The return of the Overwatch League is here! What have we learned from Season 1? Who are the new teams? What will happen once the new season starts? Read on for an in-depth Overwatch Season 2 betting preview.
Overwatch is back for the second season of the Overwatch League. This time around, we see the return of all the teams from Season 2, as well as the eight new teams that were introduced into the league through the expansion.
What did we learn from Season 1?
We saw a lot of consistency from teams that didn’t necessarily present themselves early on during the preseason. This could have been down to multiple factors, as some players had issues getting visas at the time, and teams would have worked it into their strategy to not go “all out” during the preseason so as to not give anything away. That didn’t stop any teams during the later stages from going “all in” to counter this.
Dallas Fuel started off well by winning the preseason. Unfortunately that win streak didn’t carry over to the Stages, which saw New York Excelsior consistently topping the Stages throughout the season, and following up closely behind them were teams such as London Spitfire, Philadelphia Fusion and a mix of other teams that saw their ranking go up and down as the season went on.
Only six teams could qualify for the Stage Playoffs. Given New York Excelsior’s track record throughout the Stages, you might have assumed that the Playoffs would have been an easy run - but it seemed that Philadelphia Fusion were too much for them in the semi-finals, going 0:2.
But when push came to shove, London Spitfire became the eventual winners of the Playoffs, defeating Philadelphia Fusion in the Grand Finals and taking home the first place prize of $1,000,000.
Overwatch League Season 2: What you need to know
Blizzard have opted to not do the preseason event this year, and this is more than likely due to the amount of games teams played last season, which led to criticism from fans and teams about team burnout. The naming convention remains the same, with organisations (such as Cloud9) not directly represented by their own brand, but forming around city names to coincide with the general feel of Overwatch.
The format has also had a change, with teams playing fewer matches overall and with an increased number of teams. You can find out more about the format changes in our Overwatch League Season 2 overview article.
Bettors will want to some time out to learn about the teams and to assess how well teams have performed, past and present. One of the key resources you could use is the Overwatch League wikia page which is updated with teams’ wins, losses, rosters changes etc.
What to expect from Season 2 of the Overwatch League
Los Angeles Valiant should be looking to continue their trend from last season, having been one of the strongest teams from the Pacific Division. It seemed like a struggle for the rest of the teams, with Dallas Fuel doing well in the preseason but failed to make the top six until they reached Stage 4.
One of the strongest teams to rise out of the participants was Los Angeles Gladiators who, as time went on, went from strength to strength throughout the Stages, and even qualified for the Playoffs (Los Angeles Valiant followed a similar pattern). Unfortunately, neither side representing LA could muster up their fighting spirit and finished 5th-6th and 3rd-4th place respectively.
However, not all is doom and gloom for the Pacific Division. As mentioned previously, the expansion for the Overwatch League has happened, and with that, we have four additional teams, Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark and Vancouver Titans.
Blizzard have opted to not do the preseason event this year, and this is more than likely due to the amount of games teams played last season, which led to criticism from fans and teams about team burnout.
Eyes will probably turn to Chengdu Hunters throughout the competition as their line-up has a great mix of players from various different teams, with some of them coming from other esport title backgrounds as well. Let’s not forget, the team is owned and operated by HUYA Inc. who also own League of Legends team Royal Never Give Up.
And new inductees Vancouver Titans should really need no introduction into the league as they were previously Luminosity Gaming, who were active in the Overwatch scene between 2016 and 2017 and have been brought on to run operations for the team. The team is made up of a South Korean line-up, who were all (almost) part of team “Run Away”, winning NetEase Esports X Tournament - Summer and Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 2: Korea.
From the other side of the world, we have the Atlantic Division - a division that had great success throughout all of the Stages and Playoffs.
New York Excelsior should be looking to continue their domination throughout the Stages once more, having won Stage 1 and 2 in season one (going winning nine games and losing just one in the process). Since then the team picked up Anamo during the season and also picked up South Korean players Fl0w3R and Nenne, both of whome were part of XL2 Academy before joining the league.
London Spitfire, much like New York Excelsior, look like they could once again go the extra mile compared to the rest of the competition. Spitfire started off well during the early Stage 1 and 2, and despite starting a decline around Stage 3 and 4, they dominated throughout the Playoffs and went on to finish first overall and win $1,000,000.
Let’s not forget to mention the new contenders in the league as part of the Atlantic Division; Washington Justice, Toronto Defiant, Atlanta Reign, and Paris Eternal.
Of the four new teams, we look to Paris Eternal, a team made up of entirely European players. Paris Eternal in particular stands out as it is formed by a majority of players who have previously competed in the Overwatch World Cup on various occasions. This doesn’t mean that they have a competitive advantage, but it does provide the team as a whole with a variety of different play styles across different nations, which other teams might lack.
The format has also had a change, with teams now playing fewer matches overall and with an increased number of teams.
To find out more about Paris Eternal and how the team was put together, you can listen to this interview with head coach Julien “daemoN” Ducros’.
The final team we turn to is Washington Justice (WJ). WJ was founded by Mark Ein, who is also the founder of the Washing Kastles.
WJ formed with an incredibly strong line-up of previous players that were in the Overwatch League, and players that have competed in the first season of the league, contender’s cups and various local divisions. Janus is looking like one of the strongest and most experienced players on the team, and seeing as he was previously a part of New York Excelsior throughout the majority of Season 1, players should be looking to turn to him for his experience and knowledge.
It’s an exciting time for Overwatch esports, with the new expansion and the increased map pool selection both part of the new additions. The Blizzard Arena has added an element of live action to the league, and the increased commitment to Overwatch should be apparent. This should make for even more enjoyable viewing and intense competition.
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