Watchpoint: Lobby’s OWL 2020 Pre-Preseason Power Rankings

As 2019 wraps up the Watchpoint: Lobby team have taken the time to look at where teams stack up against each other. Many teams have made drastic moves to restock their roster for the 2020 season. Elsewhere, other teams continue to make moves as we crawl closer to February’s opening day.

Regardless of where teams are, all 30+ writers of the WP:L team individually ranked each team in the league. We averaged those all together to get a group consensus on where the league stands today. This snapshot in time reflects all 30+ writer’s rankings of the league and a quick thought from each time’s respective writers.

20. LA Valiant

“Here at Watchpoint:Lobby our esteemed group of writers has placed the Valiant as the lowest ranked team for the 2020 season. At this moment, it is hard to say they are wrong; after all I placed the team in 17th-18th place.

The truth is the Valiant are completely unproven and untested, and losing a lot of the roster that made them great will sting. But believe in Packing10’s coaching abilities and don’t forget Shax and KSF, who did fantastic in the OWWC and during the 2019 Season are still with the team! I think the Valiant will grow and maybe even have some big upsets this year; don’t count them out yet!”

Yami
LA Valiant writer

19. Washington Justice

“The Washington Justice made big moves during the offseason, replacing the coaching staff and bringing in new players for OWL 2020. The new lineup for the team looks great with the dps duo of Corey and Stratus returning and the Swedish tank duo of Ellivote and Lullsish finally able to get their time to shine on stage in 2020, the team looks promising.”

novi
Washington Justice writer

18. Boston Uprising

“Snow falling, Christmas lights being strung up, and the Overwatch League community hating on the Uprising. It must be winter. While Uprising fans are used to the annual roster turnover and league-wide skepticism, we know better not to feed into the hate. Huk has done a superb job of scouting international talent again. From locals like Swimmer, EU talent like Brussen, and Korean superstars like Myunbong, this team is loaded for the 2020 season.

While Huk’s latest AMA suggests the roster is stabilized, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Boston add further depth to the support role. Additionally, until this team proves themselves on stage, league wide doubt with only continue to fester. With returning Captain and All-Star Fusions leading the way, Boston fans know the team can rebound and return to the playoff caliber performance of the Inaugural Season.”

Loadscr33n
Boston Uprising writer and Editor-in-Chief

17. London Spitfire

“For me, London are a team that could finish either end of the table. With every player on the roster being an unproven talent, but all with the potential to be world beaters. Personally, I see the Spitfire are a top 12 team, but maybe that’s the fan in me speaking… My final thought is don’t be surprised if this ranking is very wrong come the end of the season”

Toddy
London Spitfire writer

16. Dallas Fuel

“So the Dallas Fuel are ranked 16th. To be honest, I think the Fuel are a lot better. Doha and Decay is a solid, flexible DPS duo. The tanks have also gotten stronger and better synergized. Personally, I ranked them higher, but I understand why most are rating them so low. 2 years in a row now, the Fuel have looked pretty strong. Neither year ended up well. The Fuel have become a meme for their consistent high predictions and resulting poor performance. It seems our Watchpoint Lobby writers have taken all this into account. Very fairly. But there’s hope.

I know, I know. We said this at the start of year 1, and some people said it last year. The Dallas Fuel actually look quite strong. And as much as I hesitate to believe, this may be their best year. Decay, Doha, Gamsu, Note… But they’re ranked 16th for a reason. The Fuel are underachievers. Start of year 1, the Fuel were ranked as one of the better teams in the league by most. They ended as one of the worst. Last year, they were ranked as a mid/bottom tier team, and they kind of ended up worse than that too. I understand the ranking, and I think, given the history, it is fair.

But this time, I swear it’s different. Our Watchpoint Lobby writers disagree. And to be fair, that’s what we said last year too. And the year before that. What could possibly go wrong?”

Shawn “Germanicus” Heerema
LA Valiant writer

15. Florida Mayhem

“With another rough season in the second year of OWL the Mayhem have made great progress in turning around a failing franchise. This off-season saw the release of Bearhands along with DPI, rain, Xhepher, Swon, and HaGoPeun. It was a fresh start and the Mayhem got exactly what they needed in the off season. Thanks to talks with team Runaway the Mayhem made the best roster selection since the pickup of Sayaplayer back in season 1. Projectile DPS player Yaki and Flex Support player Gangnamjin. These additions not only improve the roster as a whole but make a great case for their chances of making the Play-ins. With Sayaplayer’s godtire aim, BQB’s hero pool and Kris’s improvements as a main support they have a threatening team.

However, the Mayhem’s downfall is their tank line. While you can argue that the DPS is top 5, the support is top 10, the Mayhem’s tank line is more of a bottom 5. Gargoyle is a player that has proven his talents as a flex tank along with Fate with a solid track record as a main tank. The issue is there are simply better tank lines. Fate’s inconsistencies have haunted this line and while he is Florida’s best main tank in history he still isn’t enough to compete with the big timers.

The coaching staff is another questionable factor in the Mayhem camp. OWL player turned coach Kuki is starting his rookie year as head coach which could spell disaster for the Mayhem. After having to struggle with new coaches and lack there of, the Mayhem decide to put their future in the rookie. Is this a mistake or a hell of a gamble we will never know until the start of next season.”

Leggoeman
Florida Mayhem writer

14. Chengdu Hunters

“Peaking just above the Mayhem is the Chengdu Hunters, the most unpredictable team in the league. They may not be the best next season, but they are going to be so fun to watch. In terms of Chinese talent they now have some of the best in Leave Yveltal, YXL, and Elsa. Losing RUI could be huge but with Chengdu having every Chinese coach to choose from, a replacement should be simple. It will be interesting to see whether Chengdu can continually pull out whacky strategies to cheese and upset better opponents. They have the talent to play the meta, like a genji otp in your ranked game they choose not too. I wonder how good Chengdu could be if they really grinded a meta comp.”

Siarnaq
London Spitfire writer

13. Houston Outlaws

“It’s no secret that Houston’s 2019 season was disappointing, but there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic about 2020. The team was sold to new owners in November, and there has been some pretty major staff and roster changes in the off-season. For my money, the most exciting of these is the addition of Meko, one of the best off tanks in the league. There’s no doubt that there will be some stiff competition next year, and the Outlaws will have to fight hard to increase their standing.

Based on past experience, I’m not at all surprised to see the team ranked 13th, but I’m quietly confident that they will do at least moderately better than my fellow writers and editors are expecting them to. There’s a good chance that Houston can win at least their first three matches of the season, before coming face to face with Meko’s old teammates in the fourth. After that, they meet Spitfire and Defiant at their first homestand, and it is this weekend that I think will be a true indication of their chances for the rest of 2020.”

Cassowary
Houston Outlaws writer and WPL Editor

“Since July, there have been 16 moves from The Outlaws. They picked up some well-known star talent. Despite this, they are still ranked 13th in power rankings among all the Watchpoint: Lobby writers. Is this a fair ranking? NO. Rapel and MekO alone should bump the team’s ranking.

There are two ways this goes down:
1 They can’t get through the language barrier meta and can’t use their star talent effectively, have maybe one viable sub, and place poorly.
2. They use their new management’s experience with foreign players and work around it like many other mixed rosters have and place well.

The average placings last season of all the new members is 7th. That’s with Blasé 19th placed Boston. What average all players of the current roster? Doing the math, we get 12.72. We round that and get 13… Keep in mind the rest of the org too. The team got a new president, two new assistant coaches, and a new head coach. The head coach worked with the Vancouver Titans. One of the assistant coaches is none other than Hooreg himself. The DPS player that was a part of the London spitfire when they won the Inaugural season, the Hooreg that was a part of the winning RunAway roster, the Hooreg that placed 1st overall with the Vancouver Titans in the 2019 regular season, and the Hooreg that placed second in the playoffs only losing to the Shock. Yeah, that Hooreg. Just imagine if he comes out of that coaching role back to a player for the Outlaws too.

People aren’t talking about the new divisions either. Houston has by far the easiest division which means more matches against weaker teams. So, even if their power rankings are low. They are going to be in a playoff match this season. I guarantee it.”

sezbicki
Houston Outlaws writer

12. Paris Eternal

“Paris Eternal doesn’t seem to have everyone convinced quite yet — and that’s understandable. There’s going to be some growing pains, especially at first, with some of the team’s most powerful assets (SP9RK1E, HanBin) not yet eligible to play. But they’re solid, made of strong cores that already have experience playing together and proven synergy (can you say better than back-to-back Contenders, Gauntlet and Next Cup champions?).

Management seems determined to give the team the infrastructure and means to succeed, whether it’s with the bootcamp in Korea or hiring staff to ensure team cohesion and communication. The previous seasons have shown where and how mixed rosters can go awry, and it seems that they’re being careful to avoid repeating past mistakes.

Early season 3 Paris might prove to be in the middle of the pack, but I have high hopes for this team, and I think they’ll be one of the wild cards to keep an eye out for. Can’t wait for them to prove you all wrong!”

Gaila
Paris Eternal writer

11. Guangzhou Charge

“11th is a good place to start. While I would have hoped for something a little further up, it is clear that we still have people’s faith to earn at the start of this season. I believe that this placing is partially due to our disappointing placement in the Shanghai Masters Invitational. Given the time to get gelled as a squad, I believe the Charge can easily reach top 5, surpassing teams who currently look stronger.

With new talent like Cr0ng and Wya arriving, alongside proven veterans like NeptuNo, Charge can only go upwards, but it may take some time to reach our full potential. Furthermore, with our incredible DPS in Nero, Happy and Eileen, a DPS heavy meta is surely in our favor. Not to mention one of the strongest support lines in OWL with Shu and Chara. I also like being middle of the pack. We have to fight to go up, and there will be competition coming up from beneath and competition breeds excellence. 2020 looks bright for the Guangzhou Charge.”

Dinger
Guangzhou Charge writer

10. Philadelphia Fusion

“After coming up short in the inaugural season for the championship, the Fusion were thought to be a strong team come 2020. This was shot down when the team was never bad but they were also never a top contender. With new faces like Fury, Alarm and FunnyAstro and even the controversial Chipsa, the team seems like they could surprise come 2020.

Middle of the pack is absolutely fair but theirs always a chance for the team to surprise and make a run like they did in season 1.

Novi
Washington Justice writer

9. LA Gladiators

“I think 9 is a fair ranking for the Gladiators in the beginning of the season, because many of these teammates have not worked together, and they do have much to prove. However, 2 more months of preparation as well as a meta change can certainly change these rankings due to bootcamps, scrimmage results, meta shifts, etc. The game is about adapting to different situations rather than just having a strong start. The Gladiators have also been known to not figure it all out in the first quarter of the season, but they are truly a force to be reckoned with in the later parts of the season.”

CableKurugi
LA Gladiators writer

“The Gladiators have undergone a massive change. With the release of the majority of their 2019 roster, the team will be starting from the ground up. With players like OGE and Space coming into the fray, they are considered to be a solid tank line for the Gladiators and that isn’t even including Bischu and LHCloudy. Though Birdring, MirroR, and Jaru becoming the Gladiators DPS line has many concerned for the team. Both MirroR and Jaru are both coming from contenders and have no OWL experience and Birdring has been known to be an inconsistent player from his time with the Spitfire. With their support line of veteran leaders BigGoose and Shaz and the addition of Paintbrush, the Finnish duo will be expected to perform as they always have and lead this team.

In the end, the Gladiators are a team with solid pieces, but for them to truly push past the top five, their DPS players will need to pull their own weight.”

AleX
LA Gladiators writer

8. Hangzhou Spark

“The highest placing Chinese team from Season 2 look set to be a top team again. New signings have been rumored and yet to be confirmed so I won’t be able to address them here. The Spark have established a duo with Godsb and Guxue with a brilliant support cast in Ria and IDK. The Spark seem like they are a team who are baby steps away from breaking into the top 4 and would need an above average flex dps to compliment GodsB. For now, Adora and Bazzi seem like average partners at this time. The Spark have established synergy, however, and are definitely stronger than the sum of their parts.”

Siarnaq
London Spitfire writer

7. Toronto Defiant

“With a new head coach in Fife and the recent signings that they have, reuniting KariV and Agilities, as well as adding the Canadian-born SureFour, lightning can strike and will improve the Defiant’s fortunes from last season. But with the departure of fan favourites like Neko, Ivy, Yakpung et al, there will be some time to gel between the new units. I can see this group going to the postseason and possibly one of the stage playoffs, but may go out early.”

LG65
Toronto Defiant writer

6. Seoul Dynasty

“Seoul always seems to be stuck in the mid high rankings. There is a lot worst positions to be ranked at then #6, but also I know Seoul would want to aim higher. The roster still has a lot of question marks with additions to the team, that makes me believe Seoul can step up and surprise many teams. Hopefully by the end of the season Seoul has cracked top five if not top three!”

Daebakowl
Seoul Dynasty Writer

5. Vancouver Titans

“Vancouver just picked up Ryujehong and Fissure while dropping their 2 Main Tanks, Bumper and Tizi. Many would think that synergy might be an issue without their Main Tanks. However, Fissure has shown the ability to gel with the team, namely Gladiators and Seoul, rather quickly. The question is whether Fissure is less motivated later in the season as he was on that state on both of those teams. Ryujehong and Twilight are recognized as 2 of the best flex support players the league has seen, which could prove to be valuable.

The core of the Vancouver Titans is there. Slime, Twilight, SeoMinSoo, Haksal, Jjanu, Stitch, etc. All those players have been S or high A tier in what they can accomplish, and they have yet to lose Numbani! Vancouver has shown not just the fact that they have hero pool, synergy and consistency, but they can also change and adapt to different strategies throughout the game to keep the enemy thinking about their own strategy vs the matchup. Vancouver Titans are likely to have a strong start in OWL Season 3!”

CableKurugi
LA Gladiators writer

4. Atlanta Reign

“With the first season of the Atlanta Reign in the books, a new dawn approaches. After a rather remarkable first season the Reign look to keep raining on the other team’s parades. While they have lost a few players, their core remains intact. The Reign finished the last year at 6th overall and this came as a shock to most. They had an up and down season, but really came into their own during stage 4 going 7-0.

Looking forward into next season, it is hard to not justify the Reign as 4th among the teams in the power rankings. They have a solid tank line of Gator, Pokpo, frd and Hawk. An impeccable DPS core of Erster, babybay, Edison and SharP. Then, add a very strong support line of Dogman and Masaa, it is a recipe for success. If they can keep pace with how they played in stage 4 of last season, they will be a force to be reckoned with and push their way to the top of the league. “

Oakenwraith
Atlanta Reign writer

3. Shanghai Dragons

“The reason the Dragons are so high on this list is because of the star power they brought in to bolster a solid core. Fleta has been the bright spark for an average Seoul Dynasty across both seasons. If there is any hero that isn’t covered by Diem and DDing, Fleta will cover it with ease. LeeJaeGon is an unbelievable talent on Lucio, he’s so clever it’s insane. LIP is a somewhat unheard talent, but he showed up big time in the Shanghai masters. I don’t expect to see him too much as Diem has that hitscan spot locked down in my eyes. On Tank they added Stand1 who is solid and Void who is equally as consistent. The Dragons were solid last season and just got better, more flexible, and more experienced overall.”

Siarnaq
London Spitfire writer

2. New York Excelsior

“Once again, NYXL are looking below everyone in the standings. Well, almost everyone. With only the San Francisco Shock above us, the WP:L writers expect another big year for New York. In the offseason, our coaching staff moved around, with former head coach Hyeongseok “Pavane” Kim and se-chul “zet” kim leaving the team, and assistant coach Yongcheol ”imt” Jeong taking his place, while bringing in Juhyeop “WhyNot” Lee for help. Limited roster changes were also made, including the departure of Taehong “MekO” Kim & Yeonoh “Fl0w3r” Hwang, the arrivals of Hongjun “Hotba” Choi and a few rookies coming out of contenders (Some more hyped than others, but I don’t know Who), and Dohyeon “Pine” Kim’s retirement.

With most of the core roster staying, this is looking to be a make-or-break year for the Excelsior, who, despite successful regular seasons, have yet to make the Grand Finals. The team will host the first Homestand Weekend at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan. This could prove to be an advantage for them, feeding off the home crowd’s energy to start the season and carry it on across the world. Come February 8th, New York City will show what the Overwatch League is capable of, both in fan support and domination in the server. #EverUpward

Plus
NYXL writer

1. San Francisco Shock

“If their performance from all of season two is any indicator, the Shock are still the proper kings of the Overwatch League. The only thing that can dethrone them in the coming season will be their own complacency and the radical changes other teams are undergoing.”

Kenji Yoshida
San Francisco Shock writer

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That seems to be the motto for the Shock this offseason, and who could blame them? Even before the offseason began Shock owner and CEO Andy Miller hinted that the whole roster would be returning for their home events Shockfest 2020 and Silicon Valley Showdown. For the most part, the Shock have kept true to that promise. Except for the loss of Nevix and assistant coach NineK, the Shock’s team has remained intact. That means that the same team that dominated the league last season, the ESPN Esports Team of 2019, will be arriving full force come February.

With proven firepower, the only thing that can stand in the way of the Shock is themselves – It has yet to be seen whether this team will be ahead or behind the curve in adapting to the brutal 2020 schedule. It remains to be seen at the time of this writing whether the Shock will replace Nevix or acquire backup supports to Moth and Viol2t, but they have replaced NineK with Arachne, who was the head coach of Talon Esports. Regardless, we already know what this team is capable of, and the precedential dominance of this team makes them easy favorites to win it all again in 2020.”

Royal Phoenix
San Francisco Shock writer

Thoughts

That wraps up the first power ranking for the 2020 season. It’s hard to predict how the 2020 Overwatch League season will shake out. Still, our writers took a hard look at the state of each team. Though many teams still are in flux, others indisputably look stronger than others. But looks don’t equal wins. Teams will have to show they made the right decisions once the season begins. And that means these rankings could be shaken up. Quickly. Only 2 months to go!

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