A big crowd watches Overwatch League players play on stage.
Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment

What is the Overwatch Champions Series? OWL replacement, explained

OWL is no more, but OWCS is here.

After the 2023 Overwatch League season, the future of Overwatch esports was up in the air—until now. Blizzard has announced the Overwatch Champions Series, a new global competitive circuit that aims to bring back high-level Overwatch 2 professional play.

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The OWCS will begin in 2024 and essentially replace the Overwatch League as the tier one circuit for Overwatch 2. OWCS will also provide additional opportunities for community-led tournaments and structures to support players below tier one.

What is the Overwatch Champions Series?

The Overwatch Champions Series is an Overwatch 2 circuit with a community-focused model, allowing teams to qualify via open tournaments. It is designed to allow aspiring players to rise to the highest level of play.

The OWCS is a global circuit with leagues in three regions: North America, EMEA, and Asia. Teams qualify for the OWCS regional leagues via open qualifiers, where they then have the opportunity to compete regionally for a spot at major international events. The OWCS is a partnership between Blizzard and ESL FACEIT Group, with Korean company WDG operating the league in Asia.

Taking the history of Overwatch esports in a new direction, OWCS provides a less exclusive infrastructure for competitive Overwatch 2 players, with additional support for tournament organizers and other community members at all levels of play. FACEIT will also provide services to help players connect with teams and find events to compete in.

Blizzard states the goal of OWCS is to “create an open, inclusive, and sustainable competitive community.”

Overwatch Champions Series schedule

The 2024 OWCS season will start with a massive open qualifier tournament in each league, followed by regional play and then the majors tournament from May 31 to June 2 in Dallas. Play resumes again in August with a similar structure that culminates in the OWCS finals in Stockholm, Sweden in late November. Both events will be open to fans, with details about ticket sales forthcoming.

Teams will qualify for each regional league (North America, EMEA, and Asia) via a Swiss-style open qualifier. From there, the teams will move into an eight-team double-elimination bracket, where the best teams from each region will move on to either the major tournament in Dallas or the championships in Sweden.

Full details on how to participate in the open qualifiers for your team’s region can be found on the Overwatch 2 website.


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Author
Nadine Manske
Nadine is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She covers VALORANT and Overwatch with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region and marginalized genders in esports. Before joining Dot Esports as a freelance writer, she interned at Gen.G Esports and the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her favorite Pokémon is Quagsire.