It feels like forever, but it is finally time. Overwatch 2. The 2022 Overwatch League season. Power rankings. Fresh starts usually come with an air of uneasiness and hesitation, but we speak for everyone in the Overwatch community; the excitement for this season is electric. And to kick it all off we’re going from best to worst of all twenty teams across both the North American and APAC regions for the season.
There are two roads that we head down this season. We either have a fluid meta due to a new game resulting in an incredibly dynamic pool of compositions only emphasized by the regional split between North American and APAC or a week of instability and fluidness until settling into something safe and standard. In this way, flexibility still is at a premium as it always has.
Having multiple tanks or players that have a track record on select tank characters is viewed higher. A tier down from that is going to have to be prioritizing flex tanks over main tanks if a team has defaulted to only housing one tank player. Additionally, rookie main tanks entering the league this season that have developed in a post-Wrecking Ball climate of Overwatch will also be viewed more as a benefit. The mechanics demanded by the hero, in my eyes, should lend some trust to this “class” of main tanks being able to adapt more to a wider range of tank heroes, whereas the previous class maintained a more formulaic approach.
Many older main tanks only had to bounce between Reinhardt or Winston with a smatter of Orisa play every so often--and even then they either floundered about, split time or the team choose not to field certain compositions because of those deficiencies.
Above all, DPS will reign supreme. That doesn’t rule out the possibility that deathball compositions make a return, think of your Lucio/Moira/Reinhardt base compositions. But with a removal of a tank, the public statement from the development team around their view of crowd control effects, and the possibility of new hero additions throughout the season, I personally don’t see stagnant deathball metas with no ways for teams to leverage individual impact plays, lasting all that long.
To no one’s surprise, the Shanghai Dragons are #1. Defending champions, world-class in every role, and with multiple best-in-role across the boards, they are the gold standard across the Overwatch League. You have to reach on the outskirts for metagames that could possibly give them trouble, but much like last year, their growth potential is second to none. They’ve retained Genji specialists, Seung-jun "WhoRU" Lee, and added Hui-chang "BeBe" Yoon for additional depth if necessary, but odds are they won’t be needed. While a repeat title run is still up in the air, in terms of power--the Dragons are tough to argue against.
Again, the only team in 2021 to challenge the Dragons was the Dallas Fuel and they’ve only improved their roster this year. Rookie player Min-seo "guriyo" Kang gives the Fuel coaching staff a strong hitscan to work around if the need were to arise which was a weak spot for the team last season. Compared to last year, Dallas has more opportunities to flex around which is both a blessing and a curse, but word on the street is that the coaching staff is once again leading the NA metagame. The biggest issue comes by way of their tanks. Eui-Seok "Fearless" Lee and Han-been "Hanbin" Choi being limited isn’t good as both are skilled and bring intangibles, does the Fuel core suffer from this presumed gear shifting, be it style or players or a bit of both? It likely won’t but it’s important to read the room objectively.
The best parts of the 2021 Atlanta Reign should be exactly the same this year. This is a team that always has been incredibly explosive and stylistic, think back even to 2020 and how they played their 2CP. They’ve bolstered their support line with two of the most sought after western duos in Benjamin "UltraViolet" David and Christian "Ojee" Han. That said, there are some minor worries that keep them from being a direct favorite for the title this year. Their rookie backline brings a lot of expectations, what does a loss at this calibre of play mean to them after performing so well domestically for so long? And looking at ATL’s more rigid DPS lineup, that does cover all the bases, but it requires pieces to move especially in a fluid meta which is not ideal. All in all, there is a lot to love for Reign fans.
Let’s face it, the Seoul Dynasty have the best DPS lineup in the world. And per the criteria, this bumps them very high. Expect Seoul to be explosive with some potential to see Joon-yeong "Profit" Park flex his role fluidity. However, that doesn’t mean they’re removed from any suspicions. We do hold some questions when it comes to smurf playing the field. He is a world-class main tank, but has historically shared time at the role and now is asked to do more? Seoul is lean but not in a bad way, and with the 2022 contracts allowing for more agile movement from the teamside of things, the Dynasty easily could make some mid-season moves without too much hassle. Great spot to be in, great DPS, Seoul should be a top team.
Okay, so let’s make some things clear. This ranking IS based on Huang "leave" Xin staying with the Hunters. If news breaks and he does live up to his namesake and takes a deal with another team, you can drop this team into the next tier. That said, Li "Apr1ta" Yuanjinghao and leave both make an incredible DPS duo and the support line, regardless if some depth is shed, is still very strong. That said, there are some questions around main tank Qiu "GA9A" Jiaxin, if he also remains with the team (can you notice a trend here?). Are his flex tanks up to snuff because Wrecking Ball is not getting much love from the initial Alpha tests. Another DPS led team with a lot of initial chaos to overcome if they want to remain this high.
Los Angeles Gladiators
Let’s get some things straight; the Gladiators' tanks and support are cracked. The big worries come in at the most important role. Kevin "kevster" Persson is always incredible but questions when it comes to Seonchang "ANS" Lee and Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong. The former hasn’t been given a chance recently to really lean into his hitscan roots and the latter has been playing VALORANT for the last year. Yet, you do have to trust this coaching staff that has both worked with some of these players in the past and has a serious eye for talent. The Gladiators look strong and have some explosive potential. If things all click and the right meta lands--LA could be looking to win the title.
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San Francisco Shock
If there is one team to be excited about this season, it is the Shock. This rebuild has many San Francisco fans returning with the hopes of a third title, and with the roster’s on paper strength can you blame them? O2 Blast mainstays Jin-woo "Kilo" Jung and Se-jin "FiNN" Oh are impressive enough, but with Shock landing the odds-on favourite to win rookie of the year in Dong-hyun "Proper" Kim, it’s almost unfair. Yet there are some concerns to reel expectations back in just a little. While Colin "Coluge" Arai was impressive in Overwatch Contenders, will the stage and the increased hero demand that the tank position now has, be a bit too much? On top of that, with as much love as content creators and analysts are giving to Lucio, is their lack at the position something to be concerned about in the long run? On paper, the Shock look incredibly strong. Are they one of the best in the world though? Only time will tell.
Once again a team that is led by their DPS, who hold concerns at tank and, to a lesser degree, at support. Houston are punchy, that much can be said, but can they last the entire season with Min-jun "PIGGY " Shin as their sole tank? That’s where we have to mark some metaphorical points. While he was a stand out Sigma last season, Piggy is not where we’d be placing our bets. An added tank would bring a ton of stability to this roster and probably move them a lot closer to challenging the Shock. However, much like the Shock, one of the biggest narratives to watch out for is how the support role evolves this season. If main supports like Lucio and Mercy continue to be featured in a big way, not having someone with experience at that role is going to hurt them. That said, landing 2021 rookie of the year Se-hyun "Pelican" Oh puts the power where they need it. The strength of your DPS is going to be directly tied to how well you do, and while many teams have invested heavily in bolstering their lineups, the Outlaws have some heavy hitters in their ranks.
Mayhem are not playing around this year. This sleeper team is going to be featured in monthly stage tournaments and will be a contender come playoffs. The names don’t necessarily jump off the page now, and we’re not saying their title bound by any means, but Florida can compete with the top dogs this year. Isaiah "Hydron" Rodriguez brings a world-class Tracer and some strong hitscan presence, but the real gem on this roster is Jeong-wan "SOMEONE" Ham. This coaching regime brings experience and a proven track record working with low budget, low expectation rosters, and transmutes them into must-see teams. This is the underdog team that will surprise the world, bet on it.
With a lot to prove, the new-look Fusion has a chip on their shoulder this season and should not be slept on. After a disappointing season with the Justice, more on them later, Jun-ho "Fury" Kim is leading the charge for Philly. Backing him up are the rookie duo of Hyun-woo "ZEST" Kim and Jae-hee "MN3" Yoon who are a world-class DPS duo, hands down. Their supports are a little on the “fine” side, nothing to write home to mom about, but all in all, this is a solid look for Philadelphia all around. Expect some good things, but the jury is out on if they can punch into that top tier of teams.
As much as we’ve always enjoyed having wider, more flexible rosters, the Uprising’s depth could be both a blessing and a curse. Landing a world-class talent like Nam-joo "Striker" Kwon is a huge boon for Boston, especially now that we’re down a tank in Overwatch 2. His partner in Byeong-ju "Valentine" Kim didn’t leap off the page last year but we’re expecting some big things from him this time around. Past that, the Uprising check all the boxes. Flexible tank stable, supports both flex and main, everything looks solid from Boston--but they’re going to need a strict vision for the future. It would be wise to not let the sins of Uprising’s past, cloud how we view them this time around.
Now, on paper, the Washington Justice look impressive. However, we said that last year. Actually, we said they would be world beaters and they barely could beat an egg. 2022 brings a lot of those same feelings into a game that should play directly into their wheelhouse. Jung-woo "Happy" Lee, Jun "vigilante" Kim, and Shin "Kalios" Woo-yeol all are great additions to this team, then you remember some of the great pieces they houses last year, but whatever plagued them in 2021 cannot take root this time around. The potential of this team should put them well within the top 10, but until the Justice do justice to their roster, we’re keeping them middle of the pack.
And much in the same way as the Justice, the Hangzhou Spark simply cannot be trusted. Every year we rant and rave about how good this team should be, but they never are--and this year it’s so frustrating. Zheng "shy" Yangjie? Insane. Jun "AlphaYi" Kim? The best projectile talents coming out of China this year. Li "Pineapple" Zhuo? An underrated hitscan that has some serious playmaking potential. We should be talking about how good this roster is, about how they have one of the most underrated DPS stables, about how their depth should be successful in the long run, but this feels like the Spark every year. They’ll have a strong stage, buster out, and forget how to play the game. Come mid-season, we’d love nothing more to shove them up within the top 10 where their roster should be, but Hangzhou is in desperate need of stability.
If Se-hwan "ChoiSehwan" Choi lasts the entire season, without too much issue when it comes to ping, then the Charge can compete. And that’s the narrative shadow they’re trying to escape. Their tanks are fine enough, nothing that jumps off the page but they checkboxes. Support wise it feels much of the same, outside of He "Molly" Chengzhi but there also could be some stage rust. And in the role that Overwatch 2 is going to demand and allow the most impact, the Charge’s DPS look alright, but without one of last season's unsung heroes, Guangzhou look to flounder towards the bottom.
New York Excelsior
The NYXL have 5 players, and while they are good, that’s not enough to get you through a season. We caught wind of their roster early on and were so excited about where they were going. These 5 were supposed to be a diving board, not the entire team. That said, New York should have some stages where they can battle the middle of the pack, but we cannot in good faith say that the Excelsior, this time around, will be successful all season long. Solo main tank is concerning and while their DPS duo looks to cover all the bases, the lack of a main support is worrying with Lucio on the mend. NYXL will peak high for a stage and our mentions will be filled with “we-told-you-so”s but come playoffs, New York are likely not going to make it without some serious additions.
Toronto has one of the best support lineups in the league. That’s it.
Jokes aside, it’s difficult to push this team higher. Young-hun "MuZe" Kim had difficulties with Reinhardt which painted the Gladiators into a corner, one that they found success in but you don’t want to have to be in that position. Next to him you’ve got Hong-joon "HOTBA" Choi who has been a solid flex tank since 2018 but are these the people who you trust going into Overwatch 2? Past that, Hee-su "Heesu" Jeong and Jung-woo "Finale" Lim are your starting DPS duo? We’re sorry, but that just isn’t going to cut it anymore. If Toronto finds some success they’re going to have to hit the right meta and probably will need to be quite stylistic, which isn’t out of the question, but what’s more likely is that they chase a meta they can’t play and look middling. Fine team, just another season for the Defiant.
We’ll start with this; the biggest issue is the oddly the DPS duo. Both Gil-seong "Glister" Lim and Nikolai "Naga" Dereli are impressive in a vacuum, but when compared to their domestic neighbours, there is a slight lack of flexibility. If there is a Tracer/Hitscan meta, does Naga have a Tracer to compete at the highest level against some of these killers? In that same sense, is Glister going to show us his 2020 debut or his slow start to 2021? Given the meta they easily will punch pretty high, but they feel like a high floor team, on average, but their peaks are going to be dice rolls. Tanks cover the bases, supports are the focal point of the team, and both are just generally fine or good. There are some big questions at how the DPS perform. Good team, in some ways, Paris could become the benchmark for the season.
God, we wish we could jam the Titans up the ranks. Niclas "sHockWave" Jensen and Luka "Aspire" Rolovic have both shown some incredible performances on teams that have been underperforming. That is something that is both rare and marks some impressive play. That said, there are some concerns at tank. Nick "False" Wiseman was progressing well through Overwatch Contenders, but we’re worried that his experience at the highest level could be leveraged in a role that has undergone the biggest changes in Overwatch 2. This is a great start to a team with some fantastic pieces, but across the season, Vancouver might not have the staying power to maintain some peak mid-pack position.
Looking at this roster, it feels criminal to rank them this low but when you zoom out and view their peers, there are some questions that are hard to ignore. Yes, last year was not pretty for the 2018 champions, but how much of that can be waived due to playing on ping? Is Jamie "Backbone" O'Neill the premier choice at flex DPS? Has their flex support woes thrown things into chaos? Christopher "ChrisTFer" Graham is a fantastic coach and the staff has done some great things, let it be known; this ranking carries no disrespect. However, when we view the 2022 Spitfire in some objective sense, it is a tough ask to see them overcome all of these possible hurdles.
Los Angeles Valiant
Wang "NoHill" Fuxing’s project team had us all enchanted during the offseason, but as things have shaken out, it’s difficult to new rank them at the bottom. Even as of writing this, the Valiant still have not publicly announced any tank signing. Now that doesn’t mean they don’t have one but if we’re to judge the rumour that the former Spark flex tank from the 2020 season, Sang-hyeon "SASIN" Song is set to be their sole tank, that has us worried. Even with a Weida "Diya" Lu led DPS lineup, having the Valiant see any kind of prolonged success across the season is difficult. That said, this is a massive improvement from last year and the Valiant should not be viewed in the shadow of the 2021 Valiant.
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