Overwatch

Overwatch League 2021 Postseason: When is It, How to Watch, Prize Pool, Map Pool

The Overwatch League 2021 postseason begins with play-in matches Saturday, Sept. 4
The Overwatch League 2021 postseason begins with play-in matches Saturday, Sept. 4 / Photo courtesy of the Overwatch League

The Overwatch League's postseason map pool will be incredibly familiar to anyone who watched the recent 2021 Countdown Cup. The postseason map pool is nearly identical, with only two differences from the August tournament.

Control will be retaining all five of the maps used in the Countdown Cup: Busan, Ilios, Lijang Tower, Nepal, and Oasis. Escort maps will see Havana and Route 66 once again while Dorado replaces Rialto, a popular escort selection throughout the Countdown Cup. The postseason, like the Countdown Cup, will make use of Numbani and Kings Row again. Unlike the Countdown Cup, the OWL postseason will see the return of Eichenwalde as the third map in the rotation. Finally, the three assault maps from the Countdown Cup will remain the same for the postseason: Hanamura, Temple of Anubis, and Volskaya Industries.

Overwatch League Postseason Map Pool

Overwatch League 2021 postseason Hero Pool

There will be no hero pool for the OWL 2021 postseason.

Overwatch League 2021 Postseason Prize Pool

The Overwatch League 2021 playoffs have a $3.25 million prize pool, the winner will be awarded $1.5 million with the runner-up receiving $700,000. The rest of the teams will receive varying amounts of prize money. The distribution is broken down below:

Overwatch League 2021 Playoffs prize pool
A breakdown of the prize pool for the Overwatch League 20211 Playoffs / Photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

When Does the Overwatch League Postseason Begin?

The Overwatch League postseason begins on Saturday, Sept. 4 with play-in matches. Two weeks later, on Saturday, Sept. 16, the OWL Playoffs kick-off.

Play-in Matches

Before the OWL Playoffs can begin six North American teams and three Asia-Pacific teams will have to face off in single-elimination regional play-in matches. The matches will determine an additional three teams, two NA and one APAC, that will compete in the playoffs.

The six teams competing for two playoff spots in NA are #9 Boston Uprising, #8 Paris Eternal, #7 Toronto Defiant, #5 Houston Outlaws, and #4 San Francisco Shock. In APAC, the three teams competing for just one spot are #5 Hangzhou Spark, #4 Philadelphia Fusion, and #3 Seoul Dynasty. The format for the play-in games are as follows, with the winner of each match being the first team to three map wins:

Playoffs

The three play-in winners will earn a spot in the playoffs and be seeded according to the Overwatch League's seeding rules (see "Playoff Information and Seeding Tiebreakers" section). season placement. The top three seeds in the playoffs; #1 Shanghai Dragons, #2 Dallas Fuel, and #3 Chengdu Hunters will be able to select their first-round opponents.

The playoff bracket will be double elimination, giving every team a chance to bounce back from defeat up until the Grand Finals where, although one team will have yet to lose, it's a winner-takes-all match. Most matches in the playoffs will be first to three maps, like the play-ins, while some matches, including the Grand Finals, are first to four maps.

Like tournaments prior, in each match, the higher-seeded team will choose the first map while the lower-seeded team chooses to attack or defend first. After the first map, the team that just lost will choose the next map with the team that just won choosing their starting side.

How to Watch the Overwatch League postseason?

Once again, the Overwatch League will not be hosting any live spectators for their postseason because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, some OWL fans were anticipating being able to travel to Dallas and Los Angeles and enjoy the playoffs live. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 Delta variant and rise in cases, live spectators are no longer permitted. After over a year of being stuck in a pandemic, fans were given a glimmer of hope, but that hope was dashed on Wednesday as the Overwatch League revised their postseason plans.

Due to COVID-19, the Overwatch League is concerned about APAC teams being able to travel to the United States with their full rosters. Obviously, this would pose a massive disadvantage to APAC teams and it would be ludicrous for the OWL to ask APAC to take such a big risk. Instead, the OWL will conduct playoffs in the same manner as their monthly tournaments, using Hawaii as their postseason hub. Like normal, all games will be livestreamed on YouTube Gaming.

Tune in to the OWL postseason on Sept. 4 to see the play-in matches and Sept. 16 to see the playoffs, all streaming on YouTube Gaming.