With a brand new program and format, the Overwatch Contenders will return in the coming weeks to help satiate the appetite of fans around the world who are hungry for Overwatch eSports. The announcement sees Blizzard continue to embrace regional formats introduced in the 2020 season. Teams in North America, Europe, South Korea, China and Australia will compete for a global prize pool of 1.3 million dollars in 2021.
Details for the Contenders 2021 season are finally here! Check out everything new that’s coming to our regions and what to expect ahead of the start of competition this month. And yes – we’re continuing Contenders Viewership Rewards!
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The Contenders in North America and Europe will unfold similarly to last year, in which an eight-team double elimination tournament will be played once a month. The Trials, the tournament that acts as a qualifier for the Contenders, now they will take place half the time. This means that Contenders teams will participate in at least two tournaments without the possibility of being relegated to Trials.
In South Korea, the Contenders will continue to function as a traditional league 10 teams with just a few small changes. Blizzard is introducing a round of clashes between the group stage and the playoffs which will help determine the seeding of the latter. The format of the playoffs will also change slightly: it will be adopted a “Scala” format in which teams will be positioned in the standings based on their performance in the regular season e a single defeat will mean elimination.
The Contenders in China will return with the same format as in 2020. The only change made for next season is one reduction in the number of competing teams, 12 to eight. The number of Trials tournaments will also be reduced from four to two this year for create more stability for teams within the Contenders. In Australia, the tournament will be downsized again, as in 2020. In 2021, the Australian Contenders will manage a single group, formed in a league style with one reduction of teams from eight to six. In 2021, only five major regions will compete for the title of best Contenders teams, after the loss of both South America and the Pacific regions.
“For regions where Contenders will not operate, including South America and the Pacific, we’re looking at how to make it easier for third-party tournament organizers successfully manage independent events within their regions, ”he wrote Dan McHugh, product manager of Blizzard Esports, in a Reddit post published earlier this year. For the five Blizzard sponsored regions, their seasons will begin in the coming weeks, for up-to-date information on Contenders 2021 broadcast schedules, fans can visit the official Contenders website.