The Overwatch League off-season has been a non-stop whirlwind of information, and if you have not kept your eyes peeled for updates over the last three months, then chances are you have missed something.
But we've got you covered -- consider this your all-in-one recap, resource, and guide to the Overwatch League off-season. This article contains: details on the format revamp for Season; a run-down of the new expansion teams, including names, logos, branding, and rosters; and, an up-to-date list of roster changes made to the original 12 OWL teams
Let’s take it from the top: the Overwatch League format revamp. The second OWL season will look a tad different from the first, which is natural because Blizzard added eight expansion teams to the league. The most significant change is the number of matches each team will play.
In Season 1, teams played 40 matches each (or two matches per week), but in Season 2, they will only play 28 regular season matches, meaning that teams could play zero, one, or two series per week. This change has been widely praised because it reduces the pressure on players and staff, as well as affords them more opportunities to visit their home cities during the season.
Stage playoffs will take place following the first, second, and third stages of Season 2, and they will now include eight teams. The divisional leaders will be seeded into #1 and #2 slots, followed by the next top six teams in the overall standings to create a seeded playoff bracket.
Next, two additional teams will qualify for season playoffs. Divisional champs and the next four teams in the overall standings will automatically qualify, while two more teams will qualify through a play-in tournament between the 7th through 12th placed teams. The tournament will take place after Stage 4.
As aforementioned, the League has added eight new cities for 2019: Atlanta, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Washington, D.C.. Atlanta, Paris, Toronto, and D.C. will join the Atlantic Division, while Vancouver, Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou will join the Pacific Division.
Just the Essentials: 28 regular season matches per team (down from 40); expanded stage playoff bracket; eight teams qualify for seasonal playoffs (two through new play-in tournament)
The Overwatch League returns February 14, 2019. By December 1st, all 20 teams must have at least eight players under contract.
Next up, let’s take a closer look at the eight expansion teams. Of the eight, five have now announced team names, logos, and branding, and three have announced rosters, although all teams have had their branding leaked.
Paris Eternal, owned by DM eSports, is France’s first and only Overwatch League team. Eternal boasts an all-European lineup (their roster reveal video even features the caption “Europe, we heard you”) and an intricate, traditional French logo depicting the Gallic rooster. Its colors are blue, burgundy, white, and gold, reflective of the Tricolour Flag.
Roster: Terence “SoOn” Tarlier, George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha, Nicolas “NiCOghd” Moret, Karol “Danye” Szcześniak, Finnbjörn “Finnsi” Jónasson, Roni “LhCloudy” Tiihonen, Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafait, Damien “HyP” Souville, and Harrison “Kruise” Pond.
Staff: Drew McCourt (owner), Michael De Wit (general manager), Julien “daemoN” Ducros (head coach), Félix “Fefe” Munch (player development coach), Joni “Seita” Paavola (strategic coach), Kyle “KyKy” Souder (assistant coach)
Owned by Cox Enterprises and operated by Atlanta Esports Ventures, Atlanta Reign is the second US expansion team. Its colors are red and grey, and its logo depicts a phoenix encased in a royal crest, which Reign says is a nod to both new beginnings and Atlanta’s city seal.
Roster: Daniel “dafran” Francesca, Jeong “Erster” Joon, Ilya “NLaaeR” Koppalov, Seo “DACO” Dong-hyeong, Blake “Gator” Scott, Park “Pokpo” Hyun-jun, Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger, and Petja “Masaa” Kantanen.
Staff: Paul Hamilton (CEO and general manager), Justin Patry (marketing and communications), Brad “Sephy” Rajani (head coach), Dimitri “Silence” Couturet (assistant coach), Cas “Casores” van Andel (player development coach), Danny Mychakov (data analyst), Dongmin Jeong (translator), and Francine “Fran” Vo (streamer).
Similar to Atlanta, Toronto Defiant has a red-grey-black color scheme, and its logo consists of stylized, entwined letters T and D. Defiant is owned by OverActive Media and is operated by Splyce.
Roster: Kang-jae “envy” Lee, Se-hyeon “Neko” Park, Lee “Ivy” Seung-hyun, Lee “Stellar” Do-hyung, Jo “Yakpung” Gyeong-mu, and Go “Aid” Jae-yoon.
Staff: Chris Overholt (CEO and president), Jaesun “Jae” Won (general manager), Beom-joon “Bishop” Lee (head coach), Yun-ho “Bubbly” Cho (assistant coach), Dong-wook “Don” Kim (strategic coach), and Dennis “Barroi” Matz (analyst).
The Chengdu Hunters is one of China’s four Overwatch League teams. It is owned by HUYA Inc., a popular game live-streaming platform in China, and is operated by Royal Never Give Up, a Chinese esports organization known for its success in League of Legends.
Although the team has yet to reveal their roster and staff, they have unveiled their name and branding. Their logo is a fierce-looking panda and their team colors are gold, black, and tan.
The Guangzhou Charge announced their logo and branding on November 10th, but they have yet to reveal a full roster or staff. The team is owned and operated by Nenking Group, a financial and entertainment conglomerate. The team’s logo is a stylized “GZ” for Guangzhou, and its colors are various shades of blue.
Roster: Hong-Jun “HOTBA” Choi, Ou "Eileen" Yiliang, Lee "Happy" Jung-woo, Finley "Kyb" Adisi, Charlie "nero" Zwarg, Oh "Rio" Seung-pyo, Kim "Chara" Jung-yeon, Chen "OnlyWish" Lizhen, Kim "Shu" Jin-seo, and Lee "WonJaeLee" Won-jae.
Staff: Sonny Xiao (CEO), Eddy Meng (COO), and Ethan Liu (general manager).
The Hangzhou Spark is the third new Chinese Overwatch League team. It is owned by Bilibili, a Chinese online entertainment company, and its colors are pink and blue.
Fun fact: originally, the Spark created a poll asking fans to vote on the team's name, and although "Hangzhou Railgun" was the winner, it was ultimately rejected by the Overwatch League. Bummer.
Roster: Xu "guxue" Qiulin, Jeong "NoSmite" Da-un, Kang "Adora" Jae-hwan, Park "Ria" Sung-uk, Park "Bazzi" Jun-Ki, Kim "GodsB" Kyeong-bo, Park "iDK" Ho-jin, An "Revenge" Hyeong-Geun, Cai "Krystal" Shilong, and Yoon "BeBe" Hui-chang.
Staff: Muho "Mark" Lee (head coach), Seung-jun "Sup7eme" Han (assistant coach), Hang "YinDong" Gao (assistant coach)
Vancouver and Washington, D.C. have yet to reveal their names, logos, branding, and so on. Washington revealed in September that Jun-hwa “Janus” Song and Hyeong-seok “WizardHyeong” Kim joined the team as main tank and coach, respectively. Kate Mitchell serves as the team’s general manager, while Kyoung Ey "AVALLA" Kim and Mikael “mkL” Skjønhaug accepted positions as assistant coach and analyst, respectively.
Earlier this week, the names and logos of all but Vancouver were leaked via the Blizzard OWL app. Washington, D.C. will become the Washington Justice and will have a red, white, and blue shield as its logo, and Hangzhou will become the Hangzhou Spark. Their logo is an electrified hand.
(Update: Hangzhou Spark have since revealed their team logo and colors.)
And finally: off-season roster changes are aplenty. Here is a list of Season 1 players who have been released or transferred, organized by team, as well as the new additions to each team. Current as of Monday, November 12 @ 1pm Pacific.
Los Angeles Gladiators:
Luis Galarza "iRemiix" Figueroa released (announcement; comment)
Jun-sung "Asher" Choi released (announcement; comment)
Ted "silkthread" Wang released (announcement; comment)
Chan-hyung "Fissure" Baek transferred to Seoul Dynasty (announcement; comment)
Jang "Decay" Gui-un joins (announcement)
Gye "rOar" Chang-hoon joins (announcement)
New York Excelsior:
Joon-hwa "Janus" Song released; later joins Washington, DC (announcement; comment) (DC announcement)
Yeon-oh "Fl0w3R" Hwang promoted from XL2 Academy (announcement)
Yeon-kwan "Nenne" Jeong promoted from XL2 Academy (announcement)
San Francisco Shock:
Andre "iddqd" Dahlstrom released (announcement; comment)
David "nomy" Ramirez released (announcement; comment)
Daniel Martinez "dhaK" Paz released (announcement; comment)
Dante "Danteh" Cruz transferred to Houston Outlaws (announcement; comment) (comment #2)
Kim "Rascal" Dong-jun promoted from NRG Esports (announcement)
Park "Viol2t" Min-ki joins (announcement)
Myeong-hwan "smurf" Yoo is traded from GGEA for Danteh (announcement)
Connor "Avast" Prince released (announcement; comment)
Woo-yeol "Kalios" Shin released (announcement)
Mikias "Snow" Yohannes released (announcement)
Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov released (announcement; comment)
Jeffrey "blase" Tsang joins (announcement)
Min-seob "Axxiom" Park is promoted from Toronto Esports (announcement)
Kelsey "Colourhex" Birse is promoted from Toronto Esports (announcement)
Cameron "Fusions" Bosworth signs two-way Toronto Esports-Boston Uprising contract (announcement)
Russell "FCTFCTN" Campbell released (announcement; comment)
Matthew "Clockwork" Dias released, becomes staff member (announcement; comment)
Lucas "Mendokusaii" Håkansson released, becomes content creator (announcement; comment)
**Danteh joins (see San Francisco Shock)
Georgii "ShaDowBurn" Gushcha released (announcement; comment)
Jeong-Hwan "DayFly" Park released (announcement)
Joe "Joemeister" Gramano released (announcement)
Elijah "Elk" Gallagher signs two-way Fusion Uni-Philadelphia Fusion contract (announcement)
Heo "Gambler" Jin-woo released, becomes streamer for Gen.G (announcement)
Gi-do "Gido" Moon released (announcement; comment)
Jin-hyuk "Miro" Gong released (announcement)
Seok-woo "Wekeed" Choi released (announcement)
Jae-mo "xepheR" Koo transferred to Florida Mayhem (announcement)
Dae-kuk "KuKi" Kim transferred to Los Angeles Valiant (announcement)
Min-hyuk "Michelle" Choi joins (announcement)
Min-seo "Marve1" Hwang joins (announcement)
Seung-soo "Jecse" Lee joins (announcement)
**Fissure joins (see Los Angeles Gladiators)
Brandon "Seagull" Larned retires to focus on streaming (announcement)
Sebastian "chipshajen" Widlund released (announcement; comment)
Christian "cocco" Jonsson released, becomes assistant coach (announcement)
Won-sik "Closer" Jung joins (announcement)
Richard "rCk" Kanerva joins (announcement)
Shanghai Dragons: joint release announcement / new roster announcement
Junjie "Xushu" Liu released
Wenhao "Roshan" Jing released
Yage "Altering" Cheng released
Zhaoyu "Fiveking" Chen released
Peixuan "Freefeel" Xu released
Junjian "Sky" He released
Gi-hyeon "Ado" Chon released
Dae-min "Daemin" Kim released
Min-seong "diem" Bae joins
Jin-kyeok "DDing" Yang joins
Young-jin "YOUNGJIN" Jin joins
Jun-hwan "GuardiaN" Jo joins
Seong-hyeon "Luffy" Yang joins
Kyung-woo "CoMa" Son joins
Florida Mayhem: joint release announcement
Johan "CWoosH" Klingestedt (comment)
Andreas "Logix" Berghmans (comment)
Tim "Manneten" Bylund (comment)
Sebastian "Zebbosai" Olsson
Aleksi "Zuppeh" Kuntsi
Joonas "zappis" Alakurtti (comment)
Jo "HaGoPeun" Hyeon-woo joins (announcement)
Damon "Apply" Conti signs two-way contract with Mayhem Academy-Mayhem (announcement)
Jun-Soo "Kris" Choi joins (announcement)
Sang-Bum "BQB" Lee joins (announcement)
Sang-Won "Swon" Yoon joins (announcement)
**xepheR joins (see Seoul Dynasty)
Los Angeles Valiant: joint announcement
Stefano "Verbo" Disalvo released (comment)
Seb "numlocked" Barton released (comment)
Finnbjörn "Finnsi" Jónasson released
Christopher "Grimreality" Schaefer (assistant coach) released
Terence "SoOn" Tarlier leaves, later joins Paris Eternal (announcement)
**KuKi joins (see Seoul Dynasty)
Images via Blizzard Entertainment. Logos image via Reddit.