It’s a special time of year with the Overwatch League Opening Weekend on the horizon. From February 8, we’ll have our first look at numerous structural changes to the League since last year and chance to watch all the highly anticipated matchups.
And so to refresh your memories before it all kicks off, we’ve created a handy viewing guide to the Overwatch League’s Opening Weekend.
The Overwatch League’s new format has drawn eyes from just about everyone in esports given the magnitude and manpower put behind this year’s home-away format. The Overwatch League’s entire 2020 season will be broadcasted on YouTube instead of Twitch thanks to a new broadcast rights deal that Activision Blizzard signed with Google and YouTube Gaming.
This switch isn’t localised to just Overwatch League, however. The change has been made across all Activision Blizzard esport titles. And despite a few technical difficulties on-site, the YouTube viewing experience worked well for the opening of the Call of Duty League.
The Overwatch League’s opening weekend will kick off in New York City, hosted by the New York Excelsior, with the evening later giving way to matches in Dallas, Texas, hosted by the Dallas Fuel. This year, “Homestands” will occur in two different cities on the same weekend so at times things will get a little tricky to keep track of.
Luckily the Overwatch League’s website will convert the match times to your local timezone, and you’ll find detailed information listed below each match with its’ local start time.
Opening Day of the Overwatch League
The first match of the season is the Toronto Defiant versus the Paris Eternal beginning at 2 PM EST at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The Defiant has gone through countless iterations of their roster throughout 2019, but the current Canadian talent within their team in addition to recruits Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson and Kristian “Kellex” Keller place them in a favorable position this season.
The Paris Eternal made a few decisive pickups in the off-season, most notably the former Korea Contenders DPS players Ki-hyo “Xzi” Jung and Yeong-han “Sp9rk1e” Kim. The latter isn’t eligible to play in the Overwatch League until May, so Xzi will most likely pair up with Terrence “SoOn” Tarlier in the beginning weeks.
Match two will be the London Spitfire versus the New York Excelsior on their home turf kicking off at 4 PM EST. This match is a must-win for the NYXL given that it is the first game of the season at their Homestand, and more than that, their roster consists of major heavyweight talent. The London Spitfire opted to bring fresh faces into the 2020 season dropping the majority of their roster and picking up Contenders players like Se-won “BERNAR” Shin and Tae-hoon “Fuze” Kim from the Fusion University.
In the evening, the League heads West and picks up again in Dallas Texas for the second set of matches on opening night. The Dallas Fuel Homestand is being hosted at the brand new Arlington Esports Stadium, a step up from last year’s Allen Event Center where the Fuel held the first-ever Homestand in Overwatch League history.
The first match in Dallas will be the Los Angeles Gladiators facing off against the Vancouver Titans at 3 PM MT. The match could go either way with the L.A. Gladiators boasting Overwatch World Cup tank player Indy “SPACE” Halpern and former London Spitfire DPS player Kim “birdring” Ji-hyeok. On the other hand, the Vancouver Titans not only pulled Chan-Hyung “Fissure” Baek out of retirement but took legend Jehong “ryujehong” Ryu from the Seoul Dynasty.
The last match of opening day will be the Los Angeles Valiant versus the Dallas Fuel at 5 PM MT, and as it stands, both teams are rated to be in the lower section of power rankings. The Dallas Fuel picked up Youngjin “Gamsu” Noh from the Shanghai Dragons in the off-season along with Kim “Doha” Dong-ha from Korea Contenders team Element Mystic.
The L.A. Valiant made quite the number of acquisitions so far this year snatching up five Contenders players in the off-season. The young talent pool consists of players from numerous regions around the world which will make for a rocky transition period. The team also recently added Rick “GiG” Salazar, Jae “RaiN” Ho Park, and Kai “KSP” Collins in 2020 making it doubtful that we will see these players on stage during the opening weekend.
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!
Sunday will begin at 11 AM EST in New York with the London Spitfire taking on the Paris Eternal, followed by the Boston Uprising facing the New York Excelsior at 1 PM EST. The Boston Uprising is going to struggle against the powerhouse that the NYXL has prepared for this season, but the addition of Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy and Sang-beom “Munchkin” Byeon will give the team flexibility in how they approach and engage team fights.
Sunday night ends in Dallas starting at 3 PM MT with the L.A. Valiant attempting to stand tall against the Vancouver Titans. Last year the Titans battered their way through the League as a new team with vicious young talent, and this year they are coming back with some veteran leadership to reclaim their crown. The last match of the night is going to be another brutal battle as the former Overwatch league champions the San Francisco Shock take on Dallas Fuel in their home arena.
The San Francisco Shock was one of the few teams to topple the Vancouver Titans last year up until Stage 2 when the Shock ran away with the rest of the season. The Shock features world-class talent like Matthew “super” DeLisi and Jay “sinatraa” Won, two members of the Team USA Overwatch World Cup team in 2019.
Overwatch League opening weekend has been an arduous wait for many fans, and regardless of the issues that the League has faced in the off-season, all of their teams are working to put on a great show. Week one is a chance for the NYXL to show the world what they can put on for fan experience and a chance for the Dallas Fuel to one-up their Homestand event last year.