Well, it cannot be argued: Week 1 is over and Week 2 is about to start. I’ve got another set of power rankings sure to delight and astound, so let’s get into it.
20. Shanghai Dragons (-17)
Nobody can deny the bravery it took for me to rank Shanghai #3. Despite my full throated support, the Dragons were arguably the biggest losers last week, sitting at an 0-2 record with a -6 map differential and only winning a single map overall. Was ranking them high a cheap tactic for a slight chance to say “I told you so” later in the season? Yes. You know what they say though: you gotta spend credibility to get credibility.
19. Florida Mayhem (-3)
Florida Mayhem showed improvement over last year by walking into the arena like people who knew they were being recorded and watched by thousands of viewers. Unfortunately, no improvements were made to their in-game play.
18. Guangzhou Charge (-5)
Guangzhou failed to meet my already low expectations by losing to Chengdu. They had multiple opportunities to close their series out and instead it went to five games, with a super disappointing performance on Nepal sealing their fate.
17. Chengdu Hunters (+3)
The beauty of the Guangzhou-Chengdu series is I can use it to keep both teams down. When Chengdu lost their two maps of this series, they lost hard. I would consider their victory more of a choke by the Charge than a decisive victory of the Hunters.
16. Vancouver Titans (+3)
The 4-0 victory over Shanghai is Vancouver’s biggest triumph since they were featured in that one episode of The Office. They took care of business, but it looks like they did it against the league’s bottom feeders.
15. Washington Justice (+2)
Washington exceeded everybody’s expectations by taking one map off of the NYXL. Not only did they win that map, they pretty much choked New York out and shut down everything they were trying to do. Am I giving them too much credit for “only” losing 3-1? Yep, but that’s what Stage One is all about, baby.
14. Los Angeles Valiant (-9)
Well, I know what this looks like. It looks like I got another one way wrong, huh? Well, actually, if you look at what I said last week I clearly mentioned that the Valiant’s strength was their roster moves and team management. So, while I have to rank them here now, hopefully they’ll cut some of their dead weight and get back in playoff contention. LA Valiant, don’t screw up this chance to prove me right after all.
13. Houston Outlaws (-7)
My poor, poor boys. Two heart-breakers in a row. Starting a season with a reverse sweep is less than ideal. I’m not ready to say the Outlaw’s have a “Game 5 Curse” yet, but I also won’t say they don’t. With their week two schedule they would be lucky to start 1-3.
12. London Spitfire (-10)
London? Yeah, I don’t know what to tell you. They (on paper) have one of the more talented teams in OWL, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by their play. Honestly, I should’ve ranked them lower, but how can a team with this many all-stars fall off so hard in one year? I guess their losses were pretty close. Shit, should I move them up? No, 12 feels right.
11. Boston Uprising (+7)
Boston might as well be 2-0. Only outright losing two maps to the NYXL is basically a victory. Despite all the players they lost, who Boston has left seems to be enough to take them to the playoffs.
10. Dallas Fuel (+4)
The Fuel bounced back from a bad day one to close day four with a win over a solid opponent. I still don’t think this is the most talented roster, but they seem to have the juice in the coaching department.
9. Los Angeles Gladiators (-1)
The story for the Gladiators was Surefour. He was a bit slow to get going against Seoul, but really showed out against San Francisco. It’s obviously a team game, but I’ll be interested to see if this performance trend holds up.
8. Seoul Dynasty (-4)
Last week I made the prediction that Seoul would wake up this season. They have definitely hit that snooze button at least one time. Just on talent alone they should’ve been able to take Dallas to at least a fifth game, but they didn’t.
7. San Francisco Shock (+3)
San Francisco dismantled Dallas. I penciled in Dallas for rank 19 after that series. Then, it became clear that Dallas wasn’t terrible and San Francisco was just that good. I can’t hold the close loss to the Gladiators against them too hard.
6. Toronto Defiant (+5)
Unlike starting your season with a reverse sweep, which is bad, starting your season by reverse sweeping someone is very good. Could you imagine if they keep winning and Drake wears a Defiant hat? Move over Fortnite, there’s a new game in town. Tell all your favorite Esports pundits to talk these guys up and soon it’ll be cool to wear OWL gear in public.
5. Atlanta Reign (+2)
Hmm, this team from Atlanta, Georgia sure seems to be doing well! They’re competitive in all their games and winning against soundly against lower quality opponents. Get those hopes high everyone, there’s no way this could implode.
4. Paris Eternal (+5)
The decisive loss on King’s Row aside, Paris looked solid. This team will live or die by Soon, and this week they were living, honey.
3. Huangzhou Spark (+12)
What a debut for these guys. It was looking kind of rough when Huangzhou dropped a map to Shanghai, but beating the Valiant made everyone forget. Not me. I am watching you.
2. Philadelphia Fusion (+10)
I should’ve known the city from Rocky would’ve responded like this to being counted out and considered the underdog. I don’t know if they can keep it up, but for now they look like one of the teams to beat
1. New York Excelsior(+0)
The NYXL took the map they lost to Washington personally. The very next map, King’s Row, New York won without anyone dying. That’s insane. Sometimes, in professional Overwatch it is advantageous and strategically correct to die. Still, nobody died. Washington was fighting, they dealt 34,294 damage to New York’s 37,494, it wasn’t like they rolled over. They just couldn’t get anyone down. A lot of teams will feel that frustration throughout this season.
I have to preface by saying Ludumeta is filled with zero experts. I’m the most knowledgeable guy about Overwatch here and I put London and Houston in my top ten last week. There’s no such thing as a sure thing in gambling and you should never gamble with money you don’t have.
That said, get your fucking bookie on the horn. And when he tells you “I don’t take bets on video games, that’s stupid”, find a new bookie.
Philadelphia Fusion (-2.5, -125) Over Florida Mayhem
This feels like a no brainer to me. Florida looked totally outclassed in their first series. The Fusion shouldn’t have a problem going 4-0
Seoul Dynasty (-1.5, EVEN) over Chengdu Hunters
I’m still buying into Seoul. For this series, I think the talent disparity is large enough for Seoul to steamroll.
(All odds are from Bovada)
What I’m Looking For
A few of the series and storylines I’m interested in:
Is Paris for Real?
I liked how Paris looked against London, but that was before I really absorbed how sloppy London played. The frustrating thing is Paris only plays one series a week for the first three weeks, so it’s hard to get a bead on them. I believe the Gladiators are a real test, though, and will tell us a lot about both teams
Is London Done?
London has two more series this week: an easy one (Washington) and a hard one (Huangzhao). Starting off 0-4 would be horribly disappointing, starting 1-3 would be mildly disappointing, and starting off 2-2 would still be disappointing. There’s a long season ahead of us, but missing the Stage One playoffs would be a bad look for last year’s champs