The Overwatch League's 2021 playoffs haven't started yet, but the league is already looking to the future. With the start of the fifth season, the league has announced its squad building rules for next season.
Overall, there aren't as many changes as fans would expect, but some key figures have changed as a result of the league's transition to the five-on-five competitive system in Overwatch 2.
Teams will need to sign at least six players to the roster, down from the seven required in 2021. Twelve players will continue to be the maximum squad size through 2022.
For the past four years, the Overwatch League has required a minimum salary of $50.000 for all players. Under the new rules, this amount was increased to $50.700 "to reflect a cost of living adjustment based on global inflation rates."
Other key parts of the squad build have remained unchanged since 2021. Seasonal contracts have a minimum duration of one season and include a “one-sided team option” to extend the contract for another season. This basically means that a team can make the first call to extend a player's contract before he becomes a free agent.
Overwatch League teams can sign players on 30-day contracts, provided they already meet the required minimum of six players. As the "squad apocalypse" portion of the 2021 off-season kicks off, fans should watch out for key dates in squad building. Teams can begin trading on September 2021, the day after the 26 Grand Finals take place.
By October 2, teams must extend their existing player contracts or players can become free agents on October 9. Teams can begin signing free agents (players with no purchase fees associated with other league teams) as early as October 10.
Teams must have at least five players by January 3, 2022, and have a "full" six-player roster by March 1, 2022.