Overwatch esports is on the rise, and viewers from all over the world are anxious to cheer for their favorite teams, players, and personalities. And there’s no better way of doing that than following tournaments. But which events are actually worth your time? To answer this question, the guys at BettingTips.gg have created a comprehensive list of the best Overwatch tournaments!
If you’re at all interested in Blizzard’s action-packed shooter, chances are you’ve heard about Overwatch League (aka OWL). It’s a premier competition that’s officially supported by Blizzard Entertainment. The regular season involves 20 city-based franchises clashing with each other over 28 competitive weeks.
In the middle and end of the season, transfer windows are opened, and teams can make the necessary adjustments and roster moves. When the regular season comes to an end, 12 best-performing teams enter the postseason. This is the do-or-die championship playoffs setting where players pull out all the stops in an effort to win the trophy and a share of $5,000,000 USD prize that goes along with it.
You can read up more on the ins and outs of the Overwatch League betting here. Keep in mind that this is the highest level of competition currently available, and if you can only pick one Overwatch pro tournament to follow, OWL will never be a bad choice. Overwatch League is definitely one of the best Overwatch tournaments around.
But what if OWL isn’t enough, and you want to follow other Overwatch events? What are the other best Overwatch tournaments? In that case, the next logical step would be Overwatch Contenders. This is a string of events spread across multiple competitive regions. Following them is a great way to get familiar with the rising stars, as most up-and-coming pros go to these tournaments with the intent of getting noticed by OWL teams.
Read Also: Overwatch Contenders Betting strategies for 2020
Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re amateurs. Most participants had to go through a lengthy Open Division online bracket before qualifying for the Contenders Trials. There, they had to knock out one of the existing teams for the opportunity to play in the tournament, so every single player in Overwatch Contenders has some sort of competitive experience.
Moreover, there are plenty of things to fight for. Each Overwatch Contenders event has an ample prize pool of $2,500,000 divided among the divisions. As for the viewers, they get a unique opportunity to follow the growing pro scenes of Australia, China, Europe, North America, South Korea, South America, and the Pacific area. Regardless of the region, the format remains the same, so it’s easy to jump in and follow the action. Still, some of these Overwatch tournaments stand out more than others.
Overwatch Contenders: Europe
When the game still had a thriving amateur scene, Europe was the clear-cut second-best region. Teams like EnVyUs and Rogue made a name for themselves by standing up to Korean lineups at Overwatch tournaments and producing formidable results at the cutthroat APEX league. These days, most fans are of the opinion that the European scene is declining. And while the region doesn’t have any major esports organizations with an interest in Overwatch, the talent that once made Europe a force to be reckoned with is still there.
Overwatch Contenders: Europe is a great way to get familiar with the new generation of European pros. Historically, Europe has always favored individual skill over team synergy, and while that trend doesn’t exactly lead to great team play, it opens up spectacular playmaking opportunities. Finally, Londons Spitfires from OWL also created their own Contenders lineup—British Hurricane—so the future of European Overwatch isn’t as grim as doomsayers might claim. There are hints that the OWL will expand deeper into Europe in 2020, providing even more ground for European Overwatch Tournaments.
Overwatch Contenders: Korea
It’s no secret that South Korea is pretty good at the whole esports thing. The country is widely known as the Mecca of esports, so it was only a matter of time until it took over the Overwatch scene. Nowadays, South Korean dominance reached its peak, as most OWL teams are quick to recruit their pros, and those that go against the grain struggle to keep up with the rising level of competition. Unfortunately, the discontinuation of OGN’s APEX league made it difficult to follow the next generation of Korean players.
But Overwatch Contenders: Korea present a powerful alternative. Here, you can still find Overwatch titans like KongDoo Panthera, Meta Athena, and RunAway. All of these established teams take on the new wave of South Korean talent, and—surprisingly enough—they find themselves on the losing end of the battle more often than not. With that, Contenders: Korea is a great opportunity to observe the highest level of Overwatch, and you can bet that many of these players will show up in the upcoming OWL seasons.
Overwatch Contenders: China
In the world of esports, China has always been something of a dark horse. This is a region with immense resources and a vast player base, but these advantages don’t always translate into actual results. The trend is particularly evident in the Overwatch League where the Shanghai Dragons were dead-last in the standings for over a year. Still, don’t be quick to give up on the Chinese esports. The region now features four extremely strong Overwatch teams and potential to open up the region to even more in the future. Additionally, established esports brands are now seeking ways to get involved with the growing Chinese Overwatch scene.
Overwatch Contenders: China is filled with high-level teams. Some of them get an edge over the competition by recruiting Korean imports, others have the backing of major brands like LGD and Vici Gaming. Most importantly, the region is very bloodthirsty, so if you’re looking for nail-biting teamfights and skirmishes, this Overwatch tournament is the perfect place for you.
Overwatch Contenders: North America
Last but not least, we have North America. Now, this region has never had the reputation of an esports powerhouse, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that changed in the nearest future. After all, Overwatch Contenders: North America is receiving such unrivaled support that other regions should be green with envy! For starters, it’s one of the few non-OWL events with a huge sponsor in Old Spice. And the fact that most of the participants are academy teams of Overwatch League organizations provides players with an incredibly strong infrastructure.
Finally, North American pros are set up for success. They’re not competing in some obscure tournament. Instead, they’re playing a single step below the premier league while being directly affiliated with OWL teams. Their practice environment is almost perfect, and their goal is right in front of them, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see many of these players break into the Overwatch League.
Overwatch World Cup
The World Cup is one of the most unique and entertaining Overwatch tournaments. It kicks off with the qualifying stage where Blizzard Entertainment handpicks 24 strongest countries, based on the average skill rating of their best-performing players. Then, all of these countries are split into groups where they have to fight for the right to qualify for the playoffs.
Here’s the kicker, though: the fans from selected countries get to pick the coach and the community lead of their respective teams! This is the perfect way of connecting pros with their fan bases, as viewers get to choose who builds the lineup that represents their region. The actual player selection is as broad as it gets, and coaches can recruit anyone (even OWL players!) if they think this pro can improve the team.
As a result, each country comes up with a superstar lineup that could even challenge the best Overwatch teams in the right circumstances. However, all World Cup participants have to race against the clock. After all, there’s only so much time to build up synergy and practice team composition before they have to oppose some of the best players in the world.
Most teams are in a similar situation, of course, so the outcome will largely come down to who can adapt the best. This is where the coach selection comes in again. A good coach will set his players up for success by creating a productive practice environment, so the viewer choice plays a huge role over the duration of the tournament.
Once the preparations are complete, each team takes on a grueling group stage. Every game counts here, as there are limited opportunities to showcase your strengths and abuse enemy weaknesses. But the stakes get even higher when the group stage winners qualify for the playoffs and move on to represent their countries at Blizzcon. There are no second chances here, so everything is decided by who shows up when it matters most. At the end of the playoffs, only a single team will raise the trophy, effectively granting its home country the title of the best Overwatch region in the world.
In the end, the Overwatch World Cup brings together the casual and competitive sides of the game. Everyone naturally wants to cheer for their favorite teams and personalities. Meanwhile, pros get the perfect opportunity to grow their fan bases while doing their home countries proud.
Read our Overwatch World Cup 2019 article here!
Overwatch Team Story
If you’re a Chinese esports connoisseur, the Overwatch Team Story competition is a huge treat for you! This tournament pits 16 Asian teams against each other in a battle for the trophy and ample prize pool. As we’ve hinted, the field consists mainly of Chinese rosters. However, Korean teams can also take part in the event, and it’s common to see established organizations like KongDoo Panthera and Meta Bellum also fighting for fame and glory.
Much like Contenders: North America, Team Story has a major sponsor in Zhanq.TV. Also, the tournament is fully supported by Blizzard Entertainment, so it’s a great chance enjoy quality production while observing an all-out brawl between the best teams in Asia.
It might seem like Blizzard’s shooter has been here for a while, but it’s still a very young esports title. Even with the strict limitations of the Overwatch League, new tournaments are appearing every day, and some of them are pretty big.
In the past, the scene was thriving with huge tournaments like the Seoul Cup, Overwatch TaKeOver, and the 2017 Nexus Cup. Even now, we had the sudden announcement of the Overwatch Saudi Regional Tournament with a $266,667 prize pool. The tournament will only be available to teams from a handful of countries, as it’s meant to cultivate the local competitive scene. For now, it’s hard to tell if the event will stick. But even if it doesn’t, new Overwatch tournaments will definitely come to take its place.
If you are interested in Overwatch League betting there a few Non-Blizzard organized tournaments to keep an eye out for. First up, Overwatch Shanghai Masters Invitational which happens during the Esports Shanghai Masters Expo, pits the best Chinese teams against each other in a one of a kind showcase event.
The NetEase Esports X Tournament is another Overwatch Tournament to keep track off. It features the best Korean and Chinese teams and provides a unique opportunity to wager on cross-region play. The event is held bi-annually in Spring and Autumn.
We hope this gave you some insight into the biggest and best Overwatch tournaments (2020). The scene is still developing, and it’s difficult to tell how it will look in a year or two. Granted, the Overwatch League will likely remain a major factor, and most fans will naturally gather around it. But if you want to spice up your viewing experience, consider giving other tournaments a shot. After all, you might enjoy it!
Where to watch the best Overwatch tournaments?
Starting in 2020, Blizzard signed an exclusive partnership with Youtube for streaming all competitive matches in the Overwatch League and Overwatch Contenders. The decision followed the expiration of a previous agreement with Twitch. It is rumored that Youtube will drop a whopping $160 million over three years to exclusively stream Activision Blizzard’s esports leagues and events. The go to channel is Youtube.com/overwatchleague
How do Overwatch tournaments work?
The Overwatch League features a city-based home/away format, where teams host Homestands over a 27-week period. Each of the 20 franchised teams plays a total of 28 matches during this period. Contenders, Trials and Open Division are intertwined by a promotion/relegation system where teams constantly battle for their spot under the spotlight. Single and Double elimination brackets are typical for these events. All other tournaments are either pre-hosted with qualifiers or invitational events.
How to apply for an Overwatch tournament?
Overwatch has a top to bottom competitive ecosystem where aspiring athletes can climb to the top within a competitive season. In order to start your path to pro and get to play in a tournament you need to get create or find a team to play with and start your way at the Open Division Tournament. If you are worthy, you can easily advance up to Trials and Contenders within the same year. If you are a solid player, you can easily get scouted into the premier Overwatch League teams.
How many people watch Overwatch tournaments?
The 2019, Overwatch Grand Finals drew 1.12 million average viewers. Regular season matches see viewership swing in the few hundred-thousand ballpark. Following the 2020 move to Youtube, the Live viewership took a hit at the start of the season. However, VoD and Post-Live streaming grew exponentially.