Open Division Season 2 has wrapped up for most regions, with the exception of China and South Korea. The winners of Season 2 are as follows:

Season 3 commences this week, and there have been several changes announced for this season. Here are some of the notable changes:

  • Teams are given flexibility to play their games outside of the designated match day each week.
  • Teams are allowed to recruit new players throughout the season.
  • Playoffs bracket size will be increased to include all teams tied at 8th place and will be played using GSL Double Elimination format. Higher placed teams will get better seeds and byes for the Ro16.
  • Team size has been increased to a maximum of 9 players.
  • Players are no longer required to reach a minimum rank of Masters in Competitive.
  • Players can join other regions as long as they live in one of the eligible countries.

The Open Division is administered by a few organisations with slightly different rules. For more information from each organisation, visit their respective websites on ESL, FACEIT, and StarLadder.

The Open Division was announced in June 2017, and was said to be the starting path towards professional play. South Korea is currently the only region that has fully incorporated their Open Division, which progresses to their prestigious APEX tournament. While the Open Division has yet to fully become a stepping stone for players to enter higher tier competition such as Contenders, the importance of having a full progression system cannot be understated. The champion of APEX Season 4 and APAC Premier 2017, GC Busan, is the best example for this. The team debuted and won Road to APEX, predecessor of the Open Division Korea. They then finished second in APEX Challengers Season 4 to qualify for APEX Season 4. With their success, players of GC Busan have been signed to the London Spitfire Overwatch League roster.

GC Busan’s road to glory has exemplified the importance of having a progressive tournament structure. The changes made to Open Division Season 3 seem trivial when other regions have yet to fully integrate the tournament. However, it does signify that the Open Division holds importance and is actively being improved. Just after BlizzCon, Nate Nanzer, Commissioner of the Overwatch League, also hinted at upcoming news for Contenders and Open Division.