The Overwatch Contenders competition is the second tier of Overwatch esports, a competition feeding talent directly into the prestigious Overwatch League. Here’s everything you need to know about the tournament, the participating teams, how to get into Overwatch Contenders, where you can watch the event, and more!

What is the Overwatch Contenders competition?

The Overwatch Contenders is “a development space for aspiring Overwatch pros”, the second tier of Overwatch esports and the best (some would say the only) way for new talent to emerge in the

Since the Contenders events serve as the direct route to develop and discover new Overwatch player talent, keen-eyed observers and interested fans alike flock to the event to find the diamonds in the rough and the next big thing on the OWL servers.

Though there is no direct promotion to the main Overwatch League (since it’s a franchised competition with no relegation), players and teams performing well in Contenders will no doubt get a lot of attention and pickup opportunities from the big boys. The Overwatch Contenders’ Open Division allows everyone to join the event for a shot at the big time, but be warned: the competition is fierce and some of the heroes may, well, die on the way through the brutal bracket.

There were previous restrictions on the involvement of the main Overwatch League players in the Contenders scene, known as two-way contracts or two-way players, meaning those who are on a team without a dedicated academy side who are looking to get loaned out to a Contenders team. As of right now, the limit of two-way players in a single Contenders match is four.

Overwatch Contenders Trials and The Gauntlet: the path to the playoffs

Those who make it through the Open Division will make it to Contenders Trials, a competition with an element of promotions and relegations for a chance to earn a spot at the main regional Contenders events. There’s also The Gauntlet, a 256-team open bracket qualifier tournament with a double elimination ruleset to determine further qualifying participants for the next season of Overwatch Contenders.

The 2021 edition of Overwatch Contenders offers $1.3 million in combined prize pools across the five regions, making this a must-watch tournament series for fans of the game. With a massive number of matches played, it’s never been easier to bet on Overwatch Contenders than it is today, and the dearth of information available about the teams and players and talent involved allow enterprising bettors do to some serious research and leapfrog even the official analysts in their understanding of the tier 2 competitive scene.

Overwatch Contenders 2021: schedule, teams and event format

The 2021 edition of Overwatch Contenders is split across five regions, with the following teams participating in at least one of the monthly Contenders competitions:

Contenders North America

  • American Tornado                 
  • Odyssey
  • DarkMode NA
  • Ardour
  • Revival
  • Obey Alliance                
  • Maryville Esports
  • Malice
  • Noble
  • Uprising Academy
  • Jiyū

Contenders Europe

  • British Hurricane (London Spitfire academy team)
  • Raspberry Racers
  • Ex Oblivione
  • Sheer Cold
  • New Kings
  • Young and Beautiful
  • Shu’s Money Crew EU
  • Old and Bored

Contenders Korea

  • O2 Blast
  • Talon Esports
  • WGS Phoenix
  • RunAway
  • Starlight Gaming
  • Team BM
  • Gen.G Esports (Seoul Dynasty academy team)
  • T1 (Philadelphia Fusion academy team)
  • Team CC
  • Team Diamond
  • Incendia Evolution
  • JNGK

Contenders Australia

  • Ground Zero Gaming
  • Mindfreak
  • Dire Wolves
  • Warriors Esports
  • 4Giver
  • TeamFP
  • Unsold Stuff Gaming

Contenders China

  • Bilibili Gaming
  • Team Chaser
  • The One Winner
  • First Fabulous Fighter
  • UP Academy
  • Team Cat
  • Courage
  • Bull Frog in Well
  • Time Resume

The tournament schedules and formats radically differ across regions and are subject to change in light of the global pandemic situation. The regional leagues’ rulesets were last changed in April 2021 to incorporate adjustments in light of the different situations in the quintet of Contenders regions. The Overwatch League provides up-to-date information on the schedule here.

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