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2020 Overwatch League Power Rankings

Volamel 2020-01-28 02:04:49

The 2020 Overwatch League season is finally upon us. The year we finally get to see this whole plan in action. It’s still surreal to type and even more jarring to hear that we’ve finally arrived. The thick plume of dust has finally settled from Shock’s dominant performance to close out 2019 and the offseason roster shuffles. Now it’s time to sink or swim. This year is what it’s all about. Pleasantries and nostalgia aside, we’ve got power rankings to discuss, but first, let’s walk through the criteria on how I’ve judged these teams going into the third season of the Overwatch League.  

Criteria

  With the rise of travel in the 2020 season and the questions around practice efficiency, a strong roster is key and individual performers are going to be pivotal. Unlike last year, which was nearly built around a single composition, I believe this season lends itself to the idea that individual performances will matter the most. With patches coming more frequently per Upcomer’s reporting I can see a world where heroes like Widowmaker, Hanzo, McCree, and even Tracer all become meta staples throughout the year. On top of that, we’ve got Zenyatta and Baptiste, flex support who demand a high level of decision making and individual skill, becoming more vogue. As the average level of Overwatch decreases, the impact of an individual increase. Star players will be able to shine through the chaotic travel and fast-paced patches. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: with the advent of travel schedules, practice will become less efficient. Not only that but the added stress that this constant travel causes player performance to slowly dip over the course of the season. Because of that, I’ve also weighed my perception of the team against their travel schedule. Teams that travel more took hits, whereas teams with many homestands and inter-regional travel received credit. Most of the numbers and rankings I quote in this piece are via GGIntel’s analysis of the upcoming schedule.  A team’s strength of schedule is always important to look at and this season it could be more vital to pay attention to. The ability to build momentum and score quick wins can save teams and inversely, a tough schedule early on top of the stressors of travel can ruin a team. A team that plays within a weaker conference received a bump and those on the opposite side of the coin took a dive. A small deviation from the travel, but as you can already tell, all of this stuff is interwoven together, roster size or roster depth is something I have weighed as an important trait to have as well. With the grueling travel schedule and constant patching, players are bound to either face severe burnout or actually fall physically ill. Having substitutes and creating environments where they actually see playtime and have a place in the team’s identity and structure is going to be an edge that many people overlook.

1. San Francisco Shock

  Coming off an incredible run in 2019, the San Francisco Shock ran through the losers’ bracket and dominated every single opponent the league placed in front of them, including fellow grand finalists and rivals, the Vancouver Titans. That said, it’s hard to argue that the San Francisco Shock are not, on paper, the strongest team at the moment.  They showed a level of tenacity many teams cannot replicate in the 2019 playoffs, their roster depth makes them incredibly meta-agnostic and with players like Rascal, Sinatraa, Architect and ChoiHyoBin, their star player potential is through the roof. The Shock truly are the team to beat. Not much changed outside of adding ANS, but if you’ve just come off a championship win with an undefeated losers’ bracket run and a clean sweep of the only team to really rival you, why bother? I am of the school of thought that cutting early is better than cutting late, but I struggle to see a weakness in the lineup.  The pressure to retain their title has me slightly worried and on top of the general travel stress is why I’m still on the fence as to claim that they can create a dynasty with this roster. I think they are the leading candidates to do something like that, but it’s not something I’d feel comfortable betting on.  For my money, Crusty is the best coach in Overwatch at the moment. If he manages to take this team to another deep player run and even to a historic repeat championship reign, he will not only solidify himself as the best Overwatch coach but the best coach of all time, no questions asked. This is going to be the hardest season to date, not in terms of the teams placed in front of them, but the logistics and the mental fortitude needed to constantly perform at a high level. The roster is among the best players money can buy, their travel schedule is average, they have a top coach, and they feature a deep roster. That is why the San Francisco Shock are the strongest team coming into the 2020 season.  

2. Philadelphia Fusion

  Alarm, FunnyAstro, Fury, Carpe and Eqo with players like Poko, Heesu, and Ivy waiting in the wings makes one of the most star-studded rosters we’ve ever seen in Overwatch, period. The Fusion are a super team with the ceiling to contend with the Shock. This is a new roster, one that, on paper, is head and shoulders above the last. If not for the Shock, this team would be my favorite to win the season, hands down. In my opinion, and one we’ve recently had confirmed, the Fusion faced a bout of low morale due to how they were performing in GOATS last season which caused them to not peak as high as we might have expected them to once role lock hit. There is a reason I have the Fusion as the team that won the offseason.  The Atlantic Conference should be shaking in their boots when it comes to the Fusion. There is a good chance they lead the conference with how weak their peers are. On top of that, the Fusion have a very light travel schedule in terms of projected totals miles traveled and they also have three homestands in Philadelphia.  Now they do have some volatility issues, I have to give them that. There is a lot of talent on this roster and with that comes attitudes and personalities, some of which clash at times. Whatever inherent volatility issues they might have, the Fusion makes up in roster depth. I still would like to see them make a play for a rookie main tank that can grow into main stage material, but I don’t think that should be a concern. SADO has had a questionable past, but you don’t last this long without providing some promise or potential. 
Related: Fusion Joemeister: “This year’s OWWC arguably had the biggest stage and audience most[…]of us had the privilege to play for.”

3. New York Excelsior

  Libero constantly shows why he is worth his weight in gold alongside a seriously formidable DPS line. I believe that if we do see a more teamwork-oriented metagame, much like a Reinhardt centric deathball composition, Saebyeolbe will see playtime over Nenne due to his presence in the team, especially at the start of the presented metagame. Outside of that, Nenne will probably lead in playtime.  Mano is still bulletproof. While he took some flak for the team’s performance in GOATS, his Winston along with his Reinhardt are very solid and I don’t expect the tank line of this team to fall short at all. HOTBA and BiaNcA will rotate in and out with the later probably receiving the lion’s share of playtime depending on the metagame.  JJoNak returns to the forefront of this team in 2020. Not to say that his 2019 was bad or poor, but his dreaded Zenyatta comes back into the spotlight and I believe there is room for a possible Baptiste pickup for him. As glowing as that seems that doesn’t absolve them of questions. Anamo’s hero pool is going to be tested this season if they don’t make any late additions. Missed or poorly timed Sound Barriers and awkward positioning never helped their more defensive style of GOATS, and while that meta is in the past, he really doesn’t have an amazing resume to fall back on. The new coaching staff also has me concerned. Not in the sense that their bad coaches or don’t know what they’re doing, but let’s say they do begin to rebuild the team’s style and branch away from the slow, methodical play we’ve come to expect, how are the players going to react to that? Two seasons of playing a very different style of game and now you throw a wrench in the machine? That can’t be a good thing, at least not at the start.   

4. Shanghai Dragons

  It’s a strange world we live in where the team that discovered new lows in esports now sits near the top of their class. The Shanghai Dragons who what can be done with proper investment and planning.  The Dragons feature a very strong DPS lineup including diem, DDing, Fleta and LIP. All of which are among some of the best in the world, but to be more specific they cover all of your bases and then some! DDing is a fantastic projectile player. And LIP and diem cover your dedicated hitscan role. And Fleta does it all and can support any of the other three. Frankly, this might be the perfect role for him. What’s not to love? All in all, the Dragons have taken their lineup from last year and have just kept stacking talent on top of it.  I am interested to see how coach Moon does with this team. We know him to be a good talent scout, and that’s apparent, but with the loss of creed, will he and his administration unlock the Dragons latent potential? With his time in Contenders coaching Team CC, I’ve got my worries, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.  At main tank, Stand1 is slated to have a standout rookie year, but the worst-case scenario is that he’s slightly above average. Sat next to him is a familiar face in Fearless. Now, before Reddit freaks out, Fearless has recently played in Overwatch Contenders Trials and looked good with the Shanghai’s academy team, Team CC. Now I don’t expect him to take much starting time, but for my money, the Dragons get a lot of credit for the depth at main tank.  

5. Atlanta Reign

  I marked Atlanta Reign as an incredibly volatile team last year and they ended up being a great team. Finishing 6th overall and having a solid playoff run definitely boosted their stock. Now that they’ve emerged from the offseason essentially better, I am confident that the Reign will be contenders for a title this year. With a talented lineup featuring the likes of Erster, Edison, Hawk, and Masaa, where is there room for speculation? Could there be some personalities clashing? Sure, but frankly many of the teams, in general, could face that same criticism as well.  Something that isn’t talked about is Atlanta’s incredibly lax travel schedule. With a roster like this, they very easily could take a commanding lead towards the end of the season where equal opponents are fatigued from all the travel they’ve done. And to add to that, they have a subtlety deep roster which should pay off in the long run if they can keep people engaged. However, I do want to highlight Gator here. We saw a bit from him last season during Atlanta’s playoff run where he looked very strong. Since then he has helped lead the Regin’s academy team, ATL Academy, to a second-place finish at the Gauntlet. This is not a rookie talent that is coming out of nowhere and needs to be tested. Gator is the real deal and will be in the discussion for rookie of the year.

6. Vancouver Titans

  Ohh, remember the Titans? It is strange to see them this low but I do not expect this team to look nearly the same this season. I think what we saw in the grand finals of 2019 was a watershed moment for this team and one that was not properly addressed in the offseason, but before we talk about that, let us address the positives.  Haksal has proven to be one of the best DPS players in the world, period. Behind him, you’ve got people like Twilight and SLIME supporting you. On top of that, you’ve got JJANU? Hell, even SeoMinSoo should be mentioned. Talk about an absolute workhorse who had a fantastic season last year. This team is stacked. This team could, on its individual firepower alone could be the top five, but then we start to get into the offseason. Fissure coming out of retirement should be a good thing. It should be this momentous occasion where we get to see one of the best main tanks in the Overwatch League era come out and play once again. But I just don’t see it. Just like I didn’t see it with Seoul. Speaking of the Titans also have acquire legendary flex support ryujehong, someone who ended his 2019 season on a high note. But is the team really looking to replace Twilight? None of this makes any sense. Which leads me to my concerns directed at the coaching staff and management. You sack Bumper whose been with the core of this roster nearly since it’s inception, claim that you hold “team chemistry incredibly high,” and then proceed to sign a main tank that has a history of being difficult to work with? I don’t buy it. Something is fishy here. I’m sticking to my guns, the Vancouver Titan’s will be further splintered by the end of 2020 after a season of disappointment and the only reason they’re this high is due to how strong the roster could be.   

7. Seoul Dynasty

  Seoul Dynasty started their offseason with the huge blockbuster move of signing Gesture and Profit from the London Spitfire. With those moves alone I’ve got to have at the very least perked your ears up. Last but not certainly least, coming with the duo is flex support Bdosin to fill in as the franchise’s new flex support star.  On paper, this team is quite powerful, but we always seem to say that about Seoul, right? 2018 it was the Lunatic-Hai narrative, 2019 was supposed to be Fissure’s year, and now Seoul has Profit and Gesture. And you can’t deny that the duo does provide some head-tilting faith. It’s that feeling that makes you squint your eyes and think to yourself “ehh, maybe this year?” Personally, with ryujehong gone, I need to see this team and how it’s going to function before we start seeing Seoul make any playoff moves. This is going to be London 2.0, a super punchy but inconsistent team that very well could win it all, but no one is going to be able to predict that. However, the one thing I think you can place your bet on is that FITS and Profit might very well be the best DPS duo in the league. FITS had a breakout performance back on Goin Water S and looked respectable in a metagame that didn’t suit him. We got to see a glimpse of him in the playoffs and I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised when Seoul hits the field come February. 
Roster: Overwatch League 2020 Roster Predictions
 

8. Guangzhou Charge

  The Guangzhou Charge roster in a vacuum looks very good, but I still have my slight hesitation on how well the roster works together as I did last year. With that in mind, I’ve got to give credit to the coaching staff. Not only did they keep the boat afloat, but they also showed a willingness to play a little differently. We saw some DPS compositions on Control maps but they also took Vancouver to a close series early in 2019. In terms of individual performance, this roster was foaming at the mouth for role lock and with how I predict the season will go, the Charge are going to benefit from having players like Happy, nero, Eileen, and Shu. They can hit you from quite a few different angles and not many teams can claim that. I don’t think people are talking enough about Crong. This is a big addition. He is a fantastic replacement for HOTBA, and is on track to be an upgrade, plain and simple. He has the role flexibility that HOTBA had and his performance in Contenders was incredibly promising. Yes, you can claim he played in Contenders and isn’t tested, but it shows you haven’t been paying attention.  Now we can talk about another rookie that more than likely won’t see a ton of playtime and that’s Chinese flex support, Wya. When you’ve got someone like Shu playing ahead of you, it’s going to be near impossible to get a word in edgewise. Also at support the Charge recently welcomed veteran main support, neptuNo, who I believe could see a bit of a renaissance, but it all depends on how important Chara is to the roster. Last year he didn’t impress, and neptuNo could be gunning for that starting spot.   

9. Hangzhou Spark

  Generally speaking, I don’t think teams inherently need to make moves in the offseason, but let’s face it if you don’t make moves you do lose out on the honeymoon buff and the momentum it causes. The 2020 Spark looks to jump the shark and prove if you have a strong enough system, you don’t need to make big moves. With the advent of Coldest, a very talented Chinese flex support who might actually fight for time with Bebe at flex. He’s that good. And if the meta calls for two flex support, well you’ve got yourself a steal! With Coldest comes M1ka, another rookie Chinese support player, who probably won’t play over iDK, but will add great depth to the roster. This actually sets the Spark up quite nicely if they ever attempt to transition to a mostly or even a full Chinese roster. Guxue is still is a stud and should do very well for himself outside of GOATS. He and Ria are the bright spots outside of the support line. Which naturally leads us to the DPS and things aren’t great. GodsB will benefit immensely from getting out of GOATS. He’ll be a workhorse and continue to be more of a roleplayer. If there happens to be a metagame where McCree or Widowmaker can shine, he should be able to pilot those heroes well enough to have a brief peak, but by in large he’s not going to be doing much. Adora never really made a big impact to me, he’s a serviceable flex DPS but nothing I’d be praising. And Bazzi is pretty much a dedicated Widowmaker player. This DPS line is going to need some serious help. That said, I do think the tank and support players are good enough that they can carry the weight.  The Spark are just a few moves from being really strong. Keep an eye on them during the mid-season.  

10. Chengdu Hunters

  After surprising the league with their creative style, the Chengdu Hunters are slated to have another positive season. They could be higher, but they’re highly volatile and lean quite heavily on the shoulders of the coaching staff and leave. Don’t bet against them, but also don’t bet that they’ll win the season. They’re going to remain that same play-in team that is upset prone. The loss of their head coach has me worried about stress management and strategic “buy-in” or understanding. Co-head coaches aren’t my cup of tea. You get too many cooks in the kitchen and things start to get real messy. Will this era of Chengdu still have that creative flair and be able to find their color with the loss of Rui? Yes. China as a region tends to play for comfort, rather than the most optimal composition. They play a game of minimizing mistakes rather than chasing a composition they clearly can’t play. For a team that placed 12th last season and has improved over the offseason. I find it hard to argue that they don’t look better on paper. Much of the criticism that was pointed the Hunters’ way were addressed. The main tank question now has an answer in ATing, who looks like a good prospect coming in from the Pacific region. Their support line has added depth with the acquisition of Molly and Lengsa. And they’ve got legendary Chinese flex DPS, leave! On paper, this team has clearly improved.  Now we cannot forget that this is a Chinese team that will be playing in China. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that they will be hailed as the home team across the region, not only just in Chengdu. 

11. Dallas Fuel

  I know, it’s bullish to say the least, but I am weirdly optimistic about Dallas. But the moves they’ve made in the offseason do inspire a lot of faith. Doha, Decay, and Gamsu are very big moves and gives them a real boost in individual skill. I think they alone can seriously turn this team around if they’re allowed to. As long as the Fuel doesn’t get in their own way, I think they’ve got some seriously underrated firepower. Yes, they play in the Pacific Conference and have a pretty rough travel schedule, but they do have a deep roster. Is it the strongest bench ever? No, but, worst case scenario they at least have someone to substitute. They do also feature depth at main tank, something that can’t also be said for a lot of other teams. Have people forgotten about Trill?  Aero just needs to keep the ship afloat and properly integrate their new Korean players and I do think this team will surprise people.  

12. Los Angeles Gladiators

  Let’s not mince words, I’m not huge on the Gladiators this season. The roster just does not do anything for me. Now, I’ve got to give praise to head coach Dpei for making do with what he’s got over the years. And to that point, this coaching staff has very quietly flown under the radar.  Dpei, Faustus, face, and CurryShot all have claims to be leading coaches in the west and the fact they’re all on the same team should result in the Gladiators doubling down on their tendencies to draft a multitude of set plays on any given map. That said, you can have the deepest playbook in the world, it doesn’t make up for a roster that is painfully mediocre.  Birdring is coming off a strange exit with the London Spitfire where it was intimated that he checked out towards the tail end of the season. I’ve heard good things about MirroR back in the GOATS metagame, but he along with Jaru doesn't strike me as the most stoic DPS duo. Outside of that, I can’t badmouth the Gladiators’ support line, but I will say that compared to the lineups of their peers in the Pacific Conference, I will say they are around or below the halfway marker. The tanks here are what saves them in my opinion.  OGE has potential that was not unlocked with his stay in Dallas. SPACE is a workhorse and while I do have my questions on his hero pool, I think he’ll be fine at least for the start of the season. And LhCloudy is a brilliant substitute. Reliable, hungry, and driven. He’s someone I think might not even stay on the roster for very long due to other teams looking to build out their roster mid-season. As you can tell, I’m not big on this roster and can confidently say I think the coaching staff is their selling point. If there is going to be a team that can squeeze blood from a stone, it might just be the Gladiators this season. On paper, they can the proverbial team that’s more than the sum of their parts and it’s due to the coaching staff.
Related: Former Los Angeles Gladiators Performance Coach, Blake Panasiewicz, Weighs In on Player Burnout
 

13. Houston Outlaws

  At long last, we get a decent Houston Outlaws roster. After a spell of financial trouble, the Outlaws finally have made some noteworthy moves that should result in, what could be, their first play-in appearance of the Overwatch League. The 2020 Outlaws now boast a mixed roster with Rapel, Jecse, Hooreg, and MekO joining the roster. Now these players, in particular, are new to this type of system. For that reason, I think this team will be slow to start but should end strong. Their newest main support, Jecse, will glue this team together. The team needed a leader to rally around and I believe this is the player to do it. And the team’s new flex support Rapel has played with Jecse in the past on Element Mystic. On top of that, you’ve got MekO who is still a top flex tank and a huge upgrade over coolmatt or SPREE. Blase has some promise and I expect his stock to rise outside of the GOATS metagame. This team is better than people expect and I for one am all for it. I said this back during the Overwatch World Cup trials for Team USA; people are sleeping on the fact that Hydration can play Wrecking Ball at a high level. And to be fair, he has played Sigma in the past. All signs point to Hydration becoming a true flex this season and being one of the only players left who can successfully flex in his role rather than just his heroes. How, at this point, the coaching staff is a downside for some people is beyond me. Harsha played a huge role in keeping the Titans sane. Both he and Dream are brilliant. And as for Hooreg, I’d imagine is more of a player-manager more than a strategic coach.  

14. Toronto Defiant

  The best description of the Toronto Defiant this year has to go to Plat Chat. The Defiant are the Houston Outlaws from 2018. They are a team with a ton of fan favorites that really are not going to do much of anything.  The Defiant do have some notable individual performers, but many of them are not super consistent if we’re being honest. Look at Logix history, he’s a statistical monster, but never has shown up consistently on the Overwatch League stage. Same goes for Agilities, he has moments where he looks okay, but he is a middle of the pack DPS most of the time.  Surefour on the other hand constantly has shown he can carry if you put the right pieces around him. Hopefully, Toronto has done that and will just rotate out select DPS players and play around Surefour. I do have some questions for this roster, especially with Beast. He’s someone that either is ridiculously overrated or underrated depending on who you talk to. The fact that he hasn’t seen play in a long while, does not instill me with faith. But from talking to Barroi, I do think there is room for him to be alright. I don’t think he’ll be anything to write home to mom about, but he’ll play his role and probably land somewhere below average when it comes to other main tanks. However, what worries me the most is their travel schedule. They’ve got a brutal schedule which takes them all over the world. If they place anywhere near play-ins I think it’s going to be large in part by their coaching staff.   

15. London Spitfire

  2018 Champions, the London Spitfire will come nowhere near making a title shot, but what they are going to come close to is finally creating structure within their team. Which, in theory, should see them become more consistent and have actual coaching.  Former LW Blue coaches Agape and Pavane are now at the helm of this operation and that’s why I’ve moved them outside of the bottom five. I put a lot of stock in the fact that they are actually rebuilding this team from the ground up and I think that could net surprising results. A big problem that plagued London from last year was the fact that they never could actually lockdown a coach. Someone would come in to instill some sense of structure, they’d lose or a patch would throw things off balance, the coach would lose control, and then they’d release him.  I have a hard time believing that will happen with this roster. Speaking of the roster, you’ve got stars like BERNAR and Glister taking up most of the stock whereas much of the rest of the team are rookie players in the purest sense of the word. For their lack in firepower, they make up in roster depth which is commendable, but the big selling point comes with the idea that London is invested in creating an actual system built from the top down. I understand the cynicism around London, but let’s give them time. That doesn’t mean they’ll be great, but I do think by the end of the season we might have our opinions changed.  

16. Washington Justice

  While the Washington Justice failed to adapt to that GOATS meta last year, that is a fact. They also had a brief moment of hope during Stage 4. Since then they’ve retooled their roster and look like a fairly promising team, my biggest concern for them is their lack of depth and lack of power. Yes they have Corey and ArK, but outside of that I don’t see stable heavy hitters, I don’t see the power need to leap up from the bottom tier. From what we’ve seen so far, the team doesn’t have a strong flex DPS either. TTuba and Stratus are both mid-table role players, that have certain heroes that can up their stocks but, on average, they do not jump off the page. I think the Justice will more than likely start rOar early in the season and then fall back on the Swedish tank line that had me excited at the start. At that point, can they turn things around? Have they had equal practice time abroad?  This is a team that is running lean and needs some depth, badly. We’re also ignoring some inherent volatility in the team with AimGod. Why wasn’t he played along with Kellex towards the end of 2019? A report from VPEsports claims that he “ [...] subsequently became a source of confrontation himself” in 2018 while playing for the Uprising.  Now, you’d be correct to say “Well that happened in the past, nothing to see here.” And I generally agree, but let us for a moment assume it hasn’t. Now what? Then, the Justice has lost a mechanically strong flex support and now have to scramble to find a replacement at the last minute.  The fact that they have five homestands and the easiest travel schedule in terms of total projected miles is what got them this high. If not for those facts I’d be putting them a few spots lower.  

17. Los Angeles Valiant

  That Valiant drop quite far this year and for good reason. They’ve taken the approach that many teams have and scaled back a bit on spending and have built a lean, rookie roster that is aiming to build a system this year rather than shoot for the moon. They face an uphill battle when you look at how hard the Pacific Conference is slated to be which is going to cause some serious moral shifts, but that’s to be expected. And it will be up to the Valiant’s coaching staff to mitigate this as best they can. Speaking of, the reason why I even have them this high on the list is due to their coaching staff. Packing10 is one of the few coaches whom I trust to be able to properly lead a team of rookies like this to a respectable performance. And while he and I might debate on where that measurement is at the end of the day, I put a lot of stock in his management and the team he has built around him. People are sleeping on players like Lastro, GiG, and KSP, but I have to admit they are low on individual skill when compared to their peers. Dreamer is an interesting rookie story to keep track of but I have a feeling GiG will see the majority of the stage time. And then there is Rain, who never has impressed me. I think Valiant are going to need some extra help at support in general with Slur being released from the roster. All in all, Valiant are going through a rebuilding phase, don’t expect much and be pleasantly surprised if they do well.  

18. Florida Mayhem

  The Mayhem are a lot like the new Star Wars trilogy, you keep giving them the benefit of the doubt after each movie and the story just doesn’t lead anywhere. We keep saying “Oh, this change looks promising” and on paper, it might be, but it never seems to pan out. While I will say that they are suffering due to the moves made in 2019, I still have a hard time rating them above the bottom tier.  Yaki and Gangnamjin are solid but I don’t think these are the type of players pack the stopping power to take over a game. Now someone like Sayaplayer does have that, but he is limited to only playing hitscan heroes like Widowmaker. On the other hand, the Gangnamjin upgrade is very big when compared to last year. And then I look at the frankly green coaches and I see how rigid they are at DPS with Sayaplayer and BQB still on the roster, and then there is Kris and Byrem—I just grimace.  Perhaps their easier travel schedule can save them, but who knows for sure. The team has good pieces I just need to see it in action because on paper, it’s not looking good. I need to see more than just two good moves before I start to rate this roster higher.  

19. Paris Eternal

  Paris Eternal went from being the European hope in 2019 to one of the most confusing rosters assembled in 2020.  The big marquee signing that the Eternal made was signing South Korean prodigy Spr9k1e. However, he isn’t eligible to play until the mid-season. While be brings some star player potential, I think he’s going to force the team to play around him and his aggressive style, which could limit his impact once he turns 18. With how much stock I’m putting into main tanks, Paris has a very weak main tank lineup. BenBest did not impress me last season, which should have been his meta and NoSmite was always serviceable, but the fact that he was snubbed in favor of a great main tank with communication issues is disconcerting. The team, outside of Spr9k1e doesn’t feature a strong flex DPS. And while Kruise, FDGoD, and Greyy are solid, the team as a whole is going to have trouble keeping their head above water. We’ve seen multilingual teams in the past splinter off and I really have a hard time believe that won’t happen with this team.  At least Paris is set up for a strong 2021.   

20. Boston Uprising

  The Boston Uprising have the hardest schedule in terms of total miles traveled. This sole fact is going to run this team, nose-first into the ground. Outside of Myunbong, the team lacks in the individual skill department. Many of the players on this roster fall into the category of being serviceable in a vacuum, but there are just so many talented players in the league now that I have a hard time believing he can compete.  There is so much rookie talent on this roster, some of which didn’t even have great performances in Overwatch Contenders. On top of that, this has to be the single most difficult season to debut as a rookie in the Overwatch League. They are being thrown to the wolves with this one and even if Boston comes out hot, odds are they start to burnout once we reach mid-season. If not, then we can return to this discussion and really talk about “the system” because so far the only system I can see is finding some decent talent and letting them all go. I see the intent, Boston, I really do, but I just think other teams have done the “budget scouting” angle better. I do trust that Mineral can bring a good eye to the team, but the brain’s of this homunculus roster still lay in Huk’s hands. 

Honorable Mentions

  The Skeptic’s Eye I’ve got my eyes on the Seoul Dynasty, the Vancouver Titans, and the Paris Eternal as the most volatile rosters. I think either three of these teams can show impressive performances one week and completely bottom out the next against a measurably worse opponent. Seoul has inherited London’s mantle from last season with their additions of Profit and Gesture, the Titans have two new large players entering their team on top of residual internal problems, and the Eternal won’t have their star player until the mid-season. These are the teams that are going to bounce around all season long and probably with have flashes of brilliance but don’t be fooled by one or two performances. 2020’s Most Improved The most improved team from the perspective of last year’s power rankings has to be Shanghai Dragons. We saw what diem and DDing could do on their own merits in a metagame that didn’t suit them, now we add in the versatility of Fleta and the rookie potential of LIP (who I hear is doing extremely well) and you’ve got a bulletproof DPS line. They’ve built a tank stable, which adds even more credit to the claim. As weird as it is to say, the Dragons, the same team who bombed out at 0-40 in 2018, now are within striking distance of an Overwatch League title. Missing the Mark The teams I feel I have the most opportunity to be wrong on are Dallas (too bullish) and Florida (too bearish).  I’ve mentioned a number of times that Dallas just fell where they are now, much in the way that the Los Angeles Gladiators were placed at last season. I don’t have too much confidence in the team overall but in terms of individual skill as well as travel, the Fuel does have some strong positives. Dallas boasts a total of five homestands, which should not be an understatement as travel and home venues are going to play a big part in practice efficiency and stress management. Both Decay and Doha have had impressive amateur performances in the past and will more than likely receive the lion’s share of the praise when the team succeeds.  Now, on the other hand, there are many parts of this roster that has never lived up to expectations in the Overwatch League era. Are the European players over the hill? Why does Gamsu team hop so often? Where do people like Trill, ZachaREEE, and aKm fit into the picture? If I had to give the Fuel a range, I’d say they’ll place anywhere from 11th to 16th which more than likely puts then outside of play-ins.  The Florida Mayhem is a tough team to judge and I can’t tell if that’s due to my own perception or because I genuinely think the team is bad. My gut tells me that the management, which has swayed my opinion of them, is left with the previous administration’s mess. Even with the proper metagame, I just don’t trust this team.  The roster has some gems like Yaki, Sayaplayer, and Gangnamjin, but I need to see a change in form and direction on paper before we jump to conclusions. Yes, teams can underperform in GOATS and turn things around, but, to me, this roster hasn’t made drastic enough changes and hasn’t shown any reason to have faith. And as for Mayhem’s range, it’s got to be around 13th to 18th. 
Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLGs of 2006. He started out primarily following Starcraft 2, Halo 3, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. He has transitioned from viewer to journalist and writes freelance primarily about Overwatch and League of Legends. If you would like to know more or follow his thoughts on esports you can follow him at @Volamel. Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
 

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