After a few months of waiting, Blizzard has finally released all the information about Overwatch Contenders 2021, the high-level tournament series for pro players who dream of ascending to the Overwatch League.
In 2021 Overwatch Contenders comes with several changes, the biggest being the removal of South America and the Pacific regions would from their competitive ecosystem, although new events will be announced soon for the teams belonging to such.
Overwatch Contenders 2021: Dates and format
The competitive divisions of the Overwatch Contenders will be divided into five regions, which will have their own exclusive formats, and teams will play for an accumulated global prize pool of $1.3 million dollars.
Let's take a look at each of these regions and their formats.
North America and Europe
Like last year, these two regions will have monthly tournaments with eight-member teams competing in a double-elimination bracket, which can be accessed through the Trials.
The Trials will serve as the gateway for semi-professional teams to the Overwatch Contenders.
The Trials format is a six-team single round-robin system where up-and-coming teams will fight against weaker-performing Contenders for a chance to earn their spot in the competition.
The first Trials is scheduled to kick off in early March, and the first monthly tournament will be held in late March. At first, current Overwatch Contenders teams will be exempt from playing Trials for two months.
The Korean competition format will have ten teams facing each other in a traditional double round-robin format.
However, the novelty will be a new phase within the Group Stage, where teams will play to determine playoff seeding and final qualifications. The playoffs will adopt a King of the Hill format where teams will be seeded based on regular-season performance, in single-elimination matches.
Season 1 of Contenders Korea is scheduled to kick off in mid-March.
The Chinese division will have a format similar to the western one, however, the number of teams will be reduced from 12 to 8, in order to increase match quality for all participants.
Likewise, the number of Trials tournaments will also be reduced from four to two in order to create more stability for Contenders teams.
Season 1 of Contenders China is scheduled to begin in mid-March.
Finally, the league of the oceanic country will also undergo a reduction in the number of participating teams, going from 8 to 6. These will play in a double round-robin format, with the best teams advancing to the final stages.
The regular season is scheduled to start in early March.
Overwatch Contenders 2021: Viewership rewards
As in previous editions, the Contenders viewership incentives program will return, with which viewers will be able to receive in-game rewards for watching Overwatch Contenders for a certain number of hours.
The first skins announced as part of this are Bastion (7 hours) and Reinhardt (15 hours), while the schedule for this season is already available through the Overwatch Contenders page.
Overwatch Contenders 2021: How to watch