Overwatch League Rankings 2020: The Best OWL Teams of the new decade
The Overwatch League 2020 season marks the beginning of a new era for competitive Overwatch. After a chaotic off-season and large scale roster shuffles, it is time for the analysts to step in and make their comparisons and create the predictive Overwatch League Rankings. The previous season was marked by high risers like Hangzhou Spark and Atlanta Reign who impressed in the inaugural season, yet there’s still more intangibles to be shaken out before we can definitively declare one organization better than any other.
With 28 games ahead of us in the regular season, this Overwatch League Rankings are based on theoretical analysis and player performance comparisons aimed at predicting which OWL teams will rise to be the cream of the crop.
We will rank the teams in four tiers of five. Specific positions in the standings are hard to gouge given the change of format and the changes in team rosters. Within each Tier teams can be positioned in any order but we are confident 90% of the teams are placed within their correct tier and wont sway far from it.
With that said. Let’s begin.
C-Tier Teams (16-20)
The following five teams had a bad Free Agency period, bad signings or just bad luck overall. We consider the following organizations the bottom of the barrel for the upcoming OWL 2020 power rankings.
20. Boston Uprising
Key Player: Sang-beom “Munchkin” Byeon
Hey, if you are last there is no place to go but up, as Boston Uprising face an uphill battle this season. They had to rebuild their roster entirely for the upcoming season and while there’s no doubting the success of their scouting team yet again, they are still facing a league stacked with talent and a roster that is fully rebuilt from scratch yet again.
It will come down to veteran Munchkin shooting his way for this new Uprising roster to make an impact in the league.
19. Paris Eternal
Key Player: Terence “SoOn” Tarlier
With the GOATS meta behind us, so is Paris Eternal. The team that strived last season’s meta is now facing a changing league and a failure to adapt. Eternal retained their core French roster and added some Korean Contenders players to their roster. However, the roster seems like a lackluster patchwork headlined by an experienced coach in Hee-won “RUSH” Yun and a gargantuan task to re-create a winning roster.
18. Florida Mayhem
Key Player: Ha “Sayaplayer” Jeong-woo
Almost every season we have to rate Mayhem, and almost every season we make the same mistake of giving them more praise then they deserve. This time round we will do the opposite and maybe break the curse of the Florida squad.
During the off-season the organization once again released a large part of their players and crew and made new signings in their place. Once again we see the potential in their roster but we fear the results will not follow. Perhaps an easier travel schedule compared to the competition will give an additional boost for them, but we can’t know for sure until the season gets underway.
17. Los Angeles Valiant
Key Player: Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa
The Valiant organization is going through a hard rebuild after a relatively stable 2019 season. The offseason saw the organization lose players left right and center and to top it all off captain Scott “Custa” Kennedy announced his retirement from the game.
The team went full “Moneyball” after the fact, and signed a full roster packed with Rookies and Contenders talent. As of now, everyone is aware Valiant is aiming to build up their game in 2020 and nobody expects them to challenge for higher positions. If they do however, good on them.
16. Houston Outlaws
Key Player: Seung-soo “Jecse” Lee
The level of play within OWL has risen considerably since last year, and the confidence that Houston had in their players may be changing now that teams are being exposed to new standards.
To that end, Outlaws acquired three players in Rapel, MekO and Jecse to guide them through their 2020 season. While the players are an improvement in every role and Jecse is supposed to bring the synergy in the lineup, Outlaws are still stuck with some problems of old that won’t easily go away in this season.
We can rejoice however that the financial troubles are a thing of the past and Houston will finally have a representative in the League that’s here to make an impact.
B-Tier Teams (11-15)
The following five represent the lower part of the mid-table group. Competition is fierce for the two play-ins spots that directly depend on the seeding in this part of the standings.
15. Washington Justice
Key Player: Corey “Corey” Nigra
Justice’s 2019 season was bad all the way through the season. They tried to pick up some steam near the tail end of 2019, but It was too little too late. The team however, did not change radically in the off-season as they are still betting on ArK, Corey and Stratus to do the heavy lifting. They did however pick up Flex Support Minseok “AimGod” “Jeff” Kwon from Uprising to give their lineup some oompf.
Due to strength of schedule and five homestand weekends being played on their turf, we are not rating Justice a bottom team this time round. But they do have long ways to go if they want to be relevant in the Overwatch League Rankings.
14. Chengdu Hunters
Key Player: Li “Yveltal” Xianyao
The Chengdu squad had a decent season last year and a lot of the credit for it went to head coach Xingrui “RUI” Wang. Coming into 2020, RUI had to put a hold to his coaching career and left the Hunters in a bit of pickle.
During the off-season, three new signings in Shao-Hua “ATing” Chen, Chengzhi “Molly” He and Jingyi “Lengsa” Che were delivered greatly increasing the team’s strength curve on paper. However, without their former coach the new roster feels lackluster at best and we simply cannot expect too much from the team until the possible return of RUI.
13. London Spitfire
Key Player: Gil-Seong “Glister” Lim
Spitfire decided to rebuild their roster entirely for the upcoming season. The organization picked up a plethora of Korean Contenders players, 10 to be precise. Among those, Gil-Seong “Glister” Lim stands out as a solid pick up from the 2019 Gen.G power lineup. Another notable mention is Se-won “BERNAR“ Shin whom they picked up from Fusion University. The veterancy on their roster however, comes in the form of Sung-hyeok “Highly” Lee the former Seoul Dynasty flex support.
All in all, Spitfire has built a nimble All-Korean roster that should strive in versatility and flex options. The downside is that the roster might take a while to rack up and find their winning formula. Additionally, the roster might never gel together well and we will be left with a lot of talent and zero commitment by Spitfire. Therefore, we give London a medium placement in our Overwatch League Rankings.
12. Toronto Defiant
Key Player: Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson
Defiant went on a shopping spree in the offseason and picked up five western players for the upcoming season. The decision instantly skyrocketed them to the top of the fan-favorite standings. In a League packed full with South Korean talent, Toronto decided to go the other way and grow the home grown talent instead.
Agilities, Beast, Surefour, Kellex and Nevix all found their home with the 2020 Defiant and are looking to prove they deserve to be there. However, all five of them have some consistency issues and can easily have an off-game as much as a carry one.
To top it all off, Defiant has a tough travel schedule throughout the season and it might prove too taxing on the roster by the end of it. Ultimately, if the players perform or cover each other’s weaknesses, we have a Cinderella story on our hands.
11. Dallas Fuel
Key Player: Aaron “Aero” Atkins
We know, It’s strange to put the Head Coach as the key player for the team. But the success of the roster will greatly rely on USA’s and Fuel’s head coach Aero in 2020. The Pacific Divison has brutal travel schedules for all teams participating and Dallas is no expectation. Additionally, they picked up three Korean omegatalents in Decay, Gamsu and Doha who will need to re-learn how to blend in Fuel’s environment.
Overall, there are the building blocks of a Play-Offs team in Dallas this year. If they manage their work-travel balance and focus on developing synergy, fans can surely expect their home squad to do well this season.
A-Tier Teams (6-10)
10. Guangzhou Charge
Key Player: Alberto “neptuNo” González
Guangzhou Charge have impressed immensely so far. This is one of those teams where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Once their team gets even the slightest advantage, they won’t hesitate to take their lead into overdrive and really stick it to their opponents.
Ninth place last year was a little higher than most analysts ranked them but Guangzhou delivered. For this year, they went on a similar path to many organizations and signed nine new players to their roster. The backgrounds of each individual varies as much as their playstyles, but each individual has immense potential and a high skill ceiling.
As we already stated, Charge always goes for the “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” angle and builds their roster on this philosophy. Based on what we see they are a strong contender for Playoffs in 2020 as well.
9. Hangzhou Spark
Key Player: Xu “Guxue” Qiulin
Spark exceeded all expectations in 2019 and ended up 4th in both the Regular season and Playoffs. After such a thrilling season, the team decided to follow a similar path to the Titans and Shock organizations and not rock the boat too much. They retain much of the roster that brought success in the previous season, but did however bring two new Supports in the form of Coldest and M1ka.
Why we haven’t put Hangzhou back in top five this year is the fact that the other organizations have probably caught on Spark’s playstyle and habits from last season. This means their game could be exploited by various teams which will end up tanking them in the standings.
8. Seoul Dynasty
Key Player: Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung (22)
Seoul Dynasty are an extremely hard team to gauge just purely based on their offseason dealings. While their roster has definitely upgraded since last season, there is nothing about this team that definitively puts them in a top team’s conversation until they start getting some consistency under their belts.
Profit and Gesture have the potential to play amazing and give the team the platform to win, but they are also high variance players in this new surroundings. We’ll have to watch Seoul closely in the coming weeks to determine just how potent their strengths are.
7. Los Angeles Gladiators
Key Player: Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara
David “dpei” Pei has built a roster and it seems like he plans to mold it in his vision for this Gladiators 2020. With 8 new signings in the off-season the LA squad followed suit like many others and fully rebuilt. The different for this team and all the others we ranked lower is the absolute boss of a coaching staff Gladiators has and the profile of players they recruited.
Name any of the eight players, be it LhCloudy, SPACE or birdring and even Jaru and you have a player that takes self-improvement and working hard above all. The Gladiators might start slow but they ramp up heavily towards the tail end of the season and definitely make Playoffs.
6. Atlanta Reign
Key Player: Hyun-jun “Pokpo” Park
The Reign had a good thing going in 2019 with Pokpo, Erster and Masaaa, however, the team did not seem satisfied with a measly 5th at the end of last season. During the offseason they signed Kim “Edison” Tae-Hoon and Hugo “SharP” Sahlberg to the roster and only ten days before the season kicks off they also added Fire and Kodak to the Support roster. This elevates their team even higher ceilings and if there wasn’t such high competition at the top they would easily be a top 5 contender in our books.
S-Tier Teams (1-5)
5. Vancouver Titans
Key Player: Hyojong “Haksal” Kim
The record holding Titans are a force to be reckoned with in 2020 again. They shed some “fat” in the offseason by releasing Bumper, Hooreg, Rapel and TiZi. To replace their loss, they acquired Former/Retired/Active Support Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek and Jehong “ryujehong” Ryu from Dynasty.
Looking at the 2020 roster, Titans retains much of the 19 wins in a row – regular season dominating power. They did lose some talented individuals and replaced them with other talent. So overall the offseason was a zero sum game, meaning we can still expect Vancouver feeling high and mighty again this season.
4. Shanghai Dragons
Key Player: Min-seong “diem” Bae
In one of the hotter trades of the 2019 offseason, Shanghai Dragons picked up Byung-sun “Fleta“ Kim from Dynasty. Together with Diem and DDing, Shanghai now has a versatile DPS (Flex) roster paired with amazing tanks in the form of Geguri, Void, Stand1 and Fearless.
The Dragons have come a long way since their record setting 42 games losing streak and in 12 months have completely flipped the franchise around. This year we expect them to be easily among the Top 5 in all Overwatch League Power Rankings.
3. New York Excelsior
Key Player: Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park
NYXL likes to upgrade their roster in small spurts each season. As a result, they always have fresh talent and a strong stylistic base built around the team. Coming into 2020, the Excelsior squad acquired HOTBA, BiaNcA and WhoRU to complement the stable base Saebyeolbe, JJoNak and Mano have built.
As is tradition, NYXL is among the top rated teams and always delivers in performance. 2019 was not their year especially due to the “overperformance” of both the Titans and SF Shock. However, 2020 looks good and NYXL is a definite top three contender once again.
2. San Francisco Shock
Key Player: Jay “sinatraa” Won
San Francisco Shock are the undisputed champions of the OWL. The team seems to agree as they hardly made any roster moves in the offseason. Why would they change anything after being in the Final of every Phase last season and taking home the Trophy at the end of it all.
Coming into 2020, Shock remain as dominant as ever and are considered the odds favorite for taking home a back to back title for the first time in the OWL.
1. Philadelphia Fusion
Key Player: Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok
One of the key stories in the 2019 offseason was Fusion’s roster building prowess. The organization already had Carpe and account booster SADO on their roster but decided to triple-down on their squad. They signed Ivy, Fury, Eqo Alarm and FunnyAstro all in one go to form a super-duper squad of talent that reminds of the 2019 Shock in style and talent.
We have very high expectations for Fusion this year-round and they are our go-to bet OWL team.