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With the third season of the Overwatch League drawing near, the community’s focus remains on preseason power rankings. Unfortunately for all 20 teams in the league, not everyone can live at the top.
Here at Dot Esports, we’re starting our power rankings adventure with the lower half of the leaderboard, numbers eleven through twenty.
These preseason power rankings were created using publicly available knowledge of rosters, potential starting lineups, and coaching staff. They also take into consideration the performance of teams last year. Some rankings take into account the possible hiccups teams will experience during the 2020 season, such as intense travel schedules or the presence of multiple rookie players who will have to acclimate to the Overwatch League lifestyle.
Multiple teams will be affected by the cancellation of five homestands in China due to the spread of the coronavirus. For some teams who are based in the region, this may unfortunately have an effect on their performance.
20. London Spitfire
Change is good. So is rebuilding after multiple top players jump ship to other teams. Full reconstruction based around players that have the absolute bare minimum of experience is a recipe for disaster. While the Spitfire is using all of its 12 roster spots, more than half of those positions are filled with players who come from extraordinarily obscure teams. Some standouts include former RunAway DPS Lee “Schwi” Dong-hae and main tank Shin “Bernar” Se-won, but even that’s not enough to overcome the potential difficulties this team will have. If the new London roster can overcome growing pains, potential lack of cohesion, travel stress and stage fright, they deserve to move up several points on this list.
19. Boston Uprising
Every year, the Boston Uprising takes a chance on brand new players culled from the Overwatch Contenders scene. The risk sometimes pays off for them, in the case of star main tank Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth. In 2019, the risks didn’t pay off, and the Uprising sank like a rock on the leaderboard. This year, the team is banking on hopefuls like Uprising Academy support Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy and DPS Min “Jerry” Tae-hu. With a new coaching staff, hopefully the team can push their newcomers up to success.
18. Florida Mayhem
Florida has had a tough run in the Overwatch League. The team faltered in 2018 and then underwent a complete reconstruction to an all-Korean roster in the middle of the 2019 season. Despite the presence of multiple talented players, like DPS Ha “Sayaplayer” Jeong-woo and former RunAway flex support Gang “GangNamJin” Nam-jin, the considerable lack of coordination within the team may come back to bite them once again. If coaching staff can get their players to work together instead of prioritizing individuals, the Mayhem may rise above 15th place this year.
17. Washington Justice
In the last season of the Overwatch League, the Justice struggled until role queue unlocked the true power of their DPS lineup. This year, they’ve added brand new coaching staff and several players to round out the roster. Players like Corey “Corey” Nigra and newcomer Lee “TTuba” Ho-sung will likely be the most successful when Hero Pools hit the Overwatch League. While the team has plenty of talent, they’ll need to take their coordination and strategies a few levels higher to compete with the Atlantic South division.
16. Chengdu Hunters
Even though the Chengdu Hunters added a few new additions since 2019, we’re not entirely sold on the roster as it stands. Last season, the Hunters thrived on chaos as they bent the rules of the triple support, triple tank meta. While Hero Pools may bring that level of chaos, the team’s lack of cohesion may stand out in those moments. DPS Yi “Jinmu” Hu and rookie Huang “Leave” Xin are likely highlights from the roster. Chengdu slipped farther in these rankings due to the fact that they were forced to remain in China during the coronavirus threat, likely affecting morale and practice time.
15. Toronto Defiant
If this list was about the best Canadian-fronted boy band, Toronto Defiant would be first. Unfortunately, power rankings have to take into consideration the entirety of the team. The Defiant is overloaded with star power in the DPS lineup, which includes Lane “Surefour” Roberts and Brady “Agilities” Girardi. While every member of the team is stable, a considerable lack of backups in the support and tank lines spells trouble in the future. If the team picked up a few extra members, they’d likely have a much bigger cushion for disaster.
14. Los Angeles Valiant
After most of the Los Angeles Valiant moved on to other teams or greener pastures of retirement, management was forced to rebuild and rebrand. The newest blue-and-yellow team is now comprised of a good mix of players with Overwatch League experience as well as talented rookies. DPS stars Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa and newcomer Kai “ksp” Collins will likely be called on to carry fights, especially at the start of the season. Despite this talent, the Valiant are unfortunately in the absolutely stacked Pacific East division, which may reduce their number of easy wins.
13. Dallas Fuel
This year, the Fuel’s success will ironically revolve around starting some metaphorical fires. New additions to the Dallas squad, like main tank Noh “Gamsu” Young-jin and former Element Mystic DPS Kim “Doha” Dong-ha, should add a spark to the team. These additions include competition for long-standing members of the Fuel, like DPS Dylan “aKm” Bignet and Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson, who have produced consistent but mediocre results. The presence of players who may fight for a starting roster position should motivate the entire team.
12. Houston Outlaws
It’s amazing how much difference having stable ownership makes for a team. In 2019, the Outlaws struggled as their parent company was sold to Immortals Gaming Club and the team was in limbo for most of the season. After being picked up by Beasley Media Group, Houston immediately started making big changes. New head coach Harsha Bandi started bringing in Korean talent, like former NYXL off-tank Kim “MekO” Tae-hong and flex support Kim “rapel” Jun-geun from the Vancouver Titans bench. The concern for the Outlaws is making all of these disparate, talented pieces function as a cohesive team. The success or failure of this cohesion will move them up or far, far down this list.
11. Guangzhou Charge
During the offseason, the Charge made several decent additions to a roster that climbed higher than expected in 2019. Flex support Qi “Wya” Haomiao is both talented and most likely to be the new face of the team. Former Philadelphia Fusion main support Alberto “neptuNo” Gonzalez adds a veteran presence the Charge was sorely lacking. If Guangzhou can keep up the clutch plays they previewed in 2019, they can stand up to other teams in the Pacific East region.
Please check out the proposed top half of the Overwatch League leader board in part two of this series.