Overwatch Contenders teams “strike” after Blizzard mistake ruins tournament

Overwatch contenders tournament headerBlizzard Entertainment

Teams in the European Overwatch Contenders Summer Series tournament have refused to play after a competitive ruling ended a match prematurely due to a massive miscommunication from Blizzard.

The European Overwatch Contenders Summer Series tournament is now shrouded in controversy due to Blizzard’s backflipping on certain parameters of the tournament.

The European winner’s bracket final between 01 Esports and Munich Esports took place earlier today. Munich had an early lead and went 3-0. However, 01 Esports came back with a late surge to almost even out the match at 3-2. 

The two teams then were brought to map 6 but were quickly pulled back by Blizzard admins, who then announced it was a first-to-three (FT3) series and declared Munich the winners 3-0. However, before this moment, all parties involved were under the impression it was a first-to-four (FT4).

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While official rules stated it was a FT3 series, admins told players it was instead a FT4.

The screenshots reveal that players asked for clarification before the match and were told directly by admins it would be a best-of-seven (FT4).

As a result, teams are now refusing to continue participating in the tournament as a show of solidarity. Fellow contenders team Ex Oblivione — who is set to play the loser of the upper bracket final — issued an official statement online detailing how they are “distraught” about this blunder.

Ex Oblivione then went on to add that this has, in their eyes, “affected the competitive integrity of the tournament” and that they “refuse to continue” their run until these issues are addressed by Blizzard.

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In an interview with The Verge, Aron ‘ANJ’ de Jong, a main support player on 01 Esports, spoke about the drama following the match’s premature end.

“Because of our loss, we had to play against Ex Oblivione in the losers bracket,” he said. “We made an agreement with them that this was unacceptable, and that Blizzard can’t treat the players like this. We agreed with Ex Oblivione to not play the game, but we wanted to make a statement so we decided to play the game but not actually compete.”

For those who tuned in to the broadcast, it was clear that the two teams were not taking it seriously. When the organizers released this, they quickly ended the match.

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Soon after, Ex Oblivione player Helv posted on Twitter a screenshot of a conversation that took place between the two teams and the admin staff. Blizzard threatened to disqualify them on the spot if neither were willing to play properly. 

Following this backlash, Blizzard has come out and attempted to clear up the confusion and released an official statement of their own. They reversed the admin’s decision to terminate the match, with Munich and 01 expected to play out their series from Map 6.

“After investigating the circumstances, we have determined maintaining consistency with our most recent communication to teams, which stated the match was a FT4 series, is the fairest course of action,” they said.

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No teams will be getting disqualified, and the match between 01 Esports and Munich will be played out as the teams were originally told it would.