Sinisa Bucan, April 21, 2017

The 4 OW Rumble Narratives You Can't Miss

The weather in Europe just got unseasonably cold, but if you’re a fan of the Overwatch pro scene, Spring is just starting to heat up. Last weekend, we were able to enjoy the Monthly Melee, while the APEX Season 2 and PIT Championship concluded just recently. Adding to the ruckus comes Overwatch Rumble, where 16 top North American teams will fight for glory and cash money.

Eight of those were invited while the remaining eight will have to earn their right to participate through the single-elimination qualifier. The open qualifier already kicked off on Tuesday, April 18, but the main qualifiers begin this Saturday.

Teams will be divided into four groups in a round robin best-of-3 format. Each group will consist of two invited teams and two teams that made it through the qualifier. The top two teams from each group will advance to the playoffs. Groups have yet to be determined.

The eight invited teams for the Overwatch Rumble are Team EnVyUs, Immortals, Rogue, LG Evil, Cloud9, Splyce, Complexity and Selfless Gaming. It’s an interesting lineup for several reasons.

1. Can EnVyUs reclaim their throne from rogue?

First off, Team EnVyUs is finally playing in a North American tournament. They’ve been busy for a while in Korea playing the APEX Season 2. They didn’t exactly light the world on fire while over there. They made it out of Group Stage 1 behind Meta Athena, but finished in last place in Group Stage 2 losing both matches to Lunatic Hai and KongDoo Uncia. That’s not a negligible losing streak, but this is still EnVyUs, one of the top teams in the world with an incredible 90% all-time win rate.

Rogue
Rogue

On the other hand, 2017 has been absolutely fantastic for Rogue. The band of Frenchmen that relocated to Las Vegas have been unbeatable this year. They have an amazing 27-match win streak, they won three Overwatch Monthly Melees in a row and the North American leg of the Overwatch PIT Championship. Rogue is currently the #1 ranked team in both North America and the world, and they are definitely the favorites of this tournament.

2. Can LG Evil prove their stability after losing to Immortals?

Another reason why this could be a very interesting tournament is the potential rematch between LG Evil and Immortals. In case you have forgotten, Immortals created a huge upset in the finals of the Overwatch Carbon Series several weeks ago when they beat LG Evil. It was a notable outcome due to the fact that LG Evil completely dominated the event up until that point whereas Immortals’ path to the finals was pretty rocky. Everyone assumed that LG Evil had this one in the bag, but Immortals came together and played cohesively as a team, shutting down LG Evil on defense and quickly taking points on offense. If this clash happens, LG Evil will definitely be looking to even the score.

It's hard to imagine LG Evil fall behind Immortals again without it having a long-term morale impact on the organization. Reliability is key in any esport, and this is the event  is their key to recovery.

3. Rogue challenged selfless, but will they stall out? 

We could be seeing yet another intense rematch. And this one’s coming off a very recent match. Selfless and Rogue played just several days ago in April’s Overwatch Monthly Melee finals. And while Rogue were the favorites of the entire tournament, Selfless absolutely stepped up and made the finals worth watching. In the end, they fell just short and Rogue won 3-2.

Selfless proved that they could take on the best of the best and they’ll be looking to take it one step further and dethrone Rogue at this event. This team is on the cusp of hitting the next level of performance, but so many teams reach this stage and hit their celing without ever toppling the teams waiting at the top. This tournament will be a crucial moment in Selfless's continued development and will likely be the precursor to whether they ascend or stall out.

4. Will the underdogs begin narratives worth watching this summer?

It goes to show the caliber of competition in Rumble that we are forced to call Cloud9, Splyce and Complexity underdogs. Complexity, in particular, has been having a very rough time recently. They managed to amass eight losses in a row thanks to subpar performances in the Overwatch Carbon Series and PIT Championship. The latter tournament has been particularly hard as Complexity lost every single match and finished dead last. If they don't pull out of their downward spiral soon, let's just say there are plenty of Overwatch teams just behind them waiting for tournaments to have an empty qualifier invite.

Cloud9
Cloud9

On the other hand, Splyce is now enjoying a 12-match win streak, but they have also been playing tiny weekly tournaments mostly against low-ranking teams. Will they stand up against heavy hitters like Rogue, EnVyUs, LG Evil, and Immortals?

Lastly, we have Cloud9, who haven’t played a single match since their participation in APEX Season 2 ended in late February. Their performance in the tournament was middling at best as they finished in 10th place (out of 16).

As you can see, you'll need to be watching these games if you want to keep up with Overwatch moving into the summer. The ongoing qualifiers start here. You definitely cannot miss out on the main event, starting on Saturday, April 22.

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.