Top Rank: Rating OWL’s top five MVP shortlist

After polling was released earlier this week between league GM’s, mainstream media and broadcast crew at the Overwatch League, five finalists have been selected for the 2019 OWL MVP award judging efforts based on regular season play. Now that the shortlist has been announced, fans and casters alike have started to speculate and scratch heads over the final cut, with some notable names snubbed from the list.

OWL MVP Finalists for 2019

© Overwatch League

In this feature, we’ll breakdown the validity of all five players who have made the final cut and take a look at some of the outcasts who should have been included in this prestigious group of Overwatch elites.

Meet the finalists

Once the votes were finally tallied putting together opinions from all sorts of spectators within the Overwatch League scene, the five man shortlist was announced this week featuring some prominent names:

  • Jay “sinatraa” Won
  • Matthew “super” DeLisi
  • Jooseok “Twilight” Lee
  • Hyeon-Woo “JJANU” Choi
  • Xu “guxue” Qiulin

San Francisco Shock have two stalwarts featured from their team as super and sinatraa feature for different reasons on their roster. super has regularly delivered in big moments for his team as he had quickly solidified himself as one of the more pragmatic Reinhardt’s in the league.

sinatraa on the other hand hasn’t wowed fans as routinely as last year with his plays, but the shotcalling and leadership role he has undertaken with SF Shock has clearly put him over as one of the more valuable assets of his team. If San Francisco continue to carve out the league for their own in this final stage, the likelihood of one of these two players picking up the honor of MVP isn’t far fetched at all.

On second thought…

As we progress further down the shortlist, it’s hard to make the argument for these players being the most impactful player in their team, let alone the entire league. Twilight has surely been a positive force within Vancouver Titans, but there’s obvious cases to be made for other players making the cut over Twilight based on both visual appeal and statistical analysis.

When it comes to player impact, Haksal and Seominsoo also from the Vancouver Titans, have shown a different level of worth that’s easily identifiable. While five DPS players on the shortlist would surely not be an adequate depiction of the league, there is an argument for Vancouver to actually showcase their damage dealers as a grand contributor to their success.

A similar situation occurs when we look at guxue’s inclusion on this list. At certain points of the season, guxue was actively not used in an attempt to build synergy on a team where there wasn’t much to begin with in Hangzhou Spark. As the Spark have finally put together momentum, the plaudits haven’t been solely on guxue’s shoulders and with good reason.

All in all, there is a case to be made for other players to have been featured, and possibly even extending the shortlist to ten men to give these players their proper due. Prominent NYXL players like Mano, JjoNak and Nenne all miss the cut with several of their statistics being higher on all fronts than other players actually on the list.

While the shortlist does a good job of covering a variety of roles and nationalities, they may have done some of the most dominant names in the league a disservice when taking into account their worth. In the NBA, missing out on prominent distinctions like these prevent players from reaching higher salaries in the offseason.

If a similar trend played out in OWL, there would be a number of Vancouver, NYXL and LA Gladiator players fuming at this list, and with good reason.