With nine days left until Christmas, Major League Gaming Vegas delivers an early gift to Overwatch fans as eight top Overwatch teams compete for North American glory this weekend. Things started off with a bang on the first day of groups as Fnatic and Rise Nation locked horns once again, a few days after the NGE North American Winter Premier open qualifiers.
Fnatic looked shaky during NGE as it was dealing with jet lag but it regained the strength that made the team a force of nature to begin with as it ran Rise Nation through a clinic. It wouldn't be fair to say that Rise Nation was absolutely stomped as bigger stomps have happened before, but they didn't seem to have their focus intact for the majority of King's Row.
Matt "coolmatt69" Iorio was the shining star for Fnatic as demonstrated on defense for King's Row. On the first point, coolmatt69 hid in the hotel to the side and waited for the entire team of Rise Nation to run past him as they stormed the point, and landed a six-man Graviton Surge from Zarya. Once he had done that, Hafþór "Hafficool" Hákonarsonis killed all six of them by landing D.Va's mech in the middle of the trapped victims and left behind nothing but scorched earth. Fnatic continued its dominance on Nepal and took the set 2-0.
FaZe Clan and Team Liquid took to the stage next. While ultimately a less exciting match than the rest, Team Liquid's strengths became incredibly obvious as Adam "MESR" De La Torre became the lynchpin of Team Liquid. Every important play involved him, and FaZe Clan was only pushing the payload on Hollywood and Numbani whenever MESR died. Because of this single weak point, George "ShaDowBurn" Gushcha and the rest of FaZe were able to barely win overtime by pushing the payload farther than Liquid on Numbani; had one thing gone wrong, however, FaZe Clan would have lost inches before the finish line. Faze advanced with a 2-1 victory.
Because compLexity and EnVyUs have their match delayed until Saturday due to visa issues, the last match of the day was Cloud9 vs NRG Esports. Cloud9 has always been a solid team throughout Overwatch's competitive history, while NRG has been somewhat inconsistent over time. The team's communication has plummeted ever since picking up Matthew "clockwork" Dias and Seb "numlocked" Barton and that weakness showed again as they failed to make any sort of impact in a game even when they had six ultimates up at once. Cloud9 took an easy win 2-0 against NRG, concluding the day's games.
The games will continue with compLexity and EnVyUs an hour and a half earlier than scheduled on Saturday at 1:30pm ET, as the battle for a $100,000 prize pool continues.