The inaugural season of the Overwatch League is set to kick off on the 10th of January. The twelve teams competing will be split into two divisions – the Atlantic and Pacific Division. The Atlantic Division consists of Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior and Philadelphia Fusion. On the other hand, the Pacific Division consists of Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty and Shanghai Dragons. The league is split into four stages. These stages will be played out throughout the first six months of 2018. Teams will fight for overall points, but will also be able to win individual stages. More can be read about specifics of the OWL format here. As the league is split up into two divisions, the team overview will be split up into two divisions, starting with the Atlantic Division: ATLANTIC DIVISION: Boston Uprising (BOS) DPS: DreamKazper, Striker, Mistakes Tanks: Gamsu, NotE, Kalios Supports: Neko, Snow, Avast, Kellex Flex: N/A Overall, the Boston Uprising have been slated as the underdogs due to the lack of big names picked up on the roster. However, despite this, STRIKER and DreamKazper had a strong preseason, showing that they were fundamental spearheads in Uprising’s rise to the spotlight. For their matches, the Uprising lost their first match against New York Excelsior, which was a much closer match than what spectators originally expected. The Uprising didn’t fall to the pressure though, as they brought their preseason game score to a tie, winning against the Shanghai Dragons in their next match. As a player to watch, STRIKER stands out, largely due to his ability to go toe to toe with a world class Tracer- Saebyeolbe, from Seoul Dynasty. Florida Mayhem (FLA) DPS: TviQ, Logix Tanks: N/A Supports: Zebbosai, Zuppeh Flex: Manneten, CWoosH Florida Mayhem, previously known as Misfits, had great success in their region, and, overall, looked to be a team that would sit mid table. One of the contributors to the Mayhem’s success as the Misfits was TviQ, on of Mayhem’s DPS players. A force to be reckoned with, TviQ specializes in hitscan heroes, namely Soldier 76 and Tracer. Initially, this roster was expected to do accomplish many things, but, over the course of the preseason, the expectations have been lowered. Also, The Mayhem are the only team to have 6 players with no substitutes, with each player being on Misfits previously. Florida Mayhem did lose to Dallas Fuel and San Francisco Shock in the preseason, surprising many. Spectators assumed Mayhem would have an advantage, being a veteran team that had played together for months, while both Fuel and Shock have had much more limited time to prepare. Houston Outlaws (HOU) DPS: Clockwork, SPREE, Jake, Mendokusaii, LiNkzr Tanks: Muma, Coolmatt Supports: Boink, Bani, Rawkus Flex: N/A The Houston Outlaws are a team with a wide range of talents. They scouted the vast majority of their roster from FNRGFE (Clockwork, Boink, Bani, Muma and Coolmatt). The Outlaws also pulled five free agents to bolster their roster further to ensure they have a swap for every situation they may need. With all this talent, LiNkzr stands out as the player to look out for on this roster. Before preseason, LiNkzr was originally overshadowed by Jake, who is an incredibly strong DPS coming straight from the World Cup. However, LiNkzr came in strong himself and was able to contest Taimou, (who is notorious for his good aim), from Dallas Fuel in multiple Widowmaker duels. The Outlaws took on the juggernauts of the preseason in their matches- the Fuel and the Dynasty. While many speculated that the Outlaws would fall in these matches, they showed they were a team to be respected, taking multiple maps off both teams, but losing both matches in the end. Considering the talent available on this team, there is no reason why the Outlaws should not be able to contend for a top four spot. London Spitfire (LDN) DPS: Rascal, Profit, birdring, Hooreg Tanks: Gesture, Fissure Supports: NUS, HaGoPeun, Bdosin, Closer Flex: Fury, WooHyaL London Spitfire is composed of two teams. The Spitfire brings both Cloud9 Kongdoo and GC Busan together to form a Korean super team, with the only exceptions being Fury and NUS, who were on Team Liquid and Meta Athena respectively. Both Kongdoo and Busan were very strong in Korea, and as a result, the Spitfire are speculated to place high in the standings. Coming out of the preseason, the London Spitfire finished 1-1. They were upset by the LA Gladiators in their opening preseason match, but were able to record a convincing victory against the Shock. Going forward, Rascal and Gesture are the players to watch. They were the captains of Kongdoo and Busan respectively. These two will have to bring their forces together to ensure Spitfire achieve their maximum potential throughout the season. New York Excelsior (NYE) DPS: Saebyeolbe, Libero Tanks: Meko, Janus, Mano Supports: Jjonak Flex: Pine The New York Excelsior, or “NYXL” is one of the three Korean powerhouse teams. NYXL are deemed to be a top half team, with predictions ranging from 1st to 6th. Created with players from LW Blue, LW Red, and Meta Athena, the Excelsior look to be a strong roster bolstered with flex players. However, they were held back slightly during the preseason, as the team were unable to play with Jjonak. The flex support was too young to play during preseason, but is now old enough to compete in the regular season. The team was also without Flow3r, their star DPS, who is unavailable for the whole season due to age-restrictions. Despite their handicaps, the Excelsior came out swinging in the preseason, taking down Boston Uprising in their opening match. However, they also ended up losing their second preseason match with Seoul Dynasty. Filled with many talented players straight from Korea, NYXL offer many players to keep an eye on. Saebyeolbe- a world class Hitscan player known for his Tracer- took down Sinatraa from Shock multiple times in the World Cup Finals. Pine, a Flex player, showed up big time with his Widowmaker. The match against Uprising was a showcase of his abilities, as he was able to hit his opponents with extreme precision. Jjonak was a strong performer on LW Blue, but unfortunately, no one has seen him play on the Excelsior just yet. If he can perform well at the beginning of the season, NYXL are bound to poise a significant threat to all of their opponents in the OWL. Philadelphia Fusion (PHI) DPS: Carpe, ShadowBurn, Snillo, Eqo Tanks: fragi, SADO Supports: Joemeister, Boombox, DayFly, Neptuno The Philadelphia Fusion live up to their name, being a fusion of many different teams from multiple regions. Many of the former FaZe players were mixed up with many other different free agents to form the Fusion. Due to the odd mix of players with no experience with each other, other than the FaZe members, the Fusion have been assumed to take a slot at the bottom of the standings. Expectations have been low for Fusion, and, due to visa issues, Fusion have been unable to showcase any pieces of evidence that may prove otherwise in this preseason. It will be interesting to see how well this roster performs, especially considering their tank player SADO has been suspended for account boosting, and one of their DPS, snillo, is still underage. ShadowBurn is one of the standout players to watch from the Fusion. Known for his projectile play- specifically his Genji- the Russian DPS player has the potential to tear up the standings if he performs well. Onto the PACIFIC DIVISION: Pacific Division: Dallas Fuel (DAL) DPS: EFFECT, Taimou Tanks: xQc, cocco Supports: Chipshajen, Custa, HarryHook Flex: Mickie, Seagull This team is a strong force all round, and is mainly derived from the original EnVyUs roster, minus Seagull and xQc. Due to their strength as EnVyUs, they have been speculated to finish in the top three. The team has proven powerhouse players and a strong core, with even more potential to improve with their new arrivals. xQc and Seagull are big names in the Overwatch community. Both players are able to net thousands of viewers on a regular basis on their Twitch streams. To top it off, both players are also strong players as well as streamers, with Seagull formerly playing for NRG, and xQc playing for Denial. However, it has been a long time since the two have competed in an official tournament. The standards have been set by the former EnVyUs lineup, and the million dollar question remains – will they be able to meet and exceed the standards set? Dallas Fuel have gone 2-0 in their preseason, but going into the start of the official season, the Fuel need to prove that they are the powerhouses that they have been labelled. For xQc and Seagull, they need to prove that they can meet and exceed expectations. Los Angeles Valiant (VAL) DPS: Silkthread, Grimreality, Soon, Agilities Tanks: Fate, Numlocked Supports: Kariv, Verbo, Unkoe Flex: Space, Envy This team consists of the players that made the Immortals Overwatch roster, as well as other high priority free agents. Overall, Valiant look to be a very strong team individually- especially with star players such as Soon and Agilities. Soon is the DPS who was associated with one of the best teams in Overwatch’s short history, Rogue. Soon’s Tracer became a widely respected threat globally during Rogue’s undefeated reign over every tournament. His aim and ultimate ability accuracy are on a completely new level. The question remains though- will he be able to maintain that level of deadliness with his new team? Or will he be overshadowed by other star Tracer players? Agilities was one of the DPS players alongside Grimreality on the IMT roster. He was known for his solid Genji play, allowing IMT to clutch out situations with unparalleled speed and precision. Agilities demonstrated that he could do it on LAN too, slicing through their rivals- the Gladiators- in a close 3-2 victory. The Valiant were predicted as a lower bracket team, but came out strong in their preseason, winning 2-0. However, their opponents were also considered to be lower bracket contenders, so it will be interesting to see how the Valiant go toe to toe with some of the better teams throughout the season. Los Angeles Gladiators (GLA) DPS: Asher, Surefour, Hydration Tanks: iRemiix Supports: Shaz, BigGoose Flex: Bischu A mix of many teams of varying success, the Los Angeles Gladiators were expected to land near the bottom of the pack, as both combined rosters seemed lackluster on paper. A mix of Korean, European and North American talent, the Gladiators did not pick up a core of players, but instead opted for the individual talent approach. And speaking of individual talent, Surefour is definitely a player to look out for going forward. Previously with Cloud9, The Canadian DPS stood out as a force to be reckoned with, using his exceptional aim and hero flexibility to help guide his team towards victories. The Gladiators came in strong this preseason with an upset victory against the Spitfire in a close match. However, the momentum did not carry on, as the Gladiators lost their next match against the Los Angeles Valiant in a 1-3 loss. Both Los Angeles teams are expected to be at the bottom of the pack, but, their rivalry is a feature of the OWL to keep an eye on. San Francisco Shock (SFS) DPS: BABYBAY, sinatraa, Danteh, iddqd Tanks: Nomy Supports: sleepy, dhaK Flex: super, Nevix The San Francisco Shock is another mix of European and North American talent. The Shock puts together a very diverse mix of players, with no core to be seen. The Shock were slated to be a bottom table team, because they have brought in players that have not competed in a while. Despite this, they came in strong. BABYBAY’s Widowmaker helped the Shock win 3-1 over Mayhem in the preseason, dueling enemy Widowmakers and assisting in team fights. The Shock showed weakness going forward as well, losing a close match against the Valiant immediately after their match with Mayhem, and losing their third preseason match to the Spitfire, finishing their preseason 1-2, and showing that they may need to work harder to match up to some of the stronger rosters in the league. Some threats from Shock going forward include Sinatraa, the seventeen-year-old superstar DPS. He will have to prove himself in the future once he’s old enough. The youngster has struggled a bit on LAN, specifically in the USA vs. Korea match. The talented DPS, playing Tracer, was continuously bullied by Saebyolbe from NYXL, playing on team Korea. However, he has plenty of time to bounce back and prove that he is one of the best that the OWL has to offer. Iddqd is another threat to pay attention to. Previously of NRG, the powerhouse brings multiple DPS heroes to the table – especially Hitscan heroes. Seoul Dynasty (SEO) DPS: Bunny, Wekeed, Munchkin, FLETA Tanks: Miro, KuKi Supports: tobi, ryujehong Flex: XepheR, gido, ZUNBA This team consists of a strong core from the dominating Korean team, Lunatic-Hai, and is further bolstered by strong team members drafted out of other Korean teams. The Seoul Dynasty were the #1 pick to win it all in many spectators’ eyes. Seoul are a team to keep both eyes on. Powerhouse players like Fleta, who is known for his hard carry ability, and Ryujehong, who is an extraordinary support player. Seoul dominated Shanghai Dragons with a 4-0 victory in their opening preseason match. Fleta was unstoppable in most situations, picking off multiple targets and utilizing his incredible flexibility in terms of hero usage. Seoul lived up to their name, and look like they’re on track to build a long-lasting dynasty as they finished their second preseason game by beating Houston Outlaws 2-1. Finally, the Korean powerhouse beat the Excelsior to go undefeated in their preseason fixtures. Shanghai Dragons (SHD) DPS: Undead, Diya Tanks: Xushu, Roshan, MG Supports: Freefeel, Fiveking, Altering Flex: N/A Coming into the preseason, there was ambiguity shrouded over Shanghai Dragons. The team was built from strong Chinese teams, such as LGD Gaming and FTD Club. However, another prominent Chinese team, Miraculous Youngster, was left out entirely, raising some questions as to why no one from that team was selected. The Chinese players look to be a mid to lower table team. Unfortunately for the Chinese, they come off the preseason having some poor results, having lost to Boston and Seoul to go 0-2 prior to the OWL’s kickoff. The Dragons will need to step up their game for the continuing season, and they will have to rely immensely on Diya, who showed up big time in the Dragons’ match against Boston, taking on STRIKER in head-to-head Tracer duels and winning a good amount of those trades. This article was written in collaboration with former Rocket Esports Overwatch coach Jon.