The Game Haus

Overwatch League 2019 Power Rankings: Preseason

Overwatch League

With the second season of the Overwatch League starting in just a few weeks, The Game Haus staff pulled together to rank where each team stands heading in to the season. We will be putting these out every Monday during the season. Last season only 12 teams battled it out for a chance at becoming the champions, this season 20 teams will. With more players than ever and a higher level of competition, this is how those teams stand.

1. New York Excelsior – (High: 1. Low: 3. LW: NA)

While the NYXL dominated the majority of the inaugural season, their performance at the end of stage 4 left much to be desired, as the team’s normally extraordinary performance began to decay. This culminated in them losing 2-3 to the Los Angeles Valiant in week three. After a long break from the competitive scene, the winners of the overall season — who placed third at the end of stage 4 — are sure to come back with a vengeance. With newcomer Yeon-oh “FL0w3R” Hwang in the ranks for season 2, his versatility and strong performance in the Contenders scene is sure to carry over into the Overwatch League. Coupled with reigning Overwatch League MVP Jjonak, and an elite roster, the NYXL are poised to be league leaders once again.

– Miranda Rodriguez

2. London Spitfire – (High: 1. Low: 4. LW: NA)

Overwatch League
2018-02-10 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The defending champions of the Overwatch League will be looking to defend their title, as any champion would. While their roster remains relatively unchanged, they did bring in a solid DPS player in Hee-dong “Guard” Lee. They also shocked many by signing a relatively unknown support player in Yung-hoon “Krillin” Park. Expect the Spitfire to come out flying, eager to get back to their winning ways.

– Zach Stenzel

3. Philadelphia Fusion – (High: 1. Low: 5. LW: NA)

Fans were ecstatic when the Philadelphia Fusion defeated NYXL and secured their spot in the Grand Finals in the inaugural Overwatch League season. Unfortunately, that victory was short lived as the Fusion faced a crushing defeat from the London Spitfire mere weeks later. The Fusion came extremely close to being crowned champions so make no mistake, they will be coming back with a vengeance.

Last season the Fusion overcame many obstacles such as language barriers and the suspension of Kim “SADO” Su-min. Making necessary cuts and trades, the Fusion decided to focus on strengthening their core roster during the offseason. The addition of Elijah Hudson “Elk” Gallagher will be a significant asset to the team. Elk is a strong shot-caller who is coming in hot off of Fusion University’s third consecutive Contender’s victory. So long as they have continued to work on their communication skills and overall team synergy, the Philadelphia Fusion will have everything they need to secure another shot for the title.

– Kate Shepard

4. Los Angeles Gladiators – (High: 2. Low: 8. LW: NA)

The Gladiators lost one of the best main tanks in the Overwatch League in Chan-hyun “Fissure” Baek but brought in three solid players. Gui-un “Decay” Jang, Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye and Riku “Ripa” Toivanen, while untested in the Overwatch League, should help the Gladiators push through to be one of the best teams this season. Expect them to fight for a top spot with the best in the league.

– Zach Stenzel

5. Los Angeles Valiant – (High: 3. Low: 9. LW: NA)

They were able to make very strong improvements throughout the Overwatch League’s first season and ended up 2nd in the overall rankings, as well as into the playoffs. Even still, the Valiant lost a star DPS in Terence “So0n” Tarlier, as he left for the Paris Eternal. They retain a strong core of players, led by Scott “Custa” Kennedy and Indy “SPACE” Halpern. Team communication was key to their high level of play last season and will need to be again. The curious thing to watch for is who plays DPS alongside Brady “Agilities” Girardi? Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa and Joon-hyuk “Bunny” Chae will compete for the spot alongside last season’s flex support Young-seo “KariV” Park.

– Aaron Gerr and Dalton Jewell

6. Vancouver Titans – (High: 3. Low: 14. LW:NA)

The Vancouver Titans are new to the Overwatch League, but this team is far from green – apart from their jerseys. Lee “Stitch” Choong-hui, Kim “Haksal” Hyo-jong and Park “Bumper” Sang-beom have been teammates since 2016, as well as Runaway’s coming out party in APEX Season 2. Fans of the Titans hope that their collective experience carries over to the Overwatch League. If it does they will instantly be one of the league’s most dangerous threats. The already dominant support duo of Lee ‘Twilight” Ju-seok and Kim “SLIME” Sung-jun have been bolstered by the addition of Kim “Rapel” Jung-geun from Element Mystic. Between them, Seo “Seominsoo” Min-soo and Choi “JJANU Hyeon-woo can play every off-tank at an elite level. Vancouver has the talent to compete on the OWL Stage. The Titans look like a playoff team, and they are as battled tested as any newcomers to the league could be.

– Bradley Long

7. Seoul Dynasty – (High: 5. Low: 15. LW: NA)

Overwatch League
Courtesy of Robert Paul and Blizzard Entertainment

Following a disappointing inaugural season in the Overwatch League, the Seoul Dynasty have much to prove in Season Two. Season One’s Dive-centered meta and all of its complexities proved too much for a roster that lacked communication and synergy despite their impressive history. The signing of aggressive main tank Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung and the pick-up of London Spitfire’s Coach Park “Changgoon” Chang-geun are indicative of the intense energy that Seoul will bring in to this season. With their newly-buffed tank line, a revamped coaching staff, and impressive DPS, this lineup is set to make their dynastic claim on Overwatch League history.

-Katie Gripne

8. San Francisco Shock – (High: 4. Low: 15. LW: NA)

Saying that the Shock improved their roster in the Overwatch League offseason would be an understatement. The team began to hit their stride in the second half of the season, and now look primed to be a top contender. The additions of Dong-Jun “Rascal” Kim, Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon, Min-ki “Viol2t” Park, and Myeong-hwan “Smurf” Yoo vastly improve what was already a relatively flexible roster. The Shock have an extremely flexible DPS lineup and one of the better support lines in the league. Questions remain about the tank line and how the new players will mesh with the old hats, but on paper the Shock are looking extremely strong.

– Sam Putney

9. Dallas Fuel – (High: 6. Low: 14. LW: NA)

After the Overwatch League’s first season, it’s understandable to think that this season Dallas will be “run of the mill” at best. However, the new pickups of Zachary “ZachaREEE” Lombardo, Won-sik “Closer” Jung and Richard “rCk” Kanerva complete their puzzle. The new coaching staff will lead these already talented players to unexpected heights. Don’t sleep on the Fuel this season.

– Ethan Cowan-Kazmi

10. Houston Outlaws – (High: 6. Low: 15. LW: NA)

Choosing to keep their main roster together will give the Outlaws an early advantage over some of the already established teams and definitely most the new ones. By keeping their valuable team synergy, they’re already used to each other’s play styles. If GOATS is still meta by the time the League starts, in some form at least, the Outlaws will be a team to fear. The players fit the meta perfectly. Alexandre “SPREE” Vanhomwegen’s Zarya, Austin “Muma” Wilmot’s Reinhardt, Matt “coolmatt” Iorio’s D.Va and Daniel “Boink” Pence’s Lucio can wreck some teams very easily when played right.

– Felipe Labarca

11. Hangzhou Spark – (High: 4. Low: 16. LW: NA)

Overwatch League
Courtesy of Esports Insider

On paper, the Spark are one of the more promising expansion teams joining the Overwatch League. Between superb tank play from Xu “guxue” Qiulin and proven talents in Hui-chang “BeBe” Yoon and Kyeong-bo “GodsB” Kim, Hangzhou have stacked every role on the team with potential stars. Though they lack Vancouver’s built-in synergy, they do have some level of familiarity. This is due to many of the players hailing from X6-Gaming or Seven. The mixed-language roster draws in some questions, as mixed-language rosters tend to do, but overall, the Spark are heading into Season 2 as a potential force to be reckoned with.

-Darby Joyce

12. Shanghai Dragons – (High: 8. Low: 19. LW: NA)

After a disappointing inaugural season in the Overwatch League, only positives will be gained in the second season. With several players from last year’s rosters (Eui-Seok “Fearless” Lee, Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim, & Weida “Diya” Lu), several players & coaches from Team KongDoo Panthera (Son “CoMa” Kyung Woo, Seong-hyeon “Luffy” Yang, Yong-Jin “YOUNGJIN” Jin, Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang, and head coach Seong-hwan “BlueHaS” We), Shanghai’s chemistry & experience could get them off to a hot start in Stage 1. Stage 1 features three expansion team matches in their seven games, and two of the non-expansion matches are against the Dallas Fuel. Reality could catch back up to the Dragons in Stage 3 & 4 as teams begin to figure out Shanghai’s new lineup, but it could be enough to sustain in the middle of the final standings.

-Jacob Renie

13. Toronto Defiant – (High: 8. Low: 19. LW: NA)

The Toronto Defiant enter their inaugural season in the Overwatch League with questions swirling around their roster decisions. With an impressive veteran coaching presence headlined by former London Spitfire head coach Beom-joon “Bishop” Lee, the Defiant management have worked to set a clear vision for their young squad going forward. The additions of OWL veterans such as Se-hyeon “Neko” Park, Joon-seong “Asher” Choi, and captain Kang-jae “envy” Lee supply an excellent level of veteran leadership for their younger counterparts.

Two additions particularly add an immense amount of talent to the intriguing squad in main tank Gyeong-mu “Yakpung” Jo and DPS Seung-hyun “Ivy” Lee. With flex support Neko suspended for the first three matches of stage one, fans should temper expectations for the Defiant’s season debut. The team will put a heavy emphasis on establishing their own innovative strategies and compositions throughout the season with hopes of utilizing their talent in ways many teams may not be prepared for. Once this roster can “play their game,” we could see a rather surprising showing from the Toronto Defiant in season two.

– Dave Grove

14. Atlanta Reign- (High: 6. Low: 17. LW: NA)

The Atlanta Reign come into Season 2 with the most diverse roster of any expansion team, and that will be what makes or breaks them. With strong mechanical talent across the board, communication and synergy will be the main hurdle this team has to overcome in order to make it to the playoffs. The main players to watch in this all-star team are going to be the former Element Mystic tank line Dong-hyeong “DACO” Seo and Hyun-jun “Pokpo” Park who made a name for themselves as one of the best non-OWL tank lines in the world. With them as a strong anchor for this freshman lineup, a coaching staff with Overwatch League experience and talent picked from 4 different Contenders regions, it’s going to be a battle for any team the Reign faces.

– Garret Golden

15. Paris Eternal – (High: 9. Low: 19. LW: NA)

Overwatch League
Courtesy of Paris Eternal

It is uncertain how most of the expansion teams will fare coming into the second season of the Overwatch League. However, the Paris Eternal made some strong acquisitions in terms of their roster. Signing George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha and SoOn will give Paris an advantage next season, as both are seasoned OWL veterans. SoOn is one of the best Widowmakers in the league and played a major role in the Valliant’s success last season. Alongside the DPS duo, fans will see World Cup favorites such as Harrison “Kruise” Pond and Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafait take the stage. Kruise is well-known for his intelligence and shot calling, and will be a key influence on the team alongside SoOn. There is a lot of potential for Paris to become one of the more successful teams in the league. It will depend on how the team is managed by coaches.

– Kate Shepard

16. Boston Uprising – (High: 10. Low: 19. LW: NA)

The controversy around the Boston Uprising can’t be ignored. Even with losing some key players of their inaugural season, don’t discredit the Uprising as a whole. Their new signings show a hopeful future for the next season of the Overwatch League. Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh, Kristian “Kellex” Keller, and Lucas “NotE” Meissner lead the way from last year, and new additions like tank players Park “Axxiom” Min-seob and Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth fill out a roster for potential GOATs play. The DPS seem to be a little shaky and questions are in the air of whether Boston can pull it together for the first stage. This is due to a small window for practice time as they had late signings. However, given how they shocked everyone last year, I think the Uprising have more tricks up their sleeves

– Mallory McMahon

17. Guangzhou Charge – (High: 7. Low: 19. LW: NA)

For the past few months everyone has been writing off the Guangzhou Charge for their first season in the Overwatch League. The highlight has been that their international team composition leading to possible communication difficulties. However, this write off is both premature and arguably, unwarranted. During the Pacific Challenge, an exhibition match with the Seoul Dynasty, the Charge seemed to have flawless team chemistry. This is due to the fact that four members of their team were teammates on the Korean Contenders team, Meta Bellum.

However, it seems that the Charge’s front office understood that this would be their biggest hurdle. In a recent interview GM Ethan Liu and chief operating officer Eddy Meng stated, “Despite being a Chinese team, we have an uncommon vision of building an international roster—and currently have Chinese, South Korean, American, and British players on our team.” Meaning management had a vision of this team from the start. After communication issues plagued the Shanghai Dragons in Season 1, it was unlikely that another team would make the same mistake without any precautions. Guangzhou have shown they can communicate well enough to give them two map wins against the Seoul Dynasty. This team is greatly underrated and if a strong communication framework has been implemented, they might just be the team to watch.

– Steven Zamora

18. Washington Justice – (High: 15. Low: 20. LW: NA)

Overwatch League
Paris Eternal Reaveal

While the Washington Justice players are not top-tier or the best in the Overwatch League, there is something to be said for an underdog story. From season 1, it’s clear to see that mechanical skill or being a “good” player is not all that is needed to make a strong team. It’s possible that the Washington Justice will surprise us, thanks in part to head coach Hyeong-seok “WizardHyeong” Kim. He has showed the world what he can do with a talented roster with his time spent coaching the NYXL. Now, he’ll look to get the most out of a team many are counting out.

– Rachael Yeak and Dalton Jewell

19. Florida Mayhem – (High: 15. Low: 20. LW: NA)

The Florida Mayhem had a rocky first season in the Overwatch League, but the good news is they’re looking at a reset and refocused team. They just recently released assistant coach Hyun-jin “r2der” Choi, which was celebrated by former player Johan “CWoosH” Klingestedt. The Mayhem have plenty of veteran players in Kevyn “TviQ” Lindström, Jae-mo “xepheR” Koo, and Jung-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha with experience from last season. This experience could give some of the promoted players like Hyeon-woo “HaGoPeun” Jo guidance for the new season. With a revamped coaching staff and new players, the Mayhem are looking to put last season behind them.

– Dalton Jewell

20. Chengdu Hunters – (High: 16. Low: 20. LW: NA)

The Chengdu Hunters are an underdog team heading into Season 2 of the Overwatch League. Aside from a few Overwatch World Cup veterans, these players lack experience playing at the highest level of competitive Overwatch. Their DPS lineup is depleted, as Zhihao “YangXiaoLong” Zhang will be late to arrive in LA due to visa issues. Fortunately, their head coach Xingrui “Rui” Wang has demonstrated that he knows what he’s doing. He led Team China to second place in last year’s Overwatch World Cup and has several tournaments under his belt. If the Chengdu Hunters hope to succeed in Season 2, they will need to rely heavily on Rui’s coaching expertise.

– Chris Littlefield

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

Our voters for OWL Power Rankings: Preseason- Bradley Long, Kate Shepard, Felipe Labarca, Darby Joyce, Robert Hanes, Katie Gripne, Ethan Cowan-Kazmi, Mallory McMahon, Dalton Jewell, Zach Stenzel, Norcetto, Miranda Rodriguez, Dave Grove, Sam Putney, Aaron Gerr, Steven Bower, Rachael Yeak, Connor Knudsen, Jake Renie, Steven Zamora, Chris Littlefield, Brandon Padilla

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