This past week, The Overwatch League announced its newest iteration on their partnership with IBM’s Watson technology: Hero Rankings. Taking into account their current Power Ranking system, the league can now monitor the best players on each hero. While the obvious suspects like Jae-won “LIP” Lee and Eui-Seok “Fearless” Lee are dominating the rankings in their roles, a single anomaly stands out: Jeong-ho “MCD” Lee’s number one spot as the league’s best Ana player.
The OWL explains IBM’s A.I. process as this.
“Hero rankings use the same AI technology as the other Power Rankings categories, correlating 360+ data points, assigning a weight to each, and determining how each factor tips the balance toward a loss or a win.”
“Those scores are based on 1) the total time played on that hero and 2) the impact that player/hero combination has on the outcome of the match, as observed by the Power Rankings with Watson algorithm.”
Blizzard’s Stats Producer for Global Broadcasts, Matt Mersel, was surprised at how under-the-radar MCD‘s play has been.
— BackpackMatt 🦉 (@MattMersel) June 16, 2021
Other Spark players like Minho “Architect” Park and Xu “Guxue” Qiulin have also ranked highly in the Genji and Winston departments, but neither has taken a top spot like MCD with his score of 119. While the backline of MCD and Ho-jin “iDK” Park has been a steady partnership, it is not like either player has been talked about as some of the best support players in the league. Though, a recent resurgence of the Hangzhou squad as a whole may have helped MCD‘s rise to the top of the leaderboards.
The Numbers, Mason.
When compared to his Ana counterparts: MCD‘s numbers don’t lie. In terms of time played, MCD is one of only three players in the OWL who have played the hero for more than a total of five hours. The other two being the Dynasty’s Young-wan “Creative” Kim, who ranks seventh in the Hero Rankings with a score of 96, and the Dragons’ Min-chul “IZaYaKI” Kim, who is fourth with 104.
I Need Healing
In terms of healing output, MCD is–interestingly–not the number one player. That spot is taken by the aforementioned fouth-spot IZaYaKI. The member of the June Joust champion Shanghai leads the league with 355,332 healing done. MCD falls just short of that number with 303,036. Keep in mind, however, the Dragons have played four more maps (27) than the Spark (23).
Regardless, IBM Watson weighs certain stats for specific roles differently–and this is where Hangzhou’s flex support may have found his edge. The OWL’s second-best offensive Ana is the Fusion’s Kyung-bo “Alarm” Kim. With 211 eliminations, 48 final blows, and 160 assists Alarm proves that he deserves Watson’s third rank with a score of 105. The former Rookie of the Year has also accumulated 82,376 hero damage, 216 offensive assists and a league-leading 6 solo kills in an impressive three hours and fifty-five minutes played.
All in all, Alarm deserves to be in MVP contention with these Ana stats alongside the rest of his hero picks. But as an offensive Ana, he is still just second-best. With MCD barely losing the top spot in healing, his offensive support is where he shines. The Korean support leads the league in eliminations (318), final blows (57), and hero damage (106,439). He is currently the only Ana in the league that has over 100,000 damage.
Versus One of the OWL’s All-Around Best
While IZaYaKI and Alarm may be the best in their respective fields, the Fuel’s flex support, Joon “Fielder” Kwon, may be MCD’s closest competition. Fielder’s all-around play on Ana does average out for him to earn the #2 spot in IBM’s Hero Rankings. The flex support’s 114 score is supplemented by his ability to stay in the top 3 in every single Ana statistic. With this being said, the only stat he reigns over is healing received. Alarm and IZaYaKI have tendencies to fall below the top 3 in certain stats but both Fielderand MCD have essentially maintained it through Week 9. The difference, as previously mentioned, is that MCD leads multiple stats.
On top of the categories mentioned before, MCD also beats the other three with only 106 deaths in over five hours of play. And though IZaYaKI is still the best in the ultimate department with 166 ults used and 191.97 ults earned, MCD is not far behind with 155 ults used and 177.24 ults earned. This is on top of being the best damage dealing Ana and being just shy of the top healing spot.
MCD As Number One
While Fielder, Alarm, and IZaYaKI‘s Ana stocks have fallen since Week 1, MCD is one of only three players in the top 10 Ana’s whose IBM scores are rising. After Week 3, IBM Watson gave MCD a score of 104. That has steadily climbed to his current score of 119.
Alongside the Spark’s recent play during the June Joust qualifiers, MCD has found himself being among the league’s elite. Many may argue that the Hangzhou Spark have not performed up to the standards of playing with the league’s top-ranked Ana. But understand this: the team now has the statistical confidence that they are aligned with the league’s top-ranked Ana.
— MCD (@MCD_OW) June 16, 2021
The statistics have proven its worth.
Now it’s time to see what the team does with it.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Hangzhou Spark.
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