Soldier 76 artwork from Overwatch

Trying to make a name for yourself in the esports scene is not the easiest thing to do, and this goes doubly so for Overwatch given the current tournament drought in both US and EU regions. In an effort to combat this problem, and also create a bunch of exciting matches for the rest of us to watch, Blizzard has just announced Overwatch Contenders - a development league for aspiring pro players.

The league is completely open to teams from North America and Europe (with a few extras) as long as all of the players have a Masters rank or higher. You can read more detailed information and all of the rules by heading over to the newly created Overwatch Contenders website, but if you're just looking for the schedule here it is:

Open Qualifier - Two chances to become one of the Top 16 teams to move onto the Group Stage

NA: June 3rd & 4th

EU: June 10th & 11th

Group Stage - Top teams battle to become one of the 8 teams to advance to the playoffs

NA: June 17th & 24th

EU: June 18th & 25th

Playoffs - Final 8 teams battle for the championship

NA: July 1st

EU: July 2nd

Each of these two tournaments will have a prize pool of $50,000. However, the top six teams from the NA region will be joined by established pro teams Envy and Rogue for six weeks of round-robin matches in "Overwatch Contenders Season One". Once all of the dust settles the four best teams will move on to the playoff bracket where they will compete for a 'slightly' larger prize pool, $100,000 to be specific. Small fry when compared to some of the MOBA prize pools, but definitely a solid step forward for the relatively young Overwatch esports scene.

Whether there is going to be an alternative tournament for the EU region, I'm afraid I don't know, but at the very least it seems that Blizzard is willing to foster new talent which is always a good thing when it comes to competition. On a slight side-note, if you consider yourself skilled enough to tackle the very best, you might want to start practicing as team given that the open qualifier is just around the corner!

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