into the Overwatch League.
To celebrate this great talent, the Snowball Esports Overwatch Contenders MVP Awards have returned. Seven panellists spent this season following the action intensely, boiling down the contingent of players down to a handful deserving to be called the best.
The Voting Panel
- Andrew “Ducky” Amos, Snowball Esports Overwatch Content Lead
- Sarah “SarahJane“, Snowball Esports Watchpoint: ANZ Host
- Ben “Smash” Lehane, Caster for Contenders Australia
- Jordan “Elfish” Mays, Caster for Contenders Australia
- Kevin “AVRL” Walker, Caster for Contenders Australia & Pacific
- Daniel “Cinderella” van Twest, Observer for Contenders Australia
- Jennifer “Jenna” Phung, Observer for Contenders Australia
Rookie of the Season
The Rookie of the Season Award is for the newcomers onto the Contenders stage. They were unknown to fans at the start of the season, but their names struck venomous fear into their foes by the end. These rookies have had an unforgettable impact on the Contenders Australia scene, and have started making waves in progressing their careers.
1st – Park “Nyang” Su-young (Sydney Drop Bears, 14pts)
2nd – Sam “Paso” Harland (Athletico, 11pts)
3rd – Lim “Soggy” JX (Melbourne Mavericks, 6pts)
Nyang, Paso, and Soggy stepped onto the Overwatch scene in three completely different ways.
Nyang, an import from South Korea, joined the Drop Bears after a brief stint in China, and helped stabilise their early season woes. Paso has been grinding in Open Division and Ascent for months now, only to break out this season thanks to Athletico’s roster shuffling in the off-season. Soggy, who was completely unknown to most, burst out firing for a Mavericks roster who struggled to find consistency in season two.
Nyang spent a lot of the season on Sombra and Reaper, but his Widowmaker is deadly in match making.
In the couple of appearances Soggy made with Mavericks, he looked like one of the best players in the server. While logistical issues behind the scenes meant that the roster changed from week-to-week, Soggy was a part of the Mavericks slim 3-2 defeat to Order, and made Mavericks look worthy of a spot in Contenders at the end of the season.
Paso is the next main tank prodigy in Australia. After exporting Trill, and Quatz being too young for international play, Paso has arisen as one of the best up-and-coming talents in the role. His Reinhardt made quick work of some of the region’s best teams early in the season, even upsetting Order in week two.
But it was Nyang who ended up taking out the honours. Combining well with fellow South Korean Song “Dreamer” Sang-lok, Nyang struggled at the start of the season, but started to enable the “Nyang Vision” by the end of it. While he won’t be in the final at Melbourne Esports Open, he will be a player to keep an eye on down the line.
Most Improved Player
The Most Improved Players are now veterans of the scene, but they still have the same desire that drove them to getting to where they are today. They are hungry to improve themselves, and have shown great growth in their abilities as a player over the last season.
1st – Isaac “Ackyyy” Berry (Mindfreak, 11pts)
2nd – Lachlan “Ike” Matthews (Legacy Esports, 6pts)
3rd – Kurt “naahmie” Pedersen (Ground Zero Gaming, 4pts)
The Most Improved Player award had the most varied votes. Plenty of names from Mindfreak, Ground Zero, and Athletico arose through the ballots after their respective teams miraculous runs throughout the season.
Naahmie got his first taste of LAN experience with the Mavericks in season one, and almost helped send Ground Zero to their first LAN in season two. His Widowmaker is one of the best in the region, and while he helped GZG secure a second-seed heading into playoffs, they ended up falling at the final hurdle in a five-mapper against Order.
Ackyyy styled on Sydney Drop Bears’ Akraken to get a solo-kill.
Ike, on the other hand, was fighting an uphill battle with Legacy. The roster was struggling for wins right off the bat, and their playoffs hopes were becoming more distant as the weeks dragged on. However, Ike was a shining light for Legacy with excellent Zarya play, and a good bit of hitscan when he was allowed. With role lock coming for season one 2020, it’ll be great to see such a mechanical prodigy on heroes which allow him to pop off even harder.
The Most Improved Player by a landslide was Mindfreak’s Ackyyy. After jumping over late last season from Athletico, Ackyyy quickly climbed up the power rankings as one of Australia’s best flex supports. His Ana is among the top three in the region now, and his flexibility has allowed Mindfreak to secure a spot at LAN for season two in the first time in their history.
Most Valuable Player
The Most Valuable Player is more than just the most mechanically skilled player in the region. An Overwatch player needs to be well-rounded in communications, mechanics, and game knowledge. These MVPs have shown that they can turn the game on its head, and are truly the region’s best players.
1st – Chris “August” Norgrove (Mindfreak, 14pts)
2nd – Declan “Dalsu” Selby (Ground Zero Gaming, 10pts)
3rd – Adam “Adam” Soong (Order, 8pts)
A youngster looking towards the future, a veteran looking overseas, and a prodigy given a second chance. That’s the lineup of our top three MVPs for season two 2019.
Adam has long been one of Contenders Australia’s best off-tanks. His D.Va is always one of the best in the region—and arguably is the best since Punk’s departure. While flexibility isn’t Adam’s strong point, he does one thing well, and that’s all he has needed to do to help Order qualify for their fourth LAN in a row.
August’s backcap against the Sydney Drop Bears confirmed them a spot at the Melbourne Esports Open.
Dalsu was on the ropes after season one. Taking on a player-coach role at Ground Zero this season, he mentored some of Australia’s best rising stars into a top four team. Not only that, Dalsu styled on everyone with his signature Ana, landing impressive Biotic Grenades and Sleep Darts game-in-game-out.
But it was the redeemed prodigy, August, who was deemed the most valuable player. After a year out of competitive play off the back of a poor season with Masterminds, he came back in his comfort role of DPS and made a name for himself. His Hanzo, Pharah, and Brig were critical in Mindfreak’s LAN qualification, and he even picked up a spot on New Zealand’s OWWC roster. Come MEO, all eyes will be on him to give Mindfreak the one last push to claim their first Contenders title.
The Melbourne Esports Open will be host to the Contenders Australia Season two 2019 final between Order and Mindfreak on Saturday, September 1. The Washington Justice will also be making a guest appearance. Tickets are available via Ticketek.