OWL Season – 2019 begins this Thursday, February 14th. Blizzard’s first year running a worldwide eSports league was exciting, and I say that as a fan of real sports like football. In the 2019 season of OWL, Blizzard seeks to build on their success: they’ve added more teams, but still none in the American Midwest for some reason. The prize pool went up almost 50% in a futile attempt to get pro players to stop boosting accounts. They even added another broadcast team so the viewer has a lower chance of Montecristo calling the game they are watching. Things are looking up as progress marches forward. But, before we leave the inaugural season in the dust, lets take a look at some of the ups and downs and all arounds of last year
You’ll Always be my First
201 days ago, the London Spitfire limped into the postseason as the 5th seed. Losing four of their last five regular season games, they cruised to a championship by wisely entering the playoff bracket on the opposite side of New York Excelsior.
Sixteen days before that, JJonak won OWL’s first MVP vote. A little more than three months after that honor, he was named the MVP of the 2018 World Cup. Wow, who does this guy think he is? Well, pressure is on, buddy. If you don’t win MVP again get ready for twenty articles on Reddit asking if you “still got it”.
Going back even further: February 14th, 2018, the Shanghai Dragons, now 0-10 with 30 more losses on the way, signed the League’s first female player: Geguri. Various members of the competitive Overwatch community accused Geguri of aimbotting throughout her career. It is important to note that all these critics could totally get a girlfriend if they wanted, but they just have a lot going on right now. Some went as far to say they would quit the game forever if she could prove she wasn’t hacking. When she showed up at a LAN event and still performed well, they kept their word and vanished into the ether. Is it a coincidence that most of the original Shanghai Dragons roster left the team around this time? I’ll leave that up to the reader.
I’m Not Usually a “Shut Up and Play” Guy, but Holy Shit, These Guys Need to Just Shut Up and Play
391 Days ago, the League handed its very first suspension to a big name player when xQc decided it was more important to be homophobic on stream than to play competitive Overwatch. The League felt the aftershocks of this suspension until 52 days later, when xQc was suspended again, this time for deciding it was more important to be racist on stream than to play competitive Overwatch. Both times people complained how unfair it was that Blizzard punished xQc just because they caught him doing something bad. As of the start of the 2019 season, he is no longer on an OWL team.
On March 29, 2018, Undead of the Shanghai Dragons became the first OWL player to fall victim to his own horniness. Rumor has it he had unprotected sex with multiple women who were not his girlfriend. Allegedly, he paid or otherwise tried to coerce many of these women into getting abortions. Undead is now playing for a minor league team in China. Fans of a comeback story, rejoice!
While none of Florida Mayhem’s players were suspended last year, perhaps they should’ve been. Throughout the season, they entered the arena in increasingly lame and dumb ways. This was a clear attempt in lowering OWL stream viewership right before the Mayhem received their weekly ass kicking. Luckily, many of these players did not re-sign with Florida. If God is good they are all in jail somewhere.
The League is Different
Holy shit, they added 8 teams. How did Canada get a team before Chicago? 59 more players are in the League, which is insane to think about. I mean, there’s probably a dozen players who played all season right now but aren’t on a roster. Who are these new guys?
OWL is also starting to look like a lot of other Esports now. By that I mean the best and most successful players are from Korea. Over half the players signed to a team right now are from Korea, and we’ve gone from three Majority Korean teams in the inaugural season to eleven. However, very few teams are 100% Korean, or 100% any nationality for that matter. Also, the fourth most players are from Finland, so hopefully they get a team soon
I Am Actually Excited to Watch
The first couple weeks of a sports season are always the best. Who is good? Who is bad? None of us know, but we’ll all pretend to. And even if we’re wrong, we’ll change our opinion when nobody is looking. I know I will. I’m going to power rank these teams every Thursday and I’ll still lie my way out of any mistakes I make. That’s just the game within the game.