After getting an update at the end of the year in February, more information about the 2021 Overwatch Contenders scene are now available.
The regions are shifting with the elimination of South America, and the somewhat modified format of the 2020 Overwatch Contenders tournament will return for this season. Despite these realities, there will still be no live events as a result of COVID-19
Details for the Contenders 2021 season are finally here! Check out everything new that’s coming to our regions and what to expect ahead of the start of competition this month. And yes – we’re continuing Contenders Viewership Rewards!
— Overwatch Path to Pro (@owpathtopro) March 4, 2021
South America struggles while tournaments evolve
News of the withdrawal of South America from Contenders 2021 was stated earlier in the Reddit Post by Dan McHugh, Product Manager of Overwatch Esports. According to McHugh, the show did not deliver at the stage planned by Blizzard Entertainment. He emphasized, though, that as foreign tournaments return, South American teams would be eligible to qualify. As South America is not classified among North America, Europe, South Korea, China and Australia, this news has been officially verified.
However, the 2020 tournaments seem to be untouched by 2021. In the absence of live shows, North America and the European areas will be running on a monthly basis. This system is the classic eight-team, dual-elimination format that audiences saw last year. However, teams who qualify for the Contenders Trials tournaments can now play two tournaments before they have to compete for relegation. The first Trials for these regions are set for early March, with the first Contenders tournaments scheduled for late March.
The Korean area will now retain its ten-team format, but with one main modification. According to Blizzard, they are adding an inter-league play round between the group play and the playoffs to help determine how to seed the playoffs. After this seedling, the playoff format is a stepladder format where one loss equals relegation. These tournaments will commence in Korea in mid-March.
The only adjustment for the Australian field is to reduce from eight teams to six.
China also saw a decline in the players, from 12 to 8 and the Trials tournaments decreased to the match.
More Contenders viewership incentives
Last year, Overwatch launched free Contender skins for individual heroes. These skins were only open to those watching Contenders live with related Blizzard accounts. This reward will return for the launch of the first season of the 2021 Contestants, with Bastion and Reinhardt as new skins. Viewers will get Bastion’s skin by watching seven hours of action and Reinhardt for 15 hours. To watch the events, please search the Contenders website for information.
Source: Daily Esports