The past month has not been kind to the competitive Overwatch scene with the Overwatch Monthly Melee series drawing to a close, multiple teams folding due to organizations inability to secure a spot in the Overwatch League, and a continuing lack of information regarding the Overwatch League. Thankfully the scene's worst fears of abandonment have not been realized, as the Overwatch Contenders League Season Zero has just been announced, brought to you by Blizzard and the team behind the Overwatch Carbon Series.
The Overwatch Contenders League Season Zero will see teams fighting their way through Open Qualifiers, a Group Stage, and Playoffs in separate North American and European regions for their chance at a $50,000 prize pool per region. Additionally the top placing teams during Season Zero will be invited to Overwatch Contenders Season One which will feature a $100,000 prize pool and offline playoffs.
North American Region:
- Open Qualifiers: Saturday, June 3rd and Sunday, June 4th
- Group Stages: Sunday, June 18th and Sunday June 25th
- Playoffs: Sunday, July 2nd
- Open Qualifiers: Saturday, June 10th and Sunday, June 11th
- Group Stages: Saturday, June 17th and Saturday, June 24th
- Playoffs: Saturday, July 1st
The Open Qualifiers will be played as a Single Elimination Bracket played with best-of-three matches. The top eight teams from each of the qualifiers will proceed to compete in the Group Stage. Four teams from each region will be receiving priority seeding for the first Qualifier for their region based on previous tournament performance. In the North American region, the teams are: Immortals, Selfless, Team Liquid, and LG Evil. For the European region, the teams are: eUnited, Movistar Riders, Ninjas in Pyjamas, and Misfits. Teams placing 9th - 16th on the first day of qualifiers will receive the top 8 seeds respectively for the second qualifier. Each day of qualifiers, one quarterfinal, both semifinals, and the final will be streamed. You can follow along what teams have signed up for the Open Qualifiers here.
*Note: Cloud9 will automatically be given an invite to the Group Stage due to their conflicting participation in the European TaKeTV Tournament based on recent performance. As a result, only the top 7 teams will qualify from the second North American Open Qualifier.
The top 8 teams from each of the two Open Qualifiers will form the 16 teams qualified for the Group Stage per region. These 16 teams will then be split into four groups of 4 teams each based on their seeding from the Open Qualifiers. Each team will play the other 3 teams in their group once per week for a total of six matches. Matches will be played as a 4 Game Set, where the team winning the highest number of maps wins the match or otherwise resulting in a tie. Tiebreaker matches will be played after all matches in the Group Stage are complete. The top two teams from each of the four groups will qualify for their chance to compete in the Playoffs.
The 8 teams qualifying from the Group Stages will face off in a seeded Single Elimination Bracket where the Quarterfinals and Semifinals will be played as best-of-five matches and the Finals as a best-of-seven for their shot at the $50,000 prize. The top six teams from the North American Region and all eight from the European Region will additionally qualify for Overwatch Contenders Season One.
- Best of 3: Payload / Control / 2CP
- 4 Game Set: Hybrid / Control / 2CP / Payload
- Best of 5: Control / Payload / 2CP / Control
- Best of 7: Control / Payload / 2CP / Control / Payload / Hybrid
Matches will be streamed on the Overwatch Contenders Twitch and MLG channels. As always we'll be covering the action here at over.gg so stay tuned for more in-depth coverage as the tournament progresses.
Overwatch Contenders Season One will see eight teams compete in a six week Round-Robin tournament. The top four of these teams will advance to an offline playoff bracket and compete for their share of the $100,000 prize. From the North American Region, the top six teams from Season Zero will be joined by Rogue and EnVyUs to round out the eight team league.
Looking into the long term, Blizzard is additionally planning an Open Division to allow up-and-coming teams to compete in their own league with top placing teams earning their place in the next season of the Overwatch Contender League. The Open Division is currently planned for 2018 once the Contender League has taken off and looks to be catered towards Masters+ players.