The Overwatch League has gone through changes this past year, moving into a home and away structure. However, that is not the only change that Blizzard had in mind.
A critical component that develops the growth of competitive Overwatch players is through the Overwatch Contenders season. With the new season not too far away, Blizzard recently announced several changes to Contenders to make the season easier to follow. What are these changes?
New point system
Teams competing will first be split into two divisions, Atlantic and Pacific. The new Overwatch Contenders season will distribute points to teams depending on how they place every two weeks. Teams will want to accumulate as many points as they can over the season, as doing so will qualify the top teams into the regional playoff series.
At the start of 2020, all 2019 Contenders Teams will be invited to play in a double-elimination bracket which will determine their initial seeding. The top four teams of this tournament will receive a bye in their first Contenders tournament, while the bottom four teams will receive byes in their first Contenders trials.
The eight teams that will compete in the Trials will be determined through the Open Division and will be available to all Overwatch players. This will be a seven-week event, where the Top 8 teams will advance to Contender Trials.
Finally, the Top 8 teams in Contender Trials will advance to Contenders. This features the bi-weekly tournaments that will change week to week from Atlantic to Pacific. Placing Top 4 in Contenders will retain that team’s spot for the next Contenders, while the bottom 8 teams will have to return to Contender Trials.
It is good to note that Contender Trials and Contenders is a single-elimination tournament.
More games for everyone
One of the major upgrades to Overwatch Contenders is the length of each season. In total, the new 2020 Contenders season will feature four single-elimination tournaments. In each tournament, we expect 11 games to occur. On top of all of that, there will be about 14 more games at the end of the season from the double-elimination playoffs.
That’s 58 games in total, a staggering amount of games considering Overwatch Contenders 2019, which only featured 28 regular-season games and a few playoff games.
It seems that Blizzard has tackled several structural issues that were previously a problem for Contenders. However, the new system allows for a great deal of movement to occur between each level of competition. It allows players more opportunities to prove themselves and enforces consistency amongst teams.
Blizzard has listened to the feedback of the community and created a new system for Contenders that is heading in the right direction. The Contenders 2020 changes still supports current contenders, while at the same time creates more opportunities for potential teams and players.
Paul is an esports content creator from Vancouver, BC. He is currently studying Business at Simon Fraser University. For Level Push, he is committed to writing about Overwatch and the Overwatch League.