2019 Overwatch League
The Overwatch League (OWL) will be the premier professional esports league for Overwatch, organized by Blizzard Entertainment. The league will be the first truly global professional esports league, and will feature franchised teams based in cities from around the world. Possibly the most ambitious esports project ever announced, the league is a statement from Blizzard about their intentions to have Overwatch compete on the same level as traditional sports, with many influences taken from the North American franchised sports leagues.
All of season one will be based out of Los Angeles, California and Blizzard has additionally required a minimum player salary, a large team monetary investment, a minimum contract length of 1 year for players, as well as several other terms in order to secure the sustainability of the scene as well as player security.
2019 Overwatch League Betting Odds
2019 Overwatch League Betting Tips
New York Excelsior
Los Angeles Valiant
New York Excelsior
New York Excelsior
San Francisco Shock (-1.5)
Seoul Dynasty (2.5)
New York Excelsior
New York Excelsior (-1.5)
New York Excelsior
New York Excelsior
New York Excelsior
Boston Uprising (-1.5)
New York Excelsior
New York Excelsior (-1.5)
The sophomore season of the Overwatch League is currently underway, and you could argue that things cannot get any more exciting. Perhaps it’s the long hiatus speaking, but the level of play that we’re seeing and the sheer mechanical prowess and synergy between all teams is downright staggering. Likewise, the viewership numbers haven’t dipped at all — in fact, the opposite. More people have tuned in to watch the Overwatch League than ever before, and with good reason.
There are so many exceptional teams and players competing for huge monetary prizes, that it the League really became a must-watch esport.
That, however, brings us to a different key point.
We wanted to wait things out a bit before commiting to a League-wide prediction. The reason as to why is simple — there were too many unknown quantities present at the beginning, and coming up with a valid preview just wasn’t possible. Now, with a whole stage behind us, we can actually base our assumptions and predictions in reality — we finally have empirical evidence.
An immense number of roster (and unexpected) moves was made during the off-season, so many teams underwent huge change across the board, and there are numerous unfamiliar faces entering the mix.
Predicting anything with confidence beforehand was an extremely thankless endeavor.
We have just a single Overwatch League season in the books, and while that is enough to build a concrete idea on who’s stronger than whom, it’s still relatively invaild when you increase the number of teams from twelve to twenty. That’s a 66.6% increase — arguably too much uncertainty from the very get-go.
That’s the complicated part — whatever you knew from last year, probably doesn’t apply this time around. Some things did stay the same, like Florida Mayhem being a bottom-tier team, and New York Excelsior being incredibly dominant, but everything else is pretty much up in the air.
Right now, it seems like a GOAT centric team comp (with a twist) is the best and most optimal way to play the game. That means teams draft three tanks (mostly Zarya, D.Va, and Reinhardt) along with three supports (Lucio, Zenyatta, Brigitte) and just engage all the time. It might seem simple and one-dimensional on paper, but we’ve seen GOAT comps played at the highest possible level and it requires incredible synergy and team-wide cohesion.
Split-second decision making and engaging is the name of the game right now, and the teams that do it best (along with picture-perfect ultimate layering) have reigned supreme throughout the first stage of competitive play.
When you see two top tier teams have a go at it with a GOAT team comp, your eyes are glued to the screen — as we’ve seen from the recent Vancouver Titans vs. San Francisco Shock stage finals. A Best of 7 that will go down in history as one of the best matches of all time.
Finally, the second stage will give us an opportunity to see professional players try their hand at the latest addition to the ever-growing Overwatch hero roster — Baptiste. How he will affect the meta still remains to be seen, but chances are he’s going to usher in a completely different meta, one that’s more favorable to DPS-centric team comps.
Stage 2 Novelties
Perhaps the biggest change coming into Stage 2 is the fact that we will be getting a brand new support hero joining the fray — Baptiste! He’s a combat-heavy medic that can both heal his teammates but also dish out a highly respectable amount of damage. He’s like a hybrid between support and DPS and you can already imagine bloodthirsty supports like NYXL’s Jjonak or Vancouver Titan’s Twilight creating absolute chaos regardless of the map.
Perhaps most importantly, Baptiste can prevent his teammates from dying, but also amplify any damage and healing that go through his ultimate “Amplification Matrix.” He brings a metric ton of utility to the table, and it’ll take a while before teams get a concrete grasp on how best to utilize his innate strengths. Once they do, however, they will almost surely run Baptiste on a wide variety of maps and scenarios.
As if a completely new (and potentially meta-changing) hero wasn't enough, Stage 2 will be played on the latest patch 1.34. The patch brought a ton of changes to numerous competitive mainstays, so you can expect huge meta shifts sooner rather than later. Picks like Lucio and Zenyatta may or may not be as impactful as they once were, which could turn the meta on its head.
Overwatch is a game that’s constantly changing. It evolves as time goes on, and it’s sometimes hard to keep up. Teams are figuring out new and exciting ways to do something, and these smaller, nuanced discoveries often end up shaping the metas of tomorrow.
Things really cannot get any more exciting — Stage 2 is primed to give us some of the most exciting and even Overwatch yet.
We already know the twelve maps that will comprise the Stage 2 map pool, so let’s take a closer look:
These are all familiar maps, with Paris being the only exception. It is a brand new map which turns things into a level playing field — anything is possible, and teams will have to figure out the best and most optimal way to play it.
Blizzard decided to switch the order of the Assault and Hybrid maps in order to reduce the chance of a match being decided half-way through the third map. Going forward, the map type sequence will be Control > Assault > Hybrid > Escort, with the eventual tiebreaker being a Control map as well.
The Top of the Pack
1. Vancouver Titans — The Stage 1 champions are playing some incredible Overwatch. Perhaps that’s even an understatement. They have the mechanical prowess, the team cohesion, and the sheer talent to go blow-for-blow with anyone in the League. Will they be able to maintain their current level of play? Chances are — they will be. That said, the gap is closing, and they’re going to have to fight tooth and nail in order to remain at the top. They’re not as consistent as the playoffs would lead you to believe, but they’re the best in GOATS meta and they deserve any benefit of the doubt.
2. San Francisco Shock — Even though they ultimately lost, the San Francisco boys have nothing to be ashamed of. Far from it. They pushed Vancouver to the brink of defeat, and were, in fact, far better more often than not. They’re still developing as a team and the sky’s the limit for this six-man line-up. Not to mention the fact that they have some of the best DPS around that are warming the bench, waiting for a favorable meta shift.
3. New York Excelsior — There seems to be a pattern with NYXL. Dominate throughout the Stage and then implode at the most random of times. Their loss to Seoul was an alarming one, but they’re still one of the best teams in the world and they should be bouncing back sooner rather than later. Putting them this "low" is perhaps arguable, but they need to step up and prove their worth once again after getting smashes by Seoul in the playoffs.
Almost At The Top
4. Philadelphia Fusion — It’s hard judging the Fusion right now, but they’re definitely trying to improve and are finding relative success along the way. GOATs is definitely not the perfect meta for them, but they’re making big strides as the season develops. They’re not yet ready to reach the very top, but they’re deceptively strong and potent.
5. Seoul Dynasty — After a rather underwhelming showing throughout the first five weeks of play, the Seoul Dynasty rose to prominence and outclassed NYXL. Then again, their recent loss to the Boston Uprising is still fresh in everyone’s mind. There are multiple question marks regarding their play, but they have a lot of potential, along with two very capable rosters which they can rotate at will.
6. Toronto Defiant — The Defiant are a very solid GOATS team, and they’re placed this high mainly because they’re making huge strides in performance and cohesion as time goes on. They’re not as flexible and quick to adapt, but they’re deceptively strong and capable. Not exactly ready to challenge the top of the League, but they’re getting there.
We could also call this category as the “dangerous but not there yet” part of the standings. Teams that are improving week after week, they’re good at some elements of play but sooner or later they end up failing for one reason or another.
These teams are listed in no particular order. They’re all somewhat equal when it comes to strength, overall potential, and their read on the meta. We still need a bigger sample size in order to predict anything further.
7. Atlanta Reign — Atlanta definitely has a lot of potential, but whether or not they will realize it is a completely different matter. They’re solid and well synergized, but they don’t really have what it takes to compete with the upper echelon of the Overwatch League — at least not in this meta.
8. Boston Uprising — It’s still too hard judging Boston’s actual power level. They won against Seoul Dynasty, and they’re definitely a solid mid-tier team that’s also fairly creative. Sadly, they’re just not synergetic enough yet to go blow-for-blow with the teams above them. Regardless, they have some potential and should be respected.Won over Seoul, solid mid-tier team, creative strategies, still not that good and synergetic
9. Dallas Fuel — After an abysmal start, the Fuel have finally started playing like a solid middle-of-the-pack team that has the potential to shoot for the playoffs. They’re still figuring out their roster, but they’re just not as good at the GOATS meta as one would expect.
10. Los Angeles Gladiators — Reading the Gladiators right now is downright impossible. They started off pretty badly, but were able to bounce back and definitely looked like a top-tier team in the making. They were able to destroy Atlanta Reign and the Guangzhou Charge in week four, so they’re definitely on the rise. How high they will eventually climb still remains to be seen, but they’re a potent challenger nonetheless.
11. Guangzhou Charge — There’s a ton of potential within the Guangzhou Charge, but they’re still not there yet. They’re very inconsistent, and their wins only come against bottom-tier opposition. Regardless, a lot of room to grow means Charge could eventually become a playoff team.
12. Houston Outlaws — They’re rough around the edges, and are still figuring out their roster. There’s a lot of talent within their roster, but they’re struggling to find their footing. That said, they could rise a bit once the second stage begins.
13. Hangzhou Spark — They’re a very solid middle-of-the-pack team, and they’re sitting this “low” because of a really hard schedule. With those matches out of the way, Spark will surely rise up the rankings, especially as they synergize and improve as a team.
14. London Spitfire — The Spitfire just aren’t as strong in the current meta, and even though they were able to string a couple of impresive victories early on, they were unable to keep that momentum. They’re good, we know that, and it’s only a matter of time before they step up and start competing for a playoff spot. That said, if the current meta remains the same, they’re definitely not favored for a top spot.
15. Shanghai Dragons — The Dragons are a solid team in the making, although they still have a ton of work to do. They’re improving a lot with each passing week, and there’s a ton of potential overall.
16. Chengdu Hunters — Chengdu are still hard to read, although there’s a lot of potential present. The meta doesn’t favor them one bit, but they had a fairly close series against Vancouver, and even in their loss to Toronto they looked relatively okay. They’re promising, but they need more time before rising up the ranks.
17. Paris Eternal — They’re better than this ranking would indicate, and they’re ranked so low because of an incredibly tough strength of schedule. If anything, they’re a bit too passive and they’re not exactly good enough for a GOATS meta, but once things shift around a bit they could contest for the playoffs.
18. Florida Mayhem — Florida is hard to read right now. They’re okay overall, and they played a couple of close games. That said, there’s still a lot of room to grow and improve. Whether or not they will improve remains to be seen, but don’t bet your money on it happening.
19. Los Angeles Valiant — The Valiant had a huge fall from grace between 2018 and 2019. They also recently released their head coach, which should hinder their improvement quite a bit. They’re simply not a threat right now, although they should bounce back quite a bit once the meta shifts.
20. Washington Justice — Whether or not Washington really deservesThey took a couple of maps against Seoul and Philadelphia so not all is lost, but they need to make ample changes before challenging for a spot higher up the rankings.
Betting on the Overwach League will remain as complex as ever. Teams at the top are differentiated by the slimmest of margins, and a single team fight (or an individual player getting caught out of position) can be the difference between victory and defeat.
As always, you should as watch as many matches as possible in order to get a good read on all twenty teams and their overall power level. These things chance on a weekly basis and upsets are a fairly frequent sight. Regardless, there’s a fairly clear chasm between the top and everyone else, so betting isn’t as risky as it might seem on first glance.
The second stage of the sophomore Overwatch League season begins on April 4th. The Philadelphia Fusion will be taking on the New York Excelsior and you really don’t want to miss it. You can watch all matches on the League’s official website, through their official mobile app, Twitch, MLG.com as well as the MLG app.
Finally, you can check out the full upcoming schedule by clicking here.
Exhibition matches featuring the teams of the upcoming season in four match sets.
The regular season is a round robin format group stage split into four stages however all the points scored in the round robin combined throughout all of the stages will count towards the final standings of the season.
Each stage has a final where the top 3 teams will play for the lion's share of $125,000.
All series in the regular season are 4 match sets.
After Stage 4 finishes, the top Atlantic and Pacific division teams, along with the next four teams in the standings regardless of division, will automatically qualify for playoffs.
The seventh- through twelfth-place teams in the overall standings will also have a chance to qualify for the playoffs. These teams will be pitted against each other in a sudden death tournament, with the top two teams being able to join the playoffs for a total of eight teams.
The two division winners along with the next best four teams by record, regardless of division, will automatically qualify for the Double Elimination Playoffs