Overwatch Season Recap

Zoey Kurtz, Class of 2024

With the 2020 Overwatch League entering its last week of regular season play, now is a good time to look back at how the season went for the twenty teams. In a season that started with the promise of game weekends being played in teams home cities, it quickly had to transition to online play with the outbreak of COVID-19. Let’s start with the top five teams and see if their successful season was expected or stemmed from an unexpected rise to the top.

  1. Shanghai Dragons (27-2, Asia-Pacific)

This season has completely erased the stain of the 0-40 inaugural season the Dragons had. The team even brought back Fearless from that original roster, who is now a strong player for them. Looking like heavy favorites in the Asia-Pacific region, the real question for the playoffs is not if the Dragons are good enough to win the league — which they clearly are — but if they will slip up against a lower team or come up short against one of the superteams in the west such as the Shock, Eternal and Fusion. 

Match to Remember: 4-3 win VS Seoul Dynasty

While maybe not the most impressive win on paper, this win will stand out to Dragon’s fans this year due to its importance. Looking down and out with the Dynasty on match point, the Dragons would rally to win four straight maps, finally taking the May Melee and the $40,00 prize that came with it in the Asia-Pacific region.

Match to Forget: 3-0 loss VS Chengdu Hunters
While this may have been only the second match of the season for the Dragons, the simple fact is they lost to a Hunters team that would go on to win only two of their next 18 games. While perhaps not a decisive or crushing loss, and maybe one that wasn’t looked at as a lowlight of their season at the time, the Dragons aren’t proud of having this match on their record.

  1. Philadelphia Fusion (24-2, Western)

The Fusion have always seemed to be second best in the Overwatch League. Be it their grand finals loss in the inaugural season to the London Spitfire, their loss in the Summer Showdown finals to the Paris Eternal, or their loss in the Countdown Cup finals to the San Francisco Shock, they’re a great team that always seems to come up just short, and this year is no different. While they definitely have a chance at winning the Overwatch League 2020 finals, the Shock and Eternal clearly seem better. However, only time will tell if this proves true.

Match to Remember: 3-1 win VS New York Excelsior

While their recent win over the Shock may seem more impressive than this early season win, I would argue it was not as the Shock simply didn’t look themselves during that match. During this win over the Excelsior however, the Excelsior looked at the top of their game. Impressive performances from Saebyeolbe and Whoru, were not enough to stop the Fusion as this win proved early on that the Fusion were not to be taken lightly this year.

Match to Forget: 3-1 loss VS Florida Mayhem

In the semifinals of the May Melee, the Mayhem and the Fusion would face off for rights to face the San Francisco Shock in the finals. Despite being favorites and the higher seed, the Fusion had no answers for Yaki’s Tracer play. Although the match was competitive, the inability to even slow Yaki doomed the Fusion.

  1. San Francisco Shock (23-3, Western)

The 2019 champions stumbled out the gates in the 2020 season, but quickly found their footing. Despite two early losses to the Valiant and Gladiators, the Shock have since crushed nearly everyone in their path. Their only two losses since have come at the hands of other top teams, once to Fusion and once to the Eternal. While they are heavy favorites to take the Western region, it remains to be seen how they fare against the Asia-Pacific teams they have not played in a long time, and if challengers in the Fuel, Eternal and Mayhem can perhaps accomplish what no one could last year and knock them out of the playoffs.

Match to Remember: 3-0 win VS Paris Eternal

In Sp9rk1e’s second match in the Overwatch League, the Eternal were looking to create some noise against the Shock. Unfortunately, Sp9rk1e failed to find the same traction against the Shock he had in his debut, and the Shock came away with a decisive win, making a statement that they were still the team to beat, despite all the hype surrounding Sp9rk1e coming into the league.

Match to Forget: 3-1 loss VS Los Angeles Valiant

As part of their rough start to the season, the Shock would lose in shocking (pun intended) fashion to the Los Angeles Valiant. Despite being heavily favored, the Shock always seemed to be on the outside looking in during the match. While the Shock would exact their revenge, scoring a dominant 3-0 win in the next meeting of the teams, the team and their fans would rather forget this early season loss.

  1. Paris Eternal (18-6, Western)

Despite a rough start to the season, the Eternal’s season really turned around with Sp9rk1e turning 18 and being able to join the League. Since then they have become a top three team and won the Summer Showdown. While the main tank spot is still a weakness, they probably have the best Damage Per Second (DPS) line in the league. The Eternal are definitely a team with the ability to become the champions of the 2020 season.

Match to Remember: 4-3 win VS Philadelphia Fusion

An incredible match to watch, the two top teams duked it out in the Summer Showdown finals. While a close match overall, Sp9rk1e and Xzi simply performed better than Carpe and EQO. This match asserted the dominance of the Eternal, and is certainly the highlight of the team’s season thus far.

Match to Forget: 3-0 loss VS Houston Outlaws

While this match did happen before the debut of Sp9rk1e, it was nonetheless a match the Eternal were heavily favored in. The Eternal failed to gain much traction in the match, scoring only two points over the three maps compared to the Outlaws’ five. This match is a serious low point in an otherwise strong season of the Eternal.

  1. Guangzhou Charge (18-7, Asia Pacific)

The second place team in the stacked Asia-Pacific region, the Guangzhou Charge, are a serious contender for the Overwatch League 2020 title. With Crong, Chara and Eileen emerging as top flight players, the Charge has definitely made an impression in their second season in the Overwatch League. Come playoffs, a lot of people will be expecting the Charge to do well, and with good reason.

Match to Remember: 4-2 win VS Shanghai Dragons

In an incredible Summer Showdown finals, the two top teams in the Asia-Pacific region went head-to-head. Despite incredible play, clutch moments and highlight reel performances from both sides, someone had to win. The Charge end up pulling through in six maps, taking home both the Asia-Pacific title and the $50,000 prize.

Match to Forget: 3-0 loss VS Chengdu Hunters

During the Hunter’s atrocious start to the season, they nonetheless scored a 3-0 win against the Charge. Not only did the Charge lose, they were completely smashed, losing by 5-0 in combined map scores. While the Charge may be having a strong season, everyone involved with the organization would like to forget this match.

Going into teams six to 10, we’ll look at the unexpected risers, those who preformed below expectations and the teams for which not much changed this year.

  1. Florida Mayhem (16-7, Western)

After two terrible seasons, the Mayhem came into the 2020 season looking to prove a point. While they struggled initially, the Mayhem have since emerged as a tough competitor, now finding themselves just outside the top five in the standings. They had several matches where they hung tough with top teams like the San Francisco Shock and Paris Eternal, and they are a team to watch going into playoffs, where you can expect talents like Yaki and Fate to shine.

Match to Remember: 3-1 win VS Philadelphia Fusion

While the Fusion only just emerged as a top flight team during the May Melee, they were still not to be underestimated. However, the Fusion never found answers to Yaki’s Tracer play or the overall aggression of the Mayhem. Florida turned heads with this win, and while they would lose the finals in a 4-2 match against the San Francisco Shock, the Mayhem would never be seen as a weak team for the rest of the season.

Match to Forget: 3-1 loss VS Los Angeles Valiant

While this was a close series, the Mayhem always seemed a step behind the young guns of the Los Angeles Valiant. Coming after their win over the Fusion, questions started to be asked again by fans and analysts if the Mayhem had just been a flash in the pan in a favorable meta. Even though the Mayhem would eventually prove they truly were a team to be reckoned with, this was certainly not a good moment for their fans.

  1. New York Excelsior (15-8, Asia Pacific)

The number three team from the 2019 season fell off a little bit in the 2020 season. While still a top team, they fell behind rising teams like the Shanghai Dragons, Guangzhou Charge, Paris Eternal and Philadelphia Fusion. Still a strong team with talents like Mano, Hotba, Jjonak, Nene, Libero and Saebyeolbe, they are not to be underestimated in the playoffs.

Match to Remember: 3-0 win VS Guangzhou Charge

While not the best win on this list, as the Excelsior seem unable to really upset teams, it’s nonetheless a nice win against a team higher in the standings. A very competitive series overall, the Excelsior were just a step ahead of the Charge at all times. There’s not really much else to say about this one; the Excelsior simply scored a nice win against a favored team.

Match to Forget: 3-2 loss VS Chengdu Hunters

The turning point of the Hunters season, the Excelsior suffered a humiliating reverse-sweep loss against a Hunters team that had been terrible up to that point in the season. While this was due in part to the Hunters playing significantly better in the second half of the match, the Excelsior also looked much worse. Even if this may have just been the Hunters proving what they could be under a new coach, it’s a loss Excelsior fans would like to forget about.

  1. Los Angeles Valiant (11-9, Western)

After struggling for the first two seasons of the Overwatch League, the Valiant took this year to sign a bunch of young talent, including four rookies. It’s gone well for them, as they are sitting comfortably in the top half of the table, looking like an extremely promising team for the future and are a dark horse candidate to do well in the 2020 playoffs.

Match to Remember: 3-1 win VS San Francisco Shock

In the biggest rivalry match of the Overwatch League, the California Cup, the Valiant took it to the dominant Shock, and ended up coming out on top. Much like the Gladiators before them, they would lose the next match, but it is still a great win. In a season that gives Valiant fans much promise for the future, this win is a nice statement that shows the potential of this team.

Match to Forget: 3-1 loss VS Toronto Defiant

While not as crushing as other losses on this list, the Valiant looked outmatched against a Defiant team that has struggled this year. While not a crushing defeat nor a loss to a vastly inferior foe, this loss is just more of a disappointment.

  1. Atlanta Reign (10-9, Western)

Not much was different in the 2020 season for the Reign. They were once again the divider between the top teams and the lower tier teams, not being able to threaten teams like the Shock or Eternal, but beating teams like that Gladiators and Fuel. New players Gator, Hawk, Lris and Saucy played well, but it wasn’t enough to truly threaten top teams.
Match to Remember: 3-0 win VS Los Angeles Valiant
Against a team full of rookie talent looking to make their mark on the league and already performing well, the Reign scored a decisive victory over the Valiant.
Match to Forget: 3-1 loss VS Vancouver Titans
Against a struggling roster that had come into the league replacing a previously star-studded roster (more detail on how this happened in the Titans section), the Reign always looked a step behind and could not seem to find answers for Shockwave and Dalton after map one.

  1. Los Angeles Gladiators (9-9, Western)

Not much changed this year for the Gladiators. Space, BigGoose and Shaz are excellent players, and new signings Mirror, Kevster and Oge have played very well. However, they are in a similar spot to the Reign. Not truly able to challenge the top teams, but able to beat the lower tier teams. Still overshadowed by their rival San Francisco Shock and challenged by the up and coming rookies of local rivals Los Angeles Valiant, the Gladiators seem to be stuck between the tenth and fifth best team.

Match to Remember: 3-1 win VS San Francisco Shock

The Shock had a rough start to 2020, but this was still a huge win for the Gladiators. While the Shock may not have performed at their best, the Gladiators looked good enough that even if the Shock had played to their full capabilities, it is fair to say this would have been a close match. The Shock are the defending champions and since this match, it’s been clear that the Shock are the better team. However, this is still a nice win against a rival for Gladiators fans to look back on as the season draws to its end.

Match to Forget: 3-2 loss VS Boston Uprising

Similar to the Outlaws loss,  this is one of Boston‘s only two wins during the season. While the match was close, the Gladiators couldn’t keep up on the three control style maps, and with a draw on map two, Hanamura, the Gladiators’ wins on maps three and four, Watchpoint: Gibraltar and Blizzard World, would ultimately not matter.


Looking at the teams filling out the 11-15 spots, we’ll see who’s on a late surge, who hasn’t seemed to change much from prior seasons and who has hope for the future.

  1. Seoul Dynasty (11-11, Asia-Pacific)

Coming into the 2020 season looking to finally live up to their name after two disappointing seasons, the Dynasty have yet again struggled. Finding themselves firmly in the middle of the Asia-Pacific region and overall standings, it looks like even with high profile signings like Fits and Profit, the Dynasty are once again a team slated for a mid round exit from the playoffs.

Match to Remember: 3-2 win VS Shanghai Dragons

Against the team that was establishing itself as the top of the Asia-Pacific region, the Dynasty battled strong and came away with a hard fought win. After this match people began to wonder if the Dynasty would finally live up to their name this year, and for a while it seemed possible. They followed this match with three straight wins, taking their win streak to five. However these hopes would start to fade with a 4-3 reverse-sweep loss to Shanghai in the May Melee finals.

Match to Forget: 3-0 loss VS Chengdu Hunters

Giving the Hunters one of just three wins during the start of the season, the Dynasty seemed in disarray all match. It’s hard to say whether this was due to a lack of practice and cohesion together or just an inability to adapt to the out of the box strategies of the Hunters, but either way, it was a disheartening loss.

  1. Hangzhou Spark (11-11, Asia Pacific)

A year of building for Hangzhou has seen them around the middle of the Overwatch League standings. Godsb, Guxue, Qoq, Bebe and Ria have performed well, and a mid season trade for Architect from the San Francisco Shock have left this roster looking strong, but now they need to realize this potential during the playoffs and next season.

Match to Remember: 3-2 win VS New York Excelsior

Against an Excelsior team looking to prove they’re still the top three team they were last season, the Spark played a closely contested match that would go to six maps. After a draw on map four, Temple of Anubis, the Spark would win Illios and Oasis back to back to come out on top against the Excelsior. This match represents the peak of the season for the Spark; while they have been competitive against top teams, they have failed to get over the top against them like they did in this match.

Match to Forget: 3-0 loss VS London Spitfire

The Spitfire have spent this year developing rookie talent, and while there has been promise in the roster, they still have found themselves languishing at the bottom of the Asia-Pacific standings. While this match wasn’t a blowout, the Spark were always clearly behind the Spitfire, and while the season for the Spark has been solid overall, this match was a definite lowlight.

  1. Dallas Fuel (8-11, Western)

Dallas had a season that saw them never really exceed expectations. They won the matches they should, and lost the matches they were expected to. Lingering in the middle of the table pretty much all season, it was a fairly forgettable season. While the team still has the playoffs to look forward to, not many people expect the Fuel to go far.

Match to Remember: 3-2 loss VS San Francisco Shock

It may seem strange to pick a loss as the match to remember, but this was a match that started a discussion as to if the Fuel had turned a corner. Playing last year’s champion in the Shock, the Fuel never looked outclassed. While they would end up losing, it made people sit up and take notice. However, as the season progressed, the Fuel never found this level of play again

Match to Forget: 3-0 loss VS Vancouver Titans

Despite map three — Hollywood — being close, the rest of this match never really was. The Fuel were convincingly swept aside by the Titans. With this match, people stopped wondering if the Fuel had the potential they showed during their earlier match versus the Shock. That match has now been chalked up to either massive overperformance from the Fuel or underperformance from the Shock.

  1. Toronto Defiant (8-13, Western)

Despite high profile signings in Nevix, Kariv and Agilities, the Defiant failed to really gain traction on the season. The team as a whole seems to be unable to reach the potential they were expected to reach at the start of the season. Whether this is due to poor coaching, a lack of cohesion with the players or simply an inability to adapt to the rapidly changing hero pool metas is unclear. Their fans will be hoping for much more next season.

Match to Remember: 3-1 win VS Paris Eternal 

While this match was before Sp9rk1e became eligible, it was nonetheless a statement win in the opening match against a team expected to do well throughout the season. Other than map four, Havana, the match was close. However the Defiant seemed to have just a slight edge against the Eternal. Even though the Defiant have not been able to replicate their form from this match, it is still a promising sign of what could be going forward.

Match to Forget: 3-1 loss VS Houston Outlaws

Shortly after their upset of the Eternal, the Defiant were upset in turn. This would prove to be an eerily similar match to the one the Defiant had just defeated the Eternal in. The Defiant always seemed a step behind in this match, and this would quickly quell the hype that had been built up after victories over the Eternal. This loss also signaled the start of the four game losing streak, with this particular loss to the Outlaws being the worst of the four.

  1. Chengdu Hunters (8-14, Asia Pacific)

A season that started terribly for the Hunters, resulting in the firing of their coach, has recently turned around and left the Hunters seeming like a dark horse contender for the Asia-Pacific region title. The Hunters started with just three wins and 17 losses, including a 13 match losing streak, which would turn into a three win, zero loss final stage and a victory over the London Spitfire in the Countdown Cup tournament. Despite a 3-1 loss to the Hangzhou Spark in the semifinals, Chengdu has hope going into the playoffs despite a low seed after their atrocious start to the season.

Match to Remember: 3-2 win VS New York Excelsior

Coming into the Countdown Cup matches, no one had high expectations for the Hunters. The first two maps, Nepal and Temple of Anubis, despite being close, went the way of the Excelsior, meaning one more map loss for the Hunters would give the Excelsior the match win. However, after the halftime break, the Hunters would win Havana, Numbani and Lijiang Tower decisively to complete the reverse sweep and a shocking upset.

Match to Forget: 3-0 loss VS London Spitfire

During their 3-17 start to the season, the Hunters had a match against a team full of rookies and unproven talent that had struggled up to that point in the London Spitfire. It wasn’t even close. The Hunters were decisively swept aside, failing to even capture a point on map two, Junkertown.


 With the teams filling out the bottom of the table, we’ll see what went wrong in their seasons and how much hope they have going forward.

  1. London Spitfire (6-13, Asia-Pacific)

Despite their victory in the inaugural season of the Overwatch League, season two did not go anywhere near as well for the Spitfire. Due to their struggles, they brought in rookie talent like Krillin, JMac, Bernar, Highly, Although and Babel. And while season three has also been a struggle for London, there is potential in this roster and the seasons going forward look bright.

Match to Remember: 3-0 win VS Hangzhou Spark

Against one of the top teams in the Asia-Pacific region, the young guns of the Spitfire always seemed a step ahead of the more experienced Spark. A decisive win in total score, even though the maps were close, was a nice statement win for London despite the struggles of the 2020 season.

Match to Forget: 3-0 Loss vs Chendgu Hunters

This was one of just three wins for the Hunters during their awful start to the season. While it was competitive, London failed to take a map of the Hunters. While both teams were struggling at this point, it’s still a painful loss for London.

  1. Houston Outlaws (6-15, Western)

The struggles of the Outlaws continued this season, as name brand talents like Linkzr, Danteh, Blase and new signing Meko failed to get the team out of the bottom of the table. The hype coming into the season was never realised as  they were overshadowed yet again by their local rivals Dallas Fuel and could never truly make a mark on the league.

Match to Remember: 3-1 win VS Florida Mayhem

In a stunning upset during the knockout round of the Summer Showdown, Linkzr dominated the Florida Mayhem with one of the best single player performances all year, totaling a 30-18 final blow to death ratio and silencing his counterpart BQB. Despite the struggles of Florida’s tank line, even Yaki’s Tracer proved unable to stop Linkzr.

Match to Forget: 3-2 loss VS Boston Uprising

Despite this match being close, the only stat that really needs to be said is that this is the second of Boston’s only two wins so far. While Houston has also struggled to find success this year, they have three times the amount of wins at six, and are -18 in maps combined to Boston’s -44. Overall, this is a match that Houston was expected to win decisively and they shockingly lost.

  1. Vancouver Titans (5-14, Western)

A season of what-ifs for the Titans. After a two win start, the team would lose their next two matches and the roster that finished second in the 2019 season was disbanded after the players grew unhappy. News since has revealed that this was mostly due to management being unwilling to truly put in the work to manage the roster they had built and failing to keep players happy, resulting in a lost season for the Titans.
Match to Remember: 3-0 win VS Dallas Fuel

While a tough choice between this and the opening match of the season, I would argue this match will leave a better memory as it has shown what this new roster has to offer. A strong showing against a solid team in the Fuel, the Titans showed that, given time, they have the potential to once again be a top team. However, this is still one of the few bright spots on the season for the Titans.

Match to Forget: 3-1 loss VS Chengdu Hunters

While this may not be the worst loss on the season for the Titans, this loss is most upsetting for what it represents. In the final match of the roster that nearly won the Overwatch League in 2019, they looked extremely flat and unmotivated against a struggling Hunters team. While we now know that this was because of poor management, it still doesn’t feel good for such a talented roster to go out in such a poor fashion.

  1. Washington Justice (4-16, Western)

With incoming tank talent in Jjanu and Roar, and top DPS talent in Corey and Stitch, the Justice were expected to do well in the 2020 season. However, they would not live up to this expectation. They went on an 11-match losing streak after winning only two of their first five. In the end, this season would be defined by the retirement of Corey, as the rest of the season went anything but to plan.

Match to Remember: 3-1 win VS Los Angeles Gladiators

In a weekend full of upsets that was the Summer Showdown knockout round, the Justice would claim one of their own from the Gladiators. The Justice came out strong and simply outplayed the Gladiators. While they would lose decisively in the semifinals to the San Francisco Shock, this match is still a rare highlight during a mostly forgettable season.

Match to Forget: 3-1 loss VS Toronto Defiant

There wasn’t really any truly awful match for the Justice in the 2020 season. Given their position in the standings, they never were actually upset. This match was never really close though, despite the Justice’s 1-0 win on map two, Volskaya Industries. Overall though, the disappointment of this season will be the retirement of Corey and the failure to realize potential, not a single match.

  1. Boston Uprising (2-18, Western)

A year of spinning the hamster wheel for Boston; once again a roster with strong talents like Jerry, Fusions and Colourhex made no impression on the league. Despite the addition of Punk giving the Uprising a punch that they seemed to lack before, it wasn’t enough to turn the season around. The Uprising once again ended the season with questions about how a roster this strong on paper could perform so poorly.

Match to Remember: 3-2 win VS Los Angeles Gladiators
What looked like a potential turning point in the season may have never fully come to fruition, but in a grueling six map series that featured that debut of Punk, the Uprising kept up with the Gladiators in every aspect of play and pulled out a win.
Match to Forget: 3-0 loss VS Vancouver Titans

Against another team with more questions than answers, the Uprising were never really competitive. Outclassed in pretty much every aspect of play, the Uprising were rolled over for a convincing Titans victory, although they were at least able to make the maps somewhat close.