The Path to Pro is back and, as usual, another year means another change of format. This Contenders viewing guide for 2020 will help anyone who wishes to follow the new and improved Overwatch T2 scene.
Just as a refresher, here is a brief explanation of the new format:
Previous Contenders teams played a Seeding Tournament earlier this year to determine seeding and qualification in the new system. The top four teams went to Contenders Week 1, the rest ended up in Trials.
Open Division runs as usual, with teams signing up and facing off in playoffs. The top eight teams of Open then joined bottom Seeding teams in Trials.
Contenders Trials is now a single elimination bracket. This time, the eight best teams qualify for Contenders, creating a 12 team tournament, and the bottom four teams remain in Trials for Week 2.
The 12 teams in Contenders battle it out in another single elimination bracket. Teams receive points based on their performance each Week. The champion gets 100, the runner up 50, 3rd and 4th place finishers get 35 points. 10 or 20 points and a demotion back to the next Week of Trials await the remainder of the teams.
This continues until Week 2 of Contenders, when another Open Division season begins, and teams can once again compete for a spot in Trials Week 3.
After Week 4 of Contenders, the points earned determine seeding and qualification for Contenders Season 1 Playoffs, a double elimination bracket. Top teams go to the Pacific or Atlantic Showdown.
Rinse and repeat for Season 2 (and replace the Showdowns for the Gauntlet). Simple enough, right?
Certain changes of note include:
- The merger of North America West and North America East, now just North America.
- Every region has 12 teams in Contenders.
- Only China has residency restrictions.
- Two way player use is less restrictive, allowing for four two way players, up from two in 2019.
North America and Europe
A group of both familiar and new casters will cast the North American and European regions. Thomas “Tridd” Underwood and Evie “HamTornado” Feng, Jennifer “LemonKiwi” Pichette and Harry “Legday” Pollitt, as well as Victoria “VikkiKitty” Perez and Christian “Heurix” Thomasser will commentate the games for both regions.
Look out for Team Envy, Skyfoxes, and Third Impact from North America, as well as British Hurricane, Eternal Academy, and Shu’s Money Crew from Europe.
The broadcast will be on the Overwatch Contenders YouTube channel, with the first games on March 10.
Australia’s Week 1 has already concluded, being the first region to play. That said, there is still more to come!
Keep an eye out for Ground Zero Gaming, the new super team, who are shaping up to be the 2020 dynasty of the region.
Unfortunately, it appears that Kevin “AVRL” Walker and Matt “Pixie” Carroll will not take part in the cast for Australia.
Join Ben “Sandman” Green and Ben “Smash” Lahane for Week 2 as they cast the games down under, starting on March 16th. The games will appear on Overwatch Contenders as well, and Trials games are also featured.
Unfortunately for English speakers, plans for an anglophone broadcast of the following regions are dubious at the moment. Fortunately, for Latin American viewers, the talent you know and love returns.
Featuring Ian “Nosfeh” Flaker, Lautaro “RkT” Massara, Juan Marco “Kerykeion” Quiroga, and former tank player Mariano “Nekta” Di Cicco, the Spanish stream for South America will take place in the Overwatch LatAm YouTube channel.
A Portuguese stream, with Thauê “Neves” Neves, Guilherme “Demo” Ono, Felipe “Tonello” Tonello Calseco de Souza, and Petar “PetarTV” Neto, can be found on the Overwatch Brazil channel.
This year, Pacific will only have one stream, which will only feature the semifinals and finals matches. Harrison “Hadoken” Chang and Liu “阿勒” Zhi-Ying cast on the BlizzardEsportsTW channel.
As with Australia, the absence of AVRL and Pixie is a gargantuan gap in the talent lineup.
On the plus side, if you’re interested in more than the top team, Talon Esports, you can get a compilation of the top ten plays of the week on the channel. The Week 1 video is up here.
Korea and China
So far, there is no official announcement on the stream of these two regions. Contenders Korea will likely be streamed on Overwatch Contenders as well. The Seeding Tournament for China was streamed on the CC channels of the casters, Gai “Alan” Yandahan, Liu “Roy” Yuanyi, and Zhou “HuaMao” Xiaolong. Previously, however, they both appeared on Twitch (KR) and dedicated CC, Zhanqi, and Bilibili channels.
The casting for both is unclear as well. China keeping the three casters that showcased the Seeding Tournament is probable, and it would be unthinkable to have Korean Contenders without Hwang “YongBongTang” Kyu-Hyung and Jang “Akaros” Ji-Su, or an English cast.
Luckily, games don’t begin until March 19 for Korea and March 20 for China. There is ample time for an announcement on broadcast details (and a TGH article about them). In the meantime, make sure to prepare yourself for the performance of Team CC, Bilibili Gaming, Runaway, O2 Blast, Gen.G and Element Mystic.
Find Olivia on Twitter (@Thoth_OW) on Reddit (u/Jcbarona23), or on Discord (Thoth#7858) for any questions, suggestions, or further discussion.
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