The teams to watch, and watch out for
Just over a month remains between today and the start of season two. By now i’m sure you’ve gotten your jersey from last year out of the closet. You’ve linked your blizzard account to your Twitch one for drops. You’e even purchased a few of the new expansion teams skins. You know all about your favorite team, but do you know about the competition? Here’s a quick look at some of the most dangerous teams coming into season two. These are the teams that are going to do everything they can for that W.
New York did not win the Grand Final. They did not advance to that final. They were not the season champions. This, and this alone, have caused their to be a discussion about who the best team in the Overwatch League is. NYXL had the best regular season record (34-6) by far and took home two of the stage titles. Their “support” JJoNak redefined what it meant to play Zenyatta in the game itself. This former ladder hero took home not just the Overwatch League MVP trophy, but the World Cup award as well. That’s right, this roster made up most of this year’s World Cup winning South Korean team.
The Excelsior’s roster has changed very little in the off season, releasing a single player and adding two more. Few moves, but only because this is such an effective and honed team. This team isn’t just good, they’re one of the best to ever play the game. NYXL comes into season two just as strong as before and hungry to re-assert their dominance.
I think I’m on record as calling the Dallas Fuel the worst team in the league last season. I stand by it. This is the team who wasn’t at the bottom of the table, but not because of anything they did. The problems for what was supposed to be a dream team just continued to pile up. Internal trouble that caused them to fire their coach and main tank, they forced a Soldier 76 specialist onto a character he was so terrible with it formed a meme, and the team environment was so bad that one player had to go home while one of the best guys in the league retired to stream more. This all happened. Then they began to turn it around.
They brought on Aero. The Overwatch Contenders coach had amazing success with the Fusion academy team, Fusion University, and was brought up to the OWL. The changes were almost immediate. Dallas also took advantage of the changing meta faster, and to better effect than any other team. They even made a run at the stage four playoffs. In the off season they added a few players, notably ZachaREEE who Aero had coached before. Like a whiz college coach being called up to the NFL, Aero has come up from the tier two level to be arguably the best coach in the game right now. If anyone can make the Fuel live up to their potential, he can.
The Dragons broke records last year, just not the ones anyone would ever want to. A 0-40 is not just the worst in the league, not just the worst in esports, but the worst losing streak in all of professional sports. I cannot imagine a team, in any sport, that wants the win more than this one. Lucky for them they’ve got the pieces for it now.
After the roster was gutted early in the off season they’ve brought on the core of KONGDOO PANTHERA. Fans who have kept an eye on the tier two scene will recognize these players as the ones who were ‘one’ map away from a win over RunAway (now the Vancouver Titans) in the Championship match for season two of Korea Contenders. They join the remaining Dragons in Diya, Geguri, and Fearless to form a roster that is stronger in every way. Any team that considers the season one performance of this team when preparing to face them does so at their peril.
There’s a big debate on which region produces the second best talent in esports. The second best Overwatch players and competition. The debate is over second best because there is no debate over number one. Korea. The peninsula nation has and continues to lead the esports world in games not titled Call Of Duty. No surprise then that the sole Korean franchise in the Overwatch League was formed from a core of Lunatic-Hai. Lunatis-Hai as in Apex season two and three champions Lunatis-Hai. As in making up half of the Championship 2017 World Cup roster Lunatis-Hai. This team didn’t just look good on paper, it had been tested and proved before. There were other all Korean rosters in the league season one, but none of them were predicted to be as successful as the Dynasty.
Then as the season began they just didn’t make it happen. Things started off fine for Seoul and even into the first stage playoff their absence wasn’t worrisome. Unfortunately, things wouldn’t get better for them. The the Dynasty didn’t qualify for any of the stage playoffs and well before the end of the season they weren’t in the running for the season playoffs. They may not have finished at number twelve, or with the Mayhem’s record, but in many ways this team failed.
This is not something that the only team in the league from the greatest esports nation in the world can let happen. With eight more teams coming into the league next season the pressure to perform over these new rivals is even greater. They need to kick it into gear, and that’s just what they’ve been doing this off season.
For starters, they added Fissure. The main tank may have bounced around the league, but his skills cannot be denied. This guy is possibly the best tank in the league and now that he returns to a Korean roster we can expect better play. Another boon to the Dynasty is the return of the hero Ana to the meta. We all wondered what was happening with ryujehong. The star player of the team wasn’t always on the starting roster and even appeared in the tank role for some reason. With his signature hero Ana a viable pick again he’s returned to form, and anyone on the wrong end of his scope is feeling the effects. These changes and the pressure to represent their home city are going to push the Dynasty to new heights next season.
These teams are all going to be fighting hard in Season 2, where less matches for each team mean that every win and loss will count for even more. They won’t be the only teams fighting though, all twenty teams are going to be fighting hard for the W. What teams do you think are the most dangerous? Let us know and make sure to mark your calendars for the start of Overwatch League season 2 on February 14th.