The 2019 Overwatch League awards season is quickly coming up and the league announced that they will be expanding their season awards from the original three of last year to five total categories this season. The Dennis Hawelka Award, Overwatch League MVP, and Grand Finals MVP all make their returns with the additions of Role Stars and Rookie Of The Year. These are another way that Overwatch League is successfully modeling their league after major traditional sports leagues. The season awards are a fun way to celebrate the on-stage and off-stage impact the players have made throughout the season.
The Dennis Hawelka Award
A personal favorite category and one that is extremely important to the overall league. A way to honor the late Dennis "Internethulk" Hawelka's legacy in Overwatch and the contributions he made to the game and the community as a whole. The winner is a player who carries on the tradition of being a shining example of what a professional should be. It is awarded to someone who is a positive influence both on the stage and off, a light in the organization. It's no surprise Dallas Fuel's Mickie received the award last year.
Each team gets to nominate their own candidates and the League Office will select the winner. The winner of this great award will be presented on Friday, August 30th during the play-in tournament.
This is a category that closely resembles many traditional sports' awards such as All-NBA and All-Pro (NFL). This is a particularly exciting award because it will honor the best of the best throughout the entire league. Role Stars will consist of the best four players at their respective roles (Damage, Tanks, Support) for a total of 12 Role Stars for the 2019 season. It's the most exciting new addition to the season awards and will be an award that will continue to have an impact overall on the league as it keeps evolving.
The roster will be decided by general managers, head coaches and broadcast talent with the winner announced on the second day of the play-ins on Saturday, August 31st.
Rookie Of The Year
This is a category that obviously wouldn't have made sense last year as "technically" the entire league consisted of rookies. This should be a fun award with so many top candidates for it. You could pick half of the Vancouver team if you want. Like the inaugural season MVP last year, whoever receives this award will be the first in OWL history and that's a pretty neat title to hold.
The winner will be decided by head coaches, general managers, broadcast talent, and the media and will be announced at the start of the double-elimination playoffs on Thursday, September 5th.
Overwatch League MVP
It's the coveted title to hold and one that will cement the player's legacy in the OWL for years to come. Jjonak of the New York Excelsior made history last year with the first ever MVP award and this year, the league has five finalists all hoping to be part of that history. The MVP award is given to the player that has been the most valuable on their team which typically translates to best player in the league for the given season. Overwatch continued to celebrate Jjonak's success with a a custom Zenyatta skin honoring his MVP award and this year's MVP will likely be getting the same treatment.
The General Managers, head coaches, and media will decide the MVP along with the fans who make up 25% of the general vote. The 2019 Overwatch League MVP will be crowned on Thursday, September 5th.
Grand Finals MVP
The Grand Finals MVP is the last award for the season and arguably one of the most satisfying. Given to the player with the most impact made in the Grand Finals, this award can be looked at as one of the most important and fulfilling for a player's career. It simultaneously means they helped their team become the best of the best and they were a key component in their team's success. Overwatch is a team game, but shining stars make a huge impact for their team and winning Grand Finals MVP is one of the greatest honors a player can receive. London Spitfire's Profit received the award last year, and if they can make a run again, it's entirely possible it could happen again.
The winner will be announced on Sunday, September 29th during the conclusion of the Grand Finals in Philadelphia.
Overwatch League is special in the way it models itself on traditional sports leagues. It's one of the major factors in my love of the league and Overwatch in general. I also think it's an important model to have as the league continues to evolve and build something that can be sustained for many years to come. With the season awards (and the new additions), the league continues to to make strides and evolve. Who will be honored to hoist that MVP trophy up? Who will be awarded for their positive contributions to their team, community, and the league? This awards season is going to be incredible and will help contribute to the lasting success of Overwatch League as a whole.