OWL Season 2 Preview And Overwatch League S1 Recap

By EsportsOnly.Com
on Jan 04, 2019

The Overwatch League is about to enter its second season, the OWL Season 2 and there are quite a few changes to talk about. If you’re an Overwatch fan, you might be familiar with the outcome of the inaugural season. If not, don’t worry about it as we will cover both the key moments of that season as well as the changes that have been made in preparation for the new one.

OWL Inaugural Season Key Points

The Inaugural Season of The Overwatch League took place during 2018 and was a kind of pilot for this great esports series that is about to enter season 2. A total of 12 teams took part in it. These were the following:

  • New York Excelsior – 34 W – 6 L
  • Los Angeles Valiant – 27 W – 13 L
  • Boston Uprising – 26 W – 14 L
  • Los Angeles Gladiators – 25 W – 15 L
  • London Spitfire – 24 W – 16 L
  • Philadelphia Fusion – 24 W – 16 L
  • Seoul Dynasty – 22 W – 18 L
  • Houston Outlaws – 22 W – 18 L
  • San Francisco Shock – 17 W – 23 L
  • Dallas Fuel – 12 W – 28 L
  • Florida Mayhem – 7 W – 33 L
  • Shanghai Dragons – 0 W – 40 L

These were the teams and their cumulative stage records. A total of 4 stages were played, consisting of 10 matches per stage plus Playoffs matches. These Playoffs matches were not considered in the above list as I will present the key results of each stage next.

The Overwatch League at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles

The Overwatch League at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles

OWL S1 Stage 1

Top 3: New York Excelsior, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire.

Playoffs winner: London Spitfire.

Playoffs runner-up: New York Excelsior.

OWL S1 Stage 2

Top 3: New York Excelsior, London Spitfire, Philadelphia Fusion.

Playoffs winner: New York Excelsior.

Playoffs runner-up: Philadelphia Fusion.

OWL S1 Stage 3

Top 3: Boston Uprising, New York Excelsior, Los Angeles Valiant.

Playoffs winner: New York Excelsior.

Playoffs runner-up: Boston Uprising.

OWL S1 Stage 4

Top 3: Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, New York Excelsior.

Playoffs winner: Los Angeles Valiant.

Playoffs runner-up: New York Excelsior.

London Spitfire takes the playoffs at the OWL 2018 with a 2 0 victory versus Philadelphia Fusion

London Spitfire takes the playoffs at the OWL 2018 with a 2-0 victory versus Philadelphia Fusion

Just by glancing at these results you can tell that one of the 12 teams, namely New York Excelsior, was a lot more consistent than all of the others. However, they only finished 3rd – 4th in the OWL Playoffs of the inaugural season. The title went to London Spitfire, who managed to beat Philadelphia Fusion in the Finals ( 2 – 0).

The most important teams of season 1 were the following:

  • New York Excelsior
  • London Spitfire
  • Los Angeles Valiant
  • Philadelphia Fusion
  • Boston Uprising

These are the main teams you should be keeping an eye on in the OWL Season 2. At the other extreme, Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem and Shanghai Dragons played poorly during the first season of The Overwatch League. In particular, Shanghai Dragons had a perfect negative record of 0 wins and 40 losses. That was an absolute record not just for OWL, but for esports as a whole.

It should be interesting to see what all of these teams will do in season 2 and how much they will change. Keep in mind that most of the teams have gone through massive roster changes and will likely transform themselves completely as a result. The first half of stage 1 should let us know exactly what the new pecking order is.

OWL Season 2 Preview

The second season of The Overwatch League (OWL) is scheduled to start on February 14th. Its prize pool will be substantially bigger this time: 5 million dollars. Another key change is the number of participants: 20 instead of 12. That’s right, we will have a lot more teams competing this year, which should make the show even better.

As usual, all of the matches will take place at the Blizzard Arena, in Los Angeles. Every week, around 16 matches will be played. However, unlike the previous season, this time the matches will be played over a period of 3 days each week instead of 4, and they will take place during the weekend, from Friday until Sunday.

OWL Season 2 Structure

This new format is debatable but we’ll have to see what kind of results the league will get in terms of audience. Sure, last season there were a lot of matches during the week and our guess is that Blizzard made the change based on solid viewership statistics. However, while having an event take place mid-week may lower the audience, having it at the end of the week is no guarantee of improved results, simply because there’s a lot more competition during those 3 days.

Esports is a big industry nowadays and there’s a lot to watch during the weekends. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 events usually have their most important stage, the Playoffs, scheduled for those exact 3 days. Not to mention the fact that League of Legends has its weekly matches during those days as well for most of its leagues.

Of course, people who absolutely love one esport more than all the others will prioritize, but I wonder how many Overwatch fans would give up a big Dota 2 or CS:GO event just to watch a few Overwatch matches of lesser importance, if they happen to also love these other esports. Time will tell.

OWL Season 2 League Structure and Key Dates

The second season of The Overwatch League will take place in 4 stages plus Playoffs, just as the first one. Here are the key dates for these stages:

  • Stage 1: February 14th – March 17th
  • Stage 2: April 4th – May 5th
  • Stage 3: June 6th – July 7th
  • Stage 4: July 25th – August 25th

As you can see, each stage takes place over 5 competitive weeks. Each of the 20 teams will play a total of 7 matches per stage. That’s 3 less matches than the previous season. The complete schedule can be found here.

Another important difference compared to season 1 is the pause interval between the stages, which is considerably longer this year. Take for instance the pause between Stage 2 and 3. That’s a whole month of preparation and during this time a lot can change, as each team spends its spare time reviewing its strategies, analyzing replays and studying the other competitors.

At the end of Stage 4, the top Pacific and Atlantic division teams plus the next 4 teams regardless of their division, will qualify for the Playoffs. Two additional spots will be made available for the teams ranked 7th – 12th. These teams will compete for these two spots and two of them will ultimately join the other 6 in the Playoffs.

Keep in mind that this part of The Overwatch League has a tremendous importance this season, mainly due to its prize pool: 3.5 million dollars. That’s a lot of money. It’s practically more than 3 CS:GO or Dota 2 Majors combined, for just 8 teams instead of 16 or 24. The high stakes are guaranteed to draw a lot of spectators and that’s of course a good thing for Overwatch as a sport and for its professional scene.

OWL S2 Teams

These are the 20 teams that will be taking part in the second season of OWL. Most of them you already know if you’re a fan, but some are completely new.

OWL Season 2 Teams

OWL Season 2 Teams

Atlantic Division:

  • Atlanta Reign
  • Boston Uprising
  • Florida Mayhem
  • Houston Outlaws
  • London Spitfire
  • New York Excelsior
  • Paris Eternal
  • Philadelphia Fusion
  • Toronto Defiant
  • Washington Justice

Pacific Division:

  • Chengdu Hunters
  • Dallas Fuel
  • Guangzhou Charge
  • Hangzhou Spark
  • Los Angeles Gladiators
  • Los Angeles Valiant
  • San Francisco Shock
  • Seoul Dynasty
  • Shanghai Dragons
  • Vancouver Titans

 

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