2020 Overwatch League preview
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February 6, 2020

2020 Overwatch League preview

Season 3 for the 2020 Overwatch League kicks off this weekend at 1 PM EST  in New York on Saturday, Feb 8. Unlike previous seasons, OWL will no longer be available to watch on Twitch, moving instead to an exclusivity contract with Youtube. Alongside these changes Blizzard has implemented a slew of format changes designed to kick the show up a notch.

Teams and Format Changes

Overwatch League teams

Image from Overwatch League.

Season 2’s Atlantic and Pacific divisions will be split into the Atlantic and Pacific conferences for Season 3. These conferences are further subdivided into their respective North and South Divisions. Each team will play 28 regular season matches over the course of the season. Every conference team will play each other twice and every out of conference team once. The teams competing are as follows:

Pacific Conference

East Division:

  • Chengdu Hunters
  • Guangzhou Charge
  • Hangzhou Spark
  • Shanghai Dragons
  • Seoul Dynasty

West Division:

  • Dallas Fuel
  • Los Angeles Valiant
  • Los Angeles Gladiators
  • San Francisco Shock
  • Vancouver Titans

Atlantic Conference:

North Division:

  • Boston Uprising
  • London Spitfire
  • New York Excelsior
  • Paris Eternal
  • Toronto Defiant

South Division:

  • Atlanta Reign
  • Florida Mayhem
  • Houston Outlaws
  • Philadelphia Fusion
  • Washington Justice

Homestand Weekends and Playoffs

Contrary to seasons prior, all regular season matches will be hosted on weekends. Matches dubbed “homestands” will be played all around the world in 19 different cities. Each team will host two homestands in their home city, with the addition of 3 regular season divisional matches co-hosted within conference territory. The nature of these increased travel requirements for both players and staff resulted in the removal of OWL Stages. Instead, matches will continue every week till playoffs with teams alternating bye weeks.

A mid-season tournament will also be hosted by the Overwatch League. The tournament holds four teams consisting of the top two conference leaders and two wild card teams. These mini playoffs allow top teams to set a precedent to fans for the end of the season.  In addition to a mid-season tournament, an all-star match will also be hosted.

Finally, at the end of the season, tops teams from each conference play in a playoff tournament with seeding comprised of regular season results. The top two teams progress to the 2020 OWL Grand Finals.

Map Changes

Prior seasons saw teams playing a total of four maps per match. Each map would be of a different game type. Under this system, every team would be forced to play out each map for the sake of match points, even if they lost the first three maps.

Under the new system, OWL changed the map format to instead favor a best of four. Any team that wins three maps now wins the entire set for full match points. This allows for a much more fair environment for teams and stops winning teams from jeopardizing their playoff seeding. In addition, every match will start on Control, allowing for the fairest possible environment.

Opening Weekend Matchups

Hosted by NYE:

Paris Eternal vs Toronto Defiant

1 PM EST/10 AM PST

New York Excelsior vs London Spitfire

3 PM EST/12 PM PST

Hosted by DAL:

Vancouver Titans vs Los Angeles Gladiators

4 PM EST/1 PM PST

Dallas Fuel vs Los Angeles Valiant

6 PM EST/3 PM PST

For more updates and information on the 2020 Overwatch League, check out OWL’s official Twitter.

Written by Jash Rai

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