Overwatch Contenders
Overwatch Contenders, coming to a Hanzo main near you Blizzard

Blizzard has just announced the Overwatch Contenders, a league for the best Overwatch players looking to become the next rising esports star. Are you a Masters or higher level Overwatch player looking to break into professional gaming? Then this is your chance to show the world -or at least North America and Europe- that you’ve got the gaming skills to beat the competition, win $50,000 and battle against the best teams from other regions for even more money.

Blizzard is planning a huge year for esports and Overwatch . There’s already the Overwatch World Cup, an Olympics style tournament where players from countries around the world will compete for a chance to represent their country at the finals at Blizzcon. Neither of these are the Overwatch League the full League Of Legends LCS style championship Blizzard announced at Blizzcon of last year, but it is a step in the right direction.

With Overwatch Contenders, it seems like Blizzard is attempting to cultivate unknown talent in the North American and European regions that can be raised for the Overwatch League. Right now, it’s a gamble for most esports organizations to get into Overwatch . Complexity Gaming, Splyce and Denial Gaming have all released their teams over the last few months, fearing for the future stability of the game’s professional scene. With Contenders and the future Open Division, a tournament series planned for 2018, Blizzard has a chance to create a scene from the bottom up.

Blizzard is even making their own rules for this tournament, a PR representative told IBT that skins will not be allowed, but golden guns, sprays and emotes are fine.

That’s three different Overwatch tournaments from Blizzard, which could get a bit confusing to fans. To a newbie in the scene, it might be hard to distinguish between the Overwatch World Cup, Contenders and the League. Here’s a breakdown of all of Blizzard’s announced Overwatch tournaments:

Overwatch Contenders - Teams of eight can apply to compete in an online open qualifier, where the top eight teams in NA and EU will fight for a chance at playing in Season One. These teams will play in a six-week round-robin tournament with Korean APEX teams, Envy and Rogue, for a chance at a $100,000 grand prize.

Overwatch Open Division- In 2018, players will get another chance to enter the Overwatch Contenders league. Imagine it like the Challenger Series for League of Legends , a place where new players can earn a spot in the main tournament.

Overwatch World Cup - Last year, Blizzard tried their hands at creating their own Overwatch esports tournament with teams from around the world. Those teams competed at Blizzcon for notoriety, but not much else. This year, they are going much bigger, choosing the best regions by taking the skill ratings of the top 100 players and having them compete at live events all around the world. The winners will face off at Blizzcon, just like last year, but bigger.

Overwatch League - A massive MLB style tournament that we still don’t know much about. There are more rumors than actual facts, since Blizzard has remained hush on the situation since the League’s Blizzcon announcement.