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ESPORTS HUDDLE: ‘OVERWATCH’ LEAGUE REVEALS FULL 2021 SEASON PLAN

The Overwatch League has revealed the full structure and schedule for its upcoming 2021 season.

208 total matches will be played in 2021’s regular season, with each team scheduled to play 16 regular season qualifier matches as well as any additional matches in the season’s four mini tournaments: May Melee, June Joust, Summer Showdown and Countdown Cup.

The four tournaments will be seeded based on wins and tiebreakers in the qualifying matchups, and will include a Regional Knockout round before culminating in global finals including teams from both regions.

The league’s 20 teams have been split into two regions, East and West. The East region will compete in China and South Korea and includes the Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, Los Angeles Valiant, New York Excelsior, Philadelphia Fusion, Shanghai Dragons and Seoul Dynasty.

The West region includes the rest of the league, the Atlanta Reign, Boston Uprising, Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, Los Angeles Gladiators, Paris Eternal, San Francisco Shock, Vancouver Titans, Toronto Defiant and Washington Justice and will compete in North America and Europe.

The season opens April 16 with two Western matchups as the Houston Outlaws take on the Dallas Fuel and the San Francisco Shock begin their second-straight title defense season against the Los Angeles Gladiators.

Meanwhile, Riot Games has announced a new initiative designed to help create opportunities for women and marginalized genders in the VALORANT Champions Tour. Dubbed VCT Game Changers, the program has two core tenets: the Game Changers Series, “top tier” event taking place throughout 2021, and the Game Changers Academy, monthly tournaments designed for lower levels of competition. Together the Series and Academy will “supplement the competitive season by creating new opportunities and exposure for women and other marginalized genders within VALORANT esports,” according to the official website. The website states the program is set to kick off sometime in March, but no specific date was given.

Elsewhere in competitive gaming:

Envy Defeats Sentinels in VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers Week 2

The second week of the VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers competition has completed with Team Envy dispatching Sentinels with little trouble, combining a one-map adventure from advancing through the winners’ bracket and sweeping two straight maps to win 3-0. Envy jumped to a seven-point lead in the first map and never looked back, winning the two maps 13-2 and 13-3 respectively. The win earns Envy a spot in the VCT North American Masters event, joining Immortals, XSET, and the same Sentinels team it defeated here. The third week of VCT Challengers begins this weekend.

eUnited Signs New Gears of War Roster

eUnited has announced it will be returning to the competitive Gears of War scene for the first time since 2018. The return for eUnited comes on the heels of format changes for Gears competition, including a return to four-on-four matches. The eUnited Gears roster includes Justin “Kenny Bounce” Kenny, Arody “Praized” Diprea, Victor “Powerz” Mateo and Gilbert “Xplosive” Rojo, a group that has won a combined 56 events in the competitive GoW circuit. No specific timetable has been announced for the organization’s first event back in competition.

2nd Fighting Game Developer Roundtable Filled With New Info

The 2nd Fighting Game Developer Roundtable aired this past weekend, bringing with it a full slate of news and updates across all fighting games. The discussion, attended by representatives from Tekken publisher Bandai Namco, Street Fighter’s Capcom, and King of Fighters developer SNK among others, ranged in topics from the implementation of rollback netcode into current and future games as well as upcoming additions to multiple games. Announcements included Arc System Works revealing I-No as the final character in Guilty Gear Strive’s starting roster, Tekken lead Katsuhiro Harada teasing a new original character of Polish descent for Tekken 7, and a collaboration between SNK and Arc System Works to bring a character from the Guilty Gear universe to Samurai Shodown as part of the game’s third season pass.

Photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

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