Hours ago, an article on over.gg informed us that there will be changes in the map pool for the playoffs of Contenders S1. Blizzard hasn’t announced anything yet officially, but if what the article reports is accurate, it can potentially upset some of the matches.
Let’s break down the changes and some of the teams they potentially affect:
Control this time around is limited to two maps: Oasis & Ilios. We don’t know if the map will be randomized or it will be one of them set as the 1st Control and the other as the 2nd Control. In the case that it isn’t randomized, a way to decide which team picks the first map must be implemented, most likely seeding.
Based on previous results, throughout the regular season some teams struggled on these Pharah-heavy maps. Teams like FNRGFE must rejoice right now, despite them having to go up against Team EnvyUs, the undeniable favorite of the NA Contenders S1.
Next in line is Hybrid. For playoffs, King’s Row is replaced with Hollywood. This is quite a big change, because King’s Row was the most played Hybrid (12 times) with Numbani a close second (1 time). If anything they should have replaced Eichenwalde with Hollywood. King’s Row is also a map that allows for Reinhardt/Zarya comps a lot more than other maps, whose layout enables a more dive-heavy style.
European teams won’t really have that big of a problem, since the dive meta in Europe never died really, but in NA teams like Envision picked the map quite a bit. 3 times out of 4 times they were given a choice.
The biggest upset will be in the Assault category. Temple of Anubis replaces Hanamura. For Assault and Escort, only 2 choices are given to teams, despite Assault as a game mode having a fourth map in the pool for quite some time now and you would expect to see more choices available.
Especially for the European teams, this change can affect many things since 123 had the best record on Hanamura, for example, and it was picked equal times as Volskaya Industries. With Hanamura out of the map pool, some teams will struggle and they may default a lot more to Volskaya who remains the same because they have experience on the map.
Finally, the change in the Escort category, from Dorado to Route 66 seems the most logical. Teams in both regions showed their love for Gibraltar over Dorado (19-9 for EU, 21-7 for NA), so a change of pace could be good for the 4th map.
The format this time around will -in all likelihood- be Bo5 and not Bo4, which means that if one team gets 3 wins on the first 3 gamemodes, they get the set. The Escort map won’t matter. The same as APEX. Therefore, these changes’ upset potential is great. Although not everything is thrown out of the window, since at least one map from each game mode remains in the pool, it’s to be seen if we see matches ending a lot closer than they would initially due to these changes