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The first season of the prestigious Overwatch League has ended on July 28th with the spectacular Grand Finals between Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire. London followed up their 3-1 victory with an even more one-sided 3-0 win on the final that showcased the best of team play in Overwatch. Spitfire earned a prize of $1,000,000 and were crowned champions after a hectic, unpredictable season. It’s worth mentioning the increasing popularity of the League with more than 1.2 million viewers on various streaming platforms watching the Grand Final event.

In case this was the first time you watched the thrilling FPS game, we have a little breakdown for you on what happened throughout the first season of OWL and how every team performed backed by the deep understanding and knowledge from the traders who have been following the prestigious event from day one to the finals.

1006862670.jpg Photo credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

What is the OWL?

The Overwatch League is a franchise-like esports League created and run by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the most prestigious Overwatch league and consists of 12 teams, each of which paid $20 million for a spot in the franchise. Every team represents a city with future seasons featuring home and away games which teams will travel to like in traditional sports, while the first season was played in Los Angeles. The preseason started in December, while the regular season was played between January and July with the winner, London Spitfire, taking $1 million out of the $3.5 million prize pool.

Structure and format

  • 12 teams, two divisions of six: Atlantic and Pacific

  • Matches take place Wednesday through Saturday

  • Four stages in the regular season; each stage is five weeks long

  • Each match will be four-map sets

  • At the end of each stage will be a title match between the top three teams, regardless of division, for a bonus of $125,000

  • The number 1 team from each division advances to the playoffs in July

  • The top four remaining teams between both divisions also advance to the playoffs, creating a six-team playoff bracket

1006425770.jpg Photo credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The Teams

Atlantic Division

Boston Uprising

In 2017, Robert Kraft, his son Jonathan and Kraft Group - collectively the ownership of the New England Patriots and Revolution purchased the rights to bring one of the first Overwatch League teams to the city of Boston. Before the start of the League, Boston was expected to be one of the weakest teams, but all experts were proven wrong. In stage 3 Boston Uprising is the first team in the League to defeat all three Korean squads. Overall, the squad finished in top 3 with the impressive score of 2614!

Florida Mayhem

The organization is owned by Misfits – an organisation famous in the League of Legends and Counter Strike: Global Offensive scenes – partnered by Miami Heat, a legendary NBA team. At the end of the season the Florida players had a lot of things to discuss as their performance was disappointing by other teams’ standards. The smallest team in the League, with only 6 players, achieved only 7 wins and had 33 loses.

Houston Outlaws

The Owners of Outlaws – OpTic Gaming – are famous among other FPS game titles, with notable squads in Call of Duty and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Houston’s performances were rather volatile during the first season of the OWL. They had their highs and lows but missed out on the play-offs, finishing 7th with a total of 22 wins and 18 losses, due to poor showings in the middle of the season.

London Spitfire

The owner of Spitfire, Jack Etienne is also a stakeholder in Cloud9 – the current Major champions in Counter Strike: Global Offensive and a notable organization on the League of Legends scene. The winners of the first season of the Overwatch League were not always as dominant as they were in the play-offs. The had their shaky performances during all stages, especially the 4th one. Buying 2 of the best Korean teams pre-OWL and combining them proved to be the right move from the organization and had a huge impact on their tournament win. Although they had their problems with meta changes, their performance in the play-offs was astounding.

New York Excelsior

Owned by the sister company of New York Mets – Sterling.VC – funded by real estate venture capitalists which is the second company that bought into the Overwatch League. Looking back on Excelsior’s performance in the play-offs as opposed to their League form, they probably have many regrets. The team managed to achieve top 3 placings in all 4 stages of the tournament and finished with the best score of 34 wins and only 6 losses. Despite that, they were crushed in the play-offs by Philadelphia Fusion which was one of the biggest upsets throughout the season.

Philadelphia Fusion

Owned by Comcast Spectator – who also have a large stake in Philadelphia Flyers – a professional ice hockey team competing in the NHL. Fusion is one of the most beloved OWL teams by the audience, with a huge fan base. Having diversity in nationalities, with 10 players from different countries, the team had an amazing inaugural season. In the play-offs they managed to stomp the big favourites, New York Excelsior, in a thrilling match but could not duplicate the performance against Spitfire in the final.

1006426078.jpg Photo credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Pacific Division

Dallas Fuel

The owners of Fuel – Team Envy – has made its name in other FPS titles like Call of Duty and Counter Strike – Global Offensive. Unfortunately, Dallas was one of the biggest disappointments of the season as they were sitting bottom of the standings throughout the first 3 stages. Their various player changes couldn’t help them climb the rankings and they finished with only 12 wins and 28 losses.

Los Angeles Gladiators

Owned by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment – a majority shareholders in Arsenal Football Club – a London-based soccer team competing in the English Premier League. Undoubtedly, one of the most entertaining teams to watch throughout the first season of the Overwatch League. Their versatile style of play contributed to their 25 wins, 15 losses and a top 4 finish.

Los Angeles Valiant

The organization is owned by Immortals and Noah Winston – a company with notable brands in other esports like MiBR in CS:GO and Immortals in League of Legends. LA Gladiators’ biggest rival - Valiant proved to be a top team in the Pacific Division. The competition between the two LA teams was fierce with LA Valiant managing to secure more wins than their local opponents, finishing the season with 27 wins and 13 losses.

San Francisco Shock

Owned by NRG Esports, with famous longtime investor Shaquille O’Neal – who also have roots in the Counter Strike: Global Offensive scene. After a mediocre performance in throughout the season, Shock finished the season with 17 wins and 23 losses. They had several changes in players, coaches and staff but could not find their groove with a relatively young roster.

Seoul Dynasty

The owners of Seoul Dynasty – KSV Esports or Korean-Silicon Valley – acquired a top roster in Overwatch, formerly by the name of Lunatic-Hai. Before the start of the Overwatch League, the team was deemed to be the favourite to win the season. Due to their former glories, they still have the biggest fanbase in Korea. However, they disappointed their supporters with numerous unexpected defeats and finished an average campaign with 22 wins and 18 losses.

Shanghai Dragons

The organization is owned by NetEase – one of the largest game development companies in China. Not many positives from Shanghai’s first season in the OWL as they did not win a single match, finishing bottom with 40 losses. Despite their results, the Dragons still remain as one of the most loved teams in OWL and secured the signing of the first ever female professional player in the Overwatch League, creating history in the process.

20180728-173839-Patrick_Dodson-.jpg Photo credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

In case you’re as eager as us to watch some more Overwatch events, we have good news for you. The Overwatch World Cup 2018 is only less than a month away and you can check the outrights on 24 teams will be competing in order to be crowned World Champions starting on August 17, featuring many OWL professionals. The teams will be split up into four groups of eight teams, with the top two teams of each group advancing to the finals. Eight teams will be going to the Overwatch World Cup playoffs at BlizzCon, which will be starting November 2 and finishing on November 3. Will the Koreans be victorious again? Find out more of the Overwatch events that offers here.