The first seed will no longer get a bye for the first round of matches, but there’s a catch.
The Overwatch League announced earlier today that the format for the Stage Playoffs has been changed to include four teams instead of three. According to the official announcement, the top four teams will compete in two semifinals. The winners will move on to the finals, where the prize money stays the same: $25,000 for second place and $100,000 for the winner.
With #OWL2018 Stage 3, we're making some changes to the way our Stage Playoffs work.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 2, 2018
In an all-or-nothing twist, the first place seed of the stage will have to play in the semifinals. They will, however, have a new power: the top dogs will choose who they face in the semifinals and, by process of elimination, decide the entire seeding of the playoffs. This could result in some interesting strategies from top teams and some major upsets as well. The playoff matches won’t be confirmed until both the top four teams qualify and the number one team is locked in – something that, according to the announcement, could very well be delayed until the last day of a stage.
What remains the same are tiebreaker rules: stage-only map differentials, head-to-head results will remain. If two teams are tied but haven’t played each other this stage, they’ll go up against each other in a tiebreaker match.