The Overwatch League Summer Showdown delivered sizzling action across both regions last weekend, with bracket-busting upsets aplenty. Both regions crowned new champions, and teams across the standings came out of the tournament with a bevy of questions heading into the final stretch before the playoffs.
Since this power ranking places teams based on their showings at the Summer Showdown, it's important to define what makes a team good or bad other than wins. If you will, let's go over what the "power" is in the Summer Showdown meta before ranking the teams on how they performed. At the Summer Showdown, the dominant meta composition was Orisa/Sigma/Genji/Ashe/Baptiste/Brigitte. Some teams ran other hitscan heroes such as McCree and Widowmaker over the Ashe, and other teams that couldn't run Genji played Tracer in that spot to modest success.
Genji was the biggest factor on most maps (not as much on King of the Hill). In general, the team with the better Genji won.
Secondary areas of importance: Sigma and Baptiste. Sigma is especially strong as he's the only part of the meta comp that has hard CC (Rock Stun Ultimate). Baptiste is strong for his Immortality field ability, which teams will play around.
Meta comp 1: Genji Grinder. Orisa/Sigma/Genji/Ashe/Brigitte/Baptiste. Secondary comps: Genji swap for Tracer, Ashe swap for McCree (Mirror), Widowmaker.
Meta comp 2: Rein Brawl. Reinhardt/Sigma/Mei/Symmetra/Lucio/Baptiste. Secondary comps: Symmetra swap for Reaper or Genji, Baptiste swap for Moira, Lucio swap for Brigitte.
In general, though, the star of the tournament was Genji. Genji's high damage and mobility with Dash resets and his lethal Dragonblade ultimate cutting through enemy Immortality Fields and Superchargers make him the ideal DPS carry in the meta. In general, the team with the better Genji won.
After Genji, the next two most impactful heroes were Sigma and Baptiste. Sigma's hard crowd control in Accretion and his ultimate, Gravitic Flux, are some of the only ways to stop a Genji from blowing up your team, making Sigma essential. In addition, the damage Sigma can output through his Hyperspheres make him a great tank to pair alongside Genji, since Genji can capitalize on the Hypersphere's AoE burst damage.
The other hero, Baptiste, holds the all-important Immortality Field, making him crucial so that you can prevent a Genji from getting the first kill he needs to snowball a fight. As a general rule, the team with the better Sigma won (less so than Genji, though) and the team whose Baptiste used Immortality First would usually lose.
With all that established, let's look at how the Overwatch League teams stacked up in their meta prowess.
North American Region
1. Paris Eternal (12-6, 32-27-0, 5)
The Eternal had an incredible Summer Showdown, winning the tournament by going through the May Melee champion, the San Francisco Shock, in the semifinals before taking on the NA region-leading Philadelphia Fusion in the finals. Throughout the tournament, DPS Yeong-han "SP9RK1E" Kim dominated as Genji, producing insane highlights and solidifying himself as a bonafide star. The rest of the Eternal were exceptional, with a special shoutout going to flex support and Baptiste player Joon "Fielder" Kwon, who played well on Sunday in 13 maps of championship-level Overwatch on 200 ping starting at 3 a.m KST and ending around 1 p.m.
2. Philadelphia Fusion (17-2, 44-17-0, 27)
The Fusion looked good in their run to the finals but didn't have enough energy to overcome the storyline-fueled Eternal. Philly looked great running the meta, with DPS Josue "Eqo" Corona making his return to the starting lineup as Genji. A close loss in the finals should solidify the Fusion as a top-two team in the region and a serious contender for the championship.
3. San Francisco Shock (15-2, 35-11-2, 24)
The Shock fell just short of the grand finals in a 3-2 loss to the eventual tournament champions, so you can't knock them for not having a good showing. You can, however, point out that they failed to adapt to the meta, barely playing Genji, the strongest hero in the game at the time. San Francisco gets penalized for trying to brute force their playstyle throughout the tournament, but this team is so good that it almost worked anyways.
4. Toronto Defiant (6-10, 25-34-0, -9)
Remember when we talked about upsets? The Defiant were a surprising success at the tournament, taking out the Los Angeles Valiant 3-1 in the knockout round and picking up a 3-2 upset win over the second seed Atlanta Reign in the quarterfinals before getting 3-0 swept by the Fusion in the semifinals. DPS Brady "Agilities" Girardi had a sublime showing on Genji, and practically every Toronto player played well above their average in the playoff run. Good job, Defiant..
5. Houston Outlaws (6-11, 27-38-3, -11)
The Outlaws took down the Florida Mayhem 3-1 in the knockout round, but losing 3-0 to the Fusion in quarterfinals means that it's hard to judge how they would've done against a medium-tier team. This tournament served as a stage for offtank Tae-hong "MekO" Kim to remind everyone how good he is after Houston's well-documented struggles earlier in the season. Considering all Houston changed recently was the move of Joao Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles from DPS to starting main tank, one has to wonder whether tank Austin "Muma" Wilmot will ever see playing time again in an Outlaws jersey.
6. Washington Justice (3-13, 17-41-1, -24)
The 19th team in the overall OWL standings ended up being the sixth-best team in the NA Summer Showdown. It's crazy how these things turn out, but DPS Ho-Sung "TTuba" Lee had a coming-out party as a top-level carry on his signature Genji pick. It'll be interesting to see how the Justice look if the meta moves away from TTuba's best pick, though recent history might suggest a turn for the worse for Washington.
7. Florida Mayhem (11-5, 30-20-0, 10)
From this point on in the standings, most teams (all but Dallas) did not play the meta. Florida got rolled by Houston in the knockout round, 3-1, and looked lost throughout that series. The Mayhem had time and material to prepare, seeing as these teams met in qualifier play a few weeks ago. Florida just dropped the ball.
8. Dallas Fuel (5-8, 21-28-0, -7)
Dallas is an enigma coming out of the Summer Showdown for a few reasons. Are they better than eighth place, since their only loss came 3-1 to the eventual champions and the Fuel had their full starting lineup back after DPS Gui-un "Decay" Jang took some time off? Are they actually worse, since their tank and support lines are still middle-of-the-road at best in a meta where tank and support play is crucial to getting the most out of your DPS? Who knows. At least we know Dallas has the DPS players to play the meta.
9. Atlanta Reign (7-6, 27-18-0, 9)
This team is frustrating after a brilliant first year last year. The player rotations and lineup decisions can be confusing, the team lacks a clear identity despite being severely limited in their hero selection, and they don't play with an ounce of urgency. This team barely looks like a team sometimes, such as in their losing maps in their 3-2 loss to the Toronto Defiant. Someone needs to step up and be decisive on this team, because both the players and the coaching staff are starting to stagnate.
10. Vancouver Titans (4-8, 14-26-0, -12)
Vancouver got taken out by Paris in a 3-1 quarterfinal matchup that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate. In a meta revolving so heavily around Genji, the Titans were forced to put all of their resources into DPS Dalton "Dalton" Bennyhoff, a career secondary carry player. Watching Dalton try to duel SP9RK1E made me feel bad for the Titans as they never stood a chance.
11. Los Angeles Valiant (8-7, 27-28-0, -1)
The Valiant's honeymoon period after a good May Melee showing is coming crashing down around them. The Valiant had to put in support Damon "Apply" Conti, who said he hadn't played Brigitte in months before his tournament debut, and tank Rick "GiG" Salazar. Where are support Jung-won "Lastro" Mun and tank Sanglok "Dreamer" Song? What happened to this team's vaunted DPS core that it got rolled by Toronto 3-1? The Summer Showdown only poses more questions for the Valiant to unpack as they gear up for a postseason push.
12. Los Angeles Gladiators (6-6, 24-24-4, 0)
If you have any idea how a team this loaded with talent cannot only perform poorly but look like a team of rookies with a rookie coach, let me know. What is going on in Los Angeles?
13. Boston Uprising (2-13, 12-43-3, -31)
Everyone else got to participate in the Summer Showdown, but Boston was sat down 3-1 by the Washington Justice in qualifiers. Imagine not being able to participate in what is all but guaranteed to be your team's last tournament of the year.
1. Guangzhou Charge (16-6, 38-34-0, 4)
The Charge's 4-2 win in the finals over the Shanghai Dragons was a loud wakeup call to the rest of the league. The Charge hype is real, and they are a force to be reckoned with. The standout from this team is rookie offtank Ki-cheol "Cr0ng" Nam, who is the best Sigma on the planet. Cr0ng might just surpass Rookie of the Year and end up with the league MVP if he can carry Guangzhou to a top finish in their region.
2. Shanghai Dragons (20-2, 47-12-1, 35)
Shanghai is still better than a majority of teams in the APAC region, even if they can't play the meta well. Shanghai and Guangzhou have established themselves as the top dogs in APAC, and Guangzhou got the upper hand in this meta. Now it's up to Shanghai to strike back and take control of the region.
3. New York Excelsior (13-5, 41-20-2, 21)
You easily can make the argument that New York's two Genji players, DPS Seung-jun "WhoRU" Lee and Hyojong "Haksal" Kim, are among the top five Genjis on the planet. So why is it that New York couldn't do much more than whimper while Guangzhou swept them 3-0 in the semifinals? This team of supposedly elite talent and coaching continues to innovate and find new ways to disappoint their fans.
4. Seoul Dynasty (8-7, 18-23-1, -5)
I want off of the Seoul Train. It makes sense that this meta works well for what Seoul wants to do, with DPS Joon-yeong "Profit" Park taking resources and carrying as Genji. Maybe this team has above-average talent, but are very specific with which metas they can excel in. In that sense, I guess Seoul is like a bougie Chengdu.
5. London Spitfire (6-7, 21-27-0, -6)
It's fun to watch London with zero expectations of them winning, but when they play an underperforming veteran team such as Seoul in a tournament, you get worried about the youngsters. Seoul ended up sending London home 3-1, but the Spitfire's rookies looked decent up against a handful of former OWL champions on comfort picks.
6. Hangzhou Spark (7-10, 27-37-2, -10)
When the Spark signed DPS Minho "Architect" Park from San Francisco, it was supposed to be a huge, splash move to take Hangzhou from the middle of the pack to an APAC elite. Instead, the Spark have refused to show signs of improvement or growth over the past few weeks. These players are stagnant and need to jumpstart themselves now or else get rolled over.
7. Chengdu Hunters (4-14, 24-43-1, -19)
This team was dismantled 3-0 by the Guangzhou Charge, despite their star DPS Yi "JinMu" Hu being an excellent Genji player. This team is throwing parts at the wall to see what sticks, waiting for contracts to expire so they can blow up the roster and try to rebuild through rookie and free-agent signings. Whatever the Hunters are doing now isn't working, and the clock's running out on the Chengdu experiment.
--By Noah Waltzer, Field Level Media