Stage 4 of the Overwatch League begins in just one week, marking the end for the 2019 regular season and the beginning of Role Queue. Once the season comes to a close, the teams who clinch the postseason cutoff will be heading to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA to crown this year’s Overwatch League champion. But what about next year? Overwatch League 2020 Season details have been revealed changing a lot of the current format. This guide will go through all the Overwatch League 2020 season changes, as well as how it compares with the current format.
Current Overwatch League 2019 Season format
To understand what these changes mean and why they matter, let’s take a general overview of the current format in place for the Overwatch League. Since eight teams were added to the league this season, this year had its own set of deviations from the Inaugural Season.
Currently, the regular season is broken into four different stages where each of the 20 Overwatch League teams play a total of seven matches, which means each team plays a total of 28 matches the entire season. As far as scheduling is concerned, there is a total of four days of broadcasting a week with four games each.
This season also introduced Homestand Events in which a few teams play games at different venues around the U.S. There are only three of these events hosted this year in Dallas, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
The eight teams who have the best stage record will go into stage playoffs. These playoffs don’t really affect the regular season at all. It does give the team who wins a good boost of confidence, especially if your an underdog like the Shanghai Dragons, and a nice pool of cash to win. Other than that, it doesn’t affect your eligibility to go to Postseason Playoffs.
There are a total of eight teams who will qualify for Postseason Playoffs. The two division leaders, followed by the four best overall teams (determined by record, then map wins, then map differential) automatically qualify. The next two spots are determined through a play-in tournament between the rest of the teams who did not qualify.
Once all the qualifying teams are determined, the eight teams will head to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA to compete in the Grand Finals in a double-elimination bracket. The team crowned champion will earn $1.1 million and the title of Overwatch League 2019 Season Champions.
Overwatch League 2020 Season format changes
Now that you have a pretty basic understanding of what the current format is, let’s go over the new changes happening in the Overwatch League 2020 season, which include the implementation of conferences and a new scheduling format that is vastly different than what is currently in place.
The most notable change is Overwatch League’s departure from the comfort of its home at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, CA. This season will have all the teams traveling across the globe to play for all the competitive Overwatch fans. Due to this, The Pacific and Atlantic “Divisions” will now become the Pacific and Atlantic Conferences and be further split into four divisions. Here is what each conference looks like now:
- Boston Uprising
- London Spitfire
- New York Excelsior
- Paris Eternal
- Toronto Defiant
- Atlanta Reign
- Florida Mayhem
- Houston Outlaws
- Philadelphia Fusion
- Washington Justice
- Chengdu Hunters
- Guangzhou Charge
- Hangzhou Spark
- Shanghai Dragons
- Seoul Dynasty
- Dallas Fuel
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- Los Angeles Valiant
- San Francisco Shock
- Vancouver Titans
As stated above, Blizzard Arena Los Angeles has been Overwatch League’s home since the Inaugural Season. For the Overwatch League 2020 Season, a more traditional sports approach is being implemented with venues across the globe hosting a slew of homestand events throughout the season.
In fact, there will be a total of 52 homestand weekend events throughout the season. Each of the 20 teams will host two homestands, with each division hosting an additional three events in their respective territories. All in all, each team will still play 28 matches throughout the season, facing in-conference teams twice, and out of conference teams once. The full schedule for the 2020 season will be revealed next month.
Lastly, the four-stage season that has been the scheduling format for the last two years will no longer be in place. Instead, each team will have its own set of bye weeks, as seen on more traditional sports schedules like football. Additionally, a midseason All-Stars event will take place marking the midpoint of the 2020 Season. This will give teams the break they’ll need while still having the season continue without any breaks.