The three-day Atlantic Showdown will bring together the top six teams of the European, North American, and South American Contenders Divisions for live competition in Krefeld, Germany from May 31 to June 2.
The second of three new live Contenders events, this tournament, mirrored by last week’s Pacific Showdown, will set the best teams in the Atlantic region against one another in a double-elimination bracket.
The victors of the four represented Contenders regions, as North America is split in East and West divisions, as well as the second place qualifiers from European and North American Contenders will compete, culminating with the Grand Finals on June 2. Competition on Friday and Saturday starts at 4pm CEST, or 10am ET. The final day will begin at 5:30pm CEST, or 11:30am ET.
While these teams compete for a $125,000 prize pool, there is even more at stake for each Contenders region. Performance in these Showdowns determine representation in the ultimate battle between the best of the Pacific and Atlantic in the Gauntlet. This event held from Oct. 9 to 13 will invite 10 teams to determine which team is truly the champion of Overwatch Contenders.
With six teams being invited to each showdown, there is a risk of being disqualified from the Gauntlet. Teams that place fifth and sixth will lose an invite for their region, while the first place team will earn another invite to the Gauntlet for their region. For example, if Lowkey Esports, the only South American region representative, places fifth or sixth, there will be no South American teams invited to the Gauntlet. However, if Lowkey is victorious at the Pacific Showdown, South American Contenders will be able to bring another team to compete at the Gauntlet.
Upcomer asked European Contenders caster Zander “Blank” Padwick, North American Contenders caster Evie "HamTornado" Feng, and South American Contenders caster Felipe "Tonello" Souza to share their insights and predictions ahead of the inaugural tournament.
Both British Hurricane and Angry Titans had a dominant display in the Group Stage of European Contenders, with the Hurricane placing first with an undefeated record, and Angry Titans close behind in second after losing 3-1 to the Hurricane. However, when the two met in the Grand Finals, the Titans came back with a vengeance and won 4-1.
European Contenders caster Zander “Blank” Padwick says that “Angry Titans and British Hurricane have very different identities but their playstyle is similar in the sense that they are both extremely proactive. Teams that, by eye test alone, gain the most amount of value are those who are aggressive and take the fight to the enemy team.”
The similarities do not stop there, with Blank revealing that both teams have developed their interpretations of the triple-tank, triple-support GOATS composition by weakening their opponents’ ultimate economy. With the Graviton Surge/Self Destruct combination characterizing many attacks in the current meta, Blank states that British Hurricane and Angry Titans are able to consistently survive this bombardment.
Blank says both teams’ survivability throughout ultimate combinations is a key factor. “Once those two huge resources are gone and don’t find value, the team using them is usually left up the river without a paddle and sometimes even without a boat.”
Individually, Angry Titans’ playstyle varies throughout a game, reminding Blank of a fan-favorite team. “They switch from aggression to being on the defence and back to aggression, similar to Eagle Gaming in last year’s Season 2. By the way, no one will ever reach the heights of our Lord and Savior Eagle Gaming.”
While Main Tank Lukas "LullSiSH" Wiklund has showed strength against other strong Reinhardts in European Contenders, Blank says, “I honestly don’t think there is a massively standout player on Angry Titans because they’re a very stable roster and that’s super important in this current meta to make the correct decision all the time under high-pressure scenarios. That’s why they stand at the top.”
If LullSiSH’s stability symbolizes Angry Titans’ overall strategy, Blank believes that British Hurricane’s Hafþór "Hafficool" Hákonarson embodies British Hurricane’s. “Hafficool is nicknamed the “Icelandic Pocket Knife”, after the huge hero pool he has available to him. That diversity can be said about the rest of the team too. Their control percentage win rate is at 75% over the past 3 months because they’re able to take advantage of Control maps where you don’t have to play inside the objective as much and consequently into the hands of 3/3.”
Another Hurricane player to watch is Brigitte player Daniel "Dannedd" Rosdahl, who has left behind his favored hero Doomfist’s gauntlet for the oppressive support hero’s flail. Watch Dannedd to open up for British Hurricane’s own Self-Destruct combinations.
Blank is confident that European teams will continue to succeed at the Atlantic Showdown. “From the little amount of NA Contenders I’ve seen, they will have to brush up on their ult economy to the standard of British Hurricane and Angry Titans. Team Envy look really strong right now having just won the Grand Final in NA, but they won with ex Angry Titans player Elliot "ELLIVOTE" Vaneryd on the team so... EU is still winning when NA is!”
Due to North American Contenders being split into East and West regions, the playoff champions of each region would qualify for the Atlantic Showdown. Fusion University, although having their win streak ended in Group Stages by the recently disbanded Mayhem Academy, defeated Gladiators Legion 4-1 in the East Grand Finals. Team Envy in NA West achieved a perfect record in Group Stages, sweeping NRG in Semifinals and soundly defeating ATL Academy 4-1 in the West Grand Finals.
North America has three invites to the Atlantic Showdown, the last spot decided in a tiebreaker match between the runner-ups of NA West and NA East. ATL Academy swept Gladiators Legion 4-0, qualifying them for the final spot in the Atlantic Showdown. Being the runner-up to NA West, this victory also gave Team Envy a higher seed and first round bye in the Showdown, above Fusion University.
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North American Contenders caster Evie "HamTornado" Feng says, “Envy would have been the hands down NA fave to take on EU except now Main Tank Ashley "Trill" Powell has moved to the Dallas Fuel. I think, though I hope not, that this will cripple Envy; they really relied on Trill to head the charge literally, and he was their x factor.”
This is a major disadvantage for Team Envy, however, they have recruited stand-in Main Tank Ji-won "Stand1" Seo, a former player for the recently disbanded NRG Esports. HamTornado notes that other players to watch are supports William "Crimzo" Hernandez and Anthony "Fire" King, who are able to survive against capable Sombra players. Angry Titans veteran Elliot "ELLIVOTE" Vaneryd stands out for his impressive D.Va, Mei, and Pharah.
Victory is not a given for the top NA seed. HamTornado says, “the biggest worry with Envy besides roster issues is that they can fall down and not be able to get up again. They went to 5 maps against NRG, their only 5 game set of this season and Envy’s worst performance by far. This is not indicative of their ability but it’s worrying because they just played awfully and it could happen again.”
Team Envy’s Eastern counterparts, champions Fusion University, are seen as a team that may be able to match up toe to toe against the strongest Europe has to offer, with HamTornado saying that they are the most prepared of all of NA to face EU. “Fusion University have consistent GOATS but at times it seems like they respect the GOATS “dance” too often, which makes them predictable. They got stomped by Hurricane the last time EU played against NA, but they have experience. Now they just have to perform.”
Fusion University have two Main Tanks with very different styles. Chang-sik "ChangSik" Moon, known for his patience and measured play, started for all of the team’s playoff games over Adam "Beasthalo" Denton. Beasthalo’s aggressive style is powerful, but HamTornado notes that it can be punished easily.
HamTornado says the player to watch is Kyungbo "Alarm" Kim. “He is a monster in the backline. Even though he hasn’t found as many Jjonak-style pick openers this season, he is still extremely consistent. If Alarm is doing well, the team is doing well; if he’s struggling, Fusion University probably aren’t getting a ton done either. Changsik and Alarm need to be having good games, they’re the ones that’ll carry the team through when the going gets tough.”
The last representative for North American Contenders is ATL Academy. After a difficult first few weeks in the Western Division, partially due to Flex Support Garrett "Saucy" Roland playing Zarya, a major pickup changed the team’s trajectory. Troy "berd" Grady’s addition to the lineup added enough momentum and chemistry to lead the team to a 3rd place seed going into playoffs.
While ATL swept Gladiators Legion for this final position at the Showdown, HamTornado says they still have some exploitable weaknesses. “Main Tank Blake "Gator" Scott can sometimes just charges into nothing and gets way too ahead of himself. Kamden "Sugarfree" Hijada used to be a liability on Brigitte but is much more consistent this season, so hopefully that carries into Showdown. He has a great Pharah and is an all around good DPS.”
ATL Academy is the underdog of the North American teams, but HamTornado believes there is the opportunity for upsets. “While ATL is a young team, the roster has only been together for a couple of weeks, and they don’t have any international LAN experience together, they could definitely be a team that revels in the pressure and rises up against expectations. Xander "Hawk" Domecq still gets some flashy, big bomb moments, so definitely keep an eye out for him.”
Although HamTornado admits that European Contenders teams are favored to win, she says that there is still hope. “Fusion University are probably the best NA hopes to win and some folks think they could actually take the whole thing. British Hurricane getting kicked off the championship podium by Angry Titans can’t be doing much for Hurricane’s confidence.”
Lowkey Esports dominated South American Contenders, going 7-0 in Group Stages and sweeping Isurus Gaming to meet FURY in the Grand Finals, where they narrowly achieved a 4-3 victory. South American Contenders caster Felipe "Tonello" Souza notes that this newly founded team’s history extends back many seasons.
“They're a mixed team put together from the most talented players from Based Tryhards (Ex-Brazilian Gaming House) and last season’s winners, LFTOWL, who ended Based Tryhard's multi-season win streak. This said, LFTOWL had the best GOATS comps among all SA teams last season, and this still stands true nowadays for Lowkey.”
Although their GOATS composition is solid, Tonello describes Lowkey’s play as highly diverse, likely due to the strong coaching staff. Lowkey introduced Sombra-GOATS to South American Contenders, also running 3 and 4 DPS compositions alongside Hammond. Tonello believes these strategies are successful due to the team’s synergy, but they can also transition smoothly into the more traditional GOATS later in maps.
Tonello states that “Lowkey has high individual skill and a strong coaching staff that downplays the players' egos. Pretty much everyone on the team is a theorycrafter, which made them need a longer time to get used to playing together. However, star players are still popping off, teamplay is strong, and they seem to be able to recover from mental breakdowns rather effectively.”
Teamplay is often led by Main Tank Renan "Fastie" Melo, known for his unique and methodical Reinhardt play. Even though he has no international experience, Fastie is seen as one of South America’s best due to his phenomenal timing on Earthshatters and charges. Pedro "ole" Orlandini, a World Cup veteran, also provides accuracy and well-timed ultimates with his Zenyatta and Ana play, with Tonello describing his reactions as “inhuman”. Watch for ole’s Ana to shine, as his past as a DPS player heightens accuracy.
Another vital player is Maurício "honorato" Honorato. Tonello is eager to see honorato’s Zarya, sharing that “he is known as "alien" due to his tracking that resembles Geguri's: Very fast, flicking and "trembling" aim, but mostly on point to hit enemies.”
While Lowkey has a wide array of compositions to pull from and a large pool of talent, Tonello remains realistic about their chances at the Atlantic Showdown. “It’s gonna be hard. According to Lowkey’s Coach Yuri "Insanityz" Ribeiro, ATL Academy and Team Envy might be weaker than the rest, and Lowkey is looking forward to getting the big W against them. However, the players themselves know that it's gonna be a hard task, which I believe is the correct mindset.”
“Besides this, we have to consider that many Lowkey players have plenty of international experience and so they might be able to handle pressure in a better way. I truly believe they can win some series and use their DPS comps to their advantage. However, winning the whole thing still seems a bit further away from what we are capable of doing right now.”
With the Pacific Showdown shocking many Chinese Contenders fans when Talon Esports eliminating LGE.Huya, it is clear that anything can happen when the best teams around the world compete. The Atlantic Showdown not only will help to reveal which region is the best, but will give individual players the opportunity to showcase their skills on one of the largest stages. Viewers could be watching the breakout performances of the next Super, sinatraa, or Poko as they continue on their Path to Pro, and more immediately, towards the Gauntlet.