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Tonight is the beginning of the Overwatch League Preseason, a 4-night affair to prepare us for Season 1 that starts on Wednesday, January 10. Below is a run-down of the schedule, or go to the OWL Schedule page to have it convert to your time automatically:

  • Day 1: 12:00 AM Thursday UTC (6:00 pm Wednesday US Central)

  • Day 2: 10:00 PM Wednesday UTC (4:00 pm Thursday US Central)

  • Day 3: 12:00 AM Saturday UTC (6:00 pm Friday US Central)

  • Day 4: 7:00 PM Saturday UTC (1:00 pm Saturday US Central)

These series of games will be played on MLG.tv and on OverwatchLeague.com. It’s possible later seasons will come to Twitch, but for the time being they’ll likely remain on their own sites for monetary reasons.

For those of us who haven’t grown up watching sports, what exactly is a preseason?

Think of the preseason as a practice round before the actual competition begins. For many new players, this will be their first time either playing in front of a crowd or video production, so getting those jitters out of the way is important. It’s also useful for management and owners to see how their players are doing, and it’s a showcase for viewers to get excited about future storylines.

All teams will play four maps per match, with a tiebreaker round played if necessary. Five teams are playing on Day 1, with Philadelphia Fusion dropping out of the preseason for logistics reasons, so let’s see how they stack up and declare my predictions.

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Florida Mayhem vs. San Francisco Shock

Miko’s Prediction: Florida Mayhem (3-1)

Florida Mayhem

Mayhem consists of Misfits players, a team that took second place in EU Contenders Season 1, and four of those players took part in the Overwatch World Cup as part of Team Sweden where they took third. With three very strong DPS between TviQ, Logix, and CWoosH, any team that faces them will certainly have their hands full.

San Francisco Shock

Many feel the San Francisco Shock are going to have a rough go of Season 1 until their two star players, sinatraa and super, are old enough to play this spring, but I have confidence in them, at least a little. It’ll be up to iddqd, Nomy, and the others to hold things together until March.

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Los Angeles Valiant vs. San Francisco Shock

Miko’s prediction: Los Angeles Valiant (3-1)

Los Angeles Valiant

If you’re an Immortals fan, Valiant is your team to watch. While five of them were on the roster that won NA Contenders Season 0, they struggled when it came to Contenders Season 1. Will SoOn and uNKOE, a pair of pick-ups after Rogue disbanded, be enough to push them to the top? It’s hard to say, but if they can fix what went wrong at Contenders, a lack of communication and cohesion, they may surprise us all.

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Seoul Dynasty vs. Shanghai Dynasty

Miko’s prediction: Seoul Dynasty (4-0)

Seoul Dynasty

The all-stars of the all-stars. Made up mostly of players from Lunatic-Hai, Dynasty is already expected to reign supreme for Season 1. Sure they had a few missteps in Season 4 of APEX, but being the two-time back-to-back champions for both APEX and the World Cup still means something. With deadly powerhouses sitting in each role, even support (watch out for tobi’s Lucio aggression), every other organization will need to step up their game if they want to take down the best.

Shanghai Dragons

The Dragons are a bit of an unknown for the West, and I’m going to be harsh. For the most part, their roster is made up of players from middling teams who rarely excelled in tournaments. Undead is arguably their star player, who is pretty good at Soldier: 76 and Tracer, but until we see them in action over the next few days, it’s going to be hard to say what they have up their sleeve. Hopefully they’ll surprise us.