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  1. 10th: Second Wind - NA Contenders
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  3. A team that appeared to be slept on by everyone at the start of the season, they've surpassed everyone's expectations without even having any superstars on board. As an unsponsored team, they've had quite a hill to climb to surpass the academy teams with much better financial backing. Like 6nakes from across the pond last season, none of the players on the starting lineup of Second Wind during the first 4 weeks (MirroR, Frill, Akawa, FrdWnr, CarCar, Haku) have ever played in a Contenders playoffs match before (Technically MirroR was on One.PoinT last season when they made playoffs, but he never played in OPT's quarterfinal match. And then he left shortly after). Yet, week after week they took down seasoned veterans on Gladiators Legion, Skyfoxes, Team Envy, and finally XL2 Academy. If Second Wind can beat NRG Esports in the new year, they would achieve a rare (perhaps the first?) occurrence of reversing their fortunes from the last season to this season. 0-5 last season, 5-0 this season. Definitely, this surge in the standings have drawn many talent scouts to Second Wind. CarCar has left the team for better pastures (allegedly he's joining Fusion University). However far this team will go, wherever their players may go, this Cinderella story might go down in the history books of NA Contenders.
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  5. 9th: LGD Gaming - Chinese Contenders
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  7. Many people have doubted their chance of returning to the second place podium this season, as the exodus of many of their players to OWL (and allegedly some academy teams) forced LGD to undergo a hasty rebuild. Many doubted whether "LGD 4.0" (yes this is the 4th iteration of LGD, including 2016 and 2017) could build up the synergy and return to their former glory in a couple of weeks. But yet, despite some hiccups along the way, LGD have proved themselves, proved that they still could do well. Except for a close loss to Flag Gaming, LGD has won the rest of their matches at least somewhat convincingly. These new players aren't any slouches, the performance of players like hoyoqian and Showcheng prove they can hold a candle to superstars like Onlywish, Eileen and Shy. Most surprisingly, the players have built up synergies shockingly quick, being able to master the meta in a matter of weeks. And yet, they're still on the up and up. LGD doesn't get too complacent after a win, and doesn't get too defeated after a loss. This outstanding quality of theirs, to always strive for improvement, is why they have, and will be, standing high above the competition.
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  9. 8th: Team Gigantti - EU Contenders
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  11. If LGD Gaming has been bleeding players to OWL, say no more to Team Gigantti. In the short span of about 1.5 years since the team was formed, Team Gigantti has sent 9 players to Los Angeles. Slowly, this team transformed from an all-Finn roster, to a mixed European team. Despite having less-than-stellar performances in OWL, former Florida Mayhem players Zappis and Zuppeh were nonetheless viewed by Team Gigantti as being an important asset for the team in terms of their experience and mentalities. Newcomers Milkyman and Lilbow are the rising stars from Finland and France, respectively. Team Gigantti achieved 2nd in their first season of Contenders 2018, after a close defeat to British Hurricane, and lost in the semifinals in the next season to a surging Eagle Gaming. As Team Gigantti enter Season 3 playoffs with a 4-1 record, where they end up is for them to realize.
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  13. 7th: RunAway - KR Contenders
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  15. The former home of the Vancouver Titans, RunAway has had to rebuild entirely during the offseason. Many would understand if they fell from grace, likely suffering from synergy issues after a swift rebuild. But, that never happened. Runaway came out of the group stage undefeated, only dropping 3 maps in total. Combining both veteran players like QoQ with rising stars now returning home such as Mag and LeeJaeGon, and just a dash of that Flowervin magic, the improvements the team has made has been staggering, and their mastery of the meta is second to none. With Element Mystic, possibly their greatest challenger, floundering in their last match of the regular season, it feels as though the chances of Runaway taking home the gold again is ever higher. Can they take down Element Mystic? With both teams on opposite ends of the bracket, we might have to go all the way to the bitter side to find out.
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  17. 6th: One.PoinT - EU Contenders
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  19. They might have been slept on last season, creeping into the top 8 and then being deposed by tournament favourites (and eventual runner-up) Angry Titans. But after a significant roster shakeup going into this season, it might be paying dividends for One.PoinT. Bringing in the former tank line of Eagle Gaming, Hqrdest, GetAmazed and SuperPlouk have cleaned up against the competition with their amazing synergy together. Going into playoffs as the first seed of their group, One.PoinT are still heavy favourites to win it all despite the change in patch.
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  21. 5th: ATL Academy - NA Contenders
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  23. From humble beginnings as Last Night's Leftovers, ATL Academy proved that they weren't slouches going into this season of Contenders. Bringing in Gator, one of the masterminds of the GOATs composition used by basically every pro team today, and an often overlooked player in Hawk, ATL Academy has established a solid tank line. Add on a DPS duo whose combined age equals 30 (as of writing) in Sugarfree and Saucy, and a well-experienced support line in Dogman and Ajax, one could truly say that they have a well-rounded roster. For ATL Academy, the sky's the limit. Right now, they are setting their sights on the undefeated Fusion University, in what could be a grueling battle for the top of the group.
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  25. 4th: Samsung Morning Stars - EU Contenders
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  27. Despite being owned by Samsung, the Morning Stars does not have any Koreans on their team this season, and are based in Italy. After originally recruiting local Italians for the team, SMS tried to make a mad dash from Open Division into Contenders by recruiting Korean talent, most notably current Gen.G support DNCE. However, they failed to make it out of Trials. Nonetheless, they weren't disheartened. After acquiring 6nakes' spot in Contenders Season 3, SMS, under the coaching of former Eagle support Pipou, built a European super team combining both veterans like Mowzassa and young superstars like dridro and ksp. Samsung's biggest strengths include their discipline and flexibility. In a region that loves their tank compositions, SMS loves to pull an ace up their sleeves, which is why they finished first in their group with an undefeated record.
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  29. 3rd: The One Winner (T1w) - Chinese Contenders
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  31. T1w has captured the hearts of many who watch the scene. After being established in early 2018, T1w's results have been on the up and up, despite their unusual strategy of having an extremely aggressive playstyle. But their road to success was never on a bed of roses. T1w's first championship trophy only came 9 months later (LanStory Cup - Guangzhou), and the ever elusive Contenders trophy was always stopped short by Lucky Future Zenith in the semifinals, both times going into a gruelling 5 map series. In addition, they were bodied by the Contenders Korea Season 2 Champions at NeXT Summer. Going into Season 3 of Contenders, T1w's jack-of-all-trades Krystal left for the Hangzhou Spark, and Doomfist star Mijia took his place. Many questioned whether Mijia's hero pool could match the vastness that was Krystal's, and whether he'd fit well into his new team. But Mijia fared well alongside the rest of T1w, and had the opportunity to flex his Doomfist prowess in the final match of the regular season. T1w has made history: *Undefeated*, 20-0, becoming only the third Contenders team ever to do so, and the first (and so far only) team in the 4 regions covered here. Their thirst for a Contenders victory is undoubtedly unquenchable. If T1w can make it to the championship trophy without dropping a single map, that would definitely solidify their status as a powerhouse in the Chinese scene.
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  33. 2nd: Element Mystic - KR Contenders
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  35. Ever since Season 1 of Contenders, EM has been deemed the favourites in every season. The dream team of Xzi, Sp9rk1e, Guard, Daco, Pokpo, rapel, Jecse, after acquiring Lunatic-Hai's spot in Contenders and merely dropping 2 maps in the regular season of Season 1, many viewed the team as the next Lunatic-Hai, preparing to establish a dynasty in 2018. But yet, the higher they fly, the harder they fall. After being reverse swept by dark horses O2 Ardeont, one could perhaps hear the EM players' cries of distraught and anguish in the seemingly soundproof booth. In a massive blow to EM's chances for a championship, superstar Sp9rk1e was benched in Season 2 for account sharing. EM had to play second fiddle to RunAway and Kongdoo Panthera. But in season 3, Sp9rk1e is unleashed once more. Add on the stellar performances by the new tank and support lines, EM appeared unstoppable, dropping only 2 maps in their first 4 matches. However, old demons began to rear up again. EM's win streak was cut short by Meta Athena, after attempting a reverse sweep just like O2 Ardeont did to them just 2 seasons ago, only this time failing. After a floundering performance against the last-placed team, EM are left to lick their wounds as a cloud of doubt as to whether they can take home the gold this time is cast on them.
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  37. 1st: Fusion University - NA Contenders
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  39. If T1w was making history, Fusion University has something to say about it. In every single Contenders match they have played in so far, Fusion University has come out on top. Back-to-back champions of seasons 1 and 2, Fusion Uni. has dropped a grand total of 1 map in both their grand final appearances. Even there have been some roster swaps going into season 3, new DPS players Na1st and snillo have not missed a beat in filling the shoes of their predecessors, WhoRU and ZachaREEE. Their experience and, more importantly, their never-wavering support line is what put them over the top against their opponents. If Fusion Uni. can defeat ATL Academy, and go on and get the gold, they would have established an unprecedented record: Undefeated. In. Every. Match. Across. Three. Seasons. Fusion University have produced outstanding talent in WhoRU and Beasthalo, waiting to be picked up by an OWL team. Elk would undoubtedly be playing a major role in any future successes of the main Fusion squad. As for Alarm, we'll have to wait another year for him to show us what he's capable of on the big stage.
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  41. (Final note by me: this power ranking was entirely made by caster Alan, I just translated it and added some interesting information about the teams)
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