The task of ranking the top teams across worldwide competition is a tough and subjective one, especially in a relatively young esport, but is imperative in understanding the flow of the scene. Storylines crafted by wins and losses can often get lost in a sea of results, and a history of rankings helps map out teams’ journeys through peaks and troughs.

In the time since our last rankings, APEX Season 2 has built to become a storm of talent, housing some fantastically skilled teams. The North American scene has been rocked by new-look Rogue in one tournament, while also awaiting the return of Cloud9 and Fnatic from Korea. Europe has carried on its trend of being lifeless, with NiP still in hiding and eUnited barely poking their head out either. World Rankings

This time in the World Rankings we’re looking at the time period from mid-December, just before IEM GyeongGi and MLG Vegas, to now, mere days into the playoff groups of APEX S2. The format looks back at the evidence to analyse tournament finishes, teams beaten, and the context of the matches. There is a large emphasis on recent games and teams beaten, while offline matches and larger tournaments carry more weight. Online games are still counted for now, as these are still a prominent part of the Overwatch circuit and many offline events are invite-only.

This is not a ranking of the best teams over the last two months, nor is it a list of those on a current hot streak. The World Rankings aims to use the evidence from the last two months to determine who can reliably be called the current best teams in the world.

1st: Lunatic-Hai [+2]


EscA, Miro, Ryujehong, Tobi, Zunba, WhoRU. Image credit: OGN

  • 4-0 in APEX Season 2
  • Did not qualify Nexus Cup 2017 Spring
  • 2nd IEM GyeongGi

Overall record: 6W - 2L (Map record: 20W - 7L)

Last edition, I wrote about the recent roster changes to Lunatic-Hai and how this had opened up their full potential in a dive-comp patch. They were ranked third, marginally behind EnVyUs and LW Blue, as they had only shown that potential in a single match; now, after eliminating Misfits and smacking around EnVyUs without dropping a map, it’s safe to call Lunatic-Hai the kings of Korea.

That the focal point of criticism for this team is their flexible hitscan DPS player Esca speaks volumes about how well Zunba and WhoRU have adapted into the team. When Esca is on point and hitting his shots, or even more dangerously is allowed to shine on his pocket pick of Mei, this team looks unstoppable. Even though Misfits and EnVy put up a good showing against Lunatic-Hai in APEX, they have so far never looked close to losing a series.

They have strong competition though despite their incredible form. LW Blue and Kongdoo Panthera have the ability to take maps from the kings and potentially kick over the throne, while Meta Athena and RunAway have both looked dangerous with their own unique styles.

They have yet to win a major title despite deep runs at APAC Premier, APEX S1, and IEM GyeongGi; they are the kings without a crown. It will by no means be an easy feat for Lunatic-Hai to take this season of APEX, the most competitive tournament Overwatch has seen so far, but this feels like their time.

2nd: Luxury Watch Blue [-]

Luxury Watch Blue

Luna, Fl0w3r, MekO, Gambler, janus, Saebyeolbe. Image credit: OGN

  • 2-1 in APEX Season 2
  • 1st IEM GyeongGi

Overall record: 5W - 1L (Map record: 16W - 6L)

LW Blue have only a single blemish on their record: losing to Lunatic-Hai, after beating them in the IEM GyeongGi finals, and therefore dropping to second seed in their group of APEX.

They’ve also had the most difficult paths in both tournaments they’ve played in the last two and a half months. They had to eliminate three world-class teams at IEM GyeongGi to win, blasting through Kongdoo Panthera, Rogue, and then Lunatic-Hai with only two maps dropped in three best-of-fives. Moving to APEX, they were part of the “group of death” with Lunatic-Hai and Misfits, making it out of that group with relative ease.

LW Blue have the ability to play a solid dive composition, though not quite as well supported as Lunatic-Hai’s, and a strong triple tank lineup. This versatility should allow them to play to the weaknesses of their opponents - a powerful asset in a region ruled by definitive team styles. If they can pull off a dive counter to Panthera’s predictable but deadly triple tank, then pick apart the supports behind Meta Athena’s Zarya-centric playstyle, LW Blue will have a strong chance at dominating Playoff Group B.

It seems unlikely however that LW Blue will go for the direct counter, especially because APEX’s varied map pool means there will be maps unsuited for dive compositions. The head to head battle of the tank frontlines, particularly between Panthera and LW Blue in the first match of Playoff Group B, will be a clash of titans.

3rd: Kongdoo Panthera [+1]

Kongdoo Panthera

EVERMORE, Rascal, Wakawaka, Fissure, Luffy, Bling. Image credit: OGN

  • 3-0 in APEX Season 2
  • 1st Nexus Cup GF
  • 5th/8th IEM GyeongGi

Overall record: 7W - 1L (Map record: 19W - 4L)

Kongdoo Panthera continue to impress with a truly dominant record so far in APEX. They are the only team in the competition still not to drop a single map, despite being in a group with RunAway and Fnatic, though the latter disappointed this season.

It has been a consistent improvement for this side ever since October and this trend shows no sign of stopping yet. After an early exit from IEM GyeongGi at the hands of the eventual winners, Kongdoo Panthera made some roster changes that have worked out perfectly. Their co-ordination when playing triple tank is excellent, a far cry from their early games as a team, and the star power in Rascal and EVERMORE is now able to shine without being punished.

Kongdoo Panthera have spent 80% of their time playing triple tank in the last three months, and a reasonable portion of that is with a single support on defense. They have the ability and co-ordination to pull this style of brilliantly and are perhaps the best in the world at these compositions. In Playoff Group B against LW Blue and Meta Athena - two world-class opponents, each capable of winning APEX S2 - the matches will rest on the execution.

4th: RunAway [NEW]


CoMa, Kaiser, Haksal, Shine, KoX, Bumper, Stitch, Runner. Image credit: OGN

  • 3-1 in APEX Season 2
  • Qualified APEX Season 2: Super Week

Overall record: 5W - 1L (15W - 4L)

RunAway have been contenders for the top ten since their creation for APEX Season 1, but have often not made the cut based on their lack of wins over high calibre teams. They tend not to play in any tournaments outside of APEX and did not make playoffs in Season 1, reducing the sample size of their games considerably. This season, however, they made playoff groups and immediately came out firing.

RunAway remain a very difficult team to get a read on, as they play few games and have made a spree of roster changes throughout the past three months. RunAway have an eight-player roster and frequently swap players in and out, but I haven’t seen any persuasive arguments explaining their thought processes at any time. There does not seem to be rhyme nor reason to their swaps, but it’s working out for them.

Their Playoff Group opening match against Kongdoo Uncia was a display of the how well-rounded this roster is. Along with the known star talent of Haksal on Genji and now KoX on DPS or Ana, RunAway also showed that their tank Kaiser can outplay some of the best tanks in the world, and Stitch has the awareness to work as a brilliant counter-DPS.

5th: Meta Athena [+1]

Meta Athena

NUS, Sayaplayer, ChangSik, Kris, Libero, Hoon, Alpha. Image credit: OGN

  • 3-0 in APEX Season 2
  • Did not qualify Nexus Cup 2017 Spring
  • Qualified APEX Season 2: Super Week
  • 5th/8th SteelSeries OTA S6

Overall record: 6W - 3L (Map record: 18W - 10L)

Meta Athena have grown from being a promising team into a genuine contender. Their unique playstyle centred around Hoon has served to challenge the best teams in the world, and they delivered with a 3-0 drubbing of EnVyUs to take first seed in their group at APEX.

Meta Athena remain relatively untested though despite their strong performance so far and solid appearance. Their only win over world-class opponents was the win against EnVyUs, and now they are in Playoff Group B with LW Blue and Kongdoo Panthera, two of the scariest teams at APEX.

Meta Athena will be hard pressed to make it out of their group alive. They’re a strong team who have mastered a specific style, but this is likely to break when battle-tested against the best teams in the world.

6th: KongDoo Uncia [-1]

KongDoo Uncia

DNCE, birdring, Butcher, Bubbly, Panker, Lucid. Image credit: OGN

  • 3-1 in APEX Season 2
  • 2nd RuneMedia Grand Prix S3
  • 2nd Nexus Cup GF

Overall record: 8W - 4L (Map record: 26W - 19L)

Kongdoo Uncia slip one position in our World Rankings this month after a close game against an improved Cloud9 and then a beating at the hands of RunAway.

Kongdoo Uncia are another Korean team with a predictable triple tank composition, but their flank-heavy style is a unique twist on a familiar strategy. It’s one that allows them to throw a spanner in the works for lesser teams, but they have been punished when birdring goes for flanks against better teams.

They looked excellent in their group game against AF.Blue, causing many to peg them as contenders for the title. When against better teams though they have looked eminently beatable and did lose to RunAway 1-3.

Uncia have strong individual talent in birdring and Panker, and the addition of Butcher on the flex/offtank role has provided a huge boost for them in terms of outplay potential. For a team that was known for their coordination and ultimate timing in APEX Season 1, however, they seem to have developed troubles pulling that off in higher-tempo games.

7th: EnVyUs [-6]


cocco, chipshajen, INTERNETHULK, Taimou, HarryHook, Mickie. Image credit: OGN Global

  • 2-2 in APEX Season 2
  • 1st MLG Vegas

Overall record: 6W - 2L (Map record: 17W - 10L)

The storyline around EnVyUs’s meteoric rise to the top in late 2016 centred around the team stumbling into their perfect patch. EnVyUs are now firmly outside of that paradise, desperately wishing they had spent the time expanding their hero pool.

EnVyUs are unique among the top teams in the world in that they have no Genji or Tracer player, staples of the dive compositions. Their teamwork and coordination was previously their biggest strength - along with the carry power of Taimou - but the Korean teams have caught up and overtaken them within the last few months.

While they could focus completely on building up their strengths, doubling down on triple tank, and becoming the Western Panthera, every game from EnVyUs recently is like watching a team that have lost their identity. In the first few games of APEX Season 2, their gameplan appeared to be, “let’s see if we can clutch it with Taimou on Widowmaker”. Their final game against Lunatic-Hai was somewhat of a return to form as they made it close and looked more of a team, but were far away from taking the series.

EnVyUs do have a good chance at taking down Kongdoo Uncia tomorrow and keeping their tournament hopes alive, but this entire experience in APEX S2 should be a wake-up call for the former best team in the world to keep improving. When against the Koreans, if you’re not moving forwards, you’re falling behind.

8th: Misfits [-]


TviQ, Reinforce, Nevix, Zave, Mannetens, Zebbosai. Image credit: OGN

  • 1-2 in APEX Season 2
  • 5th/8th IEM GyeongGi

Overall record: 1W - 3L (Map record: 4W - 9L)

On paper it may seem astounding that a team with a single series win could be in our top ten. Misfits have certainly had a rough time in APEX Season 2, in Group B with the best two teams in the world currently.

Misfits had an insanely close game against Lunatic-Hai at IEM GyeongGi, losing two Escort/Hybrid maps through the best-of-one Control tiebreaker and then losing a tight Control map to seal the series. Improvements for the Swedish side were visible, and Misfits appeared to be performing at a higher level than any of the other Western teams in the tournament. When they needed that kind of close performance again though, Lunatic-Hai had improved even further and shut them down 3-0.

Misfits were placed in the most difficult group of APEX, and performed well in each match considering their opponents. They looked stronger to the eye than both Cloud9 and Fnatic, and a match-up against EnVyUs would have been impossible to call. This is a team that could develop their strengths over the coming months and emerge a powerhouse, if they are able to mentally get over this elimination and the lack of competition on the horizon.

9th: Cloud9 [NEW]


Surefour, Gods, Adam, ryb, Mendokusaii, Roolf. Image credit: OGN

  • 1-2 in APEX Season 2
  • 3rd/4th MLG Vegas

Overall record: 3W - 4L (Map record: 11W - 12L)

Cloud9 were in control of their own fate at APEX and fumbled a playoff spot between clumsy fingers. After beating CONBOX Spirit, clearly the weakest team in their group, they went to pieces against Afreeca Freecs Blue in a terribly messy game for both sides. AF.Blue emerged from the chaos with a 3-1 victory and promptly threw away their lead in the group by losing to CONBOX Spirit 2-3.

Per APEX rules, the team with the better map difference would have gone though, but both teams were dead level at 6-7. When Cloud9 could not beat Kongdoo Uncia, despite a close game, ArHaN walked onto the stage and took his position in the playoffs draw, flooded with relief.

In this strange set of circumstances though, Cloud9 were eliminated but showed themselves to be the better team. They both performed well against the stand-out best team in the group, Uncia, and clearly beat the lower team CONBOX Spirit. Their one plummet of form against middling team AF.Blue cost them dearly, but was not equal to AF.Blue’s loss to the worst team in the group and bad performance against the best. Unfortunately, head-to-head tiebreakers are one of the cruel necessities in round robin groups and Cloud9 can have no real qualms given their performance against Afreeca Freecs.

Nevertheless, Cloud9 showed a rejuvenated form and level of coordination against Kongdoo Uncia. Their performance in that match could have carried them to a victory, with each map being close other than Eichenwalde, the decider. Bringing in Bishop to trial as coach, formerly the captain of Kongdoo, appears to have given them added motivation and leadership. We will see how far Cloud9 can take their new look as they travel back to the United States.

10th: Rogue [NEW]


NiCO (skipjack pictured), KnOxXx, aKm, uNKOE, SoOn, winz. Image credit: ESL

  • 1st Alienware Monthly Melee: February
  • 3rd/4th IEM GyeongGi

Overall record: 6W - 1L (Map record: 15W - 4L)

Rogue only just surfaced recently after an extended time under the radar in Europe. After making the move to Las Vegas, they brought out their new player NiCO and blasted through the North American competition. Hammers and Immortals were looking promising in the weeks before this tournament, but Rogue’s new roster rolled through them like they were barely present on the server.

Whether this means that the main body of North American competition remains a level below the rest of the world or if Rogue are a worldclass team again remains to be seen. For now, given Fnatic and Cloud9’s performances against similar competition, Rogue seem to be performing at a high enough level to put them above AF.Blue and the other Western teams.

Rogue are currently the most consistently aggressive team of any of the elite, working on perfecting a triple DPS composition with KnOxXx on solo Winston tank. It will be incredibly interesting to see how that stylistic matchup works against Fnatic, Cloud9, and EnVyUs when they return to North American competition over the coming weeks.


During this period the new results were from:

  • APEX Season 2
  • Nexus Cup 2017 - Spring Korean Qualifier
  • Alienware Monthly Melee: February

Special thanks to urns for creating our series banner!