The 2020 Overwatch League playoffs are now underway, with two weeks of online matches set to determine which four teams will move forwards into October’s Grand Final. Twenty teams are competing in two regional brackets for a chance at the championship and some serious prize money, with Atlanta Reign, Boston Uprising, Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, Paris Eternal, Philadelphia Fusion, San Francisco Shock, Toronto Defiant, Vancouver Titans, and Washington Justice battling it out in North America.

The Asian servers will host the remaining seven – Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, Shanghai Dragons, and Seoul Dynasty. It’s a huge assortment of teams from across the world coming together in what will surely be an explosive two-week showdown.

Previous champions London Spitfire and San Francisco Shock are competing for their chance at an astonishing top prize of $1.5 million USD, but the runner ups don’t come out looking too shabby either, with second place scoring $750,000, third place $450,000, and $350,000 for the team that comes out in fourth.

Should ongoing pandemic complications result in two regional champions, the prize allocation will shift, rewarding the two first-place teams with a solid million each and second-place teams with $500,000 respectively. It’s all to play for, and you can be sure to see some furious competition from all sides with these prizes on the line. There’s a lot of big names here, but who are the ones to watch? Who’s got the versatility, focus and teamwork required to bring home a win?


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Some experts believe that defending champions San Francisco Shock are simply the best Overwatch pro team there is right now, and all of their members from their win last year but one have returned to the fray. They are at the top of the list for expert predictions on 2020’s winners, with many citing their head coach’s prowess as justification for that claim. Their newcomer Seon-Chang Lee has been described as a prodigy, but he will face some extremely tough competition over the next few weeks from all sides, as plenty of fellow rookies have just as much to prove.

Previous champions London Spitfire have a roster full of these unknown talents, and while many might not want to bet on a relatively green team, I’d say anything is possible in Overwatch League. It could be a fantastic underdog story – David toppling Goliath – or it could go horribly, horribly wrong. Either way, it’ll be one to watch. Will San Francisco Shock defend their title, cementing their place as the League’s first two-time winner, or will they be dethroned by the army of talented pro players waiting at the gates? The champions may reign again, but it isn’t going to be easy. This might be the most intense Overwatch League playoff yet.

If you’re new to Overwatch League and want to get involved, their YouTube channel is your first stop. It will be live broadcasting all of the playoffs this month and Grand Final matches set to take place in October when the final two teams from North America will travel to Asia to play on the same server. They’ve even included a handy introduction video to get you started in an incredibly fast-paced and surprisingly strategic game, which when played at this sort of level, is packed full of “blink and you’ll miss it” awesome moments that you need to be looking out for. As a casual Overwatch player, seeing the game’s intensity ramped up to championship level is a thing of beauty, but you definitely need a quick primer on what to watch out for if you haven’t invested any time in the competitive scene previously.

The League is taking all necessary precautions to ensure the championship plays out safely in these difficult times – competing teams will be given time off to accommodate travel and quarantine requirements, and if travel is deemed to be unsafe, the Grand Finals will proceed differently, resulting in two regional champions being crowned this year. It’s great to see the eSports scene adapting to the pandemic, and fingers crossed we’ll all be back to those high-energy, high-stakes live events this time next year.

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