With a major part of the Overwatch League’s offseason having just wrapped up, all 20 of the teams have begun to solidify their identities. Some have released major pieces and have begun the rebuilding process, while others have spent big in an attempt to compete with the top teams for Grand Finals glory.
Weighing each team’s offseason transactions vs their success (or lack thereof) in 2019, TGH Esports Writer Connor “GoopyKnoopy” Knudsen has assembled his 2020 OWL Power Rankings. The first batch of these rankings, covering teams ranging from 20-11, has already been released and can be found by clicking this link.
*These rankings are based on the confirmed rosters of the 20 OWL teams on 11/28/2019.
10: Hangzhou Spark
The Good: Sometimes the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can be the smart way to go. For the Spark, outside of losing a few coaches and players, they look to keep much of the same roster heading into 2020. With a year’s worth of synergy and some really talented players, the Spark should be a playoff team in 2020.
The Bad: Doing little in the offseason, when so many other teams are doing a lot, can either give a team an early advantage or make them fall behind while the others improve. Pair this with the fact that this is a mostly Korean roster now based out of China, and the Spark may have some growing pains in 2020.
9: Houston Outlaws
The Good: Finally, some positive change in Houston. This team looks much better on paper after a busy offseason, signing Tae-hong “MekO” Kim, João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles and some other strong players and coaches. With these additions and the weight off their shoulders of finally being purchased from Immortals, Houston could really surprise some people in 2020.
The Bad: The only issue that could arise with Houston comes in the event of a main support or main tank player being injured or having a personal issue arise. As it stands, they have the maximum number of players on the roster and only one at each of those roles. With three off-tanks and five DPS, Houston are one or two more moves away from a much more balanced roster, but as it stands, they lack depth at key positions.
8: Shanghai Dragons
The Good: Where Shanghai lost players, they made up for it in their pickups in the latter part of the offseason. Getting big-name players like Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim and Jun-woo “Void” Kang alongside several other promising young talent have this team looking ready to have their best year yet. How high can these Dragons truly fly? The sky may just be the limit.
The Bad: The big unknown for the Dragons comes at their tank line. Ji-won “Stand1” Seo has been a serviceable main tank for Gladiators Legion, but is no Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh. Between that and the three off-tanks, the Dragons will have to establish a system at these positions that keep players happy, or keep making trades to deal them. These factors and Korean-comprised team moving to China are two potential areas that could clip their wings in 2020.
7: Los Angeles Gladiators
The Good: Of all the teams in the league, the Glads have had one of the most exciting and transformative offseasons. Welcoming in six new players and three new staff members may be just what this team needed to finally establish itself as a title contender. With David “dpei” Pei directing it all at the helm, fans have every reason to believe in this team in 2020.
[Related: The 10 Best Moves of the OWL 2020 Offseason]
The Bad: Sometimes change is hard. Hard for players who stayed with the team welcoming in new teammates and hard for those teammates to adjust to a new system. It’s hard to believe this team will have an issue integrating, but if they do, it could be a disastrous rebuild for the Gladiators. This is likely not the case, however, given the team’s investment in good, proven staff.
6: Atlanta Reign
The Good: The Reign have had a relatively quiet offseason overall, but the players they have chosen to sign should help the team immensely. In particular, the incredibly flexible DPS player Tae-Hoon “Edison” Kim is a huge buff to this team and makes their DPS core among the best in the league. Pair that with an improved tankline and a solid support duo, and the Reign should be looking to go to back-to-back playoffs in 2020.
The Bad: In 2019, the Reign were a team that thrived off of momentum and hype, which led to some wicked hot streaks down the stretch. With an offseason to cool them down, they’ll have to find a way to be more consistent in 2020. Hopefully, their new signings can level them out a bit and allow for more consistent winning in 2020. If not, this team may struggle to stay at the top of the table.
5: Vancouver Titans
The Good: This team went to the 2019 Grand Finals and, despite losing a few pieces, have remained mostly intact. In addition, the Titans have made two bombshell signings in Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek and Jehong “ryujehong” Ryu. Fissure will fill a key role for the team at main tank, while ryujehong will slot in behind an already established starting flex support. Will these additions be just what the Titans need to get over the hill and become champions?
The Bad: For as shiny as these new signings are, Vancouver has had a very questionable offseason as a whole. A title contender simply wouldn’t be expected to cut four players and a coach. There’s always a chance the new signings could come in and do well, but with Fissure’s history in the league, this seems like a risk the Titans simply did not need to take.
4: New York Excelsior
The Good: The identity of the NYXL is the same entering their third year in the league, sticking with the (mostly) same core of players. And, for what they’ve lost, they have done well to gain back at least partially in full in the form of Hong-joon “HOTBA” Choi and Dong-wook “BiaNcA” Kim. All in all, this team has gotten progressively more consistent with age and looks to continue their trend upwards in 2020.
The Bad: When you’re one of the best teams with several of the best players, it’s hard to keep everyone paid. It seems that this was more or less the case as the team loses out on Tae-hong “MekO” Kim’s contract this offseason. This, along with some coaching changes, will no doubt hurt them going into 2020. Hopefully, for fans, they can rally and integrate new players quickly.
3: Seoul Dynasty
The Good: Seoul, more than just about any other team in the league, has leveled up this offseason. Between the two massive former London players Joon-yeong “Profit” Park & Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong and the old Justice/NYXL coach Hyeong-seok “WizardHyeong” Kim, the Dynasty are in a position to have their best year in franchise history. They’ve been solid year after year, but never able to achieve the greatness fans expect of this team. Now, that narrative might just be coming to a close.
The Bad: In order to get the space to sign these top players and coaches, much of the old guard had to be let go. This identity shift, considering the team’s long lineage, may wear on some of the players who are still on Seoul from the old days of Lunatic-Hai. Perhaps more of the old guard should have been removed, especially in terms of the coaching staff, to help accommodate this. All in all, these issues are all rather unlikely in the grand scheme of things and Seoul should be looked primed and ready for 2020.
2: Philadelphia Fusion
The Good: Teams like the Dynasty and the Outlaws have leveled up quite a bit, but none of them even come close to how much better the Fusion have gotten. In the same offseason, they signed the best off-tank in the world, a top-five Contenders free agent, a supposedly legendary Western main support and, well, a Doomfist streamer. The last bit aside, the Fusion look absolutely amazing heading into 2020 and should be on everyone’s radar as title contenders.
The Bad: After making so many strong moves, the hype that builds around you is inevitable if you’re the Fusion. Pair that initial hype with a slow start to the season and potential narratives will inevitably rise that the rebuild wasn’t the right one. This is a risk for every team that’s been through a rebuild this offseason and every player’s mental fortitude is susceptible, but the expectations are higher for the Fusion than anyone else and the fall would be the farthest. This is unlikely, overall, but something to keep an eye on for a team everyone will be watching.
1: San Francisco Shock
The Good: 2019 Grand Finals Champions, the 2019 MVP starting at DPS, first and only “golden stage” in OWL history in 2019, the best coach in the league, do I need to keep going? The Shock were the team in 2019 and have wisely stuck together going into 2020. You’d be a fool to think they aren’t favorites to do it all over again in 2020.
The Bad: I’m sure the Shock hated to lose Bumhoon “NineK” Kim and Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson this offseason. There’s always the off chance that these two take the Krabby Patty Secret Formula off to another team in the league, but something tells me that won’t be the case. There’s nothing of merit that is bad to say about this team, they’re still stacked heading into 2020 and should make a deep playoffs run.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul Blizzard Entertainment
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