Chaos reigned supreme in week 1 of OWL 2021, with major upsets happening in both the east and west regions. The most common composition seen was the Mei-McCree-Dva-Rein-Lucio-Bap rush, but there was plenty of variability, with Winston and Zarya being favored on maps like Gibraltar and Eichenwalde. Keeping in mind that we are early in the season and results aren't necessarily indicative of how teams will perform long-term, these are my current power rankings, split by region, with their records and changes from where I had each team in preseason:
1.SF Shock (1-1) (+0)
The Shock opened the season with a 3-1 win over the LA Gladiators before falling 3-2 in a 6 map thriller to the Houston Outlaws. It seems like the Shock are still figuring out what roster they want to run and how to properly use Glister, in particular. Part of the reason they lost to Outlaws was that they made the mistake of thinking they could give Ta1yo a map. The primary reason they haven't moved in the rankings is because my #2 team didn't play and my #3 team went 0-2.
2. Washington Justice (0-0) (+0)
The Justice did not play this week and will open up their season on April 24 against the 1-1 Dallas Fuel. I'm excited for Mag's debut.
3. Florida Mayhem (2-0) (+1)
With two convincing 3-1 wins against the Atlanta Reign and Vancouver Titans, the Mayhem showed that they were capable of handling the middle/lower end of the region. After a week off, their first true test comes in week 3 when they face off against the Shock. OGE and Slime looked very comfortable with their new team and OGE in particular made some huge plays on the Winston.
4. Toronto Defiant (2-0) (+2)
An easy 3-1 win over the Titans followed by an extremely close 3-2 triumph over the Reign puts Defiant right where they want to be heading into their week off, after which they take on the Washington Justice in a match between two teams with very high ceilings due to the talent on both rosters. AnSoonJae and Heesu were standouts for the team in week 1, with Sado's main tank play often being the deciding factor in whether or not they win a specific map.
5. Houston Outlaws (2-0) (+4)
A strong performance from the team's new tank line led the Outlaws to 2 huge wins this week over the Fuel and Shock. The team seems to rely quite a bit on the players' individual playmaking abilities, but so far that hasn't been a problem, with Happy being able to make a big impact without taking up all of the team's resources. In week 2 they'll look to improve to an impressive 4-0 record with matches against London Spitfire and Paris Eternal in which they should be favored.
6. Dallas Fuel (1-1) (-1)
The Fuel followed up their disappointing loss to Houston with a convincing 3-1 win over the Gladiators. Not having an immediate replacement on hitscan dps after the sudden retirement of xZi clearly made an impact on the team, with Sp9rkle struggling to find value on his normal heroes. They haven't quite figured out what to do with their support line, but Fielder, Rapel, and Jecse collectively haven't been awful.
7. Atlanta Reign (0-2) (+0)
The Reign did not look completely outmatched in either of their losses this week, with maps often coming down to the final fight. Their dps, as expected, performed fairly well, but Ir1s and Gator were shaky at times, particularly in their loss to Defiant. When they next play in week 3, they'll be looking to pick up their first win of the season in a match against the Paris Eternal before facing off against the Shock.
8. LA Gladiators (0-2) (-5)
The Gladiators looked bad in their two losses. For a team that was predicted by many to be a title contender, they have a lot to work on. Muze was thoroughly dominated by the Shock tanks in their opening match, although, to be fair to him, the Shock tanks are the best in the world. The team continued last year's trend of making bizarre substitutions, with Mirror coming in for Birdring on a few occasions and Skewed and Moth being switched around on a map-to-map basis. Why a team that isn't Shock would ever consider subbing out Birdring or Moth at any point is a complete mystery to me. In week 2 Gladiators will look to right the ship with theoretically easier matches against Boston and Paris.
9. Boston Uprising (0-0) (-1)
The Uprising begin their most promising season since 2018 in week 2 with matches against the Gladiators and Fuel.
10. London Spitfire (0-0) (+0)
The new-look London Spitfire begin their quest to prove me wrong in week 2 against the Gladiators and Outlaws.
11. Paris Eternal (0-0) (+0)
The baguette team starts the season off in week 2 with a very winnable match against the Titans followed by a clash with the Outlaws.
12. Vancouver Titans (0-2) (+0)
The Titans showed some life against the Mayhem after getting stomped by Defiant earlier in the week. Teru is playing better than I expected, but as a whole the team still lacks the talent to compete with most OWL teams.
1. Philly Fusion (2-0) (+1)
With convincing wins over Seoul Dynasty and the hapless LA Valiant, Philly showed early on why you never count out a team with Rascal on it. Tobi and Hotba played well considering how little time they had spent with the team, and Carpe and Alarm are still MVP candidates. Next week Fusion have two interesting matches: first, they take on Hangzhou Spark in what will be a key game for both to establish themselves early on as top teams; next, they face off with the Chengdu Hunters, who we'll get to in a moment, in a matchup that could determine the favorite in the whole region going forward.
2. Chengdu Hunters (2-0) (+3)
Yeah so apparently this team is insane. They took the previous consensus #1 team in the region and absolutely demolished them in a clean 3-0 sweep. Their match against Valiant earlier in the week wasn't amazing for them, but they still won 3-1 and were never really in danger at any point. With the ability to play a variety of comps and the amazing flexibility provided by their dps line, their upset of Shanghai doesn't seem like a fluke.
3. Shanghai Dragons (1-1) (-2)
After a easy 3-0 over Charge, the Dragons were seemingly unprepared for GA9A's Winston and got rolled. Fate hasn't been incredible but I don't think he's a downgrade from Fearless. The current meta doesn't seem too bad for them, so I'd imagine they'll play better as they get more accustomed to what teams are doing. Shanghai will get a week off to figure things out before taking on Spark and NYXL in week 3.
4. Seoul Dynasty (1-1) (+0)
The Seoul Dynasty had a fairly average week in which they lost to one of the best teams in the region and then beat one of the worst teams in the region (Guangzhou Charge, 3-0). ToYou seems to have at last solved the Dynasty Off Tank Issue which should provide some stability to the roster. It'll be interesting to see how the team does with a full season playing with one established lineup.
5. Hangzhou Spark (0-0) (-2)
Spark being below Dynasty is simply a result of them not having played yet. We'll get a better idea of where they stand after their week 2 matches against Fusion and NYXL.
6. NYXL (0-0) (+0)
The team that, according to Scrimbux, is the sleeper pick in the east this season gets its first chance to prove just how good they are in week 2 against Hunters and Spark.
7. Guangzhou Charge (0-2) (+0)
A rough start to the season for the Charge combined with solid performances by their former members now playing for teams in the west seems to confirm the idea that this team simply got worse from last season to this one. I don't really expect them to beat anyone other than Valiant.
8. LA Valiant (0-2) (+0)
They're awful. Not much else to say.