Overwatch's big tournaments are always spectacular, and they're more important than ever in a time when no live sports are being shown. The Summer Showdown begins on June 13 and it will absolutely have huge repercussions for the league as it moves forward. Though the format should be fairly familiar for anyone who keeps up with the league, a major change in how heroes are chosen will end up playing a big role in how the finals shake out.
Surprisingly, Blizzard is going to stick with the same formula that brought Overwatch League success last month. The same basic model that was used in May Melee is going to carry over to the Summer Showdown, which means seven teams playing in an Asian Bracket and thirteen teams fighting it out in North America.
North America Tournament Brackets | Credit: overwatchleague.com
What this does mean, though, is that there is still going to be a fight among the North American bracket to see who actually gets to play in the Summer Showdown. All of the teams that are currently in the bracket for Asia are fighting for higher seeds in the tournament - the teams in the North American bracket, though, are fighting to avoid missing the tournament altogether. Getting into the tournament matters quite a bit, though, as the tournament winner is going to receive a bonus to its regular season score.
Asia Tournament Brackets | Credit: overwatchleague.com
OWL Summershowdown - Hero Pool | Credit: overwatchleague.com
The biggest news about the Summer Showdown is that the Hero Pools - a much-maligned addition to this year's season - are finally going away. Though the Pools theoretically existed to keep certain character combinations from breaking the game, they also greatly stifled the sense of creativity that went into team composition. The wildcard sensibilities of the open rosters, though, are going to be back in force soon.
Though Hero Pools are still going to be in place during weeks 19 and 20 (so no D.Va, Brigitte, Echo, or Sombra), they'll be gone for the final weeks of the tournament. This means that the teams who make it to the end are going to have a radically different playing field than those who go out towards the beginning.
The lack of pools will almost certainly have an effect on the teams moving forward, though how things will play out is unknown. For most, though, the lack of pools will be a welcome change.
OWL Summershowdown 2020 | Credit: overwatchleague.com
The fact that Hero Pools are gone and that not every North American team in the bracket is going to make the tournament means that this is definitely going to be a tournament full of surprises. Teams being able to make their ideal compositions and players being guaranteed to get their best characters means that we're going to see an incredibly competitive set of final rounds. As always, the success of this tournament will also play a huge role in what next season's teams end up looking like.
You can watch the Overwatch League 2020 season live on YouTube .