Competitive Play

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Competitive Play is the ranked Play Mode of Overwatch. In this mode, players stay on the same team for a full attack/defense rotation. Players are unable to join another game if they leave their original match before it ends. In addition, continued leaving may result in being restricted from Competitive Play. Departed players are not backfilled.

Players must achieve level 25 before this mode is unlocked.

Scoring[edit | edit source]

  • On Escort maps, the attacking team which escorts the payload the farthest wins. If both teams don't reach their destination, and both teams manage to move the payload the exact same distance or fail to move it at all, the match ends in a draw. If both teams reach their destination, a new rotation is played using the time bank rules.
  • On Assault maps, the attacking team which captures the most control points and/or makes the most progress on capturing a control point wins. If the first attacking team does not capture a given control point but makes at least 33.3% capture progress (equivalent to the first "tick" on the capture meter), then the second attacking team must exceed the first team's capture percentage; otherwise, the second attacking team must reach at least 33.3% progress on that control point. If neither team reaches at least 33.3% capture progress on the same control point or if both teams reach the exact same capture percentage (<100%) on the same control point, the match ends in a draw. If both teams capture both control points, time bank rules are used.
  • On Hybrid maps, the attacking team which achieves the most capture progress on the control point and/or escorts the payload the farthest wins. If neither team reaches at least 33.3% capture progress on the control point or if both teams reach the exact same capture percentage (<100%) on the control point, or both teams capture the control point but then manage to move the payload the exact same distance or fail to move it at all, the match ends in a draw. If both teams escort the payload to its destination, time bank rules are used.
  • Control maps are a best-of-three. Prior to Season 7, it was a best-of-five.

Time Bank[edit | edit source]

If a match is tied after both teams have played on attack and defense, a new attack/defend rotation will start, using the time bank system.

Escort Rules[edit | edit source]

If both teams have escorted the payload to the final objective, the game examines their remaining time:

  • If both Team A and Team B have at least 60 seconds of time remaining, then a new rotation begins with both teams playing a round on attack with their remaining time.
  • If either or both teams have less than 60 seconds remaining, then the team with the least remaining time is granted additional time to bring their new total to 60 seconds. The other team receives the same amount of added time. A new rotation then begins with both teams playing a round on attack with their remaining time.

Whenever a new map rotation starts, the team with the least time remaining starts the next rotation on attack.

For all time banked rotations, no bonus time is added when the payload reaches a checkpoint.

Assault Rules[edit | edit source]

If a match is tied after both teams have played on attack and defense, the game examines their remaining time:

  • If both Team A and Team B have at least 60 seconds of time remaining, then a new rotation begins with both teams playing a round on attack with their remaining time.
  • If Team A has less than 60 seconds of time but greater than 0 seconds, and Team B has at least 60 seconds of time, then a new rotation begins. Team A is granted additional time to increase their remaining time to 60 seconds, and Team B is also granted the same amount of additional time to their bank.
  • If both Team A and Team B have less than 60 seconds of time remaining, then a new rotation begins, but it is the final rotation for both teams—even in the rare case, a team could take both map objectives in less than a minute. The team with the smallest amount of remaining time is granted additional time to increase their remaining time to 60 seconds, and the other team is also granted the same amount of additional time.
  • If Team A has 0 remaining time, and team B has at least 60 seconds of time, then team B plays a final round on attack with their remaining time. If Team B reaches at least 33.3% progress on the first map objective during their remaining time, they win. If they do not, the match results in a DRAW.

Whenever a new map rotation starts and both teams are going to play, then the team with the least time remaining starts the next rotation on attack.

For all time banked rotations, when an attacking team takes the first map objective, they receive an additional 30 seconds.

Hybrid Rules[edit | edit source]

If a match is tied after both teams have played on attack and defense, the game examines their remaining time:

  • If both Team A and Team B have at least 60 seconds of time remaining, then a new rotation begins with both teams playing a round on attack with their remaining time.
  • If Team A has less than 60 seconds of time but greater than 0 seconds, and Team B has at least 60 seconds of time, then a new rotation begins. Team A is granted additional time to increase their remaining time to 60 seconds, and Team B is also granted the same amount of additional time to their bank.
  • If both Team A and Team B have less than 60 seconds of time remaining, then a new rotation begins. The team with the smallest amount of remaining time is granted additional time to increase their remaining time to 60 seconds, and the other team is also granted the same amount of additional time.
  • If Team A has 0 remaining time, and team B has at least 60 seconds of time, then team B plays a final round on attack with their remaining time. If Team B reaches at least 33.3% progress on the first map objective during their remaining time, they win. If they do not, the match results in a DRAW.

Whenever a new map rotation starts and both teams are going to play, then the team with the least time remaining starts the next rotation on attack.

For all time banked rotations, no bonus time is added when a team takes the control point or the payload reaches a checkpoint.

Ranking[edit | edit source]

A player must complete ten placement matches to receive their rank each season. The player's ranking is represented as a Skill Rating (SR) between 1 and 5000, with a higher number representing a higher level of skill. After each match, players will gain or lose a certain amount of SR. The amount gained or lost depends on several factors, including the difference between each team's average SR, the win rates of heroes on a given map, and individual performance. Players do not gain or lose any SR when a match ends in a draw.

Alongside the 1-5000 scale, players are assigned tiers depending on their SR which is publicly displayed on their portrait

Badge 1 Bronze.png Bronze - 1-1499 SR
Badge 2 Silver.png Silver - 1500-1999 SR
Badge 3 Gold.png Gold - 2000-2499 SR
Badge 4 Platinum.png Platinum - 2500-2999 SR
Badge 5 Diamond.png Diamond - 3000-3499 SR
Badge 6 Master.png Master - 3500-3999 SR
Badge 7 Grandmaster.png Grandmaster - 4000+
Badge 8 Top 500.pngTop 500 - Among the 500 best players in that region


Starting from Season 6, players in Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond will be moved into lower skill tiers if they cannot maintain the minimum skill rating for that tier over five games. However, Competitive Points awarded at the end of a season will still be based on the highest tier earned that season. Additionally, players in Diamond, Master, and Grandmaster tiers that have not completed 5 matches in 7 days time will lose 25 SR every 24 hours, until they reach 3000 SR or complete the requisite number of matches. Playing a match now increases the time till decay by 36 hours.

The following restrictions apply when entering Competitive as a group:

  • The SR of each group member must be within 1000 (positive or negative) of all other group members ranked at Diamond or below, within 500 of all members ranked at Master or above and within 250 of all members ranked at Grandmaster.
  • Players who have not completed their placement matches may not group up with any player at Diamond tier or above.

Top 500[edit | edit source]

At some point during each season, the Top 500 system starts.[1][2] After that point, if a player manages to attain a Skill Rank in the top 500 of all ranked players within their region (PlayStation 4 and Xbox each count as a region) and has played 50 or more competitive games that season, they will achieve Heroic status (represented by a special icon), as well as a player icon and an animated spray.

Additional requirements for Top 500[edit | edit source]

As of patch 1.25.0.1 from June 26, 2018, PC players must have Blizzard SMS Protect enabled on their account to be eligible for the Top 500[3]. It should also be noted that to be eligible, players need to play 50 competitive games after they have enabled SMS Protect.

Also, even though it isn't specified on any official source, players are required to be at least Diamond rank (minimum 3000 SR) to be eligible. This has been verified with the leaderboard from the Competitive Arcade modes.

Lastly, you will drop out of the Top 500 if you don't play at least one competitive game for 7 days in a row[4], even if, according to your SR, you should still be on the leaderboard. This also happens in Competitive Arcade modes, even though there is no SR decay in those modes. If you play one game after dropping out, you will be back in the Top 500 (assuming your SR is still high enough).

Seasons[edit | edit source]

There are four competitive seasons per year in Overwatch. The length of a season began at two and a half months, with a two week offseason. Starting with Season 6, this has changed to a two month season with a few days offseason. At the end of every season, rewards are distributed based on the player's rank. At the beginning of each season, players must play a set of ten placement matches to calibrate their first rating.

Season Start Date End Date Top 500 Start Date Notes
1 Jun 28, 2016[1] Aug 17, 2016[5] Jul 26, 2016[2] Had a 1-100 skill rating scale, no tiers, and a Sudden Death system. During Sudden Death, another abbreviated round was played, with the attacking team chosen by a coin flip. The attackers had to capture or escort the payload to the first point within 1 minute and 45 seconds.[1]
2 Sep 02, 2016[6] Nov 24, 2016[7] Sep 19, 2016[8]
3 Dec 01, 2016[7] Feb 21, 2017[9]
4 Feb 28, 2017[9] May 28, 2017[9]
5 June 1, 2017 August 28, 2017
6 September 1, 2017 October 28, 2017 From now, seasons will have 2 month durations instead of 3 months.
7 November 1, 2017 December 29, 2017
8 Jan 1, 2018 Feb 25, 2018
9 Feb 28, 2018 Apr 28, 2018
10 May 1, 2018 July 1, 2018
11 July 02, 2018 Aug 28, 2018

Arcade modes seasons[edit | edit source]

Starting with Copa Lùcioball, introduced with the Summer Games 2017 event, Blizzard started adding Competitive Arcade modes from time to time. Usually the season for a Competitive Arcade mode lasts about 3 weeks.

The rewards for Competitive Arcade modes differ from those from regular Competitive. As the seasons are shorter (as well as the matches duration), you earn less Competitive Points per win and less Competitive Points for your rank at the end of the season.

It should be noted that Blizzard has never released exact end dates for the seasons. When accompanying an event, the season should end when the event ends, however when no event is involved, the end date is not known (but is usually about 3 weeks after the start of the season).

Mode Season Dates Notes
Copa Lùcioball 1 Aug. 2017 Introduced with the Summer Games 2017 event.
Competitive CTF 1 Feb./Mar. 2018 Introduced with the Lunar New Year 2018 event.
Competitive 6v6 Elimination 1 Apr./May 2018 Was not part of an event.
Competitive Deathmatch 1 May/June 2018 Introduced with the Anniversary 2018 event.
Competitive 3v3 Group Elimination 1 June/July 2018 Was not part of an event. Introduced with the Looking For Group (LFG) feature.

You had to be in a group of 3 players to be able to queue for the mode.

Copa Lùcioball 2 Aug. 2018

Rewards[edit | edit source]

At the end of each season, all players who have completed the season's ten placement matches receive a season-exclusive player icon and spray. Players who finish a particular season with a Heroic rank also receive an animated version of that season's spray, and a season-exclusive Hero player icon.

Ten Competitive Points are awarded for winning a match in Competitive Play, and three are awarded for tying. Players also receive Competitive Points at the end of each season based on the highest rank they achieved that season.[5] These points can be used to unlock special cosmetic items, such as Golden Weapon skins.

Season 1:

Skill Rating 0-39: 10 Competitive Points
Skill Rating 40-45: 20 Competitive Points
Skill Rating 46-49: 40 Competitive Points
Skill Rating 50-52: 60 Competitive Points
Skill Rating 53-55: 80 Competitive Points
Skill Rating 56-59: 120 Competitive Points
Skill Rating 60-64: 200 Competitive Points
Skill Rating 65+: 300 Competitive Points

Season 2 - 5:
Badge 1 Bronze.png Bronze - 100 Competitive Points
Badge 2 Silver.png Silver - 200 Competitive Points
Badge 3 Gold.png Gold - 400 Competitive Points
Badge 4 Platinum.png Platinum - 800 Competitive Points
Badge 5 Diamond.png Diamond - 1200 Competitive Points
Badge 6 Master.png Master - 2000 Competitive Points
Badge 7 Grandmaster.png Grandmaster - 3000 Competitive Points

Season 6 onwards:
Badge 1 Bronze.png Bronze - 65 Competitive Points
Badge 2 Silver.png Silver - 125 Competitive Points
Badge 3 Gold.png Gold - 250 Competitive Points
Badge 4 Platinum.png Platinum - 500 Competitive Points
Badge 5 Diamond.png Diamond - 750 Competitive Points
Badge 6 Master.png Master - 1200 Competitive Points
Badge 7 Grandmaster.png Grandmaster - 1750 Competitive Points

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In Season 1, one competitive point was rewarded for each win. With the start of Season 2, all awarded competitive points were multiplied by 10, as well as the prices for Golden Weapons, to allow for partial rewards in the case of ties.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Welcome to Competitive Play, Play Overwatch.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2016-07-29, Overwatch Top 500 now live, Overwatch Forums. (Archived using the Wayback Machine.)
  3. 2018-06-26, June 26, 2018 Patch Notes, Play Overwatch.
  4. Welcome to Season 2 of Competitive Play, Play Overwatch.
  5. 5.0 5.1 The First Season of Overwatch Competitive Play Ends Soon, The Escapist.
  6. 2016-09-01, Welcome to Season 2 of Competitive Play, Play Overwatch.
  7. 7.0 7.1 2016-10-25, Season 3 Competitive Changes on PTR, Battle.net forums.
  8. 2016-09-19, Top 500 for Competitive Out, Reddit.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 2017-02-21, Season 3 Ending Soon, Battle.net Forums. Accessed on 2017-02-21

External links[edit | edit source]

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