This week the Countdown Cup qualifiers and knockouts have wrapped up. As usual we have a set of four teams who will be playing in the double bracket tournament next week. Let’s get into them.
The four teams that have qualified for the tournament bracket this time around are:
- Atlanta Reign
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- Chengdu Hunters
- Seoul Dynasty
So this time around we will have a tournament winner that has not a won a tournament this year, pretty exciting stuff.
The Atlanta Reign are the top West seed going into this tournament. Therefore they only had to face the one challenger in the knockouts, the Toronto Defiant. While Toronto played well in some places, especially with standout performances from Toronto DPS Heesu, some crucial mistakes in composition on Oasis led to the Atlanta Reign securing their spot with a 3-1 victory.
Not the cleanest performance from Atlanta and I remain concerned about their weakness to strong Tracer/Hanzo compositions. Atlanta Reign will also be out a player next weekend as DPS player Pelican will be on medical leave. Edison will be filling in his spot on the roster and it remains to be seen just how this will affect them in the upcoming matches.
Los Angeles Gladiators
The Los Angeles Gladiators were the second seed and like the Atlanta Reign had the one opponent to beat to secure their spot in the tournament but this opponent would prove to anything but a easy fight. The Shock fresh off a 3-0 stomp against the Dallas Fuel were hungry for a trip to Hawaii after having being denied in the previous tournaments.
The Gladiators sure showed the fuck up in this series. With incredible plays from the likes of Birdring and Space, the Gladiators brought this all the way to round 3 of map 5 and won the series 3-2 to secure their spot. The Shock were yet again denied and the Gladiators finally look like the championship level team that everyone expected them to be. This is the series to watch this week and going into the tournament I have high expectations for the Gladiators.
The Hunters have yet again secured their spot in a tournament bracket. This time around, they look the strongest they have ever looked this season. With DPS prowess from the likes of Jinmu and Leave with a strong backline of MMonk and Yveltal, this team looks unstoppable. The question remains on how the West teams will deal with the Pharah based compositions that Chengdu likes to run.
Meanwhile for the New York Excelsior, their season comes to a end here, a better season than was to be expected from a squad of mostly rookies. New York has the building blocks for a better performance next year and hopefully they will build on the talent they have right now.
The Seoul Dynasty has always been a team with high expectations on them, they have never been quite able to meet those expectations by winning a tournament but they are here with another opportunity to do so. After beating a slow and confused Fusion 3-1, the Dynasty look to get their first tournament win. I’m still not fully convinced that this squad can do it but the roster is definitely full of capable talent.
As for the Philadelphia Fusion, it has been a somewhat mediocre season for them and here’s hoping the postseason proves to be better.
That is all from me this week. I am looking forward to the Countdown Cup tournament and I’ll see y’all after that is wrapped up, bye!