The Overwatch League Season 2 will include a few new rule changes from Season 1. The biggest of those additions is the two-way player. Two-way players will change how teams look to sign players, how teams interact with their Contenders affiliates, and how players look to teams they want to sign with.
What is a two-way player, why would team sign a two-way player, and who really benefits from these new Overwatch League contracts? Let’s take a moment to answer these questions.
What is a Two-Way Player?
According the the Overwatch League, a two-way player is “eligible to compete in Contenders on an affiliated team” while also being on the main rosters of their Overwatch League teams. There are stipulations of these two-way players, however. To be eligible to play for their Contenders teams, these players cannot appear in a Contenders match and an Overwatch League match in the same week and a maximum of two of the two-way players can play in a single Contenders match. Most importantly, two-way players can only play in two Overwatch League matches per stage if they wish to be eligible for their Contenders roster. This limits the amount a team can switch these players. It also allows for teams to call up these two-way players if they are playing well, or the Overwatch League team needs the player.
The two-way players must be paid the same salary and benefits of other Overwatch League players, and teams are limited to four two-way players. They count towards the Overwatch League teams 12-man rosters, and weeks that they are playing for their Contenders teams, they count towards their weekly eight-player rosters.
Why Sign a Two-Way Player?
Teams in the Overwatch League have already started to sign these two-way player to their rosters. The Philadelphia Fusion signed Elijah Hudson “Elk” Gallagher from the Fusion University, while the Florida Mayhem signed Damon “Apply” Conti from the Mayhem Academy. But why did these two teams sign players to two-way contracts? There could be multiple reasons.
First, it allows teams to stick within their organizations and find players that they have been looking at for months. It allows them to show their faith in their affiliates, and shows players that the top team has faith in their abilities. Also, it promotes the organization from top to bottom. It also allows teams to start giving their players chances, on a contract that allows them to primarily play for their Contenders teams.
Secondly, it gives teams leverage in the free agent and trading market. If other teams are looking to these Contenders teams to adjust or create their rosters, two-way contracts allows Overwatch League teams to hold onto their talent, either for their benefit in game, or in a trade later on in the season.
Who Benefits From Two-Way Contracts?
Mainly, the players themselves. The two-way contracts allow players to be paid better, as well as have a chance to play at the highest level of competition. These two-way contracts ensure that players will be playing weekly for their Contenders teams, while also allowing for promotions to spots in the Overwatch League.
Take the Philadelphia Fusion, for example. They signed Elk to a two-way contract. They have seen his support play for the Fusion University, and deemed him important enough to sign. He will play for the Fusion University, unless he is called up to the main Fusion roster. The Fusion also have Isaac “Boombox” Charles and Alberto “neptuNo” González as their supports. With the ever-changing meta of Overwatch, as well as the possibility of injury, or slumps, this gives Elk the opportunity to show his skills and potentially secure a starting spot.
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