Hello to all 3 of you who still use this website! There's less than a month left until the start of OWL 2021, and rosters have been mostly finalized. That means I finally get to share my completely arbitrary, off-the-cuff, hot-take power rankings for the season. I'm splitting this up between West and East. Anyways, here are my thoughts:
1. SF Shock: The Shock prepare for their shot at a third consecutive championship season with a roster that looks much like the ones that won them the first two titles. Gone are ANS and Rascal and in their place come Glister and Nero. While I believe both to be slight downgrades, Striker is still good enough for this to be a top dps line. Moth is replaced by fdgod, which shouldn't make a huge difference either way, and the core of Smurf (or super), Choi, and Viol2t still ranks as the best in the game hands down. The team is flexible enough to play in any meta and are still coached by Crusty.
2. Washington Justice: The Justice were a very good team at the end of the 2020 season with their one glaring weakness coming from the main tank position. To remedy this they have swapped the underperforming Roar for one of, if not the, most hyped rookies coming into the current season in Mag. Paired with Fury, the Justice tank line will be as good as any in the league except for maybe Shock. Closer and Bebe are an interesting change from Ark and Aimgod, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a downgrade.
3. LA Gladiators: After a disappointing end to their 2020 season, the Gladiators chose to part ways with their long-time support duo of Shaz and BigGoose. In their place they've signed a pair of highly regarded free agents in Moth and Shu. This is undoubtedly a huge upgrade for the team. Moth's leadership and championship experience combined with Shu's mechanical prowess give Gladiators a strong support system to enable their star dps duo, Birdring and Kevster.
4. Florida Mayhem: After a solid year that saw Mayhem finally rise from the bottom of the standings and show some consistency, the Mayhem are back with a similar roster that features the additions of OGE for Fate and Slime for Kris. I feel these changes make Florida a better team, although I wouldn't put them quite at the level of the championship contenders right now. Yaki and BQB will need to be as good as the top dps in the league like Striker or Fleta in order for them to win against the best of the best, which is a tough task for those two, but not impossible.
5. Dallas Fuel: Dallas Fuel is a slightly worse version of last year's Paris Eternal because they don't have fdgod. That said, they'll still be pretty good with the dps line of Sp9rkle, Doha, and XZI leading the way. There is, of course, the possibility that this team self-destructs and finishes in the bottom 3 because Dallas does that sometimes, but at least this time the entire roster has experience.
6. Toronto Defiant: Heesu and Sado are two great pickups for this team that will now, for the first time in a long time, have some expectations placed on them. Michelle is a bit of a question mark on off tank after sitting on the Dynasty bench for most of last year, but the rest of the roster seems solid, if not quite on par with the higher-tier teams. Here's hoping lastro can sex big dick his way into a successful season.
7. Atlanta Reign: With a streamlined roster and an improved dps line, the Reign will look for Edison, Pelican, and Kai to carry them while the tanks and supports form a respectable team behind them. Iris playing flex support full-time will help the team after dogman struggled in that role for most of last year.
8. Boston Uprising: The laughingstock of OWL no longer, Boston looks to cast aside the last two years of futility and put up a good showing with the additions of Soon, Stand1, Valentine, IM37, and Faith. They're still the Boston Uprising, so I wouldn't rate them too highly yet, but they won't be playing in any toilet bowls this year.
9. Houston Outlaws: With the additions of Happy and KSF, Outlaws finally have an above-average dps line. They've also added JJanggu to save us all from the horrors of the Hydration main tank. They still won't be great, with an inexperienced tank line and below-average supports, but they won't be a complete disaster to watch. I have no clue why they brought back Jake. He will never play, and given his record as an IGL I wouldn't trust his coaching.
10. London Spitfire: The better of the two teams that sold their players to pick up EU contenders players, they'll improve over last year simply because last year they were so bad there's really nowhere to go but up. I have 0 confidence in the Ripa-Kellex support line, but at least Shax is one of the better dps they could've picked up.
11. Paris Eternal: Onigod is good, but the team as a whole is mostly made up of EU contenders players that weren't on British Hurricane and therefore lost a lot to British Hurricane. I couldn't justify putting Spitfire any higher than 10th, and since Paris seem like a worse version of Spitfire, I figured wherever I put Spitfire I'd put Eternal one spot below them.
12. Vancouver Titans: A team that was consistently the worst in the league last season lost its best player in Shockwave and replaced him with Linkzr, who sucks. FRDWNR and Fire are nice upgrades from KSAA and CarCar, but they won't be enough to keep this team out of the bottom of the standings.
1. Philly Fusion: Coming off a strong 4th place finish in 2020, Philly added an MVP-caliber player to their already loaded roster. Rascal makes this team scary good. The dps lineup of Carpe and Rascal is as good as any we've ever seen in Overwatch. It's hard to overstate how dangerous this roster is. Also they picked up Mano. Mano's pretty good.
2. Shanghai Dragons: Top tier team from last year returns functionally the same roster that led them to a 27-2 regular season record and a 3rd place finish in playoffs. They haven't really gotten any better, which is why I have them below Fusion, but Fleta, Void, Lip and the gang are still good enough to make this team a top contender. Erster adds back some of the flexibility lost with the departures of diem and DDing, but either way I'd still expect Fleta and Lip to get the lion's share of the playing time.
3. Hangzhou Spark: Bernar and Seominsoo are solid pickups that will bolster an already strong roster. Their dps line, led by all-star hitscan GodsB is well above average. Their tank line, with perennial MVP candidate Guxue, is arguably the best in the East region. The supports do their job well enough to win most of the time if the dps pop off.
4. Seoul Dynasty: Profit is good. The Dynasty are weird. This is the same team that went 12-12 in the regular season and then went on a playoff run that got them all the way to the championship game. In the Nexus cup, they beat Shanghai and then lost to Dallas. Nothing makes sense about Seoul.
5. Chengdu Hunters: Every year I rate Chengdu too low, and every year I end up regretting it. If ball continues to be meta, I can see them doing really well. I don't know much about their new main tank GA9A, but his team had plenty of success at least. Other than that, not much has changed about Chengdu, so I expect them to land somewhere around where they were previously.
6. NYXL: How hard can Jjonak carry? The identity of this team is similar to the identity of the Spitfire last year: players from the same region that are presumed to be worse, cheaper options from previous years. That mentality and those expectations could hurt the team.
7. Guangzhou Charge: I don't have a ton to say about this team. They swapped a big part of their core for some decent contenders players and Kariv. Maybe they'll be better than I think.
8. The Other Team in The East Region: Just sell the slot to someone else if you don't have the money for a real team.