The Overwatch League is upgrading to an early build of Overwatch 2 when it kicks off in April, which could throw much of the scene into chaos. But some players are likely to soar no matter what the developers send their way.
If you’re new to the Overwatch League or just need a shortlist of players to keep an eye on this year, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of the best pros to watch in 2022. For this list, we took into consideration their performance in the 2021 Overwatch League season and their likelihood of continuing success in 2022. Each player’s ability to flex into the new world of Overwatch 2 was also taken into account.
While we can’t guarantee these players will have infinite success, we can definitely promise they’ll be featured in highlight reels the rest of the year. Here are the best Overwatch players to watch in 2022.
Leave, Chengdu Hunters
It feels wrong to kick off a list of the best players with anyone but last year’s Overwatch League MVP. Leave took the title thanks to his stellar DPS performance as a part of the Chengdu Hunters. The team also experienced its most successful season in 2021, which certainly isn’t a coincidence. Known for his fast-paced play on heroes like Genji and Tracer, Leave sliced and diced his way through enemies all year long.
He’ll continue to be a part of the Hunters as they head into the 2022 season.
Fearless, Dallas Fuel
Affectionately known as the league’s “anime protagonist” thanks to his career-long redemption arc, Fearless is one of the most talented main tanks in the Overwatch scene. He began his career in the league on the Shanghai Dragons, experiencing the team’s 0-40 inaugural season before returning and leading them to victory in 2020. The Dallas Fuel snatched him up for 2021 and Fearless gave his all to the team. Dallas earned a May Melee tournament victory and the team had its most successful season last year.
Luckily for Fuel fans, Fearless will be looking for a repeat performance in the upcoming season.
LIP, Shanghai Dragons
If you look up “terrifying DPS” in the dictionary, you’ll likely find pictures of several Shanghai Dragons players. In 2021, LIP led that list, destroying dreams on heroes like Sombra, Ashe, and Cassidy. He was a massive part of both of the Dragons’ tournament wins in 2021, as well as the team’s sweep of the Atlanta Reign in the Grand Finals, where he was named the match’s MVP. After winning an Overwatch League championship, most of Shanghai’s roster, including LIP, will be back for more in 2022.
Pelican, Houston Outlaws
This bird was definitely the word in the Overwatch League during the 2021 season, earning the Rookie of the Year award for his DPS performance. On heroes like Tracer and Echo, Pelican demolished the opposition and flipped teamfights for the Atlanta Reign. Beyond his gameplay, he proved he was committed to victory. After suffering a collapsed lung, Pelican traveled cross-country to participate in the Overwatch League playoffs since he couldn’t fly to Hawaii with the rest of his team. If that’s not dedication, we don’t know what is.
Though Pelican popped off for Atlanta all year, the Houston Outlaws completed a monetary trade for him during the offseason, so he’ll be headed to the Lone Star State in 2022.
IZaYaKI, Shanghai Dragons
Even though Shanghai took home the 2021 Overwatch League championship, the team is strange in a few notable ways. Part of the reason the Dragons are so deadly is because every player thinks they’re a damage-dealer, including the team’s support players. Main support LeeJaeGon may be known for wild plays, but flex support IZaYaKI has a reputation of destruction. As one of the most deadly Zenyatta and Ana players in the game, he somehow manages to heal and eliminate at equivalent intervals. He’ll be back at it again in 2022 with the Shanghai squad.
Shu, Los Angeles Gladiators
Over the course of 2021, the Los Angeles Gladiators slowly leveled up into a team worthy of playoff season. Shu, the team’s lead flex support, was a big part of that glow-up. Whether he was pocketing the team’s talented DPS players or taking matters into his own hands, Shu showed he could hold his own against the league’s best support players. It’s not a surprise that Shu was one of the first players the Los Angeles Gladiators locked down for the 2022 season.
Void, Shanghai Dragons
While LIP was causing chaos in the backline, someone had to hold the frontline for the Shanghai Dragons—and that person was often Void. Long considered one of the most talented off-tanks in the Overwatch League, Void took it to another level in 2021 with his Sigma and D.Va play. He earned his second annual Role Stars award and a nomination for the 2021 MVP award, rare for players who aren’t scoring multi-kills as DPS. He’ll be looking for another championship win alongside the Dragons in 2022.
Though many of the players on this list are talented upstarts, the Overwatch League’s old guard is still going strong. Veterans like Fleta (Shanghai Dragons), Profit (Seoul Dynasty), and Carpe (Philadelphia Fusion) will have another chance to show the new kids how it’s done in 2022. Players who leveled up by the end of 2021, like Kevster (Los Angeles Gladiators) and Aspire (Vancouver Titans), will also have a chance to disrupt the status quo as Overwatch 2 takes over.