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2019 OWWC Power Rankings #5-#1 feat. LEGDAY, thibbledork, and Kenobi

OWWC 2019

TGH Staff Writer, Connor “GoopyKnoopy” Knudsen, has partnered with Chase “Syphyt” McKenzie of Triumph Gaming and @Contenders_OW to put together the first-ever complete OWWC power rankings. These rankings will feature all 46 OWWC teams field and will include blurbs from various contributors across the competitive Overwatch scene. These contributors have a more in-depth knowledge of the team(s) they are covering and this is a great opportunity to spotlight that expertise.

Each team’s final rank was determined through a three-part process:

  1. First, the number of professional (OWL) and semi-pro (Contenders, Trials, Open Division) players on each team was taken into account, as well as each of those players success on their respective team.
  2. Each contributor was given the chance to give their ranking of the team they wrote for. Those were taken into account, although each contributor’s potential bias was considered.
  3. The final landing spot for each team was decided collaboratively by Syphyt and GoopyKnoopy after using the steps above to narrow down the results.

Note: The previous rankings in this complete set can be found by clicking on the following links: #46-#30#29-#20, #19-#11, #10-#6.


5: France

France took their time figuring out their roster for the 2019 World Cup, but the reveal video was worth the wait. In their initial announcement, they solidified Damien “HyP” Souville of the Paris Eternal and Brice “FDGod” Monsçavoir as their support line. They also decided to go with Simon “Chubz” Vullo on main tank. The most puzzling thing about their announcement was that they would be choosing between seven (yes, seven) DPS players.

France has decided that they are once again going with the Philadelphia Fusion’s Gael “Poko” Gouzerch on off-tank. They will also be putting their faith back in Terence “SoON” Tarlier, and he will be joined by Lucas “Leaf” Loison and Jeremy “Hqrdest” Danton. One of the more exciting things about this roster is that France has decided to highlight talent from the Contenders scene. Last year’s roster was full of Overwatch League talent but they fell short during the quarter-finals. Their loss against Team Canada was heartbreaking for fans, especially after the Paris Qualifiers. This healthy mix of talent seems like a step in the right direction, and fans are eager to see how the team will stack up against their competitors – Kate “Sybil” Shepard


4: UK

Team UK, as an establishment, is riding a high coming into World Cup 2019, despite not having a direct invite to the Blizzcon stages. Their 2018 performance, including an upset victory over the much-hyped (as-ever) Team USA puts many eyes on the team from Great Britain.

I have several concerns, however, including the interesting decision to choose Harrison “Kruise” Pond as the seventh man over a strict DPS player. While Kruise has great experience as a DPS player (including in Team UK’s ill-fated 2017 run) in high stakes situations, his hero pool may find itself less than useful in a constantly shifting meta where a more flexible DPS like Div “Zeal” Valobobhai could have been an asset.

Despite a languishing performance for Boston, Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth remains a high-value asset for the UK scene and his leadership, along with Kruise’s, in the backroom or on the stage will give the UK a strong direction inside of the game, and inside their own heads.

There are also concerns regarding Finley “Kyb” Adisi’s lack of OWL playtime. We saw with Elijah Hudson “Elk” Gallagher’s adventure between Fusion University and Philadelphia Fusion, what a lack of time on-stage/in-match can do to a player that is otherwise at the top of their game. Currently, Kyb is sitting in that same Fusion support structure. Luckily, this will give him more face time with Coach Hayes and Isaac “Boombox” Charles, allowing for some pre-prep synergy establishment between the three. – Harry “LEGDAY” Pollitt

 


3: USA

Ah, Team USA. That powerhouse of perennial disappointment. A squad that will benefit from the vastly lowered expectations of a jaded nation, who cling to the idea – despite everything they’ve endured – that this year could be the year we achieve something truly great.

To say there’s a lot of pressure on this team is a gross understatement. General Manager Analynn “bawlynn” Dang was recently signed to the Washington Justice, filling a long-emptied gap in their org chart after the departure of Kate “Kate” Mitchell, so her performance here will serve as our only insight into her working style before we get a good view of her work with the Justice in 2020. She’ll need to give the fans her A-game come BlizzCon, and make sure her players and staff step up to what has otherwise become a rather daunting plate.

A dearth of firepower has never been Uncle Sam’s weakness, but finding a way to get all of that energy onto the playing field certainly seemed to be. Dallas Fuel head coach Aaron “Aero” Atkins is being given a major second chance – to prove that last year’s flub was a fluke, and to prove that he belongs in OWL at all after the Fuel’s flame flickered out in the latter half of OWL 2019. This will be his most harrowing gauntlet yet… luckily, though, he has a healthy variety of talent at his fingertips.

This year’s final seven might be the most mechanically gifted American squad we’ve ever seen. Kyle “KSF” Frandasia had an impressive performance at the LA Valiant’s Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend, and if the crowd at the Novo amped him up that much, I’m frankly a bit scared to see what he can do with the BlizzCon crowd (mostly) at his back. Joining him from the ranks of green and gold is Team USA veteran Indy “SPACE”
Halpern – the only off-tank candidate Aero and Harsha had in the Top 12. Their confidence in his ability should tell you everything you need to know about his capabilities, if you haven’t already seen him on stage (If you haven’t, how did you get here?).

Corey “Corey” Nigra has been a revelation for the Washington Justice once he managed to escape Brig jail, and has set records in sheer damage-dealing efficiency all throughout Stage 4. (He also serves as the one person on Team USA whose real name and handle match, replacing Jacob “Jake” Lyon in that crucial role.)
America’s real key this year, though, won’t just be in a star-studded roster of high profile head clickers. Team USA’s real strength will be found in their ability to abuse the synergies of three of the league’s biggest western stars – Jay “sinatraa” Won, Grant “moth” Espee and Matthew “super” DeLisi, from the San Francisco Shock. Few teams have been able to stump the Shock this season, and the communication and coordination between those three players has played no small role there. If they can get their four fellows in on their system in time for BlizzCon, we’re in for a scary, star-spangled treat.

There’s just one more piece to this equation… the caboose at the end of the train, if you willl, who will lead from the rear and cover the squad’s six o’clock all the while. I’m talking, of course, about the Outlaws’ resident flex support star Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty. A veteran like SPACE and sinatraa, Rawkus has proven to a litany of US coaches that he has what it takes to hold down the flex support position for the red, white, and blue – even if the fans don’t always believe it.

The eye test is not kind to flex support players, and I doubt it ever will be. To be considered an excellent flex support player means you have to consistently show up in the kill field, nailing every Ana sleep dart and Zenyatta right-click with unerring accuracy. You can never die, but should always mete out death with brutal abandon – all while keeping the rest of your team in good health, assisting in fight management and ultimate coordination, and maintaining your positioning relative to the other 11 players on the field. It’s an unforgiving role, and Rawkus has often slipped when it’s mattered most – for Houston, and for Team USA. But that’s not to say that he’s an obvious weak link, or that he hasn’t proven himself time and time again, against a variety of opponents across the globe. With the right team around him, this could very well be the year Rawkus shows the world what he’s truly made of.

All in all, I’m cautiously optimistic about this year’s Team USA. Have I said that for the past three years now? Yes. Will I probably be disappointed again? Also yes. Despite that cynical side of my brain standing ready, ever braced for disappointment and failure, I find myself hoping again. Seeing this year’s squad, even after all this country has endured, finds me caught in that dangerous refrain… maybe this year is the year. Maybe, just maybe, we’re staring down the barrel of something greater than before. – Brandon “thibbledork” Padilla


2: China

Like in last years World Cup, China is looking again to make its mark as one of the best regions in the world, now with even more OWL experience than they had last year. Many players who made their names on the world stage last year are looking for more than just the recognition. OWL 2019 MVP Candidate Xu “guxue” Qiulin and superstar DPS Huang “leave” Xin headline the roster alongside a number of Chengdu Hunters players and a solo Guangzhou Charge player. Coach Xingrui “RUI” Wang will also be returning as Head Coach from last year.

China will be very hard to read. They play towards their comfort picks, and with someone like leave on your roster, every hero is a comfort pick. As someone who has covered this region for over a year through 4 seasons of Contenders, don’t sleep of Team China another year in a row. – Eren “Kenobi” Erkey


1: South Korea

In previous World Cups, metas were mostly defined and studied through the Contenders Seasons happening concurrently, allowing for a much more fleshed-out insight (i.e. GOATs in 2018). However, this year there is likely to be a meta shakeup between OWL Grand Finals and World Cup. In such a time, having arguably the most able coach in Overwatch at the moment, Dae-hee “Crusty” Park, at the helm of Team South Korea will make them even more fearsome than their usual selves.

The roster is headlined by two do-it-all DPS players in Minho “Architect” Park and Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee. Pairing these two alongside a superstar popoff talent like Hyojong “Haksal” Kim, who could easily fill any projectile niche which arises between now and Blizzcon, means it’s going to be a tough ask for any team to bring more firepower to the table than South Korea.

The one questionable area for SK does come from their support line. While both Ho-jin “iDK” Park and Seung-tae “Bdosin” Choi are considerable talents in their own right, they will have little pre-baked synergy and less room to practice and develop such until later in the year, with both of their respective teams headed for the OWL playoffs. – Harry “LEGDAY” Pollitt

 

 

That concludes this year’s OWWC power rankings. Until the OWWC action gets underway, check out our other Overwatch related content over at The Game Haus and find your country’s social media accounts on our comprehensive list.

Stay Connected

Follow me on Twitter: @GoopyKnoopy I would love to dialogue with you about anything I’ve written! 
You can also shoot me a line on Discord! (GoopyKnoopy#2205)

The Game Haus would like to thank all of the contributors for their time and effort towards putting this list together. We are so thankful for this amazing community of experts from all over the world!

Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

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