Following a short break after the May Melee, the Overwatch League returned with the same kind of chaos that has made this season so much fun to watch. Teams demonstrated who has adapted to the absence of staples like Reinhardt, Tracer and Sombra, leading to plenty of movement in Upcomer’s Overwatch League power rankings. Now the June Joust looms ahead, and everyone wants an invite to the most uniquely named tournament of the season. While some familiar faces sit atop each division, there’s certainly some competition brewing below them.
The first two weeks of the June Joust qualifiers proved interesting as teams felt each other out with the new hero pool in place. This created opportunities for teams like the Atlanta Reign, the Boston Uprising and the Los Angeles Gladiators to fight for a spot in the next tournament as teams like the Florida Mayhem and Washington Justice fell off the map. No one knows where things will land until the next two weeks, there could once again be some unexpected faces showing up big.
Meanwhile, the three top teams are jockeying for a place at the top of the standings. But while the Texan teams are in a close race for No. 1, Upcomer’s power rankings indicate that a certain California favorite is gunning for their former spot. Here is where everyone in the West Division stands leading into the last two weeks before the June Joust.
1. San Francisco Shock
When the San Francisco Shock lost to the Dallas Fuel in a shocking sweep ahead of the May Melee, it raised questions about whether the two-time Overwatch League champions still had what it took to push for the three-peat, especially after some changes to the roster. And after securing their revenge last week, the answer seems to be: yes.
While Dallas pushed the 3-1 series to five maps, the Shock showed they could win out in the close moments that mattered. Lim “Glister” Gil-seong’s return after weeks on the bench is also a good sign for the team’s depth, though the Fuel’s lack of hitscan left him all the time in the world to pressure his opponents on Widowmaker (and Charlie “nero” Zwarg popping off, as usual certainly helped). All in all, the team seems well adapted to the hero pool, making their chances for actually reaching the June Joust solid. Failing to do qualify for another tournament would be an incredible disappointment, though, and a sign of issues in high-pressure matches.
— Jason Krell
2. Dallas Fuel
The Dallas Fuel are still among the best teams in the West Division, but they showed more weakness during their most recent match. Normally, there would be a significant issue to point out for a team dropping spots in these power rankings, but the Fuel still looked great. No single player for the Fuel dropped the ball — it was simply the Shock getting the revenge win they wanted. After all, the Fuel did sweep the London Spitfire (albeit a much weaker team) with ease in their first match of the June Joust qualifiers.
The best example of the close the 3-1 loss is the 10-9 point spread across the series. Essentially, it was as close as could be. For reference, the Outlaws versus Defiant game that preceded it was also a 3-1 series, but the total points were 9-2. So, in arguably the closest 3-1 match we’ve ever seen, the Fuel need to fix the small mistakes that the Shock capitalized on. It was also clear that the May Melee’s meta really worked with the Fuel’s playstyle, and the June Joust isn’t as easy for them. They’re going to have work to be crowned the kings of NA once again.
— Michael Czar
3. Houston Outlaws
The Houston Outlaws, after a poor showing in their game against the Atlanta Reign, rebounded well. As one of the teams that has played all of their qualifying games for this tournament, they’ve adapted quickly to the new meta game. Since losing, they only lost two maps across their last three games. One map loss came at the hands of the Florida Mayhem just as the Outlaws found their stride and the other happened during the Defiant game where they floored their enemies despite temporarily losing control.
The Echo play of Dante “Danteh” Cruz is the biggest standout of the Houston squad. With the insane 78% pick rate, having an Echo specialist is paying off in this phase of the season. One of the other nice surprises is Jacob “JAKE” Lyon, who has played Junkrat and Mercy consistently throughout these qualifiers, leading to many map wins. In keeping Danteh alive as Mercy and feeding his Junkrat specialist nature, JAKE has truly helped make this team better in 2021. With their games over and an essentially guaranteed spot in the knockouts again, Houston has another shot to be the best in the West division.
4. Atlanta Reign (+4)
5. Los Angeles Gladiators (+2)
6. Boston Uprising (+3)
7. Florida Mayhem (-5)
8. Toronto Defiant (-2)
9. Paris Eternal (+1)
10. Washington Justice (-5)
11. Vancouver Titans (+1)
12. London Spitfire (-1)
After being delayed for more than a year, we’re finally going to see the Overwatch League’s first event in China this weekend with the Hangzhou Spark homestand. The Valiant, Charge and Hunters will all meet in-person in Hangzhou to compete on LAN — a remarkably different experience when compared to anything online matches can offer.
The division can’t escape online play completely, though. New York, Philadelphia and Seoul will be playing from home. It’ll still be an action packed stream filled with exciting matches and fanfare.
Shanghai still has a solid grip on the division, pulling out a shutout win against Chengdu, a semi-shutout win against Los Angeles and a confident victory over Seoul. The Dragons have all but secured a spot in the June Joust knockout round while the rest of the division fights over the remaining spots. But, as the Spark proved with their shutout over Shanghai, anything can happen as teams shift to adapt to Overwatch’s ever-changing meta.
1. Shanghai Dragons
The Dragons are officially the first team in the East Division to qualify for the knockout stage. Though they took a decisive loss against the Spark last week, their three victories have been fairly convincing. This includes wins against the Hunters and Dynasty, who — other than the Spark — are looking like the better teams in the division this tournament. With Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun proving to still be one of the best Echos in the world and Kang “Void” Jun-woo getting a triple Call Mech kill last week, the Dragons seem to be in prime position to head (virtually) to Hawaii again.
Of course, the East Division is prone to shake-ups, and unfortunately the Dragons won’t be competing at the upcoming homestand in Hangzhou. Still, they remain at the top for now, though anything could happen in the knockout stage.
— Bonnie Qu
2. Hangzhou Spark
After a drastic coaching shake-up just three weeks into the season, it was unclear what was going on with the Spark and how it might affect them. The team surpassed all expectations, however, when they defeated the Dragons handily in their second match thanks to heroics from Zheng “Shy” Yangjie and Xu “Guxue” Qiulin.
The Spark are a strange team. They’ve got twelve players all deserving of starting spots in the Overwatch League, but it’s difficult to pin down just how good they are. It will probably come into clearer focus in the coming week when the Spark will host the league’s first live event in a year in their home city of Hangzhou. We’ll see if they can qualify for knockouts in front of their home crowd.
3. Seoul Dynasty
Seoul is currently sitting at the edge of the June Joust, meaning they’ll lose out on a chance to compete in the next knockout tournament if a few maps don’t go their way. With the way they’ve been playing (I don’t feel too confident after seeing that Roadhog in action), it’s impossible to predict which way those crucial maps will sway.
It’s even harder than impossible to say when you factor in the fact that Seoul’s next two matches are against the Hunters and the Charge, the other two teams that are on the precipice of making it into the June Joust. Seoul lost badly to the Hunters last time they played, but beat the Charge handily in matches that feel completely irrelevant now due to meta changes. They’ll need to pull out all the stops just to make it into a competitive tournament.
— Aron Garst
4. Chengdu Hunters (-2)
5. New York Excelsior (+1)
6. Philadelphia Fusion (-3)
7. Guangzhou Charge (-)
8. Los Angeles Valiant (-)