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GoopyKnoopy’s Preseason 2020 OWL Power Rankings: #5-#1

overrwatch league power rankings

It’s finally that time of year again. Yes, that’s right, it’s Power Rankings season. With the starting line of the 2020 Overwatch League season just under a month away, it’s finally time to lay it all out and see where each of the 20 teams stands in terms of overall power. If you’re more curious about how I arrived at these rankings, a full breakdown of the process can be seen in the initial article in the series.

With all of this in mind, here are the top five teams in my Preseason 2020 OWL Power Rankings. Additionally, an in-depth video analysis of these rankings, done by the author, can be seen below.

fearless owl
Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

#5 Shanghai Dragons

Projected 2020 Record: 18-10
2019 Regular Season Record: 13-15
Difference Maker for 2020: Adapting to Life in China and Solidifying a Main Tank

A quick note, I ranked the 20 teams prior to the signing of main tank Eui-Seok “Fearless” Lee. A large reason I had the Dragons at #5 prior to this move was a lack of confidence in Ji-won “Stand1” Seo as their sole main tank, so I really like the signing of Fearless for the Dragons. I think that depth will prove invaluable for them in 2020 and may even lead to more wins than I predicted here for them. But, in any case, I think rank #5 is still where I’d like to stay for Shanghai.

At a baseline, this team looks to have everything you could want. They have depth at just about every position, a full Korean roster with no language barriers (outside of two-way player Weida “Diya” Lu) and they’ve brought in three new coaches to help keep them at the cutting edge of the meta. Not to mention, their DPS core has to be considered up there with the Shock for the best in the league. Like I said, they’ve really just about got it all.

The areas I see Shanghai potentially struggling come via their weekly starting tank line and adjusting to life primarily in China. I have never lived in China as a Korean player, so I obviously don’t have any firsthand knowledge of the cultural adjustment that takes place, but I’d have to think it would be a semi-difficult one, especially considering how much time they will spend in China being in the Pacific East. Pair that with a tank line that just doesn’t measure up to the others in the top five, and Shanghai slips down my rankings just ever so slightly.

carpe owl
Photo: Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment

#4 Philadelphia Fusion

Projected 2020 Record: 19-9
2019 Regular Season Record: 15-13
Difference Maker for 2020: Main Tank Improvements and New Guard of Players

The Fusion dominated the offseason, bringing in an incredibly promising support duo, arguably the most sought after offseason prospect in Jun-ho “Fury” Kim, a streamer and a couple more DPS players to boot. They did not, however, sign anther main tank. Riddle me that.

Had the Fusion brought on just about anyone at that position, they would have potentially been the #2 ranked team on this list. What’s worse is that the market is currently flooded with main tank options, ranging from a Western player like Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell or solid Korean options like Jang-hyeon “TiZi” Hwang or Sang-hoon “Kaiser” Ryu. With prospects like these available, not to mention many others, and the apparent need the Fusion have at main tank, they chose to, instead, bring on someone like Philip “ChipSa” Graham. For a team that dominated the offseason, this makes no sense from the outside looking in.

Outside of this, the Fusion really do look incredible coming into next season. They benefit from very light travel being in the Atlantic South, they have unreal depth at DPS and strong starters at every position outside of main tank. If the organization can usher in this new wave of players and get the right value out of them, the Fusion will be one of the very best in 2020, knocking on the door of a 20-win season.

jjonak owl
Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

#3 New York Excelsior

Projected 2020 Record: 20-8
2019 Regular Season Record: 22-6
Difference Maker for 2020: Life Without MekO

For all intents and purposes, the NYXL should continue to be as dominant in the regular season as they have been in the past two seasons. The only significant change I see coming into 2020 for the Excelsior is the loss of their staple off-tank Tae-hong “MekO” Kim. Otherwise, although this team is overall less deep than they were in previous seasons, they look very similar heading into 2020 outside of a few key differences.

Replacing MekO, there’s a fair chance that Dong-wook “BiaNcA” Kim and Hong-joon “HOTBA” Choi will be able to make the transition feel rather seamless, however, there’s always the off chance that they fall short. The XL also have a newly promoted Head Coach in Yong-cheol “imt” Jeong who takes over for Hyeon-sang “Pavane” Yu. This could prove to be a significant change depending on how influential Pavane was to the team’s success in 2018 and 2019. If he played a key role, the strength of this team could falter.

With the risk of those turnovers counterbalanced with the strength of the returning roster and the excitement of the new players, I simply couldn’t put this team at #2. Keep in mind that it’s an incredibly close call, in my eyes, between the Reign and the NYXL for that #2 spot, hence their projected records being within a game of one another.

erster owl
Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

#2 Atlanta Reign

Projected 2020 Record: 21-7
2019 Regular Season Record: 16-12
Difference Maker for 2020: Consistency and Light Travel

Much like Connor “Avast” Prince’s rankings, I have the Atlanta Reign as my #2 team heading into 2020 (the Connor’s must stick together, it seems). Coming off of a scorching hot Stage 4 and season playoff run, the Reign come into 2020 with some incredible additions at tank and DPS (and support, pending an official announcement) and look to ride into 2020 as a top team in the league.

They’ll also be doing so with the third easiest travel schedule in the league, based on mileage. This, with a 12-man roster to provide extra depth, set the Reign up for a rested and well-balanced 2020 schedule. They may be the best-equipped team for the travel, honestly. But, focusing more on paper, this roster looks dangerous. Joon “Erster” Jeong has proven to be an absolute legend at DPS, Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman emerged as one of the more promising flex supports in the league and the projected starting tank line of Hyun-jun “Pokpo” Park and Blake “Gator” Scott is as good as any in the league. And, don’t forget, the Reign have solid depth at every position going into next season.

So, when it came down to who the #2 spot belonged to, the Reign just seemed to have the least amount of risk when compared to the other three below them, as well as having the raw talent to have a very high ceiling. Overall, I’d expect this team to show up every week and win at least 20 games this year. At least.

sinatraa owl
Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

#1 San Francisco Shock

Projected 2020 Record: 24-4
2019 Regular Season Record: 23-5
Difference Maker for 2020: Staying Hungry and Finding a Good Rotation

Let’s be clear, at this point, it’s a hot take to rank the San Francisco Shock anywhere but #1 in preseason power rankings. Outside of losing some staff members and a valued scrim partner in Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson, this team brings their 2019 championship roster back in full form, ready to do it all over again. What’s better is that their Grand Finals foe slew themselves with their offseason blunders, making the runway only that much wider for the Shock to land at #1 in 2020.

This roster is stacked, boasting depth at nearly every position and containing three or four of the best DPS in the entire league all on one roster, with a returning league MVP among the bunch. Their travel schedule is middle of the road, but their ability to field a multitude of different players should make up for any sleep lost there. Overall, there really isn’t anything negative to say about this team heading into 2020.

The only things that this team risks are a tinge of complacency and some players getting frustrated with being shorted for playtime on the rotation. But, even those are just potential risks, not even things that are guaranteed to happen. Overall, I’m not sure if the Shock will repeat again in 2020, but I sure as hell think they’ll atop the standings at the season’s end. If not, I don’t think I’ll be the only one asking what went wrong.


And now… we wait

That wraps up my personal 2020 Preseason Power Rankings. I’d love to hear what readers thought of my rankings on Twitter. The rest of my rankings can be found in the following places: #20-#16, #15-#11, #10-#6. With all of these in the books, be sure to keep up with all of the other Overwatch League content from TGH as we await the start of the 2020 season on February 8 in Dallas and NYC.

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)

Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul Blizzard Entertainment

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