Welcome to Overwatch League.
Blizzard’s multi-million dollar Esports venture takes it’s first regular season steps Wednesday night, as Week One kicks off this week. In this space, we’ll rank the top half of the Overwatch League teams after each week and review what they’re doing that makes them so successful.
We don’t have much to work with this week, but we’re using pre-OWL knowledge and preseason data to make these rankings. That unfortunately means the Philadelphia Fusion, who missed the preseason with travel issues, won’t be included in the opening rankings.
It might be pretty predictable at the start, but that’s because we’ve been speculating about these rankings since teams were announced in late 2017. But after one week of games, this list might look drastically different.
Here’s our Six Stack for the opening week:
6: Houston Outlaws
Houston went 0-2 in the preseason, but did as much as an 0-2 team possibly could to climb the rankings. First, they went to a fifth-game tiebreaker against Dallas, setting the tone for what could be the biggest cross-division rivalries. Then they lost 2-1 to Seoul Dynasty in their second appearance, beating the Koreans on Lunar Colony and drawing on Numbani. Houston faces unknown Philadelphia in their opening match before getting a major test against NYXL on Saturday.
5: Los Angeles Valiant
The Valiant are earning sleeper praise heading into the season, and were picked to finish third by my college Collin MacGregor. Flex player Envy dominated the preseason, playing mostly tank but dabbling into Widowmaker and Soldier. My biggest concern is 18-year old GrimReality, who underperformed as DPS in the early goings. It could just be nerves, but the Valiant have tough matchups to start this week in San Francisco and Dallas. Valiant could be one of the first teams to fall out of these rankings.
4: New York Excelsior
NYXL is getting better every day, if not from mechanical skill than just player eligibility. Most of the attention has been on star DPS Fl0w3r, who won’t be eligible until May when the season is nearly finished. But support main JJoNak only turned 18 after the preseason, and those in the know are excited to his debut. JJoNak climbed the Korean competitive ladder as a support main, but this will be his first major foray into Esports. NYXL gets an easy start against Boston before meeting up with Houston.
3: Dallas Fuel
The fan-favorite and proverbial American hope, the Dallas Fuel are as easy a team to root for as any. They have (mostly) likable players, have a cool logo, and are pegged as the team most likely to challenge Korean dominance this season. The team is built on the back of Team EnVyUs, which had an incredible start to the Overwatch Esports scene and played at APEX but never against Lunatic Hai. Their first match against Seoul will be a major indicator of this team’s potential. The x-factor is tank xQc, who can be volatile at times but has proven he’s one of the best in the world in his role.
2: London Spitfire
The favorites in the Atlantic Division, the Spitfire looked outstanding in the preseason. Birdring isn’t getting enough love as a potential breakout star, but he might end the season as the league’s best Tracer. The biggest challenge for London this season will be balancing their 12-man roster. London is comprised of equal parts Cloud9 and GC Busan, and making those two teams mesh will be one of the toughest coaching tasks in the league this season. But if London’s staff can find the chemistry, this team should roll to the playoffs in June.
1: Seoul Dynasty
The overwhelming favorites to win the inaugural season of Overwatch League, Seoul Dynasty took the best team in Overwatch and made it better. Lunatic Hai was already a competitive powerhouse, but it was no secret the team was lacking DPS. They fixed that problem in a major way, acquiring Wekeed, Munchkin and Fleta to an already loaded roster. Miro and ryujehong will get the early fanfare for the Dynasty, but Fleta could be the league MVP when it’s all said and done.