A lot of hype surrounded the second season of the Overwatch League, including the addition of eight new expansion teams, increasing the league total to 20. This inevitably means each team will play less than the 40 matches they played last season, but there should still be enough to get a real grasp on who the good teams are.
Week one kicked off with a rematch of the grand finals from last season in a match between the Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire. Unlike last year, the Fusion ended up taking it 3-1, despite both teams making minimal roster changes between seasons. The day continued with the New York Excelsior and Seoul Dynasty both taking wins over their day one opponents. The Hangzhou Spark were the first of the new expansion teams to make their debut, and they dished out a 3-1 defeat to the Shanghai Dragons, who defied all expectations by losing all 40 matches last year.
On day two, aside from a San Francisco Shock victory over the Dallas Fuel, four new teams played their debut matches. It was mostly successful, as the Toronto Defiant won their match 3-2 over the Houston Outlaws, and the Atlanta Reign dominated the Florida Mayhem with the first 4-0 victory of the season. The Chengdu Hunters and Guangzhou Charge both showed promise in their first matches against each other, taking it all the way to game five before the Hunters would claim a 3-2 victory.
Day three not only continued the trend of new teams winning matches, but also shed some light on potential storylines going forward. The first game had the expansion team in Paris Eternal beating the Spitfire once more, reducing the former champions to a 0-2 first week record. The Excelsior were the first team to begin 2-0 with a victory over the newly-founded Washington Justice. The Spark were not far behind, with a victory over the Los Angeles Valiant. The Vancouver Titans were the final expansion team to kick off their season with a 4-0 victory over Shanghai.
With all the debuts out of the way, day four helped separate some of the standings. With a 3-2 victory, Boston delivered a 0-2 week to the Outlaws, and the Fusion secured a 2-0 week over the Reign. The Gladiators beat the Shock 3-2 and the Fuel beat Seoul 3-1 to set all four teams to 1-1 to end the week.
In the midst of the chaos, two rookies on Vancouver really took their time to shine in their match against Shanghai, earning the first and third most eliminations per 10 minutes in the league. Damage player SeoMinSoo is first in the OWL in eliminations as well as final blows, with 26.64 and 11.07 per 10 minutes respectively. His damage per 10 minutes at 11,432 is also good for fourth. Tank player JJANU, who only played D.Va in their victory, ranks slightly lower in both categories. His 24.45 eliminations rank at third and his 6.82 final blows per 10 minutes is good for 11th. However, JJANU also gets to boast that, despite being on the front lines, his 2.12 deaths per 10 minutes is the second least of anybody in the league, just behind Excelsior support Anamo.
It’s far too early to make assumptions, but there are definitely some questions moving forward I’m eager to see answered. Will the Spitfire be able to emerge from the slouch they’re in? Are Florida and Shanghai destined for yet another season of poor play? Are the newcomers like Hangzhou and Vancouver the real deal? Is this finally the season where the Seoul Dynasty can come out on top? Only time will tell.