The IBM Power Rankings will use data and statistics to come up with weekly changes to the Power Rankings.

The Overwatch League 2021 Season kicks off on Friday. Analysts, casters and various community figures have released their versions of the OWL power rankings. But every ranking is different, with a bit of personal bias and opinions affecting the ranking. Last year, Activision Blizzard announced IBM as the AI sponsor for the League through 2022. And now, IBM Watson will feature an Overwatch League power ranking backed by data

IBM Presents: Overwatch League Power Rankings

American multinational company, IBM, has teamed up with the Overwatch League to provide a stats-based power ranking. IBM will use Watson to analyze massive amounts of data to rank players and teams. Watson is a question-answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language.

Power rankings useAI algorithms to analyze every player and team performance in every Overwatch League match. Watson’s algorithm will use data from previous OWL seasons. It correlates the data, assigns weight to each statistic to determine how each factor tips the balance towards a win or a loss.  

The IBM Power rankings will update Monday every week based on data from the previous few days. The power rankings analysis will also release on Wednesdays. 

IBM signed its first esports deal last year when Activision Blizzard announced it would use the multinational company’s cloud and artificial intelligence in its esports league. The multi-year deal put IBM as the official AI, cloud, and analytics sponsor of the Overwatch League. The deal kicked off in 2020 and will continue through the 2021 and 2022 seasons. 

Power Rankings: Pre OWL 2021

The Overwatch League already has its first power rankings up on its website. IBM’s Watson uses data and statistics from the previous two years to arrive at this power ranking. 

The player power rankings powered by IBM Watson. Image Credit: <a href="">Overwatch League.</a>
The player power rankings powered by IBM Watson. Image Credit: Overwatch League.

With a score of 145 San Francisco Shock’s Minki "Viol2t" Park is the number one player in the rankings. The player has been a part of SFS since joining the team in 2018. SFS’ Myeong-hwan "smurf" Yoo comes in a close second with 144 points. The tank player was very instrumental in San Francisco Shock’s OWL 2020 victory. Shanghai Dragons’ Jae-won "LIP" Lee and Byung-sun "Fleta" Kim are the top DPS players in the League based on past years’ performance. 

<em>San Francisco Shock tops the Team Power ranking. Philadelphia Fusion is close behind. Image Credit: </em><a href=""><em>Overwatch League</em></a><em>. </em>
San Francisco Shock tops the Team Power ranking. Philadelphia Fusion is close behind. Image Credit: Overwatch League

Unsurprisingly, San Francisco Shock is the best team in the League according to Watson. Philadelphia Fusion and Shanghai Dragons are close behind. 

The power rankings will change every week. The players’ and teams’ performance through the week will impact their position in the rankings.

What does this mean for Overwatch League fans?

2019-04-27 / Photo: <a href="">Tonya McCahon</a> For Blizzard Entertainment
2019-04-27 / Photo: Tonya McCahon For Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch League fans have had access to various power rankings in the past. While the casters and talents usually come up with their versions of power rankings, various websites also publish their versions of the Power rankings. But these rankings have a subjective angle, and loyalties and personal opinions can impact the rankings. However, IBM’s power rankings will be based strictly on statistics and how the AI can correlate these statistics to player performance. At the same time, it will be interesting to see the accuracy of the stats-based power ranking through the season.

Overwatch League 2021 kicks off on Friday and features twenty teams competing for glory and a 4,250,000 USD prize pool. All matches will be broadcast live on YouTube and will feature OWL Tokens, player cams and 4k streaming

Stay tuned to for the latest Overwatch League news and updates. 

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