Preparing for A Non-Goats Meta and Other Lies You Tell Yourself

As the OWL’s second season prepares to enter its third stage and a new round of buffs and nerfs are thrown into the game in an attempt (and apparent failure) to deliver us from this GOATs meta, we at DraftBuff wanted to ask what a DPS meta would actually look like. And in doing so, we wanted to help you get a head start as well. So whether a shift is coming soon or not, lets see how these teams are looking to stack up when that floodgate is eventually opened.

We won’t pretend to know what type of meta that would be, or which heroes may be buffed or nerfed to accommodate so that won’t be taken into account. As a rule of thumb: if a DPS was meta at any point during Season One, we will assume it is at least viable in this theoretical situation.

There are twenty teams in the OWL. Going over each in full detail would be the literal death of me. So, I will only go into explicit detail for the most significant teams; specifically the San Francisco Shock, New York Excelsior and Vancouver Titans.

San Francisco Shock

Not many would disagree that as of Stage Two playoffs the Shock may be the best GOATs team in the world. However, would you be surprised to learn that Shock has an entire bench lineup that could likely pop-off in a Dive meta?

If Matthew “super” DeLisi is no longer allowed to lead his team on Reinhardt, the team has a more than qualified Winston player in Myeonhwan “smurf” Yoo. Smurf is highly regarded after his time in Contenders NA and could likely have been a strong starting player on most of the current OWL teams, and now he’s been stuck in the hyperbolic time chamber that is being coached by Daa-hee “Crusty” Park, the Shock’s Head Coach.

For our readers interested in crafting a solid fantasy line-up, Smurf is likely a name the less knowledgeable won’t be aware of. But hey, that’s what I’m here for – helping you stay a step ahead.

While Jay “sinatraa” Won is certainly a top of the ladder Zarya for this meta, we shouldn’t forget that during his first season stage time he was a lackluster DPS. Unfortunately, nothing from Season 2 has given him a chance to prove that is no longer the case.

In order to fix this possible weak spot in their roster, the Shock picked up Namjoo “Striker” Kwon. Some consider Striker the greatest Tracer player of OWL Season one, if that catches your interests at all. However, recent rumors leaked from Dallas Fuel Assistant Coach Justin “Jayne” Conroy hint that Striker may be moving his talents to Widowmaker, and may be one of the best we’ve ever seen. Granted, Striker hasn’t had a chance in Season Two to prove this on stage, but his track record for learning heroes convinces me that Striker will pay back his $/Point costs with interest.

I could go on about the talent that is just bursting from this roster. From Minho “Architect” Park the legendary projectile DPS, to Minki “Viol2t” Park a contender for best Zenyatta in the league, suffice it to say that Shock has an utterly stacked roster and coaching staff and no matter what meta comes next they will be contenders for the very best.

New York Excelsior

It can be surprisingly easy to forget that last season the NYXL was considered so top-dog that many in the community laughed at them for only winning two stage playoff finals. And, in that same vein, they were the only team to qualify for all four stage playoff finals during Season 1.

Some think that this season they have finally met their match. The Vancouver Titans seemed much more dominant and then the SF Shock surpassed them as well. So where has the NYXL of legend gone? How far have they fallen? Well…they’ve fallen to second place in overall standings. Oh, what horror. So, in a meta that has shown to punish the NYXL’s slow and methodical style of play, they are still right near the very best.

In short, if everyone around you starts picking up exclusively SF Shock and Titans players because they’re the newest hot commodity then you have a whole treasure trove of players that are likely just waiting for a meta shift to reassert their dominance.

If you’ve followed OWL since the inaugural season there really isn’t anyone new to introduce other than two interesting cases.

Yeonkwan “Nenne” Jeong is an interesting case. As the team’s Zarya player he has lived up to the hype, but if and when the meta shifts I don’t think we’ll see much of him over Jongryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park. Nenne’s main achievements that could still be considered relevant have come during his Zarya play, so while he could surprise everyone with an exceptional Widowmaker, Tracer or whatever other heroes may emerge as important, I think it more safe to assume he will take the bench position for Saebyeolbe and Pine, who proved themselves to be impactful players during the first season. I don’t mean to say he would permanently be on the bench, but its likely that the NYXL would keep him on the back burner until he proved himself to be at their level on DPS heroes.

Next is Yeon-oh “Fl0w3R” Hwang. I’ll be honest, I don’t buy the hype around this player. During the early days of Overwatch and the 2017 Overwatch World Cup he did find some first-place successes and rose to prominence for his Widowmaker play. However, lately I’ve seen nothing to make me excited about his prospects as a projectile or hitscan player compared to the rest of this roster
when the meta shifts. Perhaps he is just meant to be a backup for Haesong “Libero” Kim, who some consider the best projectile DPS player around (I am one of those people), but until we know for sure I can’t say Fl0w3R is even worth putting Monopoly money on.

Vancouver Titans

This will be the most controversial of the claims I make in this article, but I do not think there is good reason to believe that in a non-GOATs meta the Titans will be anything better than an above average squad. Let me explain.

When people talk about the Titan’s hidden DPS prowess, they highlight three players in particular.

First, Minsoo “SeoMinSoo” Seo. Before GOATs meta and before SeoMinSoo joined Runaway, he had no meaningful achievements other than grabbing fourth place in APEX Season 4 a year and a half ago. However, I will note that during that APEX run he was coached by none other than Shock’s very own Head Coach Crusty and the team he lost to was in majority made up of players currently in the OWL including Fissure, Rascal, Birdring and Bdosin. In short, this player is very much so a pick-your-poison type of situation, you either believe he’s got unimaginable greatness as a DPS that has just been stunted before it could bloom- or his DPS play can’t deliver right when it matters most. I encourage further independent research on SeoMinSoo before jumping in either pool.

Second is Hyojong “Haksal” Kim. Haksal has always been a good Genji player, and I won’t argue otherwise. But he is also unproven against the very best, and I cannot in good confidence say that I have reason to believe he will be good enough to compete versus the likes of Architect, Libero and even some players I would consider hot/cold like Hydration and Agilities.

Chung-hee “Stitch” Lee, on the other hand, is someone that we have seen make some highlight level plays already. If you want to trust in Stich’s abilities come a meta shift I could not blame you, but I would not agree with you. Much like Haksal, we haven’t gotten a significant amount of data about his DPS play in the OWL. That makes it hard for me to think he can lead the team to victory against the likes of Striker, Saebyeolbe and so on. However considering the recent change to turn McCree’s Peacekeeper revolver into a machine gun, maybe the value for all McCree players has gone up exceptionally? If so, Stitch could prove himself to be the Titan’s version of Carpe, and that sounds as scary as it does enriching if gambled correctly.

Again, I want to make it clear that my reason for low-balling these players is based on past results mixed with the fact that we haven’t seen them as DPS on the OWL stage enough for me to feel confident in them, and even then I still say this team is certainly above average at minimum because of how proven their tanks and supports are as well as their overall team synergy.

Now that I have gone over the very best in the league, lets speedrun everyone else in order of current overall standing. I’m cutting all the fat here, especially the player’s real names. I will very rarely mention anyone outside of the DPS players and I will only do so if I feel it really important. If you find fault with some of my opinions I can’t blame you. The short three to four sentences I provide for each team leaves little space for nuance, after all.

London Spitfire

A team with this much talent cannot be contained if we move to a meta where Profit can really show off his flexibility. Additionally, if we move towards a bunker-esque meta Gesture is a solid candidate for best Orisa in the league. I have high hopes for our Season One champions.

Los Angeles Gladiators

Decay, Surefour and Hydration on their main heroes of choice sounds like a great boon for this squad. Additionally, the fact that Bishu should make his return soon enough should turn any Sadiators into Glad-iators right quick.

Dallas Fuel

Looking back at season one Fuel, it does put a smile on my face to see them now. As for a meta shift, who is to say if this team will keep its decent track record? Taimou, AKM and Zachareee still have quite a bit to prove before I think a meta shift would cause an upward rocket launch for the Fuel. That said, OGE, Unkoe, Closer and NotE is a star-studded cast that ensures this group will not fall back into the ways of Season One Fuel.

Philadelphia Fusion

Fusion fans are begging for a day when Carpe can go back to carrying this team like the days of Season One, and I tend to agree. Watching Fusion without Carpe on a carry DPS is like using Comcast. Consistently not fun. If the meta does shift, I have much confidence that Carpe can go back to doing what he did best, clicking heads. EQO has flashes of brilliance that helped lead the team to the Season One playoff finals, but as bright as those flashes may be they are twice as rare and that makes it hard to evaluate this player as worth your time.

Hangzhou Spark

Spark is finally showing signs of life at the twilight of stage two, but who is to say how good they can be in a DPS oriented meta? GodsB has left an impression on me after watching some of his past games in a pre-GOATs age, and Krystal has quite a bit of hype coming off the heels of OWWC 2018. At the very least, you would hope a team with five DPS on their roster would be able to be a little more consistently successful in a meta that enabled them, as of now who knows?

Seoul Dynasty

If the meta shifts to dive then I think this team performs slightly better on account of having Fissure sitting in the lineup, assuming their playstyle shifts to accommodate him. While Season One Seoul finished eighth in overall standings the majority of the current team roster is fresh blood and the parts which have been kept were some of the stronger parts of the team last season. Here’s hoping Fleta, Munchkin and their new DPS allies FITS and ILLICIT can live up to the hype, because as of now hype is all they really have.

Atlanta Reign

What do you get when you put Pokpo, Nlaaer, Babybay, Dogman and Daco together? A team that really hopes FunnyAstro can make them significantly more competitive against teams that aren’t just NYXL. I have no opinion on this team if the meta were to shift other than that they probably fall in the standings (assuming FunnyAstro’s Lucio doesn’t actually boost the entire squad). Babybay had his moments as a DPS for Shock in season one, but much like Sinatraa I don’t trust someone who’s team was fourth from the bottom last season, except for Sayaplayer- but he is an exception to a lot of rules.

Toronto Defiant

Asher, Ivy and Im37 inspire no confidence in me. I think their tank and support line is passable, but if the weakest section of their team becomes more important? I have less than high hopes. While Im37 may have been somewhat of a ladder star it seems his pickup was based on necessity to fill a role more than proper talent scouting, and just that fact alone me feel like the only thing this team is defying is the hype that Stage One brought them.

Boston Uprising

Now this is a team with some real guns behind it. My respect for Huk’s ability to scout cheap talent gives me good feelings about ColourHex, despite him being an unknown quantity. Blasé doesn’t have much to his name in terms of results, but again I tend to trust Huk’s judgement. This team could do at least as well as they are now in a DPS meta. I’ll even gamble to say they could be much better.

Shanghai Dragons

We have seen some Dragons players strut their stuff on DPS heroes already this season and for the most part they haven’t disappointed. Will they still be impressive if the meta shifts to DPS though? Eh, maybe? I like this team, but for the purpose of building a fantasy lineup I don’t know if any of them are particularly valuable outside of Dding being literally a “value” version of some other star DPS players: likely cheaper and lower average quality but certainly does his job.

Chengdu Hunters

I’m sorry to say it, but Chengdu is losing steam rapidly. For the most part they have been figured out by other teams. Coach RUI is just not capable of netting them impossible wins forever. While Jiqiren’s introduction to the playable roster means their compositional choices will expand, as of now I am not confident in this team being on the top half of the table in almost any situation. So I basically assume they’ll stay about where they are, if not drop a spot or two.

Guangzhou Charge

GZC is a team that feels like its waiting for a meta shift quite desperately. Eileen and Happy are some flashy players who are yet unproven as DPS on the OWL stage. However, much like Vancouver Titan’s Stitch, they have been historically strong and shown incredible flashes of talent. However, I’m going to throw a hat in the ring for my personal wildcard choice of a DPS player: Guangzhou Academy’s Nero.

He is on a two-way contract, currently seventeen and therefore underage for the OWL, but there’s something about this player that I just like. He’s done well in a recent tournament on DPS and to hear him tell it his time in Korea has improved his play by exponents. This player might not be top of the board potential but he has an X factor which might allow him to over-perform for the team he is currently on once he finally turns of age.

Paris Eternal

This is another team that desperately wants a meta shift, though I have little confidence it will do them much in the way of favors. SoOn proved himself as a consistent Widow during OWL’s inaugural season’s fourth stage, but he was surrounded by a much better team those days who could better enable him. All-in-all, this team looks to be trending towards being a French version of Season One Florida Mayhem. If they were a stock and I was broker, I wouldn’t even touch it with someone else’s money.

Los Angeles Valiant

I don’t know where its all gone wrong for this team, I don’t think they do either. However with their current roster holding five DPS players and a new main tank in FCTFCTN, I have to hope they find better footing going forward- especially in a DPS meta. If Custa can play Mercy again, if Bunny Agilities KSF and Shax can fill the SoOn shaped hole in this team’s heart and finally if FCTFCTN can do what Fate somehow couldn’t then this team could return to their golden times if we enter a DPS meta. That is a lot of ifs though, ‘innit?

Houston Outlaws

Alright, cards on the table here, I am a bit of a Houston fan. They fill the hole in my heart left from supporting Fuel, Shock and Dragons last year. Basically, I like bad teams. Should you like bad teams? No. As soon as Outlaws gets bought-out by an org and has some fresh blood on staff they might surge back to their Season One Stage One brilliance, especially in a meta that supports their mostly small but specialized hero pool. Until then, #AnteDown.

Washington Justice

This is going to surprise many, but I have hopes for this roster. Not high hopes but hopes. The pieces of this dregs of the league team are assembling like the Avengers; and at roughly the same snail-pace speed as well. While they may effectively accomplish nothing this season, this team does look set to be strong in OWL’s third season. There is just so much individual talent here. In a meta which isn’t GOATs I will gladly claim this team could be middle of the table- especially with one of NA’s most interesting looking hitscans Corey ready to be back on his main heroes.

Florida Mayhem

I can say nothing positive about this team. For all Justice’s faults, it is clearly building towards something. Dallas Fuel in season one was building towards something. Mayhem doesn’t do that. They shuffle their roster constantly, they’ve banhammered their strong academy team, and if you put a single person that isn’t Sayaplayer on your fantasy lineup, DPS meta or not, I have no idea what to tell you.