Confusion and lack of clarity of rules led to the Overwatch Contenders protest.

In a bizarre turn of events, an EU Overwatch Contenders match was abruptly halted after players from both teams protested an administrative decision earlier in the tournament. Players on both Ex Oblivione and 01 Esports refused to play in the lower bracket in protest of an admin decision.

The Overwatch Contenders, currently taking place in the off-season of the Overwatch League, also features a double elimination format. The two teams in question, Ex Oblivione and 01 Esports refused to play their lower bracket match in solidarity with the players of 01 esports who were adversely affected by a previous ruling.

01 Esports and Munich esports faced each other in the upper bracket of the Overwatch Contenders. Munich esports quickly pushed ahead with a 3-0 start, a dominant lead. For the players, the match wasn’t over as they had been informed previously that the series was a first-to-four series.

The series continued with 01 Esports winning the next two maps, almost scripting their comeback. But that’s when things started to go awry.

But was it really first-to-four?

Overwatch Contenders Protest for the OWWC EU match in the upper bracket final. Munich esports faced 01 esports and they took a 3-0 lead, but 01 esports came back with two maps of their own.
Overwatch Contenders team protest. Screengrab via Liquipedia

Usually, Overwatch matches grand finals are the best-of-seven series and most of the other matches are Bo3 or bo5s. That is why a player from Munich esports decided to specifically ask the admins about the format, and they confirmed it is a first-to-four format. Not thinking more about it – after all the admins had confirmed – the players set out to compete. 

But after the score reached 3-2, the admins took the players in a call and declared the format was a Bo5 and the first team to reach three maps, in this case, Munich esports, was the winner. 

One of the players posted a screenshot of the Discord chat on Twitter.

Admins enforce ‘new rule’ mid-series

There’s also an audio clip of the Discord call by an account named Amir, presumably the coach of 01 esports. 

The now reuploaded audio file shows an admin admitting that the players asked about the series format. One of the players from Munich esports confirmed he had asked about the match format on the previous night, and the admins confirmed that their remaining matches (which includes the upper bracket finals, the lower bracket finals and the Grand Finals) are all best-of-seven series. 

The next match for 01 esports was against Ex Oblivione – the two teams however coordinated to strike in protest of the decision.

The Ex Oblivione team owner also posted a Twitlonger highlighting the incident and pointing out how staff did not reply to repeated queries. 

The two lower bracket teams decided to not play their match in protest. Overwatch 2 fans went to social media and very soon the #ContendersStrike was trending on Twitter. 

The official Overwatch Contenders twitter handle later revealed that the series would continue as a best-of-four series.

The two teams will play out their match on July 29 and the winner will go on to the Grand finals of

Stay tuned to esports.gg for the latest Overwatch 2 news and updates.

Rohan - Content Editor

Rohan

Content Editor | Twitter: @rohan_esports | Twitch: rohan_3105

Started esports with Dota, moved to CS, then OW, back to Dota 2 and now a bit of Valorant. I love city-building games, have spent hours in Cities:Skylines only to have the traffic defeat me. Love travelling, an admirer of fine movies, writing a sci-fi novel in spare time and coding (Javascript)