Overwatch League Stage 2: Shanghai Dragons visa problems

The second stage of the Overwatch League is upon us. The Shanghai Dragons were the undisputed worst team of the first stage of the Overwatch League. Their record currently sits at 0-10, but they were starting to show promise the last two weeks. Largely reported before the first stage came to a close, the Dragons ended up signing three professional South Korean players to their roster. They also inked Sky to a deal, another player from China. With their recent play and fresh players, many thought that the Shanghai Dragons could open the second stage strong.

Waiting behind Red Tape

Overwatch League

Fans are hoping they see this screen more often during stage two.
Source: Robert Paul and Blizzard Entertainment

Unfortunately, the Dragons won’t have their new players just yet. All four, Geguri, Ado, Fearless and Sky are currently waiting on their visas. Work visas can take a while to attain, and that might spell bad news for the Dragons. Even if expedited the Dragons could be without their new signings for up to or more than half the stage. While everyone will hope the process is able to be sped up, it’s becoming clear that they’ll at least miss the first week. If the Dragons play as they did in the first stage, this could mean a chance for the stage playoffs is already out of reach. The projected time frame for the Dragons’ new arrivals is mid-way through week three. Following their performance on stage one that could mean these players join a team looking at a dismal 0-5 record. That may only give the new players a greater reason to play and win, but it could also burn down their spirits before they even have a chance to play a match.

Underdogs of the Overwatch League

Stage one had the Boston Uprising. In stage two, no one is expecting the Dragons. While there may be other teams more suited to taking the League by surprise like the Dallas Fuel or the Florida Mayhem, no one expects the Dragons. If they can string together some wins and push for a stage two playoff spot, they’ll be a fan favorite. In fact, they already are. The Shanghai Dragons have the highest selling jersey in the Overwatch League. The fans are there, and they’re hungry for wins. This energy, plus the late addition of new players, could just fuel a storybook run for the Dragons. With no wins in their first outing on the Overwatch League stage, there really is nowhere to go but up for this team. So the question then becomes, how do they get their first win?

The Path to Victory

Overwatch League

Source: Twitch and Blizzard Entertainment

Shanghai’s path to victory will begin Wednesday as they take on the Dallas Fuel around 6 p.m. pacific time. With new roster players on the way, they’ll have to make do with what they’ve got. The team cohesion really started to turn around during the final two weeks of stage one. Shanghai is most definitely looking to carry that momentum and energy into their first match of stage two. Saturday they’ll go up against the hometown Los Angeles Valiant. The Dragons have the tools to win, with two talented DPS players in Undead and Diya. Roshan and MG have also been great at playing the tank-line. Their main problem has been with their supports. Freefeel has been the most constant in their support rotation. Fiveking and Altering split time during the first stage, with Fiveking coming on strong toward the end. With a big nerf to Mercy entering this stage, will the meta shift in Shanghai’s favor?

Overwatch League Stage 2: Shanghai Dragons visa problems

The second stage of the Overwatch League is upon us. The Shanghai Dragons were the undisputed worst team of the first stage of the Overwatch League. Their record currently sits at 0-10, but they were starting to show promise the last two weeks. Largely reported before the first stage came to a close, the Dragons […]

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3 Things We Learned in Stage 1

Stage one is in the books and this is what we’ve learned. Stage one of the inaugural season of Overwatch League has come and gone. First off I would like to say congratulations to the London Spitfire on winning the stage one playoffs over the New York Excelsior. A lot transpired during the first stage […]

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Dallas Fuel

Will New Talent Help Ignite the Dallas Fuel’s Flame?

Dallas Fuel’s Situation:

As teams evaluated themselves throughout the early weeks of Stage 1, the free-agent signing period began. For some teams they assessed their roster size, for others, their player and hero pools. With raw talent available on the market and three more stages ahead, teams looked to gain a strategic advantage against their competitors. For the Dallas Fuel, who started Stage 1 with a 3-7 record and were below expectations, they a hit home run during the free-agent signing period. Not just one home run, but potentially two. The Dallas Fuel signed Dylan “aKm” Bignet to their roster and are also reportedly in the works to acquire Dong-Jun “Rascal” Kim from the London Spitfire. Both are exceptional DPS players when using their respective heroes and have a history of success in Overwatch.

The Addition of aKm

Prior to the start of the Overwatch League, players and fans were shocked that aKm didn’t appear on any of the teams’ rosters. Former Rogue teammates Terence “SoOn” Tarlier and Benjamin “Unkoe” Chevasson, who now play on the Los Angeles Valiant, noted that he was one of the best players not in the league. Known for his hitscan prowess, with his time on Team Rogue and Team France during the Overwatch World Cup, aKm is one of the mostly deadly Soldier 76 and McCree players in the game. His positioning and accuracy during team fights is uncanny, quickly picking enemies off with two or three headshots in a row. When adding aKm to their arsenal, the Dallas Fuel hope to gain some flexibility in the DPS role. Currently, only Hyeon “EFFECT” Hwang from the Dallas Fuel plays McCree on a consistent basis. With the addition of aKm, the Dallas Fuel hope to burn bright again and perhaps kindle a new rivalry against former teammates on the Los Angeles Valiant.

Acquiring Rascal

The second big roster move for the Dallas Fuel: the acquisition of Rascal from the London Spitfire.

Courtesy of Liquipedia

Even though Rascal rarely saw playtime during Stage 1, he is a highly talented and respected player. Before the Overwatch League, Rascal played in Korea for Cloud9 KongDoo and was known for his Sombra, Genji and Pharah play. Rascal’s consistency in the DPS role helped his team secure many Top-3 finishes. Rascal who used to play alongside Birdring on Cloud9 KongDoo, now finds himself in the backseat while on the London Spitfire roster. If the Dallas Fuel end up singing Rascal, more consistent play time could help him regain his prowess back. With the addition of Rascal, the Dallas Fuel would also gain a consistent Genji and Pharah player – something that the Dallas Fuel drastically need… consistency.

Looking Ahead

Stage 2 of the Overwatch League begins on February 21st; Dallas Fuel takes on the Shanghai Dragons in the second match of the day. With new roster moves and the free-agent signing period ending on the 21st; will the Dallas Fuel be able catch fire, turning their losing record from Stage 1 into a winning one during Stage 2?

 

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Overwatch

Overwatch Week 2/13 News

On the off week between the Overewatch League stages one and two, there’s still plenty of news and reports coming in. With game director Jeff Kaplan talking about upcoming hero changes, to reports of new players joining different teams, there’s something for everybody. After the exhilarating five weeks of Overwatch, many teams look poised to change-up strategies. Some teams like New York Excelsior and the London Spitfire are oozing confidence coming into the second stage. Others, like the Shanghai Dragons and Florida Mayhem will look to turn their season around.

Play Symmetra you cowards!

Currently Overwatch has 26 heroes available to play. Their roles vary between offense, defense, Overwatchtank, and support. Symmetra is placed within the support role. Many who play supports have a problem with this, as currently her only viable way to support is to use her ultimate. With this, she may either place a teleporter or shield generator. She has no ability to heal, and only a minor moving shield she can deploy. This is the main problem with her role as a support. She is not viable when compared with others like Ana or Mercy. These heroes can heal and sustain their teammates. Symmetra, for this reason, is incredibly difficult to fit into a team composition.

Because of all this, Symmetra was the only hero that did not see any playing time during stage one of the Overwatch League. This led to many humorous posts and posters clamoring for someone to show her some love, much like the photo to the right. The good news is that Jeff Kaplan knows Symmetra isn’t on par with the other heroes. In a recent forum post, Kaplan stated that, “Symmetra will require more work to get into a better place and therefore take longer to address”. Ideas for the hero have not been revealed, but it is a good sign that the development team knows there is more to be done to do her justice.

Hanzo, what could have been

Another hero that has been receiving tweaks and ideas for improvement is Hanzo. The main problem players have with Hanzo is that his ability scatter arrow rewards players for aiming at an enemies feet. This was not the intention of the ability. As a sniper, Hanzo and his abilities should focus on a player’s aim. Geoff Goodman took to the forums to share some of the ideas the Blizzard development team had been working on.

Overwatch

Source: Play Overwatch and Blizzard Entertainment

The first attempt they tried was giving Hanzo a fast-moving, shield piercing arrow. While it required aim, the team felt that it’s piercing nature was still frustrating to those utilizing the utmost positioning of barriers. They then focused on keeping scatter arrow but changing its properties. Instead of splitting into multiple arrows as it currently does, they tried making it a ricochet mechanic. With one or even two bounces, the arrow was deemed fair, although incredibly hard to use. It would require extreme knowledge of every map, and how the arrow would bounce off each area. While fun to use, it wasn’t a consistent enough ability that would lead to players feeling let down.

A final rework was a new ability. It would be a reload of his cooldowns, and would require around two or three seconds of animation to effectively use. While it seemed like a good fit for his scatter arrow, the recon ability of sonic arrow became to powerful with such fast resets. Ultimately, Goodman ends the post saying that while none of these have worked, they’ve narrowed what can be done to make Hanzo more rewarding to play.

 

Overwatch League receiving Girl Power

Rumors and reports are abound that the Shanghai Dragons are looking to add some more players to their roster in an attempt to perform better during stage two. One of the most intriguing of these are reports of the team signing professional Overwatch player Geguri. Geguri is actually Kim Se-yeon, a South Korean pro player. If these reports turn out to be true and the Dragons do sign Geguri, they will add the first female player to the Overwatch League. This is exciting news as it would allow a breaking of the gender barrier. Geguri is an extremely talented player who can add a new energy and dynamic to a struggling team. Her play as Zarya is actually so well executed, many professional players reported her for cheating. Geguri was cleared of any cheating by Blizzard, and many who accused her issued apologies for doubting her ability.

(Update: She has officially been signed according to reports)

Check out a few highlights of her play on Zarya here.

The Dragons are also reportedly in the mix to sign a few other Korean players. Both  Lee “Fearless” Eui-Seok and Cheon “Ado” Ki-hyun are set to join Geguri in signing. If this is true, that would mean that Shanghai is not ready to call it on their Overwatch season and that they’ll continue to tweak their roster to find the best fit. With three more stages to go, there is plenty of time.

A Shift in the Meta?

Overwatch

(Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment)

Stage one of the Overwatch League featured the latest patch applied before the stage began. Now, the teams will have to adjust to a different patch. Two of the key heroes of stage one have been nerfed.

Mercy is the most notable, as her Valkyrie will no longer be the focus of every team fight. With a fixed one resurrect charge, her time in the meta may fall out of favor for other supports. This could allow Ana and Moira to shine. Their abilities fit a more up-tempo style of play that could see teams like the Dallas Fuel having a better record. Junkrat is also receiving a nerf to his concussion mine damage. Instead of doing a flat-rate of damage, the damage will now fall-off with distance from the mine. While this does make Junkrat technically weaker in general, the aiming abilities of many of the top players should still be able to utilize his mine’s effectively.

Sombra has also had some new tweaks placed on the public test realm. Her hacked medpacks will no longer give her ultimate charge. To balance this, her hacking and EMP would now effect more abilities. While this is a balancing act, many feel that it will allow Sombra to flourish more in a competitive scene. With a key support in Mercy receiving major changes from stage one to stage two, many teams may switch their play styles. This is what Overwatch is all about, constantly shifting the meta. The dive meta will most likely reign supreme, but Mercy may find herself sitting on the sidelines.

 

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Overwatch League stage one playoff scenarios

Stage one of the Overwatch League is coming to a close this week and the scramble for the playoffs begin. The New York Excelsior and London Spitfire currently sit at the top of the league, but the fight for the final spot is still very much in play.

Bubble teams

Currently, four teams sit at 5-3 and one game behind the Seoul Dynasty (6-2). Los Angeles Valiant, Houston Outlaws, Boston uprising and Philadelphia Fusion have an outside shot of sneaking into the playoffs. Each of these teams are not only 5-3, but are at least in striking distance in the game differential.

For one of these teams to pass the Dynasty, it’s going to take some serious help from the San Francisco Shock and Valiant. Fortunately for the Valiant, their chances at a playoff spot are in their hands. The Valiant and Dynasty will match up in the most important match of week five. The Valiant will not only have to win, but win several games.

If the Valiant find a way to beat the Dynasty, losing more than one game is not an option. A win will get them close, but it will require a dominant effort. Avoiding a game five is imperative, especially with Seoul facing a bottom four team to end out the season. All of the teams sitting one game outside of the playoffs will be huge Valiant fans on Friday.

Based on the schedule, the Valiant have the best shot of any team to make a playoff spot. The rest of the teams will either play each other or face the top-two teams in the Overwatch League. However, the Fusion and Valiant end stage one against the Shanghai Dragons (0-8) and Florida Mayhem (1-7).

Photo via Overwatch League Twitter

In the Houston Outlaw’s case, they went on an 18 game winning streak, and are now in the best position to overtake that third spot. Despite a tough ending to stage one, their +14 almost secures them a tiebreak victory if both teams end with the same record. It will take some crazy bounces of good luck, but there’s a chance the Dynasty miss the stage one playoffs. It all comes down to Friday.

Battle for the one seed

Yes, the battle for that final spot is intriguing, but even more important is the battle for the one seed and the first-round bye. The London Spitfire and New York Excelsior took care of business against the Seoul Dynasty, but a loss here would force the loser right back into a rematch with the Dynasty.

Obviously, that’s not a death sentence. Both teams are capable of dispatching the Dynasty, as they did in week three and four, but earning a free walk to the title game and avoiding a potential upset at the hands of the Dynasty is important. Even the Outlaws and Valiant look dangerous enough to sneak out a few playoff wins.

The first round bye most likely decides the winner of stage one. At this moment the London Spitfire sit atop the leaderboard at 7-1. A win on Saturday will clinch the title, as it will for the Excelsior. Nothing is set in stone for the final week of what’s been an incredibly exciting stage one of the Overwatch League.

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Featured photo via Overwatch League Twitter

 

Overwatch League Power Rankings

Overwatch League Power Rankings: Stage 1 Week 4

We will be releasing these weekly before the week’s matches get started, so make sure to check back in.

As we head into week 4, we saw some surprising results last week. With the top dogs going down, the power rankings have been shaken in a major way for the first time since week 1.

12. Shanghai Dragons 0-6 (matches against excelsior & spitfire)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIt is not only their record that is keeping them in last. Just about every match they have played so far hasn’t been close. They have won a total of four maps this entire season. Overall, they just look completely overpowered and out of sync. Their DPS can’t seem to keep up with the many strong duos throughout the OWL.

That being said, they have looked better. Going into week 3, they had only won one map. This past week, they won three and sent the Fusion into a map five. While they lost, they looked more coordinated and like they were starting to get into a groove. It is possible that they have figured out some of their major issues and may be able to pick up a win, but we highly doubt it will be this week as they face the Excelsior and Spitfire.

11. Florida Mayhem 1-5 (Matches against Gladiators & Shock)

Overwatch League Power RankingsOne would think that this team would be doing much better. They have struggled mightily, and last week was no different. They seem to always give a fight at the beginning, then once they get down, they putter out. Their team chemistry doesn’t seem to be there, and that was their main advantage over most of the other teams heading into this season.

This week, they play against two beatable squads in the Gladiators and Shock. San Francisco in particular could be a good matchup for them. If they can come together as a group and win their games this week, they could climb up the power rankings pretty quickly.

10. San Francisco Shock 2-4 (matches Against Outlaws & Mayhem)

Overwatch League Power RankingsOn our preview and recap videos, we have been saying for awhile that the Shock need to get away from just relying on Babybay. Well, they have that part down, but sadly, he is dying at a very high rate as teams are focusing him. He has died 437 times, which is about 200 more times than Birdring. They need to protect him and just try to win as many games as they can until Sinatraa is old enough to play sometime around the third stage.

San Fran starts off this week against one of the hottest teams in the league. If they can upset them, that will help their stock quite a bit. As for their match against the Mayhem, this is an opportunity for them to get their third win against a team that has struggled. If the Shock can pull out a win this week, they will have separated themselves from the bottom tier.

9. Dallas Fuel 1-5 (Matches against Fusion & Excelsior)

Overwatch League Power RankingsYes, it is a little odd to have a team with one win above the 2-4 Shock, but records don’t mean everything. The Fuel have had a tough schedule and have struggled more than just about any team with their chemistry. They have plenty of talent and showed it last week by getting a win. If they can bring themselves together and finish out maps, which are things they have struggled to do, then they will be looking a lot better.

This week, their schedule does not get any easier. They play against a solid Fusion team to start it off and then against the Excelsior, who knocked off the Dynasty last week. If they can pull out one win this week, they will be looking a lot better and could maybe finish the stage with a decent record.

8. Los Angeles Gladiators 2-4 (Matches Against Mayhem & Uprising)

Overwatch League Power RankingsWe are having a hard time completely reading this Gladiators team. They show so much promise in some games, like when they went toe to toe with the Valiant. Then they got swept by Houston, who is a good team to be fair, but the Gladiators just looked overpowered in those games.

This week, LAG face a very beatable Mayhem and should be able to play a competitive match against the Uprising. If they can finish this week at .500, they will move up the power rankings. Also, it will make their playoff chances a lot higher, which is something we have to start looking at as we head into week 4.

7. Los Angeles Valiant 4-2 (Matches Against Fusion & Uprising)

Overwatch League Power RankingsThis Valiant team is almost starting a trend for themselves. They went 2-0 in week 1, 0-2 in week 2, then 2-0 again last week.

Could they fall victim to themselves this week? Superstition aside, this team is similar to their LA counterparts, but better. They have more positive moments and look like they could beat anyone at times, then they look very beatable at others. If they can stay even keel, expect this team to make some noise.

In their week 4 matches, the Valiant are playing two teams on the rise in the Fusion and Uprising. This could be the week where we see who the Valiant truly are. Winning both of this week’s matches will put the Valiant very near the top and show they are a true force in the league. Losing both will may point out where they will need to improve for the next stage.

6. Boston Uprising 3-3 (Matches Against Gladiators & Valiant)

Overwatch League Power RankingsBoston pulled off probably the biggest surprise of the Overwatch League thus far. Beating London proved that this team is starting to put it together. Not only that, but they went on to beat a Fuel team that is looking much stronger than in previous weeks. This could be a team to watch in their last four matches as they could be giant killers for the rest of the stage.

This week, they play both of the hometown favorites in the Gladiators and Valiant. If their win against the Spitfire wasn’t just a fluke, then their winning streak could easily go to four games. This is a scary team if they catch fire, and everyone in the league should be on the lookout for them.

5. Philadelphia Fusion 4-2 (Matches Against Valiant & Fuel)

Overwatch League Power RankingsPhilly beating New York was amazing. It showed they are actually a good team. Everyone had wondered going into week 3, and they made their mark by going 2-0 and beating arguably the best team in the league. Their goal now is to make sure they solidify their spot as a a top-tier team and make the Stage 1 playoffs.

This week, the Fusion will be facing two teams that are looking to build off their week 3 success. Overlooking either of them would be a huge mistake for Philly. They will have to bring their best and win both games to have a chance to make it into the top three and have a chance at the Stage 1 title.

4. Houston Outlaws 4-2 (Matches against Shock & Dynasty)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIs there a hotter team than the Outlaws? Probably not.

Jake and LiNkzr are showing why they are one of the best DPS duos in the league. They have won four straight matches and 16 straight games. All of that being said, they have not played a top six team in the last two weeks. We know they can beat lower-tier teams in a convincing fashion, but they will need to do more in the coming weeks.

This week, they start off against the Shock, who they should be able to beat relatively easily. Then they play their toughest team since they played New York in week 1, the Seoul Dynasty.

Houston is right outside of the top three because of their two losses, but their map wins are 19-6, which is second only to the Dynasty’s 20-4. They need to win their first match and take at least a map or two off the Dynasty to push their way into the top three.

3. London Spitfire 5-1 (Matches Against Dynasty & Dragons)

Overwatch League Power RankingsLondon suffered their first loss of the season to the Uprising. They had been looking beatable, but were still easily a top-tier team. Most are assuming their loss comes from a lack of playing together and having many good players on one team. They will need to keep working on team cohesion in order to stay in the Stage 1 playoffs at the third spot.

This week, they face arguably the best team in the league in Seoul. Then they face the worst in the Dragons. If they can win their first match against the Dynasty, they will be sitting pretty not just in the power rankings, but they will also most likely make their way into the Stage 1 playoffs because they should easily beat the Dragons.

2. Seoul Dynasty 5-1 (Matches Against Spitfire & Outlaws)

Overwatch League Power RankingsIt was really hard putting this squad at No. 2. They’re the only Korean team with a loss to another top Korean team. The Excelsior showed the Dynasty’s weaknesses last week, and trust us, there aren’t many. That being said, they easily deserve a top-tier spot and will most likely continue to stay up here.

Seoul has the hardest schedule this week. They will face the other Korean squad in the spitfire and then face arguably the hottest team in the league, the Houston Outlaws. The Dynasty will get to show the league what they are made of. Will they crumble to another Korean team and the top US team, or will they prove everyone who said they were the best team in the league correct? We personally cannot wait to find out.

1. New York Excelsior 5-1 (Matches Against Dragons & Fuel)

Overwatch League Power RankingsAt No. 1 we have NYXL. Even though this team lost to the Fusion, they were able to beat the Dynasty.

What does that means? Who knows? It probably doesn’t matter though as they were able to win without playing Pine at all. It might be that Pine is exclusively used on Ilios, but either way, New York proved why they are the top team with that win.

This week should be relatively easy for the Excelsior. They play a Dragons team that they should 4-0 and a Dallas team that has failed to put everything together. We expect the Excelsior to win and most likely hold this top spot as they prepare for the Stage 1 playoffs.

 

We hope you have enjoyed our power rankings! Please let us know where you have the teams or let us know if you disagree with where we put your favorite team. Check back next week to see where we place everyone after what is sure to be an exciting week 4.

 

Featured image from alpha.wallhaven.cc

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

New York Annouces Team Name and Roster for the Overwatch League

In a formal announcement to the world, the New York ownership group of the Overwatch League revealed their new name, logo and roster, according to Jacob Wolf of ESPN. Without further ado, I present the New York…Excelsior?

This can’t be right. Excelsior? The word to describe superior quality at hotels and newspapers? Ok, I’ll give them a pass on the name. Finding a catchy, marketable and familiar name is hard. That’s fine. I’m sure their logo will make up for the team name.

Photo via https://blizzard.gamespress.com/Esports-Overwatch

…what happened? The last thing I remembered before passing out was some blue wavy lines that…oh no, oh god no, it can’t be…

Yes, the decision on the logo and team name are, uh, interesting, but the decision makers got one thing right: the roster. It won’t be the most talented roster, but it will be good enough to compete against the best teams. New York will have a high-powered Korean team that should generate some excitement.

Let’s make it clear, the Overwatch League is going to be chalk full of talent on the player end, but an ownership group filled with inexperience on the esports end might not be fully prepared for what’s to come. I’m not here to criticize a new, innovative league that is trying to build the scene, but there seems to be a disconnect between the fan base and the owners.

The New York Excelsior join the Shanghai Dragons, Seoul Dynasty, Boston Uprising, Dallas Fuel and last but not least the Las Angeles Valiant, for the inaugural season. London’s team announcement will be soon along with the six remaining cities.

Luckily, despite the disconnect, the league will be highly competitive. Overwatch, as a competitive entity, is still a mess in terms of the structure of the scene. The Overwatch League will be a remedy to fix that with all the talent available in the pool. At the very least, it will centralize everything and is guaranteed to capture the interest of potential fans.

Is the Overwatch League out of touch with h fans?
Now, this has little to do with silly names and ridiculous looking logos. It has more to do with a league that has invested millions of dollars into a game that’s still building a following. The 30 million player base is clouding the minds of executives making the competitive Overwatch scene feel bigger than it actually is.

Photo courtesy of twitch.tv/ogn

Approximately, OGN’s Apex gets 23,000 views on Twitch per broadcast (courtesy of esc.watch). Now Apex might not be the bet control to get an accurate number for how many Americans are tuning into Overwatch broadcast. From what I’ve seen, most Overwatch streams don’t get over 30k viewers. It’s dramatically smaller than the biggest games in esports currently.

Important to realize, there’s a major difference between a casual and hardcore player. 30 million players might sound sexy to potential investors, but that’s no guarantee of a successful league. Popular games have failed in the past to gain a competitive audience, as the game has to be exciting to watch more than anything.

Thankfully, the majority of fans are outside of the United States. Even if the American population doesn’t take to it, Asia and Europe have plenty of fans to fall back on. It’s the job of the league to take that player base and turn it into fans. First time in esports history, fans can cheer for their hometown team. It’s a great opportunity to really build something sustaining in esports.

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