Overwatch Rulebook

  • Rulebook

Last Modified: May 12, 2020

These rules are subject to change at the administrator’s discretion. If rules should change, all captains will be notified accordingly.

The Handbook’s General Rules apply to all CEA games, please read them first!

I. Overwatch Overview

  1. Player Eligibility: All players participating in Overwatch competitions must have an active (Americas) account in good standing displayed on the CEA tournament management platform. Only registered team members playing under their own account are allowed to play for a team.
  2. Team Roster Size: A team consists of 6-14 participants. Rules for qualifications for rostered members can be found in CEA general rules.
    1. After the beginning of Regular Season play (Week 1 matches), a player rostered on a team may not transfer to another roster within the same company for the same game without the Game Lead’s approval.
      1. The main circumstance permitting a transfer would be a team losing players and falling below the minimum team size.
      2. Companies with multiple teams playing the same game may have one player on multiple rosters as outlined in the general rules under "Team Eligibility." Being a floater is not considered transferring.
    2. After Week 5, removing players from the roster does not free up additional spots.
  3. Registration: The Overwatch registration fee will be $240 per team. The captain pays this fee during registration on the CEA website.
  4. Game Version: All players must have their game up to date with the latest patch. PC only.
  5. Weekly Structure: 
    1. Monday: Matchups for the following weekend are distributed (assuming all previous round match results have been entered).
    2. Saturday : All matches are played on Saturday starting at 12pm Pacific (3pm Eastern). In the case of either team having a conflict with an Open Division match, the default match time will move to 10am Pacific (1pm Eastern) to accommodate.
  6. Season Format: Exact season format is detailed in the CEA Handbook and is uniform across games based on the number of participating teams. There are currently two stages: Non-elimination Regular Season (~5-8 weeks) and Elimination Playoffs.
  7. Charity Selection: In agreement with Blizzard, the CEA will place the following restrictions on charity selections:
    1. Teams that nominate charities before 2/8 will have their submissions reviewed by Blizzard. Teams may be asked to change their charities after review.
    2. Teams that do not nominate charities by 2/8, or who wish to change their charity after 2/8, will be required to select a charity from a pre-approved list.

II. Rules

  1. Game preparations: It is the responsibility of the team Captains to verify game settings prior to match start. Agreements between the teams/players must be made in writing and saved as a screenshot, or else the game lead will have to assume that it did not happen. The match will be played on a standard competitive ruleset based upon the current season, with the following adjustments made:
    1. Workshop Code:
      1. JS0QV
      2. (86K2F -- Alternate settings for if both captains agree to disable pause on disconnect)
      3. Both of these codes apply all of the following settings except for the Series length and the visibility settings.
    2. Series length:
      1. Pre-Season & Season: Best of Three
      2. Playoffs: Best of Five
      3. Grand Finals: Best of Seven
    3. Visibility: Invite Only (Recommended)
    4. Preset: Competitive
    5. Lobby:
      1. Pause Game On Player Disconnect: Yes
      2. Max spectators may be increased to accommodate more persons following the guidelines provided in the CEA General Rules Handbook.
      3. Data Center Preference: Set to “Best Available” by default, but may be adjusted by team hosting the lobby (see below for hosting rules).
    6. Modes/All:
      1. Kill Cam: Disabled
      2. Skins: Disabled
    7. Maps:
      • All maps are disabled except for the map that is currently selected to be played.
    8. Heroes:
      • All heroes enabled, as in line with the current Open Division ruleset.
  2. Heroes and Role Lock:
    1. Role Lock (2-2-2) is observed in the CEA tournament. There are no additional requirements locking individual players to a specific role during a series of matches unlike OWL rules; players may only change when the lobby allows doing so during the normal course of play.
    2. Hero pools will follow the implementation provided in Open Division and OWL starting in Season 21.
    3. During the playoffs, all heroes will be available for play to match the format observed in Open Division.
  3. Lobby Hosting:
    1. The team that is on the left side of the bracket will be responsible for setting up the lobby by default. If both teams agree, the lobby host duty can be passed off to another player.
    2. During playoffs, the higher seed is the default host for the match.
  4. Map Selection:
    1. Map Pool:
      1. The map pool will consist of all maps in the current ranked map pool.
        1. The Season 20 map pool ended on March 5th, 2020 and was:
          1. Ilios, Oasis, Busan
          2. Anubis, Hanamura, Volskaya
          3. King’s Row, Numbani, Eichenwalde
          4. Dorado, Rialto, Havana
        2. The Season 21 map pool began on March 5th, 2020 and is no longer being observed:
          1. Lijiang, Oasis, Busan
          2. Hanamura, Volskaya, Horizon
          3. King’s Row, Hollywood, Blizzard World
          4. Dorado, Gibraltar, Junkertown
        3. Presently, there is no formal map pool, but Horizon and Paris are not available to be selected.
      2. Swiss + Round Robin Stage:
        1. The first 7 weeks of swiss will follow the Best-of-3 format.
        2. The team on the left side of the bracket will be responsible for hosting the lobby.
        3. The team listed on the left side of the bracket will be responsible for selecting the first map. If applicable for the map type, the team on the right side of the bracket will be responsible for selecting if they would like to Attack or Defend first on the map.
        4. After the initial map, the loser of the previous map gets to select either the the next map to be played, OR if they want to attack or defend first. The winner gets to pick the other, if applicable. In the case of a draw, the team that selects the next map and the team that selects the initial sides will remain the same for the map following the draw.
      3. Playoffs:
        1. In playoffs, the format will become a Best-of-5 format. For the grand finals match, a Bo7 will be used.
        2. The team of the higher seed will be responsible for hosting the lobby.
        3. The team of the higher seed gets to pick the initial control map, and then the following maps will be losing team select map (from the set map pool), and winning team select side (attack/defense), just like in the Bo3 format. The same rules for map selection in a draw are also the same as the Bo3 format.
        4. No maps may be repeated from the pool, unless all maps of that type have already been played.
        5. For the best of 5 format, map order is:
          1. Control
          2. Hybrid
          3. Escort
          4. Assault
          5. Control
        6. For the best of 7 format, the map order is:
          1. Control
          2. Hybrid
          3. Assault
          4. Escort
          5. Control
          6. Hybrid
          7. Escort
          8. Control (In the case of a tie score line)
  5. Substitute Players: There is no limit to the amount of substitutes used from your roster. Substitutes can only join in between maps. If a player disconnects in the middle of a map and is unable to reconnect, the map must be played out without subbing in a new player to fill the empty spot.
  6. Scheduling/Forfeits: The first game of each round must begin at the specified time. See [General Rules] in the handbook for rescheduling rules and post in the #reschedule-reporting channel on the CEA Discord server if a reschedule is agreed upon.
  7. Disconnects: In the case that a player(s) disconnects, the team is allowed to continue to play the match at a disadvantage.
  8. Re-host:A re-host can only be played with prior Game Lead approval. Please contact the Game Lead via Discord to receive approval. In a re-hosted game each participant must choose the same side as they picked at the start of the original match. Disconnects and lag issues will only qualify for a re-host if the issue occurs within the first 60 seconds of the game. In the event of a game server crash, the Game Lead will determine the next steps.
  9. Streaming: While streaming is generally allowed as per the CEA Handbook, CEA matches may not be streamed by any party during official Overwatch League broadcasts.

III. Technical Issues

  1. The default pause hotkey in Overwatch is shift + ctrl + =. Lobby leaders should commit this to memory.
  2. The Lobby Leader will have the ability to pause the game and must do so at the first fair opportunity once the pause request is seen.
    1. A fair opportunity to pause is defined as a time when there is no teamfight occuring. In the case a pause is requested during a teamfight, teams must disengage before pausing, so that players won’t be interrupted in the middle of a fight.
  3. Team that requested a pause must announce the reason before or immediately after the pause.
  4. Each team is granted a total of 10 minutes pause time during the match.
  5. When resuming the game from pause, both teams need to confirm in chat that they are ready to continue.
  6. If total pause time of 10 minutes runs out, the game has to be resumed. If one team refuses to resume the game, the opposing team will receive a default win.
  7. Admins hold the right to request teams to pause during the match in case of any other issues, and the time used to pause the match will not count for the team it was requested to.
  8. If both teams agree, you may disable "Pause Game On Player Disconnect" in the Match/Lobby settings. This will remove the immediate pause if the server detects a player disconnecting. Since this can occur in the middle of a fight, it is not recommended to have enabled in playoffs, but has been enabled due to past issues with disconnect. It may be disabled if both captains agree.

IV. Contact Info

  • Discord Server: discord.gg/cea
  • Email Contacts:
    • Game and Rules related: tournaments@cea.gg
    • Business, money, and sponsorship related: business@cea.gg

Other: administrator@cea.gg

V. Appendix

  • Map Pools:
    • Season 20 (Until March 5, 2020):
      • Ilios, Oasis, Busan
      • Anubis, Hanamura, Volskaya
      • King’s Row, Numbani, Eichenwalde
      • Dorado, Rialto, Havana
    • Season 21 (March 5, 2020 - April 14, 2020):
      • Lijiang, Oasis, Busan
      • Hanamura, Volskaya, Horizon
      • King’s Row, Hollywood, Blizzard World
      • Gibraltar, Dorado, Junkertown
    • As of April 15, 2020, there are no more map pools; however the following maps are excluded from competitive play:
      • Horizon Lunar Colony
      • Paris