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Overwatch League 2021 Season Structure Detailed

A league of their own

The pandemic has caused a major shift in how eSports are handled, as in-person events aren't possible in much of the world right now. This means there needs to be restructuring for any eSports organization out there, and that definitely includes the Overwatch League.

In a new press release and video feature, full plans for the 2021 season of the Overwatch League have been shared. Check out the full breakdown of how things will play out below.

Today, Overwatch Esports Vice President Jon Spector shared updates to our 2021 season in a video posted on overwatchleague.com. To take full advantage of what was learned last season, we’ve made several changes that will improve the quality of competition and the fan experience for this coming season.

Our 2021 season will begin in April. Teams will be divided into two groups: East and West.

The East includes the eight teams competing in China and South Korea: the Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, Los Angeles Valiant, New York Excelsior, Philadelphia Fusion, Shanghai Dragons, and Seoul Dynasty.

The West includes the twelve teams competing in Europe and North America: the Atlanta Reign, Boston Uprising, Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, Los Angeles Gladiators, Paris Eternal, San Francisco Shock, Vancouver Titans, Toronto Defiant, and Washington Justice.

Teams in the East and West will play regular-season regional qualifier matches to determine seeding in four standalone tournaments that will feature top teams from both regions competing in one bracket. This is made possible thanks to the minimum latency tool found in Overwatch.

All regular-season matches will count towards qualification for the 2021 Season Playoffs, but only the top teams will qualify for and compete in the four tournaments. We’ll share more details about how teams qualify for tournaments as we get closer to the start of the season.

For our fans, we’re working very closely with YouTube as we enter the second year of our partnership. There are a lot of things in the works that we can’t reveal yet, but we can say that we’re going to level up the quality of our match streams, add more value to watching live matches, and improve the discoverability of live Overwatch content.

We’re also making improvements to our match broadcasts with a new and improved virtual set, a freshly redesigned graphics package, and changes to our show format that place even more emphasis on match play. We’ll have more to share on this later in the offseason.

On the content side, we’re developing new video series that spotlight players and teams, feature pro Overwatch tips, and gather the best analysis from our experts.

Our digital fan experiences are also getting some big upgrades. We’re working on a spoiler-free viewer mode and new integrations with partners like IBM that are going to significantly enhance the way our fans interact with players, teams, and stats.

On the competition side, we’re also working on using a new system that establishes minimum latency connections so that teams anywhere in the world can scrimmage against one another or conduct practices if players are apart.

While we cannot predict the future, we hope to welcome fans back to live events if health and safety conditions improve in 2021, but that might not happen, and it might not be at every location where teams compete. Our top priority remains to keep our players, fans, and staff safe.

Finally, we hope you’ll join us next month for BlizzConline on February 19-20 for a fun San Francisco Shock vs. the World competition. Stay tuned for more info on this event and more updates on the 2021 Overwatch League season, including competition specifics and our complete 2021 regular season schedule.

Overwatch "Kanezaka Challenge" micro-event now live

New map, new rewards, and more

A new micro-event has just kicked off in Overwatch. You can hop into the game right now and take part in the Kanezaka Challenge, which runs until Jan. 25th, 2021. See full details on the event below.

PLAY, WATCH, AND EARN EPIC REWARDS

Test your mettle on the newest team Deathmatch map, Kanezaka! Now through January 25, unleash the storm to earn rich new rewards—including the Kyōgisha Hanzo skin—by winning games and watching Overwatch on Twitch.

PLAY TO EARN

Wins in Quick Play, Competitive Play, and Arcade will earn you a limited-time player icon, spray, and Kyōgisha Hanzo in addition to regular weekly rewards!

WIN 3 GAMES

Pagoda Icon

WIN 6 GAMES

Yōkai Spray

WIN 9 GAMES

Kyōgisha Hanzo Skin
Preview the Kyōgisha Hanzo Skin

WATCH TO EARN

Now through January 25, tune in to Overwatch streamers on Twitch to earn up to six unique Kanezaka Challenge sprays!

IMPORTANT: To receive these Twitch Drops, you must link your Blizzard account to your Twitch account.

UNLOCK NEW SPRAYS

WATCH 2 HOURS

Shrine District Spray

WATCH 4 HOURS

Pawttery and Tato Takes Off Sprays

WATCH 6 HOURS

The Dragon Consumes, Bath Time, and Catchamari Sprays

NEW DEATHMATCH MAP: KANEZAKANEW

Savor the sights of Kanezaka, a quiet town nestled in the shadow of Hanamura and the site of the newest team Deathmatch map. During your visit, cuddle up at the Cat Café, check out Mochi’s Pottery Workshop, drop by Tora no Sumika (the local bar), or simply stroll down the streets and enjoy the ambience.

Overwatch "Winter Wonderland 2020" Event Now Live

Start the celebration today!

The Overwatch Winter Wonderland event for 2020 is official live. From now until Jan. 5th, 2020, fans will be able to enjoy the following content.

NEW BRAWL: 4v4 Freezethaw Elimination

In addition to Mei’s Snowball Offensive, Yeti Hunt, and Snowball Deathmatch, players will be able to experience the new brawl, 4v4 Freezethaw Elimination!

This new game mode requires one team to completely freeze the other team in order to win.

Players will become frozen when they would normally die.

Teammates can thaw someone by interacting with the frozen player.

WEEKLY CHALLENGES

Weekly Challenges are back for Winter Wonderland, allowing you to unlock limited-time rewards by winning nine games.

Rewards include an array of player icons, sprays, and Epic skins!

Week 1: Elf Junkrat (Epic)
Week 2: Gingerbread Ana (Epic)
Week 3: Frosty Roadhog (Epic)

NEW COSMETICS

5 Legendary Skins

Conductor Reinhardt
Penguin Mei
Ice Empress Moira
Toybot Zenyatta
Lumberjack Torbjorn

3 Epic Skins

Player Icons, Sprays

Symmetra’s Restoration Challenge and New Short Story “Stone by Stone” Now Live in Overwatch

Symmetra gets the spotlight

A round of new content for Overwatch is available today, and it focuses on Symmetra. There's both in-game and supplemental goodies to enjoy. Read about what's up for grabs below.

Be the light – learn more about Symmetra in the new short story “Stone by Stone,” written by award-winning author Christie Golden. In “Stone by Stone,” Symmetra undertakes a transcendent journey to find understanding and compassion within, and as a result restore harmony and order to those in need.

From November 17 to November 30, players will be able to follow their path and earn seven new sprays, a player icon, and the new Marammat Symmetra epic skin for a total of nine new rewards!

NEW SHORT STORY – “Stone by Stone” Synopsis

When Vishkar Corp. inadvertently destroys a sacred statue of Aurora, the first sentient omnic, the brilliant hard-light architect Satya Vaswani—known also as Symmetra—is sent in to avert a PR disaster. She’s been instructed to give the village whatever it wants—but she doesn’t know what that might be. When she accepts Tekhartha Zenyatta’s invitation to stay at the temple and learn about Aurora and the omnic faith, Symmetra embarks on a journey of understanding, compassion, and acceptance that results in the perfectly imperfect gift to the village, to Zenyatta… and to herself.

“Stone by Stone” is available to read here.

PLAY TO EARN

Your wins in Quick Play, Competitive Play, or Arcade will earn you a new player icon, new sprays, and a new epic skin – Marammat Symmetra!

Win 3 Games | Player Icon
Win 6 Games | 1 New Spray
Win 9 Games | Epic Skin: Marammat Symmetra

WATCH TO EARN

Want more? You can watch Twitch streamers before, during or after matches to unlock even more Symmetra cosmetics – we’re bringing you more Twitch Drops every time you tune in to participating broadcasters through November 30 to earn six Symmetra’s Restoration Challenge sprays!

Watch 2 Hours | 1 New Spray
Watch 4 Hours | 2 New Sprays
Watch 6 Hours | 3 New Sprays

Overwatch Developer Update - Symmetra Short Story and Challenge

What's next for Overwatch?

Group up with game director Jeff Kaplan as he talks about the new Symmetra short story and event, along with changes to the queueing system and Replay Viewer.

0:17 - Symmetra Short Story
1:56 - Symmetra's Restoration Challenge
2:35 - Introducing Priority Pass
6:02 - Replay Viewer Updates
7:41 - Dev Update Summary
8:18 - Jeff Thanks the Overwatch Community

Diablo III "Season 22: Shades of Nephalem" starts Nov. 20th, patch 2.6.10 coming Nov. 10th, 2020

The Shades of Nephalem await...

Diablo III players have a new bit of content to look forward to later this month. Blizzard has confirmed that Season 22 will begin on November 20th, 2020, and it brings a bunch of new goodies with it. Along with that, the game will be updated to Version 2.6.10 on Nov. 10th, 2020. You can get a quick rundown of what Season 22 will offer below, but make sure to click the link for full details.

Nephalem, do you feel it? All around, the shadows of the past linger, waiting for an opportunity to channel their power once more and aid you against the minions of hell. Will you stand up to the challenge and accept the aid of these erstwhile spirits? The Shades of the Nephalem await....

During Season 22, activating a Shrine or Pylon will spawn in a shadow clone of your class. The clone's power will scale with your character and will last for one minute or until death.

In addition, for the duration of Season 22, Kanai's Cube will have a fourth slot. You will have the option to choose any power for this one, but it won't stack with powers from other slots.

Full details here

San Francisco Shock Becomes First Repeat Champ, Wins 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals

A Shocking turn of events

A bit of history was made recently, as we have our very first Overwatch team to win back-to-back championships. San Francisco Shock took home the victory once again, and you can read a full recap of the grand finals below.

Last Saturday, the San Francisco Shock became the first team in Overwatch League history to win back-to-back championships, as the team defeated the Seoul Dynasty 4-2 to win the 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals. The Shock also won the 2019 Grand Finals when they took down the Vancouver Titans.

Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon helped lead San Francisco to the title, winning the 2020 Grand Finals MVP presented by T-Mobile for his stellar play on heroes Tracer and Hanzo. Striker’s 72 final blows in the match led all San Francisco players. He joins his teammate Hyo-bin "ChoiHyoBin" Choi, who was named Grand Finals MVP in 2019.

The match was broadcast live on YouTube, Bilibili, Huya, Netease CC, and OverwatchLeague.com, where millions of fans were treated to a special online broadcast showcased on a bespoke virtual stage. Fans appeared on-broadcast cheering for both teams on the T-Mobile Skybox, and their voices were heard through a “Cheer from Home” feature. Viewer rewards, including a special in-game Tracer skin and spray, were given to fans who linked their accounts while tuning in.

"I'm proud of the entire Overwatch League staff around the world who worked incredibly hard to put on a great show for our fans. Thank you to all four teams who competed this week as part of our 2020 Grand Finals, and congratulations to our winners, the San Francisco Shock," says Jon Spector, Vice President of Overwatch Esports at Blizzard Entertainment. "We steadily built momentum through a challenging 2020 season, and early results today are pointing to this event having the best viewership of the season. See you in 2021!"

While the 2020 Overwatch League season has come to an end, roster construction for 2021 begins on Oct. 12. Full roster construction rules are live on OverwatchLeague.com. Other details on how player movement will work this offseason will be revealed later this month.

Keep up with all of the latest Overwatch League news and content on the Overwatch League website, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Subscribe to the Overwatch League newsletter to receive the latest updates from the league.

Save the date for BlizzConline: Feb. 19th and 20th, 2021

A blizzard of info!

Attune your chronometers, flip your hourglasses, set a notification on your phone—however you mark the passage of time, save the date for BlizzConline™, set to take place February 19–20, 2021!

While circumstances are keeping us from gathering in person this year, we’re putting together a little something early next year to channel the spirit of BlizzCon into the form of an online show. We still have a lot of planning to do, and it’ll be some time before we’re ready to share more details—but we wanted to provide a heads-up on how you can be a part of the online fun.

Gear Up for the Community Showcase

One of the events we’re planning for BlizzConline is the Community Showcase—an opportunity for cosplay crafters, artists, and other community creators to participate in the show and put their talent on display through a mix of world-class competition and exciting exhibitions. And thanks to the all-online nature of the show, we’re able to make these events accessible to even more people from around the globe. We’re also assembling a special March of the Murlocs and inviting everyone to send us images and videos to join in.

If you’re interested in participating in the March of the Murlocs or the Community Showcase, please be mindful of the appropriate health guidelines for any group-based photos, videos, and other submissions. Read on to discover what you need to know to begin your preparation!

Digital Storytelling Contest | Talent Spotlight | March of the Murlocs

Cosplay Exhibition
Entry Deadline: January 4, 2021

Are you someone who enjoys regularly attending conventions in cosplay? Or maybe you’re looking for the right opportunity to get started on your own cosplay-crafting journey? Either way, the Cosplay Exhibition is for you! This just-for-fun showcase of original cosplay from Blizzard’s universes is open to people of all levels of skill, whether you’re a seasoned veteran, a casual cosplayer, or somewhere in between.

The all-online format also gives us a chance to do something we haven’t been able to before: invite the animal kingdom onto the virtual stage! So if you fancy dressing up your fuzzy friends and want to show off your dog, cat, or other critter, we’d love to see your pet cosplay as well.

We’ll be showing off original exhibition submissions during the online show—so simply send us photos and videos you’d like to be considered, and you may spot yourself (or your animal pal) onscreen next February.

For guidelines on how to properly submit your cosplay for consideration, what we’re looking for in terms of quality, and other important criteria, make sure to read the complete official rules.

Cosplay Contest
Entry Deadline: January 4, 2021

The cosplay contest is always one of the highlights of BlizzCon—and even if we won’t be sharing a physical stage together, we still want to give top-notch cosplay creators a chance to showcase their skills in the virtual spotlight.

The BlizzConline Cosplay Contest will feature four categories:

Best Blizzard Character – Recognizing outstanding interpretations of iconic heroes and villains from the worlds of Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch, StarCraft, and Warcraft.
Best Blizzard Weapons & Armor – Recognizing the exemplary craftsmanship that goes into building epic, battlefield-worthy gear.
Best Modern Creation – Recognizing expertise in working with materials such as foams and plastics, and incorporating 3D printing, electronics, and technology.
Best Traditional Creation – Recognizing masterful skill in working with materials such as fabric, leather, metal, and wood.

Our judges will determine one winner in each of the four categories—and from among those, they’ll also determine one overall best cosplay winner, all of whom will be revealed to the world during the BlizzConline broadcast. (Note that you do not need to choose which categories you want to be considered for—the judges will determinate that as part of the judging process.)

Because the contest is taking place entirely online, the videos and photos you send may be displayed as part of the show, so keep that in mind when you’re prepping your entries.

For guidelines on how to properly submit your entry, what level of quality is acceptable, and other important criteria, make sure to read the complete official rules.

Art Contest
Entry Deadline: January 4, 2021

We’re putting out a call for your original artwork for the BlizzConline Art Contest! Whether you’re painting a valiant hero, sculpting an iconic villain, illustrating a memorable moment from inside your game (or out), this is your chance to shine a spotlight on your artistic talent. If you’re looking for something to spark your creativity, Blizzard’s 30th anniversary is this February, so consider drawing on your skills to mark the occasion.

Prizes will be awarded to first-, second-, and third-place works of art, and winners will be featured in a segment during the BlizzConline broadcast. Check out the official rules below, and click the Enter button to submit your entry.

Digital Storytelling Contest
Entry Deadline: January 4, 2021

The Digital Storytelling Contest invites aspiring digital filmmakers and moviemaking auteurs to create an original, story-driven short based on Blizzard’s game universes. As with the Art Contest, we’re inviting you to draw inspiration from across 30 years of Blizzard history. That could mean retelling an epic story with your own spin; imagining a collision of iconic characters from different times or universes; or exploring wherever your creativity takes you. Your short can feature live action, animation, in-game footage, or a mix of all three.

Prizes will go to first-, second-, and third-place winners, and the world will get the opportunity to watch your story unfold during the BlizzConline broadcast.

For requirements around maximum running time, file size and format, and other important criteria for submission, read the official rules.

Talent Spotlight
Entry Deadline: January 4, 2021

The Talent Spotlight is a chance to celebrate the wide range of unique talents and extraordinary abilities of the Blizzard community worldwide. We’re inviting original acts (solo or group) to showcase their special talent—musical, physical, magical, whimsical, or otherwise.

To be considered for this online exhibition, simply submit a video of you or your group performing, singing, dancing, or doing whatever it is you do, and you may be selected to be featured on the BlizzConline broadcast. Please be mindful of the appropriate health guidelines for any group-based performance.

For requirements around maximum running time, file size and format, and other important criteria for submission, read the official rules.

March of the Murlocs
Entry Deadline: January 4, 2021

If you’ve attended BlizzCon in the past couple of years, you may have encountered a particularly peculiar procession, as hundreds of people masquerading as murlocs paraded through the convention halls. In honor of that grand tradition-in-the-making, we’re inviting you to participate in a virtual March of the Murlocs for BlizzConline!

To be considered, simply send us a photo or video (30–60 seconds in length, and ideally filmed horizontally) of you walking, marching, or dancing dressed up as a murloc (or your own imaginative interpretation).

We’re also welcoming photos or video of murlocs marching in-game, so gather up your fish-minded guilds and allies and show us what you mrgrlglgrrl!

Keep the deadlines above in mind as you get to work—and if you have any questions about the contests or exhibitions, you can reach out to us at BlizzConCommunityShowcase@blizzard.com.

We can’t wait to see what you create—and maybe even share it with the world during BlizzConline.

Overwatch League 2020 All-Star teams and All-Star arcade game modes announced

Check out the rosters and what they'll be playing!

With teams playing online and split into two regions in Asia and North America, we’re going to double the fun and have two all All-Stars events this season before Grand Finals Weekend.

Today we reveal rosters for the 2020 All-Stars Asia and 2020 All-Stars North America events, as voted on by fans from around the world.

Saturday, September 26: 1-7 a.m. PT / 4-10 p.m. CST / 5-11 p.m. KST

Hyobin “Choihyobin” Choi – San Francisco Shock, Tank
Menghan “Ameng” Ding – Chengdu Hunters, Tank
Euiseok “Fearless” Lee – Shanghai Dragons, Tank
Jun Woo “Void” Kang – Shanghai Dragons, Tank
Dong-gyu "Mano" Kim – New York Excelsior, Tank
Han-been "Hanbin" Choi – Paris Eternal, Tank
Qiulin “Guxue” Xu – Hanzhou Spark, Tank
Gicheol “Cr0ng” Nam – Guanzhou Charge, Tank
Byungsun “Fleta” Kim – Shanghai Dragons, Damage
Gui-Woon “Decay” Jang – Washington Justice, Damage
Junyoung “Profit” Park – Seoul Dynasty, Damage
Seonchang "Ans" Lee, San Francisco Shock, Damage
Gilseong “Glister” Lim – London Spitfire, Damage
Hyojong "Haksal" Kim – New York Excelsior, Damage
Jun-ki "Yaki" Kim – Florida Mayhem, Damage
Jae-hyeok "Carpe" Lee, Philadelphia Fusion, Damage
Sang-Min “Myunb0ng” Seo – Boston Uprising, Support
Minki "Viol2t" Park, San Francisco Shock, Support
Kyeongbo “Alarm” Kim – Philadelphia Fusion, Support
Jae Gon “Leejaegon” Lee – Shanghai Dragons, Support
Jin Seo “Shu” Kim – Guanzhou Charge, Support
Seonghyun “Jjonak” Bang – New York Excelsior, Support
Jin-mo "Tobi" Yang, Seoul Dynasty, Support
Min-chul "Izayaki" Kim, Shanghai Dragons, Support

Saturday, October 3: 12-4 p.m. PT / 2-6 a.m. CST (Sunday)
Matthew “Super” Delisi – San Francisco Shock, Tank
Indy “Space” Halpern – Los Angeles Gladiators, Tank
Benjamin “Benbest” Dieulafait – Paris Eternal, Tank
Caleb “Mcgravy” Mcgarvey – Los Angeles Valiant, Tank
João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles – Houston Outlaws, Tank
Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson – Toronto Defiant, Tank
Gael "Poko" Gouzerch, Philadelphia Fusion
Niclas Smidt “Shockwave” Jensen – Vancouver Titans, Damage
Terence “Soon” Tarlier – Paris Eternal, Damage
Kai “Ksp” Collins – Los Angeles Valiant, Damage
Dante “Danteh” Cruz – Houston Outlaws, Damage
Brady “Agilities” Girardi – Toronto Defiant, Damage
Nicolas “Nicogdh” Moret – Paris Eternal, Damage
Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman – Atlanta Reign, Support
William “Crimzo” Hernandez – Dallas Fuel, Support
Seungsoo “Jecse” Lee – Houston Outlaws, Support
Youngseo “Kariv” Bak – Toronto Defiant, Support
Daniel "FunnyAstro" Hathaway
Grant “Moth” Espe – San Francisco Shock, Support
Brice “Fdgod” Monscavoir – Paris Eternal, Support

Both All-Stars events will include the following matches:
T-Mobile Talent Takedown — Overwatch League broadcast talent play a 6v6 match in a 3-map set.
Widowmaker 1v1 Tournament, presented by State Farm — Top players compete in a 1v1 headshots-only format as Widowmaker.
All-Star Game — Overwatch League all-star players compete in a 6v6 match in a 3-map set.

All-Stars Asia will also include additional showmatches. See below for all the details.
Winston Skills Challenge – Four players will compete in a 1v1 tournament to be the first Winston to push a neutral Wrecking Ball into the Ilios Well.
Genji Skills Challenge - Four players will compete in a 1v1 single-elimination tournament to determine the greatest Genji.
Ana Skills Challenge – Pros go head-to-head in an Ana free-for-all. Played in two rounds, each round ends when a player reaches 20 eliminations, or after 5 minutes.
Who is Meta? – Eight players with the best Fleta Deadlift percentages will compete in a Hero Gauntlet match. A Fleta Deadlift is when a player accounts for 50% or more of team’s final blows in a map win. The winner is the first player to get an elimination using a pool of 22 heroes.

More information on All-Stars game mode formats is available at overwatchleague.com.

Prize Pool
A total of US $225,000 is up for grabs during All-Stars. Here’s how it breaks down:

Event

All-Star Game winner
Asia - $90,000
North America - $75,000

Widowmaker 1v1 winner
Asia - $15,000
North America - $15,000

Widowmaker 1v1 runner-up
Asia - $7,500
North America - $7,500

Winston Skill Challenge winner
Asia - $4,000

Genji Skill Challenge winner
Asia - $4,000

Ana Skill Challenge winner
Asia - $4,000

Who is Meta? winner
Asia - $3,000

Where to Watch
You can watch all All-Stars events live and on demand on our YouTube channel, official website, and on our app.

The 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals takes place from Oct. 8 – 10.

Overwatch "Tracer - London Calling" comic released

A free digital comic

Blizzard has surprise-announced and released a new Overwatch comic today. Fans of Tracer can check out Tracer - London Calling, which takes place years after Overwatch has been disbanded. In this timeframe, Tracer looks for new ways to lend a hand. You can enjoy a free PDF of the comic here.