Overwatch League’s Chaotic Beginning to Season 5

Photo by DCStudio from Freepik.

The first two weeks of the Overwatch League (OWL) Season 5 are behind us, and with them they brought some insane upsets, crazy matchups, and a developing meta. By far the most exciting change to come with this season is the game being run on the Overwatch 2 PvP beta, instead of being played on the live Overwatch 1 game.

Overwatch League teams were only given access to begin practicing on the Overwatch 2 version of the game in March, and it is clear that many are still figuring it out. Soldier: 76 is extremely over-tuned on the current patch, so he naturally saw a heavy amount of play. He’d usually be paired with a Genji in dive compositions, or in poke compositions we’d see a Reaper, Echo, Widowmaker or even a Tracer. For the singular tank, Doomfist was extremely prevalent in the first week in those aforementioned dive compositions. However, as the matches continued, teams seemed to figure out how to more easily counter Doomfist, and Winston saw an increasing amount of play as the week went on.

Matches such as NYXL vs. Vancouver Titans were absolute slugfests, with both teams making an overabundance of hero swaps and multiple C9s on the point. There were also numerous circular defeats, such as the Houston Outlaws beating the Dallas Fuel, with Fuel then going on to roll over Washington Justice, who then took out the Toronto Defiant, only for the Defiant to beat the Houston Outlaws.

The league is in chaos right now. I expected it to be wild with the evolving metagame and massively different form of play in Overwatch 2, but this is much crazier than I expected. Teams who looked very clean and like they totally understand the game in one match will go on to get full-swept by another team who looks much worse than the other going into it. My Pick’em brackets are shattered, and I have no idea who’s going to come out on top.

All that said, this is also the most exciting the league has been since Season 1. Season 2 was dominated by Goats, and Seasons 3 and 4 were extremely stagnant due to a lack of balance changes and new heroes, as well as COVID-19 forcing everything into shutdown. In a way, with the prevalence of Genji, Soldier, and Tracer, it almost feels like we’re even playing in the same meta as Season 1. So although I want the chaos to be tuned down a little, at least I know for certain the league will not face another stagnant year. 

I may not know who will win, but we can definitely be sure that this year of Overwatch will be the most action-packed one yet. I am glad that after so many years, Overwatch 2 is finally before our eyes and in our hands. Perhaps some life can finally be breathed into the game from all this chaos.