Overwatch Contenders is continuing to expand, after having done so last year and taking on a global role for those looking into playing Overwatch professionally.
Now, 2019 is going to showcase several "exciting changes" to Overwatch Contenders both for players and those who want to watch promising new players in action before they're picked up by professional teams. The program is a great place for aspiring pros to go and show off what they're capable of. With over 90 players who have been picked up from the series by teams from the Overwatch League, there's some serious opportunity here to be noticed.
In 2019, all eight regions in Contenders will begin choosing their champions throughout two competitive seasons, each ending in a tournament that will find each region's top teams competing against the other. Both seasons will come in four phases, beginning with Trials as phase one. Season 1's Trials will be a transitional tournament from the 2018 format with 12 teams per region, to eight teams in most regions. Season 2's Trials format will take the top four teams from Open Division and the bottom two from 2019 Season 1 and have them compete against each other in a round robin tournament.
Phase two is the regular season, followed by the playoffs and then showdowns in the Atlantic and Pacific and The Gauntlet, respectively. The Gauntlet will find 10 teams competing together in group stages and a double elimination bracket. The top-performing regions in Season 2 will be sent there, and the best teams from the Pacific and Atlantic Showdowns will determine other region-specific invites.
There will be over $3 million in prizes awarded throughout 2019, with higher pools being allocated for top-performing teams. For example, the Atlantic and Pacific Showdowns will generate a $125,000 pool and the Gauntlet will offer a $250,000 prize pool.
The 2019 Contenders Season 1 Trials are going on right now, with the regular season beginning with Contenders Australia on February 24. Be sure to keep it locked to Shacknews for additional updates.