A new year, a new season, and an entirely new game that nobody has seen any of these teams play before. That's right, in this edition of my pre-season power rankings I'm going to be attempting to predict teams' success in Overwatch 2 despite never having seen the game played at any level. Given my record, I'm expecting this to be 100% accurate except for Chengdu who are somehow again going to outperform my expectations. Anyways, with apologies to Tamagao, Hudsen, and all of the other actual writers who have worked for this site and vlr, here is the order of finish for all 20 OWL teams for the 2022 season.
1. LA Gladiators
The most complete team. They have a support line with god aim and fantastic flexibility. Space seems like an ideal solo tank player. ANS-Kevster is a scary dps line, with incredible aim and experience. Patiphan is the X factor. He might be an mvp candidate or he might ride the bench all season, but even if he does, the aforementioned duo of ANS and Kevster are more than capable of carrying. With the support of a great org in The Guard and elite experience at the highest levels of esports, Gladiators can finally break through to win a title and earn the respect they've been seeking as one of the league's perennial favorites.
2. Shanghai Dragons
2021's champs return with a lineup featuring the dps gods Fleta and Lip. These two can carry the team far even if they don't get the same level of tank and support play as last year. Shifts in the way the game is played could hurt this team a bit, as Leejaegon might not be as effective in certain possible metas forcing the team to sub him out for newly acquired BeBe, but Void and Izayaki should be good enough to keep the Dragons in any game while Fleta and Lip kill everything.
3. Seoul Dynasty
Losing Jjonak to retirement hurts this team, but the Dynasty still look to be a top team in 2022 for 1 reason: Profit. Overwatch's GOAT looks to carry over his incredible flexibility, god aim, and unbreakable mental into this new era. With his trusted partner Fits and new addition Smurf, Seoul can never be counted out. As usual, expect this team to underperform in the regular season before going on a run in the playoffs.
4. Chengdu Hunters
With a reputation for chaotic play and a legendary love of low-heal, high damage compositions, Hunters seem best suited to make the transition to OW 2. While I don't rate the duo of Jinmu and Leave as highly as some people, they're still legitimate threats who know how to play with the space created by star tank Ga9a. Farway1987, Mmonk, Yveltal and Nisha form possibly the most flexible support rotation in the league.
5. Dallas Fuel
Returning mostly the same team from last year's 3rd place squad, Dallas look to star dps Sp9rkle to lead their team into the future. It will be interesting to see who gets the majority of the playing time between tanks Fearless and Hanbin, as neither seem completely capable of filling every role but both have the potential to be stars on their best heroes. Fielder and ChiYo form a potentially deadly support duo, although the pair's flexibility remains a bit of an unknown.
6. San Fransisco Shock
Unlike many of the teams above them, the Shock's strengths are not found in their dps line. Rather, their biggest strength comes in the form of their team captain and the face of the league, super. A unique talent who can play just about any tank hero, look for super to take on a much greater role with the departures of smurf and Choihyobin. Viol2t still has the potential to be the best support player in the league, but we'll have to see if he can meet that potential, as he did in 2019 and 2020, or if he'll falter as he did in 2021. Coach Crusty must reassert himself as the best in the business for this team to truly contend for a championship. If things start to go poorly and super retires to become a full-time streamer, this team could end up in a downward spiral that might send them to the bottom tier of the league.
7. Atlanta Reign
Last season's surprise finalists return with a western-focused lineup led by legendary tank Gator. With the ability to play a wide variety of heroes at a high level, the leader of the original GOATS squad that revolutionized Overwatch back in 2018 will try to replicate that team's success as a trailblazer and innovator of novel strategies in a new game. The loss of dps player Pelican and support players Ir1s and Masaa weaken the team a bit, but at least they retain one star dps in Kai.
8. Washington Justice
On paper, this team has the talent to compete with anyone in the league. Dps players Decay and Happy have incredibly high ceilings and great flexibility, while tanks Mag and Kalios provide consistency and flexibility. Supports Krillin, OPENER, and vigilante are relative unknowns, but the biggest question for this team will always be whether they'll be able to avoid self-destructing and failing to meet their potential. Last season's team had the potential to be the best in the league but ultimately had to settle for 7th/8th after nearly failing to qualify for playoffs and then winning just 1 of 7 maps they played once they got there.
9. Hangzhou Spark
Over the past couple of seasons, the Spark have become a bit of a benchmark for the other teams in the APAC region; the good teams beat them and the bad teams lose to them. Led by dps Shy and tank guxue, the Spark figure to be on a similar level as last year. Not quite competitive with the league's elite but more than capable of beating up on weaker teams like the LA Valiant. New support addition Superich is highly thought of, but it remains to be seen if he'll be able to adapt to the changes coming in OW2.
10. Houston Outlaws
Similar to the Spark, 2021 saw the Houston Outlaws, aside from a pair of early season upsets, mostly beat weaker competition while losing badly to their rivals in Dallas and Atlanta. The team has made some big changes, with the additions of Pelican, MER1T, Lastro, and Ir1s giving the team the option to field a full-Korean lineup for the first time in franchise history. I’m not sure I’m a fan of this, as it makes it difficult for Houston to find a role for their only remaining western player, Danteh, who had a down year in 2021 but is still probably capable enough to consider giving some playing time to. PIGGY being the team's sole tank player is the biggest unknown for this team, but other than that expect this group of veterans to perform at a consistent league-average level while Pelican tries to carry.