It’s finally that time of year where the Overwatch League is back and I couldn’t be happier.
Last week here at The Roar we put some of our predictions on the line of where we thought the Atlantic and Pacific teams would sit and this week it’s time to reflect. As it is only week one there’s sure to be many changes in the coming months of league play but this is what we’ve learned so far.
Philadelphia Fusion are back and they want revenge. The very first game of the season put last years’ two finalists against each other. This was the Fusion’s chance to get back and London and they did not disappoint. I put London one step higher than Phily on my list, but that might have been very wrong. The Fusion came out swinging defeating London in a 3-1 matchup and they were looking incredibly dominant.
This only became more obvious on Monday when Philadelphia faced off against the new expansion team, Atlanta Reign. Reign are looking very promising and are possibly the best of the new teams out. They managed to easily 4 – 0 Florida Mayhem earlier in the games but even they couldn’t quite stand up to Phily. The Fusion won in a 3-2 victory which combined gives them one of the strongest map differentials and might just make them the team to beat this season.
Some slightly better news came of predictions when it came to the infamous New York Excelsior. The bad boys in blue won both their matches against Boston Uprising and the new Washington Justice. It could have been more convincing with the matches coming much closer in both cases then I’d have expected, but they’re winning and are right up there in the top group from games we’ve seen so far.
When it comes to the new Chinese teams we did ok. We put the Chengdu Hunters last on our Pacific list as they certainly seemed the weakest on paper but they managed to out to fellow newcomer Guangzhou Charge, though these matches were close.
We also didn’t respect the magnificence that is the Hangzhou Spark, who are doing quite well. Spark won both of their games, though one was against our old underdogs the Shanghai Dragons who while looking stronger than last year, still haven’t had a win in all of the Overwatch League. This puts Spark in the top three on the current leaderboard and Chengdu not that far behind.
Other new teams who are insistent on doing surprisingly well are the Vancouver Titans, Paris Eternal, and Toronto Defiant. Each only had one game each this week but managed to secure themselves clear wins. The Titans did only play against Shanghai with their 4-0 victory but Paris took down London who, though looking fairly shaky, are still a promising team.
Toronto faced off against the Houston Outlaws and these games were close, coming to a fifth map and a 3 – 2 score. This was the beginning of a bad week for Houston as they lost with the same numbers against Boston Uprising.
The Outlaws seemed to do very well on their preferred maps but fell apart on others making them incredibly inconsistent and difficult to judge for future games. They’re sitting only two steps above the bottom of the ladder with this harsh week.
Another team that’s particularly hard to judge right now is Seoul Dynasty. Their lineup should make them the talk of the town but it seems they’re still ironing out the kinks. The first match was a pretty solid win against LA Gladiators which must have been especially sweet for their former main tank Fissure. However, later in the week they were destroyed by Dallas Fuel.
Watching their matches felt like some communication just wasn’t happening as they seemed to fall apart with little explanation. This one-win-one-loss week puts them pretty firmly in the middle of the pack placings.
The ladder is an interesting read right now and of course, that’s largely due to lack of data. Shanghai faithfully sit at the bottom in a seat that’s probably been moulded specifically to their shape by now but I’d never have guessed the team only one step above them would be London.
Equally surprising is to see so many of the expansion teams sitting in the top half with only the Charge and Justice towards the bottom portion of the pack.
What I can say is the Overwatch League has started out almost exactly as I had hoped. Heaps of surprises and lots of intense and well-matched competitions. Six of the total games have been pushed to map five with tight games and only three games have been complete 4-0 sweeps.
Additionally, while the GOATS meta is strong we have seen every hero from the pool played in just this first week. This is a big turn around given last year’s lack of Symmetra and almost Torbjorn.
I’m really looking forward to what surprises will come this week to once again shake up everything I thought I knew about the Overwatch League.