With the Countdown Cup in the rear-view mirror, and the Grand Finals right around the corner, the Overwatch League is starting to look forward to 2021. In an announcement on Tuesday August 11, the Overwatch League revealed how roster construction will change in the upcoming season.
[Related: Overwatch League Announces Countdown Cup and End of Season Schedule]
The update discusses several topics that fans wanted to see addressed. Jon Spector, Overwatch League Vice President, added a bit of clarity to the changes as well in a follow-up blog post.
We've made a bunch of changes for roster rules next season as outlined in this blog post – here are some more details into why we made the changes we did. pic.twitter.com/E8oT1rmUpt
— Jon Spector (@Spex_J) August 11, 2020
Inside the official update are various changes to player contracts for the upcoming 2021 season. The Overwatch League also revealed new changes to the two-way contracts, as well as key dates for signing and releasing players.
In the announcement, several important dates were revealed so fans can keep track of certain offseason moves. The offseason starts shortly after the Grand Finals, leaving teams with a small window to start making decisions.
September 14, 2020: Free Agent signing opens back up, and teams can extend current contracts
September 21, 2020: Teams eliminated from the playoffs can discuss 2021 contract terms with players whose contracts expire after the 2020 season. This includes discussing contract terms with players still on team-option contracts. Contracts for the 2021 season cannot be signed until the player’s team declines to extend the current contract.
Oct. 12, 2020: Teams may begin submitting player trades for review by the League Office.
Oct. 23-Nov. 20, 2020: Any players not under contract into the 2021 season become free agents, with the specific expiration date dependent on the season in which their original agreement was executed.
Nov. 23, 2020: Deadline for all teams to have a minimum of seven players signed to season-long contracts for the 2021 season.
Two-Way Player Changes
The most important change to note for the 2021 season is the removal of the two-way player limit. Currently, teams are restricted to only two players designated as two-way. Now that teams no longer need to battle the player limit, teams are free to sign as many two-way players as they deem necessary.
Additionally, teams without an academy team can loan two-way players to non-affiliated Contenders teams. For example, if the San Francisco Shock felt they want to keep Matt “Super” DeLisi on the flex-dps role and he signed two-way contract, the Shock can have him play on any Contenders team looking for their next Genji player.
These changes aim to keep the connection between OWL and Contenders a little more meaningful. Overwatch League teams are now free to trial Contenders players, without being locked into a season-long contract. Hopefully, the new contract structure can provide more opportunities for aspiring pros in the Tier 2 scene.
Featured Image courtesy of the Overwatch League
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