The Overwatch League has expanded for season two, bringing on eight new teams for a total of twenty. But which should you be cheering for? It can be a bit overwhelming, so we’ve prepared a quick guide to help you make your mind up. Heroes Never Die will continue to cover the 20 teams up to the launch of Season 2 of the Overwatch League, and we’ll keep this post updated with relevant profiles and features.
The Atlanta Reign are new for season two, and have signed a team of fresh faces, at least in League terms. One you might be familiar with is streamer Daniel “dafran” Francesca, though his flipflopping on Twitter about whether he was dropping out due to disliking the game, plus his previous bans for throwing and griefing introduce their own kind of uncertainty.
Support the Reign if...you want to put your energy behind a relative unknown to mix things up for the new season.
The Boston Uprising managed a perfect stage three during season one, but couldn’t clinch any victories in the playoffs. They’ll be hoping that their interesting new players including Team UK main tank Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth, and team Brazil’s support specialist Renan “alemao” Moretto, will help them reach new heights in season two.
Support the Uprising if…you want to see more players from underrepresented areas make it to the League.
Additional reading: The Boston Uprising look to claim glory in Season 2 of the Overwatch League
The first of three Chinese expansion teams entering season two, the Chengdu Hunters are the only one bringing a full-Mandarin roster, including picking up players like Ma “LateYoung” Tianbin and Li “Yveltal” Xianyao from China’s stellar World Cup team. Other than the confusion of using an endangered panda alongside the “hunter” name, their branding has a lot of potential, which they’re already beginning to capitalize on, sharing cute drawings of the animal on Twitter. On the other hand, formerly signed DPS player Ted “silkthread” Wang dropped out during the off-season, citing burnout from 14 hour practice days, which puts quite a damper on their otherwise friendly face.
Support the Hunters if...you’ll hold them accountable for their (probably far from unique) overwork issue, but you’re ready for Chinese Overwatch to show what they’ve got. Or you just really like pandas.
Recommended Reading: The Chengdu Hunters are on the prowl as they enter the Overwatch League
The Dallas Fuel had an extremely rocky season one. They lost key players with Félix “xQc” Lengyel being let go following repeated code of conduct infractions and Hwang “EFFECT” Hwang taking much of season one off for mental health reasons. But they began to turn things around in stage 4, largely thanks to ray of sunshine Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod picking up the newly released Brigitte with ease. In the off-season, they’ve lost Brandon “Seagull” Larned, who has retired to streaming, but have picked up Team USA DPS star Zachary “ZachaREEE” Lombardo.
Support the Fuel if...you want a team that’s proven flexible. Plus, who doesn’t love Mickie?
The Mayhem did not do well last season. Second only to the Shanghai Dragons in number of losses, their standout moments were almost all showreels of great Widowmaker play from Ha “Sayaplayer” Jeongwoo, who is one of the few players Florida didn’t let go during the off-season. New pick ups, like former Seoul Dynasty tank Koo “xepheR” Jaemo apparently faced-off against 50 other top players for their place, so the Mayhem will be hoping this rigorous testing will help them out in the upcoming season.
Support the Mayhem if...you want an underdog redemption story, but not quite on the level of the Dragons, or you support teams based entirely on how bright their skins are (a very valid metric).
The Guangzhou Charge are a relative unknown, but teal-aqua-navy is definitely the best of the many blue colour schemes in the League. They’ve got a few familiar faces in their mixed-nationality roster, too, including British World Cup standout Finley “Kyb” Adisi.
Support the Charge if...you want a team to overcome the Chinese-Korean-English communications that once hamstrung teams like Shanghai; you really liked the UK’s World Cup showing; or you just want your Overwatch heroes to look fresh.
The Hangzhou Spark burst onto the scene with the best branding bar none, finally filling the pink void and going all in on an adorable social media presence. They counter the usual trash talk with emojis, declarations of love, and videos of their players enjoying tea and the greenery of the city. They’ve signed a primarily Korean roster, but have also included Chinese World Cup breakout talent Zu “guxue” Quilin as their main tank, so are another team that will potentially have shotcalling language issues to overcome.
Support the Spark if...you want more “try our best, be kind to everyone, and look good doing it” energy in the League.
Additional Reading: The Hangzhou Spark are making an electric entrance into the Overwatch League
The Houston Outlaws have courted a wide fanbase, releasing fashionable merch and collaborating with LGBTQ+ charities. Though this means that their fans are occasionally targeted with thinly-veiled misogynistic criticisms likening them to boyband stans, the volume of cheering in the stadium indicates the strategy is working out pretty well for the team.
Support the Outlaws if...you want to appreciate some wholesomeness and want to be the best dressed person at IRL OWL events.
Season one champions the London Spitfire have a long history in pre-League professional Overwatch. With players hailing from Kongdoo Panthera, Meta Athena, and GC Busan, they represent the continued influence of APEX on the current tier one scene.
Support the Spitfire if...you want them to repeat their season one victory, you miss the earliest days of professional Overwatch, or you just really like Tracer’s awful cockney accent.
Los Angeles Gladiators
The Gladiators’ purple is an especially good look, and as one of the two current “home” teams, they get plenty of support in the Blizzard arena. Their #ShieldsUp motto lends itself nicely to celebrating tanks, especially Reinhardt, which is an appreciated change in a League that usually focuses on flashy DPS multikills.
Support the Gladiators if...you love a local rivalry, and you’re a tank main. (Or you’re just not over that Kings Row flank from the season one quarterfinals.)
Los Angeles Valiant
The Los Angeles Valiant have differentiated themselves from many of the other Overwatch League teams with a message of inclusivity. It’s been backed up, too, by multiple events and initiatives in their Be Valiant series. They’ve also been hard at work stoking rivalries in the off-season, like setting up the California Cup versus the San Francisco Shock.
Support the Valiant if...you appreciate a breath of fresh air in the all-too-often uninclusive world of esports.
New York Excelsior
By almost every metric, NYXL were the best team of season one, and their roster is nothing but star studded. Everyone loved the “married man meta” of Park “Saebyeolbe” Jongryeol, who had a picture of his wife on his keyboard during games, “big boss” Kim “Pine” Dohyeon’s precision Widowmaker play, and of course League and World Cup MVP Bang “JJoNak” Seonghyun’s Zenyatta, which was in a league of its own.
Support the Excelsior if...who doesn’t already have players from the team that they love, and doesn’t appreciate seeing a well oiled-machine working together and steamrolling over everybody?
Teams have leaned into their local branding to varying degrees, but none quite so hard as new entry Paris Eternal. Picking up Terence “SoOn” Tarlier, the darling of his local World Cup qualifiers, was the perfect move to get French fans on side. Their introductory video was weirdly celebratory of colonialism, but there’s plenty of time for them to course-correct to something a little more égalité before the season starts.
Support the Eternal if...can’t decide between a red team or a blue team? Why not both? (Or, of course, you’re French.)
The Philadelphia Fusion surprised many in season one by making it to the grand finals, beating NYXL in the semis, despite ranking sixth overall. Though this was of course a team effort, their most recognisable player has to be Lee “Carpe” Jaehyeok, an old guard of Korean Overwatch and one of the best DPS players in the League.
Support the Fusion if...you want to follow one of the old guard of professional Overwatch, or you want a repeat upset in season two.
San Francisco Shock
The third, outlier California team, the San Francisco Shock, were mostly middling during season one, but they’ll be hoping to improve this season with some key player pickups. These include former Boston Uprising tank Gwon “Striker” Namjoo and former London Spitfire (and briefly Dallas Fuel) DPS Kim “Rascal” Dongjun. The latter was famous for his ultra-flexible hero pool, but it’s tough to watch him go up against his former DPS partner-in-crime, Kim “birdring” Jihyeok.
Support the Shock if…you want the underdog to win the tragic Birdscal fight, or you’re a NorCal stan.
The Seoul Dynasty were often considered the favourites coming into season one, but ended up struggling far more than expected. Consisting mostly of top players from APEX’s Lunatic-Hai, they nonetheless faltered, with captain and long-time support star Ryu “Ryujehong” Jehong surprising many fans by moving briefly into the tank role. Only time will tell what heroes he’ll end up playing in season two.
Support the Dynasty if...you still believe in the Lunatic-Hai dream, and/or you want to wear the slickest team colors by a country mile.
Recommended Reading: The Seoul Dynasty seek to set the standard for player treatment in season two
Oh, Shanghai. The good news is that going 0-40 only leaves room for a hell of an underdog story; the bad news is, well, 0-40. Still, the Dragons have signed many players from top Contenders team Kongdoo Panthera, rounding out their Korean playerbase, which should ease their communication issues moving into season two. Plus, Kim “Geguri” Seyeon reports that she’s been having great fun at the last two months of team practice, so, what else matters?
Support the Dragons if...you either already want Shanghai to get their first win, or you’re a lost cause.
The Toronto Defiant look similar at first glance to the Atlanta Reign, but anyone north of the border knows what they’re going for with their branding. The Defiant are sporting an “us against the world” look; perfectly appropriate for a city that is largely considered by other provinces to be too big for its britches. Instead of trying to attract every Canadian, the Defiant are rolling hard at a very particular aesthetic and feel. Back that up with a mostly unproven roster, and you have the potential for a very interesting underdog.
Support the Defiant if...you’re ready to put your energy behind a relative unknown for the fresh season, but you prefer scarlet to crimson.
Recommended Reading: Talking Toronto Defiant with Splyce co-founder Marty Strenczewilk
The Vancouver Titans have pulled their players from top Korean Contenders team RunAway, who finally won a championship this year after a string of second place finishes. Previously guided by husband and wife team Yoon “Runner” Daehoon and Lee “Flowervin” Hyuna, the winning roster will now tackle tier one Overwatch as the Titans, though they’ve sadly lost their pastel pink in favour of the green and blue shared by hockey team Canucks.
Support the Titans if...you want the RunAway story to continue, and to prove that the Path to Pro can take these players all the way to the very top.
The Washington Justice have some interesting organisational staff, including the League’s first female coach, Molly “AVALLA” Kim; one of the few female GMs, Kate Mitchell; and former NYXL coach Kim “WizardHyeong” Hyeongseok. They’ve also signed ex-Shanghai Dragons DPS Chon “Ado” Gihyeon, so the race is on for him to snag his first win before his former teammates. Some of their introductory messaging rang hollow thanks to the current political climate, as expanded on in an excellent essay by Brittany Gonzáles, who was shown (cheering for the Valiant) in their introductory video, but as with Paris it’s still early days for their branding efforts.
Support the Justice if...you like following the stories of players and staff as much as whole teams.
Recommended Reading: Overwatch League’s first female coach talks Korea, Contenders, and sexism