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Blizzard announced further details on the Path to Pro in 2018 for Overwatch players aspiring to reach OWL. The biggest news is that Overwatch Open Division is confirmed to not have an SR minimum as was in place in previous seasons which means that Blizzard intends to capture the entire amateur through pro ecosystem in their tournaments.  Registration is now open for all 2018 Overwatch Open Division Season 1 tournaments here.


2018 Overwatch Contenders Season 1

What we knew before:

The next season of Overwatch Contenders is to start in March 2018 with three seasons per year. Seven regions will be established (Australia, China, EU, Korea, NA, Pacific, South America) with Overwatch APEX, Overwatch Premiere Series, and Overwatch Pacific Championship becoming Contenders Korea, Contenders China, and Contenders Pacific respectively. Australia and South America would be completely new regions.

The initial teams for 2018 Overwatch Contenders S1 will be comprised of top teams from the previous tournament of that region and those that qualify through the Contenders Trials, except for Australia and South America which will draw all of their regions’ twelve teams from the Contenders Trials.


What we know now:

The full list of teams invited to the upcoming Contenders season has been announced and these teams must accept by January 9th to secure a spot. In addition, certain teams from Korea and NA will be invited to their region’s Contenders Trials, in what is essentially an honorable mention. Blizzard also officially announced Overwatch League Academy Teams; think AAA teams as in Baseball and other traditional sports where a team’s main purpose is to serve as a place to cultivate talent for the major affiliated team. Shanghai Dragons, London Spitfire, Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, Los Angeles Gladiators, NYXL, Philadelphia Fusion, and San Francisco Shock will field teams, while the Seoul Dynasty, Dallas Fuel, and Los Angeles Valiant will not.

The full rules for Overwatch Contenders are available here.

2018 Overwatch Open Division Season 1

What we knew before:

The tournament will start in January 2018 for all seven of the same regions as Contenders. The top teams will participate in the region’s Contenders Trials to battle for the remaining spots in the upcoming season of Contenders, depending on availability. There wasn’t a concrete confirmation that there would be no SR requirement to participate until very recently.

What we know now:

This is the biggest news for Blizzard’s Path to Pro, as registration is now live for the upcoming season of Open Division at the bottom of this page for all seven regions. There are no SR minimums unlike previous Open Division tournaments which required players to have over 3500 SR.

The first games start on January 6th and will be a Swiss format, two best-of-5 matches per week, seeding every two matches, and occur over over five weekends until the playoffs. The playoffs will be one weekend only and a 16 team double elimination format, best-of-5 matches until the finals, which is a best-of-7 match.

As mentioned above, the top teams will fill the remaining spots for the Contenders Trials. However for this first season the top eight teams in Australia and South America Open Division will be invited to their region’s 2018 Contenders Season 1 while teams 9-16 in placement will compete for the remaining four contenders slots.

The full rules for Open Division are available here.