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What a shocking first two weeks of the Overwatch League. While plenty of the bottom feeder teams performed about as well as expected, both the West Division and the East Division produced unexpected results and wrecked pretty much everyone’s preseason power rankings (oops). However, with some actual games in the books, Upcomer’s power rankings should stabilize now.
Regardless, teams will continue fighting for their shot in the first tournament of the 2021 season, the May Melee. That will be our first real glimpse of which teams can handle the pressure of a tournament environment and possibly contend for the championship at the end of the year. Here’s who looks most likely to do so.
So, how about those Houston Outlaws? They came out of the gate guns blazing, taking down everyone who dared question whether they finally have a dangerous team. Beating the Fuel was one thing, but their upset over the San Francisco Shock was probably the match of that week.
Outside of the top three, however, almost everything tracks. The Florida Mayhem are circling the top teams of the division, waiting for their chance to take one down and make a case for themselves. Paris moved up a bit, too, though their win was against the worst team in the league, the Vancouver Titans. The only head scratchers at the moment are the Los Angeles Gladiators, who dropped an unexpected match against the Dallas Fuel. They did crush two other opponents in week two, but they’ll have to keep up that momentum to earn their way back into the top three.
1. Houston Outlaws
With the games they’ve won, the Houston Outlaws have to take first place. The San Francisco Shock were the team to beat, and the Outlaws rallied together in a tough series to win. Off the backs of Jung-woo “Happy” Lee and Myung-heum “JJANGGU” Cho, they defeated their rivals in the Fuel, the Shock, the Eternal and the Spitfire.
The first two games were close, but the next two were relatively dominant. The addition of Jacob “JAKE” Lyon to help coordinate the team has been much better than anyone expected. This updated roster has also already qualified for the May Melee, and they’re currently in first place with few opponents likely to challenge their spot at the top, for now. Undefeated and the best in the west, they have proved to be the best iteration of the Outlaws ever made.
— Michael Czar
2. San Francisco Shock
Few could have predicted the San Francisco Shock would drop out of first place in any power ranking so early in the season, but the same holds true for losing to the Houston Outlaws. Fortunately for the Shock, they held on after long enough to keep an initially lopsided match quite close. Unfortunately, all the superstar power in the world couldn’t help against a team of hot-streaking cowboys.
The good news is San Francisco put on a much better performance against the Los Angeles Gladiators, proving newcomers Brice “FDGod” Monsçavoir and Charlie “Nero” Zwarg fit right into the team’s rotation. In fact, the whole team largely ran circles around the Gladiators, which maybe says more about their opponent than them, at this point.
Regardless, the Shock didn’t play in Week 2, and their upcoming opponents (Florida and Atlanta) should give them the opportunity to bounce back. However, should an upstart Mayhem squad defy expectations, it could mean the division is far more open than it seems.
— Jason Krell
3. Washington Justice
The Justice have started off hot so far in this 2021 season. They’re among the teams that have only played two games, but they looked dominant in both of them. As anticipated, the tank duo of Jun-ho “Fury” Kim and Tae-sung “Mag” Kim have been key to the maps they’ve won, so far. Alongside the continuing dominance of Gui-un “Decay” Jang, the team looks solid overall.
The true test of their top tier status came against the Dallas Fuel. However, they stood firm and took the Fuel apart with relative ease. One of the most surprising standouts on the Justice was support Hui-chang “BeBe” Yoon, who showed he could compete with the tough Fuel team and help push the Justice to victory.
There are some potentially challenging opponents on the horizon in the Defiant and the Uprising, but they are the favorites in both those games for good reason. So, they should comfortably stick in third place.
4. Florida Mayhem
5. Dallas Fuel
6. Los Angeles Gladiators
7. Toronto Defiant
8. Atlanta Reign
9. Paris Eternal
10. Boston Uprising
11. London Spitfire
12. Vancouver Titans
It seems chaos reigns across the world, as the Chengdu Hunters are doing in the east what the Outlaws have done in the west. The Fusion have benefitted as a result, while the Dragons are left holding on to their spot among the division’s top teams. Meanwhile, the Guangzhou Charge are still looking for their first map win of the season and the Los Angeles Valiant are still somehow worse.
Regardless, the next two weeks should be extremely interesting. With more contenders for the top four seeds than expected, watching everyone scramble for those May Melee slots should be almost as fun as seeing these teams take on their counterparts in across the globe.
1. Philadelphia Fusion
No Pharmercy is safe with a nano’d McCree controlled by Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok. The veteran gunner singlehandedly shot Chengdu’s Hu “JinMu” Yi and Tan “Nisha” Li out of the sky on King’s Row. The Fusion hit memorable play after memorable play over the weekend, proving they are the hottest team in the east.
As long as Carpe and Kim “Alarm” Kyung-bo are playing, the Fusion have a good chance of winning against any team in the league. Wait, what’s that? They also have the immensely talented Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun and Yang “tobi” Jin-mo on hand? The Fusion have a clear road on the path to the league’s first tournament. I don’t see them losing to Houston, Chengdu or anyone else until after the May Melee tournament ends early next month.
— Aron Garst
2. Chengdu Hunters
Historically, the Chengdu Hunters have been sort of a wildcard in the league, and you can never be sure just how they’re going to perform. But, strangely enough, that doesn’t seem to be the case this year. The Hunters are actually… good? Like, consistently good, instead of conditionally.
They started their season strong, going 2-0 in their first week. This included a resounding 3-0 upset victory over the heavily favored Shanghai Dragons. They then followed it up with a win over the New York Excelsior and a narrow loss to the Philadelphia Fusion.
The Hunters have always been defined by their refusal to play by the rules. This has usually been a bit of a coin toss for them in how it plays out. Sometimes teams are so taken aback that the Hunters simply bamboozle their way to a victory. Other times, teams are fully prepared and the Hunters can’t keep up.
Now, though, with new additions like main tank Qiu “GA9A” Jiaxin and Tan “Nisha” Li, the Hunters seem to have a depth of talent and flexibility they’ve never had before. Under the guidance of returning head coach Wang “RUI” Xingrui, perhaps the Chinese super-team that has eluded us for so long is finally here.
— Bonnie Qu
3. Shanghai Dragons
The Dragons didn’t play in Week 2, but they’ve definitely had a bit of a fall from grace after going 1-1 in their opening week. Despite seeming like the cohesive, well-oiled machine they’ve always been in their first match against the Guangzhou Charge, the Dragons looked almost unrecognizable against the Hunters the very next day. Sloppy play and lack of coordination led to a 3-0 loss, an unprecedented result given the expectations surrounding the Dragons.
However, it’s far too early to make sweeping declarations about this being the start of the Dragons’ downfall. Interestingly, last season began much the same way for the Dragons. They won their first game, then lost 3-0 to the Hunters in their second one. At the time, main support Lee “Leejaegon” Jae-gon attributed that inconsistency to the growing pains of a new roster. The Dragons have an entirely new main tank in Koo “Fate” Pan-seung this year, so perhaps they just need time to get used to their new playstyle. Once that happens, it’s entirely possible that they dominate the regular season again.
4. Seoul Dynasty
5. New York Excelsior
6. Hangzhou Spark
7. Guangzhou Charge
8. Los Angeles Valiant