Blizzard is refining the Overwatch League rules to include one additional team in the Finals of each Stage.
The news came to us with an announcement on the Overwatch League website.
Starting now, in Stage 3 of the tournament, the new changes will allow one additional team to qualify for the Stage Playoffs, bumping the count from three to four. The additional match will be played on the Finals Sunday. For the fans, that means two things – more action in Blizzard Arena, sweetening the deal for those who purchased the most expensive tickets, and for those spectating from home, this means more game to watch, and therefore more excitement. For the teams, this means more prize money and more glory. So far, it looks like a win-win.
The rules changes bring one interesting new addition to the OWL ecosystem: the top team loses the bye into the title match. However, they will be allowed to select their first-round opponent. They can choose to match up against any of the lower-ranking teams who also qualify, as long as the first place is secured. This might be nerve-wracking moment for the fans, because the first position might not be locked until the very last day of the Stage.
The website makes this clarification:
‘The tiebreakers will remain the same for Stage Finals qualification:
Stage-only map differential.
Stage-only head-to-head result.
If two teams are tied in record and map differential without having played one another during the stage in question, qualification/seeding will be decided by a single tiebreaker match, with format and scheduling details to be determined.
Stage Finals prizing also will remain the same: the winner takes home $100,000 USD, and the runner-up receives $25,000 USD.’
The goal of the changes is clear – more spectacle. From a fan standpoint, this is always welcome.