After a four year hiatus, the Overwatch World Cup is back, ready to crown a new champion in 2023. The tournament, which assembles the best Overwatch professionals into national teams, will be played for the first time ever on Overwatch 2.
The tournament brings new teams into the fold, new trials, and a spicy wildcard option. It looks and feels a little different from the old system, so we've put together this handy little primer for everything you need to know. Here's the latest on the Overwatch World Cup dates, teams, and more.
When is the Overwatch World Cup 2023?
In the past the Overwatch World Cup usually took place during BlizzCon, the annual convention held by Overwatch’s developer, Blizzard. We know this isn’t the case with the Overwatch World Cup 2023, as the LAN finals are scheduled to take place in Fall 2023.
Before that point, though, there are quite a few hoops for team to jump through.
Firstly, every participating country will need to run trails. These World Cup Trials, which follow a double-elimination format, will take place on the following dates:
- February 10-12
- February 17-19
- February 24-26
Once the trials have concluded, the committees will need to finalise their roster of seven players in April.
In June, teams compete within groups to earn one of 16 spots at the LAN finals, which will be held in Fall 2023.
Where is the Overwatch World Cup 2023?
We do not yet know where the Overwatch World Cup 2023 location will be.
In the previous four years that this tournament has run, the Anaheim Convention Center has played host to it, although that’s largely because the OWWC has always been connected to BlizzCon.
How much is the Overwatch World Cup prize pool?
The prize pool for the next Overwatch World Cup has not yet been revealed by Blizzard.
In the past, the World Cup has followed a prize pool structure unlike any other esport, awarding every team that competes in the finals the same amount of prize money, regardless of how far they progress in the competition.
The 2018 total prize pool, including prize money awarded to teams in the group stages, was $488,000 (£395,000). In the finals, the eight teams who competed at BlizzCon each received $16,000 (£12,900).
This prize pool is likely to increase, but it is unclear at the moment how much it will increase by.
Who are the Overwatch World Cup teams 2023?
For the World Cup trials, we’ll have three conferences, each with two seperate groups of six countries and regions. There’ll be 36 teams taking part in total.
They are as follows:
Europe and Middle East Conference:
Eagle-eyed fans will spot China isn’t listed in any of these conferences and that’s because they automatically qualify for the LAN. This is based on previous performances.
This means there are 15 spots in the LAN up for grabs during the online qualifiers. This is how the remaining spots are distributed over the three conferences:
Overwatch World Cup wild card explained
This year, the Overwatch World Cup has a wild card route. This means that, in addition to the 36 countries noted above, four wild card slots will be opened for teams to compete in.
More details of how this will work will be published in February.
How do I watch the Overwatch World Cup?
The Overwatch World Cup is broadcast live on the Overwatch Twitch channel.
Those who own Overwatch were also given the choice during this year’s tournament to watch it through the Overwatch World Cup Viewer. This is a broadcast service that allows you to watch the games live in-game, via any perspective you want, including bird’s-eye view, worm’s-eye view, or from a first or third-person view of any player competing.
Who are the previous Overwatch World Cup winners?
The South Koreans have the most Overwatch World Cup titles having won the first three tournaments in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In 2019, however, they could only manage third.
The current World Cup champions are the USA who managed to put an end to South Korea’s dominance after defeating them in the semi-finals.
They were then triumphant over the Chinese to secure the title. Their winning roster contained three members of the Overwatch League champions San Francisco Shock.
The USA’s entire Overwatch World Cup winning roster was:
- DPS: Corey ‘Corey’ Nigra
- DPS: Kyle ‘KSF’ Frandanisa
- DPS: Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won
- Tank: Indy ‘SPACE’ Halpern
- Tank: Matthew ‘Super’ DeLisi
- Support: Grant ‘Moth’ Espe
- Support: Shane ‘Rawkus’ Flaherty
For the next World Cup, the South Koreans will likely be the favourites again due to their massive player pool and massive presence in the Overwatch League.
However, with the changes to the Overwatch esports ecosystem in recent years, who knows what might happen. Only time will tell.