It’s been an exciting time for the Overwatch Esports scene. With the Overwatch League’s second season right around the corner, fans are gearing up to support their hometown heroes or their star squads from across the globe. But the action recently has taken place within the Tier 3 and Tier 2 scene of Overwatch, with Contenders Trials now underway in most regions. Here’s what has been happening recently in the world of professional Overwatch.
Based Tryhards Disbands
Contenders South America has just been shaken up with the recent announcement from Based Tryhards that they’re disbanding the squad. Once known as Brasil Gaming House, the team that would take the crown for both 2018 Contenders South America Season One and Season Two, the team took second place in Season Three of 2018 Contenders America, but the team has now wholly disbanded. Two players, Liko and Honorato, have found new homes in Lowkey Esports, which has merged both LFTOWL and Based Tryhards together. LFTOWL was the Season Three champions of 2018 Contenders South America, beating Based Tryhards in a 6-map series, taking the win 4-2.
New Changes to Overwatch Contenders
Change is coming in the Overwatch Contenders circuits across the globe, and while it may seem confusing at first glance, here is a breakdown of what’s new for the upcoming seasons of Contenders:
There are two seasons in 2019 Overwatch Contenders.
Blizzard has recently announced that there will be two seasons for the 2019 Overwatch Contenders tournament, both respectively being called Season One and Season Two. According to the recent statement, Season One will take place during Stages One and Two of the Overwatch League, while Season Two will be held during Stages Three and Four.
Each season has four phases.
Another addition to the Contenders scene is how each season will play out this year. Both seasons will have four phases, and according to the information released by Blizzard, the four phases are as follows:
Phase 1: Trials
Following the statement released by Blizzard, teams will be participating in Contenders Trials for their divisions, in which eight teams are battling it out to land themselves a slot in the regular season of Contenders. This is changing from the previously implemented structure of Contenders Trials, which featured 12 teams per region to compete in Contenders Trials, as they have now narrowed it down to eight. As it stands, this phase is currently in progress, with some of the trials already being underway, and others are yet to begin.
Phase 2: Regular Season
After the teams taking part in Contenders Trials have competed, and the remaining slots have been taken up by the winning teams, Contenders will move onto the regular season. Taking what Blizzard has stated, there will be a total of eight teams competing in the regular season, with a majority of the slots in the season being taken up by academy teams of Overwatch League teams and top performing teams from the previous season. Once a round-robin style tournament has taken place, the top six teams will move onto Phase 3. This is slightly different for Contenders China, however, as it will consist of twelve teams competing in two groups of six, with a single round-robin tournament. The top eight teams will then advance to the playoffs.
Phase 3: Playoffs
Once the Regular Season for 2019 Contenders Season One has concluded, the top six teams of each region will take part in a single-elimination bracket during the playoffs. The top two teams from the regular season will receive an automatic bye into the semi-finals matches of the playoffs. One team will be crowned victorious at the end of the playoffs after the grand finals have taken place. This will also be different for the China region of Contenders, as a single round-robin style will take place for the Contenders China playoffs.
Phase 4: Atlantic & Pacific Showdowns
Phase 4 will change for Season Two of Contenders 2019, with the Atlantic and Pacific showdowns being switched out for an event known as ‘The Gauntlet.’ According to the statement, Blizzard has announced that after the regional playoffs for each division have finished, the top teams of each division will compete in a double-elimination tournament. Each region has been split into a different showdown, with the list being as follows:
Pacific Showdown Regions:
Asia-Pacific (Pacific Region)
Atlantic Showdown Regions:
The showdowns are due to take place in the summer of this year, with the Pacific Showdown taking place from May 24th to May 26th, and the Atlantic Showdown happening between May 31st and June 2nd.
After Season Two of 2019 Contenders has taken place, an event known as ‘The Gauntlet’ will be held from October 10th to October 13th this year. Teams will be invited to this event based on the Atlantic, and Pacific Showdown results from the previous season, with the format being announced as a groups style, followed by a double-elimination style.
Prizing will be more heavily allocated to reward top performing teams.
The prize pool amount for Contenders hasn’t changed, with the regular amount of more than USD 3 million throughout the 2019 seasons. According to the statement released, the Atlantic and Pacific Showdowns will include a USD 125,000 prize pool, and the Gauntlet will consist of a USD 250,000 prize pool.
New Faces on the Overwatch League Talent Team
The talent team for the second season of the Overwatch League has been announced, with some new faces joining the original crew from the inaugural season, and here are the names of those who will be holding down the fort this year:
Chris “Puckett” Puckett
Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson
Brennon “Bren” Hook
Christopher “Montecristo” Mykles and Erik “DoA” Lonnquist
Mitch “Uber” Leslie and Matt “Mr. X” Morello
Auguste “Semmler” Massonnat and Robert “Hexagrams” Kirkbride
Wolf “Wolf” Schröder and Seth “Achilios” King
The duo of Wolf and Achilios are new to the team this year, having been casting for Contenders Korea for the past three seasons on the English Broadcast for the tournament.
Danny Lim (Korean Insider)
Emily Tang (Chinese Insider)
Mica Burton (English Insider)
These three will be interviewing players across the league during the season at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles.
Gods Leaves Gladiators Legion
It’s a sad day for fans of the academy team for the Los Angeles Gladiators, as the Gladiators Legion says goodbye to their flex tank, Daniel “Gods” Graeser. Gods have been with the team since they were formed for the first season of Contenders North America and has been a critical player for the team ever since. Before then, he played for Cloud9 during Apex Season 2 and the Overwatch TaKeOver 2, as well as playing for Team USA during the very first Overwatch World Cup in 2016. Gods are now looking for a new team to take him on, and has proven himself several times over the past few years; organizations should consider investing in his skills.
Contenders Trials is kicking off across the globe, with some regions already beginning to find victors in their regions. Still to come are the following matches:
Contenders Korea Trials:
Games will be taking place from Thursday, February 7th at 12 am EST until Sunday, February 10th at 6 am EST. For a full list of the matches taking place, head over to over.gg for the schedule.
Contenders South America Trials:
Trials for Season One of Contenders 2019 South America are due to start on February 9th and end on February 17th, with the schedule yet to be released for the upcoming matches. The teams taking part in the trials are as follows:
Vita’s Lunch Club
INTZ eSports Club
Black Dragons e-Sports
Team Scarlet S
Contenders North America Trials:
There are two weeks left of the Contenders North America Trials for Season One of 2019 Contenders, with the second week of matches kicking off on February 8th at 9 pm EST. For the entire schedule, go to over.gg to see which teams will be going head to head in the following weeks.
Contenders Europe Trials:
Contenders Europe Trials are due to start on February 8th at 12 am EST, with the full schedule yet to be announced. Here are the names of the eight teams competing in the trials:
Outta My Game
Young and Beautiful
Orgless & Hungry
Shu’s Money Crew EU
Novus Ordo Seclorum
Images via: Overwatch League, and the Los Angeles Gladiators