One of the most anticipated and definitely one of the costliest league in esports is all set to commence in a few days time. The Overwatch League, which was almost named the Overwatch Premier League will have its first match on January 10th. A league which will make or break mainstream esports according to several analysts will be the center of attention whether you like Overwatch or not.
If you are new to Overwatch Esports this guide will help you to understand the various teams, their players, performances playstyle. You should also check out our two articles on the Pacific Division of the overwatch League here and here. The tournament favorites Seoul Dynasty are covered in Part 2 of the Pacific Division including an analysis of why they are the better team.
The Overwatch League
The Overwatch league features a total of twelve teams from across the globe. The league is touted as a Global League but reality is quite different. It has nine NA teams, One Chinese team, One Korean Team and One EU team. The lack of non-NA teams is limited to the first year according to various people associated with the league. With an increased focus on acquiring teams from EU and Brazil for the subsequent years, Overwatch League is looking to expand its global footprint.
The League has a prize money of $3.5 million in it’s inaugural season. With the matches being spread over the course of six months, this prize pool is going to add to the hype around the Overwatch League. The first season will see all matches being held offline. With the teams still not ready to host home and away matches for the first season, we will see all twelve teams housed at the Blizzard Esports Arena in Los Angeles.
Here are the six teams from the Atlantic Division of the Overwatch league.
The team has been advertised as the Underdog in Season 1. They are not a flamboyant team and their results have been mediocre in the handful of matches that we have seen them play. The team, however, punched above their weight in the preseason with a performance that was unexpectedly good. A strong win against Shanghai Dragons might not be the best benchmark to judge them, but they also put up a strong performance against New York Excelsiors.
The Roster comprises of ten players from different nationalities. While the mixed roster definitely has its strengths, it does not have any flamboyant star players. Under their ‘President of Gaming’, Huks, this team is looking to develop itself from scratch. They believe in slowly developing the team’s synergy, it’s strengths in order to properly be able to compete in the season. Picking up entire rosters such as those from London Spitfire might have short term benefits, but they will suffer from lapse in form in the future. The focus of Boston franchise is to help develop the players individually as well as a team.
The Boston Uprising team has four Korean players in their roster. As such, the focus seems to be on ensuring a regular practice regimen and forming a good team chemistry rather than strong & flashy individual plays. They have purposely kept down the hype surrounding the team by marketing themselves smartly as the underdogs. This keeps the expectations from the team low during the first season while helping them focus only on their game during this period.
The Boston Uprising Roster :
The Preseason saw Boston Uprising play two matches, one each against New York Excelsior and Shanghai Dragons. They are seemingly stronger on KOTH with a 2-0 win over New York on Oasis.After a strong defense on Temple of Anubis they eventually lost out in Overtime. Their strong showing against New York, however was mixed with their mediocre performance against Shanghai Dragons. But if we look past the Pre Season matches, we actually see most of the pros mention Boston Uprising as one of the strong contenders for Season 1. It will still remain to be seen as Scrim results do not always result in the team becoming better.
While Boston might be advertising them as the underdogs, there was no doubt that Shanghai Dragons looked just awful in their preseason matches. The team lacked coordination and seemed to be playing off a good widow / tracer. What we saw from Boston Uprising is good mechanical skills and individual talent. That being said they do lack a set gameplan going into the match. While they do have the initial setup, the team does not seem to be good with mid game decisions. Ofcourse the pre-season is a time for practice and getting an idea of what they are capable of; so we should not dig deeper into their performance.
Chances in Season 1
While we don’t expect them to top the leaderboards, they definitely have a chance to cause some upsets in the first season. Boston Uprising were one of the first team to enter Overwatch League and they definitely are not going to rank last. The Kraft family comes from a big name in traditional sports and have prided themselves to create one of the better rosters in traditional sports. When they announced Huks to be one of the integral parts of the team, we expected a star studded roster. But instead the team has picked players that they believe are ‘the most coachable’. They want to mould their own team and create stars.
They are showing us their potential with some amazing skills in the preseason. The players on the team might be no-names but they have exceeded expectations so far from what we have seen in the pre-season. They still need to work on their strategies, gameplay and mid round shotcalling. The Boston Uprising seems to be a long term plan rather than just ensuring they secure success in Season 1. If that is the case, they are definitely along the right path.
Florida Mayhem is the only team in the Overwatch League with no substitutes in their registered roster. An Overwatch team can only field six players and Florida kept their original Misfits roster and did not sign any new players even as substitutes. The players on the roster are very familiar with each other and while that is a huge bonus for the team it also limits their flexibility.
The team has a set plan which they have practiced and mastered over the course of the past few weeks. They have a very strong performance when the match progresses according to how they would prefer. However once the round starts going awry or out of plan for the team, they seem to falter. The team lost both their Overwatch League matches 3-1. That can only be attributed to the opponents knowing exactly what they bring to the table in terms of heroes and tactics.
Florida Mayhem did have a decent showing during the preseason. Despite losing out 3-1 on both their maps, Florida Mayhem showed us what they are capable of. With the DPS Duo of Logix and Tviq having a wide range of heroes that they can use, we have seen this team implement different strategies across the team. Ofcourse Chipshajen from Dallas was just a tad bit too good for Logix as we saw Ana killing Tracer several times during the match.However we have to consider the fact that the players were busy with their national teams in preparation for the Overwatch World Cup 2017.
The Florida Mayhem Roster :
The roster is very strong and can potentially be one of the top rosters. But that is only based on the fact that all the players play to their full potential throughout the season. In case anything falters, they don’t seem to have a backup plan, which can backfire on the team in a big way. They do have talented players in Logix, heralded as the best Tracer player by the Koreans.
Another prospect for the team would be to have a rest period. With only six players on the roster, it would be impossible to keep the same six players practising each and every day. With the signing window opening up against between Stage 1 and Stage 2, this team is one of the top contenders for new signings.
Houston Outlaws come into the Overwatch League with a very DPS heavy lineup. The roster which consists of ten players has seen a lot of rotations and substitutions depending on the map of choice. With the likes of Linkzr, Mendokusaii, Jake, Coolmatt, Spree this team has a lot of variety when it comes to their DPS and tank roles. They have two of the best off tanks in the game in the form of Coolmatt69 and Spree.
Linkzr has a huge reservoir of heroes in his armory. We have seen him put up Pharah, Widowmaker and so many other DPS during the pre season. During the Preseason, Houston Outlaws played two matches against Dallas Fuels and Seoul Dynasty. These two opponents are undoubtedly two of the strongest rosters in the Overwatch League right now. Their former team names EnVyUs and Lunatic Hai were the winners of several of the international tournaments in Overwatch. Being able to consistently take off maps and almost winning the series against Dallas Fuels puts the Houston Outlaws into perspective.
Houston Outlaws roster :
As a team they have the necessary skills and firepower required to stand up tall to the best teams in Overwatch League. While they might not be considered the best team in the league yet simply cause of their past, the team definitely counts amongst the top four in the first season. They are one of the top contenders for the Playoffs in the first season.
The two DPS in Jake and Linkzr are by far two of the strongest DPS players in North America. As we already mentioned Linkzr has a high skill on almost all the DPS Players. Jake’s Pharah is one of the best and can compete with the best players in the world. Apart from these two, we also have Clockwork and Mendokusaii. Clockwork is primarily seen as the support hitscan player, who specialises in Tracer. His aim is exceptionally good and while he might not have been a flashy player in the preseason, he is one to be feared. Mendo only played one map in the entire preseason on Pharah. It’s still unclear how he fits into the team, with most of the DPS roles being filled out already. But he will provide a strong practice for the team in their scrims.
While we focus a lot on their DPS mainly cause Overwatch rewards the viewing from a DPS perspective, it is their support players who provide the maximum impact on their roster. The tanks and the support create so much space for their DPS players which allows Linkzr, Clockwork to shine sometimes against players better than themselves.
Going into the Overwatch League Inaugural Season,we expect a lot from this team. While the other teams have been thoroughly studied and understood, this team has the element of surprise while maintaining the same level of firepower and skill as the others.Bani is one of the support players whose name repeatedly gets called out for strong and amazing plays. This player has seen some really good shots with his Ana, including sleep darts that can single handedly change the supposed outcome of a fight.
We expect this team to be just at the bottom of the playoffs during Season 1. The Season is a long one, so we might see the team’s performance increase over the course of the next few months.
The London Spitfire is the only team from Europe in the first season of Overwatch League. When announced, it was a definite shock mainly due to the lack of more teams from the region. Blizzard have announced that subsequent seasons will see an increased focus on Brazil and European regions, but for Season 1 we have only one team from Europe.
The London Spitfire team is owned by Cloud9 and Jack Etienne. The Cloud9 organisation has been a common name in esports having teams in multiple titles successfully. They picked up Kongdoo Panthera, one of the top Korean teams. The Kongdoo roster had proved itself in multiple seasons and consist of some really well known players such as Birdring, Rascal etc.
The Squad added the G C Busan after they won their latest APEX tournament as well. Between G C Busan and the former Kongdoo teams, this team has a huge amount of talent to choose from. During Pre Season, G C Busan did not show up to the same level as they were during their APEX tournament. That being said, when Kongdoo came up they put up a very strong show.
London Spitfire Roster :
G C Busan were extremely strong in the Apex tournament, wherein they were able to defeat Lunatic Hai twice. The G C Busan squad, while extremely talented relied heavily on their coach to find out the shortcomings on the Lunatic Hai roster. This knowledge of the weaknesses of their opponents helped the G C Busan roster immensely. They were clearly able to dissect the Lunatic Hai roster and they did it again later.
The Pre-Season : Big difference
What we saw of London Spitfire during the preseason was a clear distinction between the two rosters. While each of the two lineups is exceptionally talented, there was a big difference in their performance at the Pre Season. G C Busan is obviously not as experienced as some of their teammates and the lack of experience clearly showed. However that was only the preseason and they will be using the interim time to get better in their mental attitude towards the matches.
GC Busan lineup depended heavily on their coach. But without him and ofcourse with the time difference of having to travel to US, GC Busan were severely underperforming during the pre season. For the near future, London Spitfire will be playing as if they had two different rosters. They will look to mix the players from both the teams in the future, but the immediate focus is to develop both the teams separately.
Without doubt, London Spitfire are one of the top teams to contend at Overwatch League Season 1. It would not be wrong to say that they are the ultimate super team in Overwatch. The players are extremely talented and with a little more experience of playing on LAN on the big stage, this team can do wonders. We totally expect them to qualify for the Playoffs in the first season.
New York Excelsior
The New York Excelsiors is one of the seven inaugural teams announced for the Overwatch league. It is one of the three teams to feature a fully Korean roster. Owned by the New York Mets and located in one of the prime American cities, New York Excelsior probably ranks as one of the teams who stay in the middle of the pack.
New York Roster :
- Flower ( Inactive )
Flower : The best player not in OWL
When we look at their roster the one name that stands out is Flower. Arguably the best player in Overwatch esports, Flower is a player who poses a big question. A question to which no one has found an answer yet. The 17 year old player is a talent who has repeatedly been able to master the game and his opponents. But he is not going to be a part of the team in Season 1 due to age restrictions and rules. Ofcourse being the talent that he is, he has already been signed up by the team and will play a crucial role in their practice sessions.
Remove Flower and the rest of the team does not seem splendid. They are a very good team with amazing players such as Libero, Saebyeolbe, Janus. Each of these players has made a name for themselves on certain heroes. Saebyeolbe definitely is a top contender for the title of the best tracer in the world. His domination against his counterpart in the enemy team shuts down the enemy DPS by a huge margin. It then creates a lot of space for his team to execute their strategies. While his pulse bomb might not be the best in the world, his raw aim on Tracer is definitely one of a kind.
Their performance during the Pre Season cannot be adequately judged simply because their matches were against opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of teams. While on one hand they were able to win against Boston Uprising 3-1 , they also lost out to Seoul Dynasty 1-3. The team, as we said earlier is in the middle of the pack and while it can surprise many other teams, we don’t expect it to reach the top two in terms of results for Season 1.
Philadelphia Fusion is the unknown team in the Overwatch League. The team did not play in the Pre Season due to logistic issues. Featuring players from ten different countries, ensuring a smooth and coordinated arrival probably proved difficult for the team. That being said, we do expect them to be much better prepared this time around for the start of the season
The Pre Season was a means for the teams to advertise themselves and give us an idea of how the league will look like when it starts in January 2018. So it’s importance was not high on the teams’ performance. However with the remaining eleven teams attending and gaining first hand experience for their players, Philadelphia Fusion definitely have been left behind. We saw some teams who clearly understood that they needed work with certain parts of their roster ( London Spitfire), yet again there were other teams whose performance was laid bare in terms of execution.
Philadelphia Fusion Roster :
Philadelphia Fusion have no feedback on how their players play together. The roster comprises of players from all over the world and it will be a difficult job trying to get them to synergize with each other.
The Philadelphia Fusion roster has a very balanced division between DPS, Tank and Support players. Shadowburn is very well known for his Genji plays and has made huge plays which distinguish him from the other Genji plays.
The other DPS player on the roster is Carpe who has been leading the matchmaking system for quite some time. Carpe plays hitscan heroes but is well known for his Tracer. He is a very skilled player who is well known for his accuracy with Tracer. While his pulse bomb usage might still need some improvement, his aim is on point.
The problem for Philadelphia remains in their non-versatile Support lineup. Joemeister is one of the better Lucios in the competitive scene and is a specialist on Lucio. The other support players too are not known for being extremely versatile and that might pose a problem to the team going forth. THis team has a lot of potential and we see that in their lineup. However the lack of practice and without any feedback on their playstyle yet they will have a very slow start to the First season.
We don’t expect them to make playoffs in Season 1, however, they are a team that will just keep getting better with time.
Overwatch League Pacific Division Part 1: Click here
Overwatch League Pacific Division Part 2 : Click here