It looks like the Tier Two Overwatch teams are finally getting some attention in 2019. According to Blizzard, they will be hosting three international live events for the Overwatch Contenders.
We're proud to announce three international live events for Contenders 2019!
— Overwatch Path to Pro (@owpathtopro) January 16, 2019
This announcement comes a few months after the Overwatch community would learn that there would be no offline finals for Contenders. It was a decision that many fans were against, especially with the lack of LAN events at the Tier Two level. However, these new live events are a great step in the right direction. They also look like an exciting addition for fans to look forward to. Not to mention, this will also help Tier Two players gain much more exposure and popularity.
What are Overwatch Contenders “Showdowns”?
The three new live events are called Showdowns, where the World’s top Contenders teams will battle. This year, Blizzard is splitting the eight Contenders regions into two divisions, the Pacific and the Atlantic. Each Contenders team will be sending their best team to their respective Divisional Showdown. These events will be playing during the mid-year break, which allows a larger viewership and also lets scouts from Overwatch League teams to watch as well.
The Pacific Showdown will feature the best teams from Australia, China, Korea, and the Pacific. They will compete in a double-elimination bracket on May 24th to the 26th in China. Australia and the Pacific will send one team, while South Korea and China will be sending two of their best teams over. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Showdown will have the best teams from Europe, North America, and South America duke it out. They will also play in a double-elimination bracket on May 31st to June 2nd. The location will either be in Europe or North America. South America will be sending one team, Europe will be sending two, and North America will have three representatives.
The Gauntlet is where the Overwatch Contenders’ season will reach its climax. On October 10th to the 13th, each of the top-performing regions will send their best teams of the season to the tournament. Additionally, the best teams from the Pacific and Atlantic Showdowns will determine certain invites. The format for the tournament will include a group stage that heads into a double-elimination tournament. The format “will emphasize interregional competition for maximum excitement”, and is scheduled after the Overwatch League season. This way, more teams can prepare to sign some players ahead of Season Three.
For many people, this is a breath of fresh air for the lower tiers of the competitive Overwatch scene. For a while now, the community has been complaining about the lack of support by Blizzard for Tier Two and Three teams. A huge gripe that fans had with Blizzard is the lack of exposure the lower tiers had compared to the Overwatch League. Hopefully, with the introduction of these live events, more teams will scout out talent that deserves it. Also, these larger scale events give players crucial experience, especially when aiming to play on the big stage in the Overwatch League.
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