The return of the Overwatch League is three months away. While fans countdown the days until February 14 (83 days, to be exact), there is still plenty to be thankful for while everyone waits. With the Tier 2 scene just starting, new two-way contracts, new Heroes, and plenty of Black Friday deals, ’tis the season to give thanks.
Contenders is Back
For those who simply cannot wait until February to watch Overwatch at the most competitive level, there is solace in the fact that Contenders Trials is back for Season 3. The Tier 2 scene for Overwatch boasts some high level talent, as well as various academy teams affiliated with Overwatch League teams. Contenders has various players who stood out in the Overwatch World Cup, such as Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth from Team United Kingdom. Fusions made a name for himself as the main tank for Team UK, most notably shutting down the United States in the first game at BlizzCon 2018.
Plenty of teams have undergone massive changes, mainly because of the expansion of the Overwatch League. With eight new teams, Contenders was the best place to pick up talent. Plus, the Season 1 teams that were looking to bring in new players after letting some go. Teams such as KongDoo Panthera lost almost their entire squad, minus one player. Four of their team members joined the Shanghai Dragons, and two joined the Los Angeles Gladiators. After the Gladiators released three of their players following the Overwatch League Season 1 Playoffs, and traded one player, Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek, to the Seoul Dynasty.
Overwatch recently added their 29th Hero, Ashe. Ashe adds a new element to the DPS Hero pool, and fans have seemed to warmed up quickly to her. With her fan-favorite ultimate, B.O.B., as well as being a highly mechanical Hero, she has been welcomed in with open arms. With new Heroes come new comps. On top of that, there are always nerfs and buffs. Currently live, there are buffs to Roadhog, Mercy, Reaper, and Symmetra.
Currently live on the PTR are the nerfs to Brigitte and Doomfist. The biggest news from this is that Brigitte’s Bash no longer goes through shields, and also had a damage reduction. Her Bash will now do five points of damage, rather than 50. When this was announced, the cry of Tracer players could be heard around the world. This update will have Brigitte focused more on being a support player, while not removing her from the current meta. She will still be a viable option on many comps, namely the GOATS comp.
Academy teams also got more interesting this year with the addition of two-way contracts. Two-way players can play for both Contenders and Overwatch League teams. There are specific rules for these two-way contracts. Each two-way player has to be identified before each Stage. They must have the same salary and benefits that all Overwatch League players get, and will count towards the eight player rosters for the Contenders teams when they are identified to play with them. Two-way players lose their eligibility to appear for their Contenders teams if they appear in two Overwatch League matches in a stage. They also cannot play for both their Contenders and Overwatch League team in the same week. This will help teams figure out their lineups, and allow them to trial players at the highest level.
One of the best examples of a team signing a two-way player to see if they work in their system is Elijah Hudson “Elk” Gallagher. Elk played for the Fusion University last season, leading them to a first place finish in North American Contenders Season 2. Elk, a support player, joins up with fellow support players in Isaac “Boombox” Charles and Alberto “neptuNo” González. It seems like the Philadelphia Fusion are looking to promote a new support player, and seeing if he can play with either of the previous supports.
Deals Deals Deals!
Currently on Blizzard’s website, there is a massive Black Friday sale. Authentic Overwatch League jerseys are going for $21.25, on sale from $85. Other notable items include team performance jackets for $30, down from $120, as well as team joggers for $11.25, on sale from $45. For those who are looking for push their friends to play more Overwatch, Blizzard’s Black Friday Sale slats Overwatch as low as $15 on all systems, as well as a free trial up until Nov. 26.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Play Overwatch
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