Overwatch is about have its first six-figure tournament.
Just two weeks after the launch of Blizzard’s new first person shooter, ESL has announced the Overwatch Atlantic Showdown, an eight-team tournament scheduled for Gamescom 2016 on Aug. 20 and 21 featuring a hefty $100,000 prize pool.
Those eight teams will be pulled from extensive qualifiers beginning on June 27 and running over four weeks every Monday and Tuesday, featuring best-of-three series. The qualifiers will select 16 teams in North America and 16 teams from Europe to compete in a regional final for each side of the Atlantic. The final qualifier will use best-of-five series to pick the top four teams from North America and Europe who will clash at Gamescom for $100,000.
ESL hasn’t yet revealed any more details on the ruleset, which will be highly scrutinized considering there is no standard yet in Overwatch. Most competitive events, including those run by ESL, have so far featured stopwatch rulesets, but Blizzard is so far resistant to that method of scoring. Also in contention is a hero limit, as many competitive teams are in favor of enforcing a limit of one unique hero per team, preventing some strategies rampant in the metagame like the double Winston. ESL has been open to alternative rulesets like this in the past, so it will be interesting to see what it adopts in its first major live event.
As for the teams competing, it’s really up for grabs outside of a few heavy hitters. From North America, Cloud9 and Luminosity Gaming seem like locks to earn spots based off past results, but they’ll have competition from teams like Nubris and Team Liquid. In Europe, Reunited, Rogue, and Creation Esports have to be favorites. The wild card is EnVyUs. They’re currently playing like the best team in the world from their team house in North America, so it’s likely they’ll compete in that qualifier, but most of the team is European and they have yet to acquire their P1 visas. Still, with no prize pool on the line in the qualifiers, there’s little stopping them from playing on their new home server.
With $100,000 on the line and open qualifiers for the tournament, though, there’s plenty of room for some new contenders to emerge in the coming weeks. Whatever happens, it’s going to be exciting watching the lead-in to Overwatch’s first major live event.