Blizzard have announced that the Overwatch World Cup will be returning for 2019.
The Overwatch World Cup is a unique event in the game’s competitive calendar as it separates the multi-national squads typically found in professional Overwatch and brings together new line-ups to represent their countries.
The announcement of the Overwatch World Cup’s return for 2019 will be a relief to fans of the event, after rumors in the wake of the 2018 iteration suggested that might have been the last.
Fortunately, Blizzard have now revealed there will in fact be another World Cup this year, although there have been some changes to how the event will work.
Changes to the World Cup format for 2019
Unlike in previous years, which consisted of multiple group stage events taking place around the world, the offline portion of this year’s World Cup will all take place in the week of BlizzCon.
Preliminary rounds will take place in Anaheim, California, in the days leading up to the opening of BlizzCon 2019 on Friday November 1. The Group Stages will then kick off following the opening ceremony, and then the top six teams from the group stage will advance to a single-elimination bracket taking place on Saturday, November 2.
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This time around, countries will be seeded based on their performances in previous World Cups, with more recent performances more heavily weighted. The top five countries will advance automatically to the group stage, while the other countries will battle through a seeded single-elimination bracket in the preliminary stages for the remaining five group stage spots.
Overwatch players will once again be able to vote for their country’s national committee, with the voting process beginning on May 15.
Which are the countries to watch out for?
Until they’re finally beaten, there can only ever be one favorite for the Overwatch World Cup. South Korea has dominated the event for all three years so far,
Behind South Korea it becomes a question of who will challenge for the title, and here it’s less clear. In 2018, China put up an impressive run to second place, while Canada has always fielded a strong squad with 3rd and 2nd
place finishes in the last two years.
The USA doesn’t lack for talent and should be able to put in a good showing, but are still waiting for the year they execute on their potential. Meanwhile, 2018 saw an impressive underdog run from Team UK, several of whose players subsequently joined the Overwatch League for Season Two.