Sinisa Bucan, January 20, 2017

Alienware Monthly Melee – Everything You Need to Know

It may have been a month and a half since the last one, but Alienware Monthly Melee is ready to rock in 2017. This is an all-North American tournament, with seven American teams and only one Canadian team. Even though they were confirmed to participate, Immortals decided to drop out of the event because they wanted to focus on training for the Winter Premier finals at PAX South. But there’s no need to fret, as Denial joined the event as their replacements.

Just like last year’s events, the tournament will run over two days. Alienware Monthly Melee will feature a round robin group stage with two groups of four teams. This stage will take place during the first day, followed by a double-elimination playoff stage on the second and final day of the tournament. The prize pool hasn’t changed either, the eight invited teams will compete for a total prize pool of $5,000, with the winners taking home the modest lion's share of $3,000.

State of the Meta

There haven’t been any major changes in the recent metagame. Most teams are still sticking to either three tanks, two support, and a DPS or the classic 2-2-2 team composition. You will oftentimes see teams switching it up between these two compositions even during a single match. Reinhardt, Lucio, and Ana are essential picks, followed by Soldier: 76, D.Va, Roadhog, and Zarya. Even Symmetra has been getting in on the action, as we witnessed in the APEX Season 2 match between EnVyUs and MVP Infinity.

Group A: FaZe, Rise Nation, Spicy Boys, Denial

On paper, FaZe seem to be the clear favorites of this group. They’re ranked #6 in North America and #8 in the world. However, it should be noted that this is their first event since they dropped TwoEasy – their main Roadhog player. FaZe haven’t been setting the world on fire this year. They have two wins and five losses in January so far, with two losses in a row.

FaZe Clan
FaZe Clan

We might see an upset in this group if Rise Nation and/or Spicy Boys manage to get the better of FaZe. The unsigned team Spicy Boys will be making their Alienware Monthly Melee debut this month, so there’s no question that they’ll be looking to prove that they have what it takes. On the other hand, Denial were called in as replacements for Immortals, so it will be on them to show that they have every right to be here.

Group B: Luminosity, Splyce Gaming, Hammers Esports, Team Liquid

The competition is perhaps a bit more heated in Group B. When you take a look at the rankings, Luminosity, Team Liquid, and Splyce Gaming are all on the same level in the new year. Luminosity have been all over the place lately, with six wins and six losses in January. However, they did beat Team Liquid just yesterday in the Winter Premier Round 6. Will they be able to do it again, or will Team Liquid get even? It’s also interesting to note that Team Liquid has the same exact streak in January – six wins and six losses.

Luminosity
Luminosity

Perhaps it’s a bit unfair to call Splyce and Hammers the underdogs in this group, but on paper, they are definitely weaker than either Luminosity or Team Liquid. Still, both teams are among the top 20 Overwatch teams in North America, and they’ll certainly be looking to improve their rankings.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, Alienware Monthly Melee isn’t a major event. However, it is a very good playground for these teams to test out different strategies and perhaps improve their statistics and rankings. FaZe is quite probably the overall favorite, but Luminosity and Team Liquid are right behind them. The other teams will have their work cut out for them, but winning this tournament and creating a major upset might just put them on the map.

Alienware Monthly Melee kicks off on January 21. The opening match of Group B between Luminosity and Team Liquid is definitely the one to watch.

Sinisa Bucan

Siniša is a writer and translator from Croatia, a small European country on the Adriatic coast. Apart from being a passionate Hearthstone player, he enjoys all kinds of video games, including strategy, role-playing, adventure, and action. Other interests include listening to indie rock and travelling. You can follow him @SinisaBucan.