With one full week in the books, Overwatch League is officially off the ground! The first week featured a handful of exciting matchups and performances, including a memorable back-and-forth between the Fuel and Dynasty on Temple of Anubis and Pine’s insane control point dominance. Teams like the Fuel and Outlaws fell noticeably short of their goals, while other sides like the Valiant showed they are more than capable of punching above their weight.
Week 2 will be headlined by clashes between several of the remaining undefeated sides. Thursday will see Excelsior and Valiant meeting up while the Fuel will look to get back on track against heavy favorites Spitfire on Friday. The Spitfire will once again be tested on Saturday when they face-off against fellow undefeated side Valiant.
This list is an honest attempt at assigning ordinal ranks to the league’s 12 teams based on their recent string of performances. As the season moves forward, a team’s overall record or division rank will not factor into the power rankings as much because they do not necessarily capture the recent form of a team and may not be as useful in predicting short-term performance. All stats are provided courtesy of Winston’s Lab.
1. Seoul Dynasty | 2-0
Was there any doubt? The Dynasty came away from opening week with two wins and just a single map loss to Dallas on Junkertown. Unfortunately for Dynasty fans, they are most likely going to have to wait until Week 3 before the team sees its next true challenge against New York, or, as the rest of the Overwatch world sees it: Fleta versus Pine, Round 2. Until then, the best thing that Seoul can do is make quick work of Florida and Boston. I would particularly like to see the Dynasty perform at a higher level coming out of the gates this week after looking somewhat beatable in their previous first maps. Many analysts have been praising the Korean teams for their ability to adapt to their opponents, but the Dynasty need to get in the habit of setting the pace from the start.
Week 2 Opponents: Mayhem, Uprising
2. London Spitfire | 2-0
London surprised many when they marched out with a married roster this week after Bishop had initially suggested the Spitfire would be keeping the GC Busan and C9-Kongdoo rosters separate. Judging by the early results, it looks to have been the right call. I was a little surprised that London stuck with the core six of Fury, Gesture, Profit, Bdosin, Birdring, and Nus throughout the entire week and am curious to see if we’ll see someone like Rascal or Fissure make an appearance in Week 2. The Spitfire finished their first two matches winning 72.8% (78-29) of team fights, while the Dynasty ended the week winning 60% (78-52) of theirs. And while it’s not enough to catapult London to the top spot this early, I do think it’s telling how definitively they dispatched of opponents.
Week 2 Opponents: Fuel, Valiant
3. LA Valiant | 2-0
The Valiant were one of my favorite teams from the preseason and now, my entirely-too-early prediction is that they – and not the Fuel – will be the ones to challenge Seoul for the division. You can call it an overreaction to one week, but the fact is the Valiant have been one of only two teams to look both dominant and consistent across all matches and maps (preseason included) without showing a major flaw or weakness. Fate and Envy have been surprisingly impressive, Kariv and Unkoe are looking like one of the strongest support duos in OWL, and Soon has simply been massive to start the year. The only question that remains unanswered is whether Silkthread and Agilities can make an impact in the second DPS role. Silkthread was terrific in the preseason, but I didn’t see anything from these two last week that truly impressed. With matches coming up against 2 of the other 3 unbeaten teams, Week 2 will be a great time for these guys to prove that they’re for real.
Week 2 Opponents: Excelsior, Spitfire
4. NY Excelsior | 2-0
New York finished Week 1 with a pair of decisive 3-1 victories over Boston and Houston and will face their biggest test yet this Thursday when they go up against the Valiant. New York had several interesting narratives following their roster coming into the regular season, including JJoNaK’s new eligibility and Libero moving back to a DPS role. But it was Pine who stole the headlines with a pair of arguably the greatest hard carries in professional Overwatch history across New York’s two matches. Pine’s McCree finished Ilios with a K/10-D/10, PTK of 23.32-3.11, 50% against the Uprising and 21.58-6.47, 50% against the Outlaws. Think about how ridiculous 50% team kill participation is at the professional level. While I’m excited about their matchup with the Valiant this week, I think that it will tell us more about LA than New York. The Valiant already look to be hitting their stride whereas it feels like we’re seeing great individual hero play with Excelsior but not necessarily a high level of cohesion and team play. Watch out once these players become more comfortable and familiar playing with one another.
Week 2 Opponents: Valiant, Gladiators
Dallas Fuel | 0-2
It wasn’t the start to the season that the Fuel were looking for, and their Week 2 schedule isn’t going to be letting up with matches against the Spitfire. and Outlaws. There has also been some recent speculation that Fuel players are unhappy with the shot-calling from their tanks. Sprinkle in the fact that Dallas can’t play dive (or counter it) and you’ve got yourself a full-on mess. Effect had a pair of very up-and-down performances during Week 1. He was strong in many spots against the Dynasty, but came back to Earth a bit in the Valiant match with more average Tracer and Widowmaker play. His lone-wolf approach to Tracer was more than enough firepower in Contenders, but the vast upgrade in talent throughout OWL makes hard carrying in that role far more difficult. Dallas really needs to figure out how to incorporate a second DPS and get their tanks into aggressive positions to help focus targets for Effect. But by far Dallas’ biggest question mark for me was Mickie’s Dva play – especially against Valiant. In 43 minutes on the hero, Dallas won only 37% of those team fights and Mickie’s Dva finished as the lowest rated hero play of all those who qualified.
Week 2 Opponents: Outlaws, Spitfire
6. LA Gladiators | 1-1
I really want to move the Gladiators into the five spot, but am willing to give the Fuel one more week to flip the script on their poor first week performance. It’s also tough to figure out what to do with the Gladiators after an opening slate that saw them take on both the best team and the worst team in the league. The Gladiators completely rolled the Dragons 4-0 (as they should have), winning 30 of 38 total team fights but came away on the other end of that score line against Seoul. The Gladiators were actually far more competitive against the Dynasty than 4 map losses would suggest, matching the league’s top team in team fight wins over the course of the first two rounds before Seoul finally pulled away on Ilios. I think we’ll learn a lot more about LA this week when they take on Philadelphia and New York – two sides that are much closer in quality to the Gladiators than either of their first two opponents.
Week 2 Opponents: Fusion, Excelsior
7. Philadelphia Fusion | 1-1
Despite not participating in the preseason, Philadelphia opened up regular season play on the right foot and there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about their performance. Of course, everyone is talking about Poko’s Dva play, and rightfully so. Along with Fragi, the Fusion tanks did such a great job of making space and creating backline havoc against Houston. Carpe was also very strong, but it was Shadowburn who actually surprised me the most. His Genji play against Houston was methodical, expertly choosing when to play aggressively and when to back off. His Dragonblades also seemed to find top value with nearly every use. I’ve criticized Shadowburn in the past for his limited hero pool, like back in early FaZe days when he was forced to run Dva to little success in the tank meta. But the Genji specialist made it abundantly clear that he’s been putting in time on new heroes in the offseason and his Pharah has really emerged as a top-tier hero pick over the last few months.
Week 2 Opponents: Shock, Gladiators
8. Houston Outlaws | 0-2
Like division rivals Dallas, Houston looked nothing like the team we were expecting to see. Also like Dallas, I thought the Outlaws had a very difficult time both countering aggressive dive comps and running one themselves. LiNkzr’s Tracer play has not been effective either, and so Houston looks much more confident when he can swap his Tracer out to play Widow or McCree into a mirror or comparably slower comp. If you want to see a great example of this, re-watch Houston and New York on Junkertown and pay attention for the stark difference in the Outlaws’ success before and after New York completed the streets phase on attack. Prior to the switch, Houston put up very little resistance until right before the payload hit Point B. The Excelsior DPS, along with Mano, were constantly giving Bani fits. But once Excelsior captured Point B, Saebyeolbe switched off Tracer for McCree and Libero traded his Genji for Junkrat. Houston then put up a strong final point hold. When it was Houston’s turn to attack, Saebyeoble moved onto Widow while Libero stuck with Junkrat. New York’s lack of mobility during this time allowed LiNkzr to shine on Widowmaker and McCree without having to worry much about flankers or dives, making Bani’s life much easier as well. It’s very likely that Houston will be going up against a Dallas side this week that won’t employ a dive approach – If LiNkzr keeps up his Widow and McCree play, look for Houston to deliver the upset.
Week 2 Opponents: Dragons, Fuel
9. Boston Uprising | 1-1
Boston are probably destined to be a middle-tier team by season’s end and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing – especially when you consider how fans reacted to their roster announcements. This is a team who has clearly distanced themselves from the bottom quarter of the league, but I don’t think that anyone really sees them as having the quality to challenge for a spot in the top half. Whisperings from early scrims singled out Striker and Gamsu as the bright spots for this young roster, but it was actually DreamKazper who stood out the most to me in Week 1. Boston really needs to come out of their Week 2 match against the Shock with a win to further solidify their middle-of-the-pack standing.
Week 2 Opponents: Dynasty, Shock
10. San Francisco Shock | 1-1
The Shock came away from opening week with a win, albeit one that came at the expense of Shanghai. And then there was Overwatch League’s opening match between the Shock and Valiant, which might have been the quickest 4-0 drubbing I’ve ever seen. Sometimes, a 4-0 score line won’t do a tightly contested match true justice (see: Dynasty versus Gladiators). Other times – as is the case here – the 4-0 map score tells you everything you need to know about how handedly LA dispatched of their “rivals.” One of Shock’s biggest problems has been their continued reliance on Babybay to carry team fights – something that many pointed out early in the preseason. Not only will Danteh need to pick up some of the load going forward, but the Shock also need to think about how passively they have been approaching team fights in general. San Francisco’s first inclination always seems to be counter-diving the opposing tanks that are trying to pressure Babybay, but one of the things that we are quickly learning in this league is that the “passive play, counter the enemy dive” approach is not working at all. Sleepy also needs some coaching and positioning help because his Zenyatta was straight lunch for the Valiant. In fact, he was the first player picked off in nearly 25% of team fights (and that includes both teams).
Week 2 Opponents: Fusion, Uprising
11. Florida Mayhem | 0-2
So about that 6-man roster experiment… The Mayhem are a terrific example of the amount of talent that was brought into and is now concentrated in Overwatch League seeing as to how one of the best teams from the World Cup and European Contenders has been so easily pushed around to this point. I’d say that the Mercy meta isn’t working for this group but I think that there is a more macro-level problem at work here regarding Mayhem’s support play: It’s just not that good. You can also tell that neither Zebbosai nor Zuppeh are comfortable playing Mercy given how evenly her playtime has been split between the two. The good news for fans of the Mayhem is that, after having to go up against Seoul on Wednesday, Florida will be in the running for its first win of the season on Friday against the only team coming in beneath them on this list.
Week 2 Opponents: Dynasty, Dragons
12. Shanghai Dragons | 0-2
You know it’s bad as an Overwatch League team when platinum-rank ladder players are asking where they should submit their resume. Diya and Undead have shown brief flashes, but neither has been consistent enough to make any real impact. Roshan and Xushu have been very underwhelming in the tank department as well, contributing to the lowest combined percentage of kills of any tank pairing in OWL. I thought MG looked much better on Dva than Xushu in Shanghai’s match with the Gladiators and hope that he gets some additional burn moving forward. Let’s all pray that the Dragons make good use of the free agent market when the time comes.
Week 2 Opponents: Outlaws, Mayhem