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.
We missed a month during September as the staff were busy covering Contenders in person, but now is the perfect time to collate data. APEX Season 4, Contenders Season 1, Overwatch Premier Series, and the Overwatch Pacific Championship have all come to a finale during the past month and a new meta awaits on the horizon. After many months of similar dive-centric metas, teams have refined their styles and many truly world-class teams are present in the scene worldwide. More teams could contest the top five in this iteration of the rankings than perhaps any other since the beginning of Overwatch.
This series of our rankings uses data from July to the present, grabbing the tail end of APEX Season 3 along with the other tournaments listed above. Every major tournament around the world crowned their respective champions during this period of time, giving us clear indications of the best teams in each region. The difficult part (and the highly subjective part especially this time) is in judging how they stack up against each other with minimal interactions.
Along with the integration last episode of China, who now clearly have a world-class team (and potentially more than one), this time around we have added the Pacific region into the mix. With Flash Wolves and BLANK playing at the World Cup along with the number of results Ardeont had before transitioning over to Taiwan, the OPC scene can be integrated and deserves representation in our rankings.
The World Rankings have changed dramatically since last episode due to team shuffles, large tournament opportunities, increased understanding and evolution of the meta, and natural ebb and flow of teams. These are likely to be some of the strongest teams to grace the game in pre-OWL Overwatch.
The format of our rankings 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 - though in regions where those opportunities don’t exist, reasonable comparisons must be made.
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 over.gg 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: GC Busan [NEW]
- 1st APEX Season 4
- 2nd APEX Challengers Season 4
Overall record: 9W - 2L (Map record: 32W - 13L)
GC Busan are this season’s APEX winners, storming Seoul from their southern stronghold of Busan as the first royal roaders in Korean esports. Had it been an easy or questionable route to the finals, GC Busan likely would not have made first place in the rankings; as it was, they were forced to go through both the former APEX finalists and made short work of them, annihilating both Lunatic-hai and Cloud9 Kongdoo without dropping a map.
Though many fans of Lunatic-Hai or C9 Kongdoo claimed their teams choked in the matches and are more well-rounded, this claim collapses as soon as you examine it in detail. GC Busan defeated Lunatic-hai in two separate best-of-five matches without dropping a map, taking both 3-0 and making the back-to-back APEX champions look sloppy. They are the only roster to have beaten Lunatic-hai twice ever - GC Busan managed to do it with ease and then casually took down their rivals C9 Kongdoo without breaking a sweat, finishing them 4-0 in under an hour of playtime.
The results posted by GC Busan, as well as their phenomenal teamwork and coordination which was the hallmark of their style, place the team quite clearly in pole position for this time period. The team has impeccable timing on so many of their engagements and disengagements, kiting teams to get full use of their support ultimates and keeping their frontline alive against any pressure.
Tempo is a huge strength for the new APEX champions. They are able to operate with coordination and keep their structure while forcing teamfights to happen much more quickly and chaotically. The pressure this tempo exerts on opponents forces out mistakes which GC Busan are able to capitalise on, chaining them together to keep their rivals reeling.
GC Busan are also the only team able to play anti-dive, counter-dive, or even full dive when required, playing all three at an elite level. Their classic style with Hooreg on a long-range hitscan and Profit on Tracer lets them play the first two styles interchangeably depending on Gesture’s positioning, and GC Busan seemingly have a plan for each engagement that makes them incredibly difficult to execute set dives into as many of the top teams aim for.
In terms of accomplishments, they are the standout best over this time period. In terms of teams beaten, they are also the best. In terms of raw ability as witnessed in game, they also top the charts. GC Busan have incredible coordination, individual talent, and potential still to develop.
Coming into the next Mercy-dominated meta, and with OWL on the horizon, this could all change. For now, a team that only three months ago was in Challengers is the best team in the world.
2nd: Lunatic-Hai [-1]
- 1st Seoul Cup OGN SuperMatch
- 5th/6th in APEX Season 4
- 1st APEX Season 3
Overall record: 6W - 3L (Map record: 21W - 17L)
Lunatic-Hai have slipped off the throne of Korea, unable to keep their reign of dominance going. Both in terms of their placement and performance, APEX Season 4 was a disappointment for the roster as they experimented with rotating DPS players and saw their coordination suffer, possibly as a direct result.
They hold onto the second position in our World Rankings by the thinnest of margins, with RunAway threatening to leapfrog both C9 Kongdoo and Lunatic-hai.
Unlike previous seasons which saw them crowned champion, Lunatic-hai had no fixed style going into the competition. They appeared to have no solid read on the meta and did not fixate on any particular composition, unable to counter teams as they had done so effectively in previous APEX seasons.
Though often hailed for their dive prowess, Lunatic-hai plays far better in low tempo scenarios, or at least ones in which they control the pace of the engagements. They leapt to victory in APEX S2 playing dive into Reinhardt teams, able to pick and choose their initiations and force out resources at leisure; they won APEX S3 with a Sombra-Tracer style which forced the enemy team to be proactive or have their frontline smashed, ruining the more passive teams and allowing them to swallow the hasty dives.
When up against GC Busan, Lunatic-hai were unable to keep their team together amidst the high-tempo fights, losing their notorious teamwork and synergy between front- and backline. Timings were missed and mistakes ran rampant, creating snowballs and match losses. The team seemed more focused on trialling the best DPS duo out of their available pieces than winning.
After nine months on top of the world, Lunatic-hai has been temporarily caught and overtaken by teams with comparable star players, but more clinical timing and teamwork. With more time to read the opposition and more firepower available to work with, Lunatic-hai may easily have better results in the Overwatch League.
The team’s experimental phase appears to have come to something of a close with the new additions of Fleta and Munchkin, two extremely talented DPS players. A tournament win in the Seoul Cup Supermatch against Miraculous Youngster and Cloud9 Kongdoo was a solid start to say the least for the new roster, showing classic Lunatic-hai resistance to reverse sweep the new phenoms from China in the semifinal.
Though there were still a number of mistakes and sloppy engagements from Lunatic-hai, they will only improve and still currently remain highly competitive at the apex of competitive Overwatch. With the addition of Fleta and Munchkin to Seoul Dynasty, the players can finally polish the finer points of their play to become world-beaters again - and now with far more firepower.
3rd: Cloud9 Kongdoo [-1]
- 2nd Seoul Cup OGN SuperMatch
- 3rd APEX Season 4
- 2nd APEX Season 3
Overall record: 8W - 3L (Map record: 30W - 13L)
Cloud9 Kongdoo has been right behind Lunatic-hai in every metric since the beginning of APEX Season 3. Despite retouching their roster and looking incredible on paper, Kongdoo find themselves once again finishing behind their rivals in the rankings.
Cloud9 Kongdoo were a favourite heading into APEX Season 4 and to be fair they only lost a single game, wiping the floor with the rest of their opponents. That loss was, however, an absolute drubbing at the hands of GC Busan, followed up by another loss to Lunatic-hai in the Seoul Cup finals. The losses show that Cloud9 Kongdoo still have some way to go before being a championship side.
Kongdoo’s strongest asset is their firepower; when up against GC Busan it was dampened and made to be a weakness, as C9 Kongdoo were baited into overextending or their aggression outright crushed against such a coordinated team. Raw muscle was not enough to consistently break through the defences, and the few times they found the first blood onto Hagopeun, they had traded all position and health for the pick. It exposed the weakness that has always lurked for C9 Kongdoo as they’ve struggled for months to get their timings and disengages to be in sync.
On the flip side, whenever Cloud9 Kongdoo were up against a team unable to defend against their attacks, the game was one-sided. They demolished RX Foxes multiple times throughout the season, proving a clear gap between the top four in APEX and the rest of the competition; within the top four, styles and counters play a large part in their head-to-head results.
Kongdoo have reportedly suffered from some teething pains recently as they make their transition to the Overwatch League, with the team recently losing wakawaka and Void some time around the Seoul Cup Supermatch. Given the timing of their match against GC Busan and the old wounds opened, this seems unlikely to be the root cause of their issues finding a gold medal.
4th: RunAway [NEW]
- 2nd APEX Season 4
- 2nd Nexus Cup Summer
- 9th/12th APEX Season 3
Overall record: 8W - 4L (Map record: 26W - 20L)
RunAway land a highly competitive fourth place spot this month as a result of their mixed bag of performances throughout the time period. While their skill at Genji-Tracer dive took GC Busan to the limit, landing RunAway the win in their first encounter, they also had a much easier road to the finals compared to any other team and only discovered their one elite composition late in the season.
Throughout APEX Season 3 and early in Season 4, RunAway’s performance was marred by logistical issues with the team. Adding new players and shifting around roles made the team look poor in the groups of S3, and Runner moved the squad into a team house for Season 4, attempting to build their teamwork up while experimenting with roles.
That experimentation lasted throughout the early group stages of APEX Season 4, until RunAway finally latched onto a few key compositions with KoX and Haksal rotating positions on DPS or support. They overcame MVP Space and struggled past X6-Gaming with their flexibility, but RunAway were forced back onto a Genji-Tracer composition for all of their successes against GC Busan.
There was a silver lining to the poor early performances. Rotating roles appeared to have enhanced their teamwork tenfold, giving them the ability to play Genji-Tracer at high tempo with coordination and structure. When that foundation was paired with Haksal’s incredible Genji skill, the team was able to go head-to-head with GC Busan and became the only team able to challenge them in the playoffs.
RunAway’s ability on dive-favoured maps to pick apart GC Busan forced them to swap up their style almost entirely for the final, creating a chaotic mirror match which RunAway eventually fell to in the seventh map. Throughout the match they clung on by a thread, though their strengths were systematically crushed or outperformed.
It is impossible to tell how APEX Season 4 would have been altered had RunAway had to face C9 Kongdoo or Lunatic-Hai with their full squad. RunAway’s teamwork and DPS players were performing at a higher level in the competition, while all three teams made similar mistakes with risky ultimate economy backfiring and an inability to bait opponents effectively. It is likely that RunAway again would have had to default to their Genji-Tracer composition, as the rapid switching seen against tier-two Korean sides has its obvious downsides when one is flipping roles across the board.
Nevertheless, RunAway have proved themselves a top team within Korea and a fierce contender for future APEX titles. It’s unlikely that any other team in the world could have made the APEX Season 4 final anywhere near as entertaining or close.
5th: EnVyUs [-]
- 1st Contenders North America Season 1
- 4th APEX Season 3
Overall record: 9W - 2L (Map record: 32W - 1D - 11L)
EnVyUs have continued to refine their style since adding EFFECT and exiting APEX Season 3. They are one of the most exciting and unpredictable teams to watch and have only improved since losing to the elite Korean teams in July.
Unlike others who would slump in a region with less competition, Envy have relished the opportunity to destroy the other North American teams and cement their dominance over their foster region. They stand head and shoulders above the next best NA team and look to be the best team in the West by a margin, though the gap between Envy and the top European teams is not all that large.
Envyus have many different styles and compositions that they can now throw out, building on a foundation of strong dependability to add new twists into every game. Generally a reactive team that doesn’t play classic dive, Envyus are masters at forcing their opponents to play in unfavourable positions and hitting various parts of their enemies quickly, ramping up the speed. During Contenders NA Season 1, nobody could keep up.
Once their great Western rivals, Rogue fell off dramatically during the competition. Though their head-to-head was genuinely close, the spluttering start from the French side hurt them gravely and Envy soared ahead with ease. When it came to the playoffs, Envyus annihilated FNRGFE and FaZe without dropping a map or even looking close to doing so.
It’s highly possible that pitching a tournament now against the top Korean teams would lead to Envy making a deep run and upsetting a chunk of the top four above them, but given their swift exit from the APEX Season 3 playoffs and subsequent lack of opportunities to prove a higher ability, they must be ranked a hair’s breadth beneath them.
Similarly, the level of domination Envyus showed during Contenders is not unique at this time. MY have a similar reign of dominance over China, Ardeont have an iron grip over the Pacific region, and Misfits had a dominant run throughout the regular season to rival nV’s closer to home. Fifth in the world may seem an unfair place to rank such a strong team, but one must keep in mind that these are highly competitive times.
Envyus have not yet shown that they will be able to beat the Korean teams and claim the inaugural OWL trophy, but the team should be a serious contender with their improved talent, flexibility, and synergy, especially now that the competition is happening on ‘home’ soil.
Only Lunatic-Hai can rival them for the winningest team in Overwatch so far, and it will be on the Dallas Fuel to prove that picking up Western talent is not a foolish gambit as OWL progresses.
6th: Miraculous Youngster [+4]
- 3rd/4th Seoul Supercup
- 1st Overwatch Premier Series: Grand Finals
- 1st Overwatch Premier Series: Summer
- 1st Nexus Cup 2017 Summer
- Qualified for Nexus Cup 2017 Summer
Overall record: 24W - 1L (Map record: 33W - 17L)
Miraculous Youngster have crept into the public limelight recently after a nail-biting performance against Lunatic-hai in the Seoul Cup Supermatch, but the team has been quietly dominating an increasingly competitive China for some time.
At the beginning of this relevant time period, MY had already recovered from previous roster issues and were plumping the cushions of the Chinese throne. A Nexus Cup performance saw the debut of their anti-dive ‘phalanx’ compositions in an international setting, clean sweeping three different Korean teams including RX Foxes and RunAway - twice - to win the tournament.
Moving into the Overwatch Premier Series, MY did not drop a series. Across the 12-team round robin, Miraculous Youngster looked unchallenged, even beating LGD - another to not lose a series against any other team - easily in their head-to-head matchup.
With a trophy in the cabinet and an overwhelming case to be called the best team in China, MY were invited to the OWPS Grand Finals, a standalone tournament with the best teams from the Spring and Summer Series. MY once again crushed the competition, stopping short a miraculous run from 1246 to put them in second place where LGD had failed before. They went into the playoffs as heavy favourites and delivered, crashing through the ceiling of Chinese Overwatch.
Their unbeaten record was finally broken by Lunatic-hai in Seoul, as the best team of 2017 and the kings of the reverse sweep came back from a 2-0 in MY’s favour to knock the Chinese team out.
MY has incredible talent at their style: an anti-dive strategy that applies pressure with Soldier: 76 and Tracer then baits you into diving. Whether using Winston-D.Va or Reinhardt-Zarya, their style is tangible and forces others to adapt. Once their opponents figure that style out, however, MY fall short of being able to deliver high tempo dives or counter-punches to keep them going through a series.
Once these tools are added, MY may be able to beat the best teams in the world. For now they remain a wild, strategically unique team with serious upset potential.
7th: Ardeont [NEW]
- 1st Overwatch Pacific Championship Season 2
- 0-1 Bigfile Overwatch Battleroyal
- 0-1 Team South Korea Showmatch
- Qualified for Overwatch Pacific Championship Season 2
Overall record: 18W - 2L (Map record: 56W - 2D - 9L)
The Koreans have taken over another region. Ardeont have been utterly dominant in the Pacific region, losing only two maps out of 54 played in the tournament. They cruised through the regular season and obliterated their competition in playoffs, clean sweeping the next two best teams in the tournament.
Ardeont is essentially a rebrand and rebuild of Mighty AOD, building on a core three with newcomers republic, Michelle, and Jeff. Their style and strength remains visible from that roster, and they have been hungry for victory since leaving Korea.
Mighty AOD were already performing at a high level before this time period, competing in the same APEX group as Rogue, Cloud9 Kongdoo, and Lunatic-hai in APEX Season 3. Despite it being the hardest group in APEX history, Mighty AOD took maps from Lunatic-hai and Rogue before narrowly beating eventual finalists Cloud9 Kongdoo 3-2.
After that performance drew attention to their roster and led to Kariv and FaTe being sold to Immortals, the team added their new players and prepared for the move to Taiwan. During this time period, they lost to South Korea in a showmatch and Afreeca Freecs Blue in a king-of-the-hill style tournament, though both matches were relatively close against elite teams given the rebuilding state of the roster.
Once the roster had fully integrated the new players and moved to a less competitive region, Ardeont crushed the competition and showed a glimpse of their potential.
Only Flash Wolves and Blank have been able to take maps from Ardeont during their time in Taiwan, and neither side really pushed Ardeont to give 100% in their games. At no point did a series or a crucial map seem out of Ardeont’s reach, and in many of their games the players appeared to be cruising.
Ardeont have a strong Genji-Tracer dive style, powered by their DPS players ErsTer and diem. They have sound fundamentals and a strong ability to clutch in retakes, while their weaknesses are so far mostly unprobed and undiscovered.
Ardeont are likely not the best team in the world though despite this dominance. The Pacific region is one of the weaker scenes in the world (though its other top two teams are still comparable to middling playoff talent elsewhere) and Ardeont have not been recently tested against any top 10 team. It’s likely they sit comfortably above the Korean tier two teams and below C9 Kongdoo, but we have not yet seen them pushed to their limits.
8th: Gigantti [NEW]
- 1st seed ASUS ROG GameXpo
- 1st Contenders Europe Season 1
- 2nd ESPORTSM.fi
- 1st ASUS ROG Summer
Overall record: 18W - 2L (50W - 15L)
Gigantti were the champions of Contenders Europe Season 1, improving throughout the tournament to take the trophy with a distinct, effective style. Though they didn’t have the dominance throughout the regular season or a star-studded lineup, their teamwork and gameplan secured them a well-earned victory atop the European scene.
The Finns slowly transitioned from a slumping, tank-focused roster into a highly effective dive team, beginning in the middle of Contenders Season Zero with the addition of Davin and LiNkzr. As they added new parts, each performed better than expected and were slotted into the system expertly, giving the team a Genji-focused dive with a very solid tank duo and backline.
Staples zappis and fragi improved dramatically at their roles whilst bringing the teamwork framework and structure from previous iterations. Star players added around them added serious punch, but it was the final style and coordination of the team which won them the playoffs. Utilising Davin effectively as a low-death, protective Tracer and setting fragi up to approach from unexpected angles gave them the ability to dive effectively and shut down enemy attacks with equal measure.
Gigantti have the best teamwork in Europe, with BigG00se and Shaz synergising well on support, a unique tank style that drives the team forward and enabled LiNkzr’s huge plays, and consistent performances from the man who never dies, BD Davin. Despite losing to Misfits during the regular season, Gigantti turned up for playoffs and proved themselves on LAN. By performing on the big stage when Misfits were struggling, they rightfully proved themselves the stronger team over the time period.
Their play was by no mean perfect, however, even during the playoffs; there were clear timings missed and indications that a more coordinated or explosive team could have pushed Gigantti out of the picture.
Though it’s impossible to tell exactly how they would match up against other teams in the world such as Ardeont, MY, and EnVyUs, the Finns’ slow refinement over the time period (compared to the dominance of others) suggests that Gigantti should be placed below the competition until evidence proves otherwise.
Europe does not look far behind the other regions by eye, despite the exodus of players. Come Overwatch League that may change, but for now they remain highly competitive.
9th: Misfits [-]
- 2nd Contenders Europe Season 1
Overall record: 8W - 1L (33W - 8L)
After shuffling their roster, Misfits looked to be the strongest team in Europe. This expectation proved true throughout the regular Contenders season as they beat every opponent 4-0 other than the unique French players of GamersOrigin, easily securing the first place seed into playoffs. On paper this looked like a crushing victory, but in the server it always looked closer, with many maps extremely tight despite the scoreline.
The firepower of Logix and TviQ was overwhelming for most opponents, and Misfits were good at being able to set up strong positions or create pressure in the back with Logix before initiating their dive. Their executions were strong enough to take out every opponent in the regular season, with nobody able to touch their frontline or shut down Logix without losing their team in the process.
When it came to playoffs, their opponents had taken the time to analyse Misfits’ style and prepare. Even against Cloud9 they struggled, as all of C9's focus was on stopping Logix setting up the dives or capitalising on space. With their main playmaker shut down, Misfits struggled through the series but looked shaky.
Against Gigantti they showed much of the same, resorting to further scrappy engagements and a desire to press their style even harder in the hope it would win out. Misfits did not seem to have another page to their playbook and lost the series fairly convincingly, despite the score looking incredibly close on paper due to the two replayed maps.
Misfits clearly has errors to fix and holes to shore up once teams get a read on them, but further development of the team should solve this issue. Misfits has all the pieces they need to create a championship team here, and Contenders playoffs should be taken as a learning experience.
When it comes to Overwatch League, this team is one to watch out for.
10th: FaZe [NEW]
- 2nd Contenders North America Season 1
Overall record: 7W - 2L (Map record: 24W - 2D - 11L)
FaZe are easily the second best team in North America, with a predictable but consistent Genji-Tracer dive style that rarely deviates from the norm. They rode this style to victories over every team other than EnVyUs, falling far short of competing with them in the playoffs.
FaZe have clearly hammered down some of the fundamentals of dive, with different sections of their team working well together. Their timing on dives is strong and often the decision to fight, as well as the number of fights taken with ults, is well thought out. One of the most obvious strengths of FaZe is their buddy system between Carpe and ShaDowBurn, as the two work to wreck unsuspecting opposition.
Unfortunately the team seems to fall apart when posed with new situations to deal with, like those EnVyUs threw at them, and don’t exert the pressure that elite teams do on opponents before diving. Their dives can often feel raw and without reason, unlike other teams who heavily pressure their opponents into making mistakes of positioning or resources before engaging.
FaZe appear to have hit something of a plateau in their performance despite not reaching dizzying heights, but to be reasonably dubbed a top ten team in these competitive times is an achievement.
Other teams in contention this month were the Korean tier two teams of X6-Gaming - who have had good showings against stronger teams despite a predictable finish in APEX - along with RX Foxes, MVP Space, and LW Red who threatened deeper runs and upsets; also considered were Flash Wolves who have yet to show themselves a threat against the top tier, as well as LGD whose results have petered out when the playoff pressure is on.
An honourable mention this month goes to Luxury Watch Blue, who dropped out of APEX after acquiring Mano and JJoNaK for a potential reboot of their roster looking towards OWL. They are likely still a world-class team, often forgotten alongside Seoul Dynasty and London, who should fit into the upper half of the Overwatch League and these rankings.
Also left out of this issue of the World Rankings, for obvious reasons, are the new Overwatch League teams. It is impossible to tell how the new rosters will fit into the upper echelons of the scene - or even if some of them will. While rosters such as Seoul Dynasty, Dallas Fuel, and Team London are likely to field stellar candidates for the inaugural OWL trophy, rosters fielded by Boston Uprising, San Francisco Shock, Houston and more could range anywhere from Western super-teams to utter flops against such competition.
2018 will be a new era for Overwatch.
During this period the new results were from:
- Seoul Cup OGN SuperMatch
- APEX Season 4
- Overwatch Premier Series: Grand Finals
- Overwatch Premier Series: Summer
- Bigfile Battleroyal
- Nexus Cup 2017 Summer
- Overwatch Premier Series: Spring
Special thanks to urns for creating our series banner!