Welcome back to my unscientific (and totally arbitrary) evaluation of each brand in the upcoming season of Blizzard's Overwatch League. After scoring the Houston Outlaws, San Francisco Shock, Shanghai Dragons and Los Angeles Gladiators, let's move on to our next quartet of teams ready to be dissected.
This time I look at the Florida Mayhem, Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Valiant and London Spitfire.
As a refresher, here are the criteria on which each franchise is being graded:
Team name (out of 20 points) -- It all starts with a good team name. If you fail here, it's almost impossible to make a comeback.
Logo (out of 20) -- With every good team name comes a good logo. A poor team name can sometimes be saved by a strong logo, but that's uncommon.
Promotion (out of 10) -- How is the team doing with its promotional videos and images? Is it drawing in new fans with interesting content before the games begin?
Merchandise (out of 10) -- Do the team uniform and other merchandise (including in-game skins) look good? Would anyone buy the team's merchandise and actually wear it out in public unironically?
The first date test (out of 10) -- You're on a first date with someone you've never hung out with before. During the date, you tell them "I'm a fan of the ..." and watch for their reaction. If telling them the team you support makes you want to die of embarrassment, that's not a good sign.
Team name: Why couldn't you just be the Miami Mayhem? I know the team is representing Orlando alongside Miami, thus the Florida name, but do you know how many points were left on the table with the lack of alliteration? At least five. What could have been ... (10 points)
Logo: I really enjoy this logo. Tip of the hat to the Mayhem for a simple but effective logo that fits well with Miami's -- I mean Florida's -- party beach lifestyle. The palm tree as the fuse of the bomb is cute, and the giant "M" makes me wish this team was called the Miami Mayhem. Come on! (15 points)
Promotion: The team's only video content so far is a 10-second clip where an animated version of the logo explodes to present the team's name. No real content on the team's six players (who needs substitutes anyway?) or any big push to put the team in the spotlight just yet. I like the short video the Mayhem put out, though there isn't enough out there for me to give them many points in this category. (2 points)
Merchandise: I know the Dallas Fuel have a Jack in the Box sponsorship, so I'll be disappointed if the Mayhem can't get something together with McDonald's after seeing their merchandise. The skins and uniforms are bright yellow with red trim, and at least the Mayhem stand out from the rest of the pack. The real winner of the Mayhem merchandise is the black and red hat with the team's primary logo on it, which is one of the best hats available from any of the teams. (6 points)
The first date test: "Is that some sort of club?" Your date would look at you perplexed, wondering why you're talking about a nightclub in Miami on a first date. You try to explain that it's an Overwatch League team with a character named Junkrat as its mascot, and your companion has already jumped over the table to get away from this situation. (2 points)
Overall score: 35 out of 70
Team name: I catch myself disliking this name one minute before liking it the next. On the plus side, it's a three-syllable name, so that means crowds can easily chant it at events to annoy people. That's a huge plus. It's also easy to remember and rolls off the tongue well. On the other hand, the team is called the Fuel. The Dallas Fuel. I'm going to split the difference here. (10 points)
Logo: This is a pretty good logo. The blue flame can be used well as a primary logo and also be connected just as well to the team's secondary one, spelling out the team's name. It looks good on the merchandise, and the blue/silver color scheme is a win. The Dallas Cowboys fans will be happy with this decision. (15 points)
Promotion: So far, so good when it comes to promotion for the Fuel. The team has one of the most active Twitter accounts, and the team's introduction video was clean, highlighting each player nicely, and made it clear who the faces of the team are. This team is one of the most diverse Overwatch League teams, and having each player's face and ID presented is a good start. I would have liked to have seen a flag from each player's home country in the introduction, but nothing is perfect. (9 points)
Merchandise: All the merchandise for the Fuel looks great. The blue/silver skins are flashy but not overly so, and the team's dark blue jersey with the secondary logo on the front is one of the better ones in the league. To (literally) top it off, the hat with the primary flame logo in blue is something that could be worn out at a game or in a casual situation without people wondering what the heck you're wearing. (9 points)
The first date test: "Oh, sorry, I don't really drink energy drinks. Is that like Red Bull?" Dallas Fuel sounds like a new kind of energy drink or workout program, which, to be honest, is better than a lot of the other responses these names would produce. So I'll consider this a soft pass for the Fuel and its future line of energy drinks with Brandon "Seagull" Larned's face on them. (6 points)
Overall Score: 49 out of 70
Los Angeles Valiant
Team name: While I prefer pluralized team names like the "Gladiators" and "Dragons," Valiant is one of the best singular names. It's sharp and gives the team an identity before it even plays its first game. The team's organization, Immortals, prides itself on its transparency and doing the right thing over simply winning, so Valiant does a good job of reinforcing its values. (16 points)
Logo: Another win when it comes to the logo. The golden valkyrie helmet forming a "V" in the middle is brilliant. The bright green and gold color scheme is one that pops out and sets it apart from the blues, blacks and oranges that dominate the league. The logo fits the name and does a great job putting the right foot forward before the Valiant even play their first game in the league. (18 points)
Promotion: The promotion ... has been, uh, interesting. The team introduced its roster one day at a time on Twitter instead of with a video, and it wasn't long before the team's MS Paint skills were called out for a lackluster roll-out reveal. The team eventually made fun of itself by the end by embracing it, so I have to at least give the Valiant two points for finding humor in their mistake. (2 points)
Merchandise: A good logo and color scheme generally means solid merchandise, and the Valiant are no exception to the rule. The green and gold jersey isn't too tough on the eye, and the team's skins should be a hit when they reach the store. Another win for the Valiant. (9 points)
The first date test: "The what?" This is an interesting one. If your date knows what "valiant" means, you'll know they have a pretty decent vocabulary. In some ways, this could be a positive. Even if they do know what the word means, they're still probably going to think you're talking about a new superhero movie or comic book. (5 points)
Overall score: 50 out of 70
Team name: Great team name. People will argue if the team should be "Spitfire" or "Spitfires" forever, but I'm fine with either. It fits with the city the franchise is representing, and it's just overall a pleasant-sounding name. (18 points)
Logo: Snazzy logo, too. The cloud blue, white and orange mesh well together in the primary logo, and the shield resembles more of a traditional sports and soccer (yes, I know it's football in London) brand overall than a lot of the other teams. (18 points)
Promotion: The Spitfire introduction video had an actual Spitfire aircraft used in it, so that's at least like eight points right there. The rest of the video is nothing special -- the team's 12-man roster introduced with generic highlights -- and the team hasn't really promoted much outside of that. But the team used an actual Spitfire. I didn't see the Shanghai Dragons use a dragon in their intro video. (8 points)
Merchandise: I might be in the minority when it comes to the Spitfire merchandise because although I like the name, logo and almost everything about the team, I'm not a big fan of the merch. The team colors work in the logo, and yet I feel like they clash when on a jersey. I feel the same about the skins, unfortunately; bright colors can work, as I think they do in the logo, but I'm not feeling the merch. Maybe it's just me. (3 points)
The first date test: "Wait, we already ordered drinks. Do you want me to get the waiter?" The London Spitfire kind of sounds like an exotic fruity drink that a bartender lights on fire, a display that does little to the drink itself but forces you to tip more when the night is done. "London Spitfire" sounds cool regardless, so there shouldn't be too many issues on the date. (7 points)
Overall Score: 54 out of 70
Ranking thus far:
Houston Outlaws (63)
Los Angeles Gladiators (62)
Shanghai Dragons (59)
London Spitfire (54)
Los Angeles Valiant (50)
Dallas Fuel (49)
Florida Mayhem (35)
San Francisco Shock (25)
Editor's note: Part 3 coming Monday.