Steven R. March 20, 2019
The Overwatch League Stage 1 playoffs kick off soon, but fans have some fun new additions to look forward to for Stage 2.
The rules and regulations for the next stage of the 2019 season were revealed on the official OWL website. The changes will hit a number of different fronts, introducing a new patch, a new schedule, and a fresh lineup of maps.
The biggest change will come with the OWL adopting the 1.34 patch. The highlight of the update is the addition of new hero Baptiste, who is expected to shake up the entire pro Overwatch scene.
This will likely mark the end of the GOATS meta. OWL fans have been frustrated throughout the 2019 season as teams exclusively field lineups of tank and support heroes. Many games have been reduced to mirror matches of Reinhardt, Lucio, Zarya, Moira, Brigette, and D.va, with little variation. Though none of these heroes were outright nerfed, the 1.34 update brings buffs to most DPS heroes which will hopefully result in a more dynamic experience from game to game.
There will also be multiple changes to the league's maps. The order of matches has been changed to control, assault, hybrid, and escort, with an additional control tiebreaker if necessary. This reduces the likelihood of matches being determined midway through the third map.
The map rotation has also been heavily changed, There are once again 12 total maps in the Stage 2 pool with three options for each different game mode. Stage 2 will feature just four of the maps that were used in Stage 1, with new assault map Paris being the most noteworthy addition.
Stage 2 will also introduce new tiebreakers for teams with identical records. This comes following a pair of seeding tiebreakers for the Stage 1 playoffs, which included a coin flip deciding the standing of the Toronto Defiant and Philadelphia Fusion. No hints were given on what will break these ties in the future, with the announcement simply promising more specifics at a later date.
Finally, OWL matches have generally run longer than was initially expected, which has resulted in changes to the league's daily scheduling. New times can be found on the OWL website.
Stage 2 of the 2019 season kicks off on April 4 with a showdown between New York Excelsior and Philadelphia Fusion.