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After the first two weeks of the Overwatch League’s final tournament before the playoffs, amid scandals at Blizzard Entertainment, everything is different. Well, not everything, but safe bets like the Shanghai Dragons and the Dallas Fuel gave way to usurpers at almost every opportunity. That hasn’t done much to change the overall season standings, but it might signal shifting tides once the 2021 championship is officially on the line. So, in an effort to identify who looks like the best contender in the past two weeks, here are Upcomer’s Overwatch League power rankings. 

West Division

The Overwatch League continues to be a place where anything can happen, including West Division darlings like the Dallas Fuel going 2-2 during the Countdown Cup Qualifiers while Hawaii hopefuls the Washington Justice bomb out at 1-3. Meanwhile, the Toronto Defiant are undefeated (for the moment) after officially signing Luka “Aspire” Rolovic. While this tournament is far from over, only three things are certain in life: death, taxes and the unexpected. At least one team looks stable, at the moment.

1. Atlanta Reign

Atlanta Reign's Ir1s at the 2021 June Joust
Atlanta Reign’s Ir1s at the 2021 June Joust|| Provided by Overwatch League

Movement: +1

Overall record: 11-5

In the Countdown Cup, no team has more momentum or understanding of the meta than the Atlanta Reign. They went undefeated in their qualifiers, ending their regular season on the best tournament qualifying record they’ve had this year. At the same time, their opponents in these qualifiers were no pushovers. The Reign faced both our second-ranked team and our third-ranked team on these Overwatch League power rankings and won when it mattered. Off the back of some of the best synergy we’ve seen all year and some amazing solo moments, the Reign are at the top of the Western Division.

Rookie of the year frontrunner Oh “Pelican” Se-hyun has been especially amazing in this tournament. His Pharah play in particular helped carry the team to a win in a close game against the Florida Mayhem. If anything, the recent visits to Hawaii have given this team a lot of motivation to return and beat the two league frontrunners in Dallas and Shanghai. The craziest thing that could happen now is both the teams that took them out of previous tournaments might not be going to Hawaii this time. This is an opportunity the Reign need to seize, and they are on track to do so.

— Michael Czar

2. Dallas Fuel

Movement: -1 

Overall record: 11-5

The Dallas Fuel seem to have lost a step in the Countdown Cup meta but still look to have some of their usual tricks up their sleeve. Their team coordination is still very good, albeit worse at the moment. Along with the Shanghai Dragons, the Fuel have racked up enough points in the standings where this tournament isn’t as important as it is for a team like the Reign or Gladiators. However, the classic argument of rest versus rust does come up when the Fuel talked about using this tournament as a testing ground for the final playoffs. If they don’t qualify for Hawaii in the Countdown Cup, they don’t have to travel and can practice more. Especially with all four of their games done, they can focus on introducing and integrating Kim “Pine” Do-hyeon to their team.

With Pine finally in Dallas, the team looks deeper and more dangerous. The only issue is that the last team that openly admitted to using a tournament as a chance to rest in the Overwatch League was the inaugural New York Excelsior. It proved to end their championship hopes. If Dallas can rest up and avoid rust, they are still the team to fear.


3. Los Angeles Gladiators

LA Gladiators' Shu at the 2021 Summer Showdown
LA Gladiators’ Shu at the 2021 Summer Showdown|| Provided by Overwatch League

Movement: +1

Overall record: 9-5

The Gladiators have spent basically all season trying to claw their way back up to the top after lofty pre-season expectations didn’t immediately pan out. However, the team has started ramping up at just the right time for an Overwatch League championship run. Kim “MuZe” Young-hun looks far more comfortable as main tank, Indy “SPACE” Halpern is as good as ever and both the damage and support rotations give them an arsenal of talented tools depending on the situation.

It might be odd for the Gladiators to move up one spot after starting the Countdown Cup 1-1, but their very close loss came at the expense of the Atlanta Reign, who are both on fire and in the middle of developing an unintentional rivalry with LA. Meanwhile, the Gladiators pulled off a convincing sweep of what is supposed to be a strong Washington Justice squad. Ahead lie the Florida Mayhem and Houston Outlaws, two beatable teams with the outside potential to cause some problems. If LA want to actually make it to Hawaii for once, winning those games will provide their last possible shot.

— Jason Krell

  1. Toronto Defiant
  2. SF Shock
  3. Houston Outlaws
  4. Paris Eternal
  5. Florida Mayhem
  6. Vancouver Titans
  7. Boston Uprising
  8. Washington Justice
  9. London Spitfire

East Division

Shanghai stocks down? Fusion stocks up? We must be in the final stretch of the season to see this sort of unpredictable timeline come to fruition. Seoul and Philadelphia are already locked in for the Countdown Cup, but we’ve seen them get this far before in 2021. This time feels different, though, as our regular heavyweight is nearly out of the running. With the season almost over, maybe it’s time for another team to see some success.

1. Seoul Dynasty

Seoul Dynasty's Toyou at the 2021 Countdown Cup
Seoul Dynasty’s Toyou at the 2021 Countdown Cup|| Provided by Overwatch League

Movement: +2

Overall record: 12-4

The East Division is experiencing a bit of a shake-up recently with the Shanghai Dragons’ sudden fall from grace, and the team that has taken their place in our Overwatch League power rankings is the Seoul Dynasty. They started their second week of qualifiers with a narrow loss against the Dragons but followed it up with a spectacular reverse sweep against the resurgent Philadelphia Fusion.

There was never any question about the individual talent on the Dynasty, but it’s been more present than ever lately, particularly in the tankline. Hong “Gesture” Jae-hui and Lim “Toyou” Hyun-woo seem to have figured out their synergy and have become a force to be reckoned with. 

— Bonnie Qu

  1. Philadelphia Fusion

Movement: +3

Overall record: 10-6

I don’t think Fusion fans — whether they watched the game or not — believed the 3-0 result against the Shanghai Dragons. It took at least a week for it to truly kick in. Fusion players didn’t even believe it at first. Just look at that huge group hug that followed the victory. 

We’ve been here before, though, with the Fusion going on a hot streak before a tournament. We need to see them go the distance in the Countdown Cup before getting anyone’s hopes up. The fans simply can’t take getting crushed again.

Aron Garst

  1. Chengdu Hunters

Chengdu Hunters' Nisha at the 2021 Summer Showdown
Chengdu Hunters’ Nisha at the 2021 Summer Showdown|| Provided by Overwatch League

Movement: -1

Overall record: 9-5

The Hunters have been hovering around the top of the East Division all season. They’re at third in this week’s Overwatch League power rankings because the competition they faced this week wasn’t the stiffest and they didn’t play any matches in Week 1. But with the Dragons mostly out of the way, they’re one of the strongest contenders left in this tournament.

Once again Chengdu’s strength came from their explosive individual plays. Yi “Jinmu” Hu was particularly impressive this week, and will likely continue to be as Pharah — one of his signature heroes is back on the menu. The rest of the team continue to build upon their solid foundation, too, after their heroic showing in the last tournament. We’ll have to see how the Hunters do in their final two regular season games, but don’t be surprised if they make a surprise run.

— Qu

  1. Shanghai Dragons
  2. New York Excelsior
  3. Hangzhou Spark
  4. Guangzhou Charge
  5. LA Valiant