The OWL will be adopting a new format in 2020, where the Atlantic and Pacific Conferences will be divided into two divisions of five teams each. Some teams will look very different in an effort to get better while others look the same. With the league starting on 8th February 2020, let’s start our 2020 season preview with the Atlantic Conference North Division.
Boston continues to be the team that picks up unknown players and under-impresses. The Uprising come into 2020 off of another near-complete makeover in adding Jerry, Myunbong, Swimmer, Munchkin, brussen, and Mouffin. Brussen was part of the impressive Netherlands World Cup team, and Munchkin has been a capable DPS for Seoul, but this team still has to look to Fusions and Colourhex for any leadership. Boston does have a new coaching staff, made up of Mineral, iLka, and Ascoft, all with varying degrees of success Boston has managed to make this work before in Season 1, but given what a disappointment the Uprising was in 2019, I do not expect Boston to do that much better in the Atlantic Conference North Division.
London has suffered some of the biggest downgrades of any team this offseason. Imagine going from Season 1 OWL champions with Profit, Gesture, Bdosin, Fury, Nus, and Birdring, and now ending up with unknown players like Schwi, Fuze, SanGuiNar, JMAC, and Bernar. I do not doubt all these new players were picked up due to their skills, but with Seoul, the Gladiators, and Philadelphia reaping the benefits of already proven players, it’s hard to get excited for this new talent. London only made it as far as the play-in tournament last season, and given the other teams in the Atlantic Conference North Division, I expect them to miss the playoffs this year.
New York Excelsior
New York are still the class of the Atlantic Conference North Division despite the loss of Pine, Meko, and Fl0w3r. The team still has the core that made them hard to beat in the regular season in Saebyeolbe, Libero, Mano, Jjonak, and Anamo, who have worked together no matter what the meta has been the last two seasons. The additions of Hotba, WhoRU, and BiaNcA is just replacing some weapons with equally capable ones. With so many returning players and the same head coach in imt, I expect New York to continue dominating their Atlantic competition in 2020 and make a deep playoff run.
Paris is in a precarious place right now, as one of their Korean offseason pickups, Sp9rk1e, will not be eligible to play until he turns 18 in May. Still, for a team claiming to represent the best of Europe, the Eternal severely underperformed after starting 2019 strong. The returning Europeans are augmented with several additions from the Element Mystic team, including Sp9rk1e and coach Rush. The addition of NoSmite on main tank is odd given his failure to impress on Hangzhou. If the Europeans cannot integrate their new Korean talent together quick, I expect Paris to stay around the same spot they were last season.
Toronto has done the most significant upgrades this offseason, building a largely new roster with Agilities, Surefour, Kellex, Nevix, and Beast. With three Canadian DPS stars on the team, the team should have no problem drawing in Canadian fans who do not like Vancouver’s all-Korean direction. The team also has a new coaching staff in Frenchmen Fefe, Lilbow, and Albless. Since this is a newly assembled roster and coaches, the team may take a while to fully gel. But with the talent assembled and a meta more favourable to DPS players, the Defiant should be one of the biggest surprises of the season. Keep an eye out for their odds if you’re into OW Betting.