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Contenders Breakdown: Chinese Academy Teams

Chinese Overwatch has grown rapidly of late, both in terms of talent and exposure. Team China’s performance in last year’s World Cup proceedings and the flashy styles of Chengdu, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and Shanghai have shined a new spotlight on the region’s players – and spurred those teams to develop academy squads to support them.

These four academy teams offer greater depth and complexity to their parent teams, and the region as a whole. Below lies a short breakdown of each team and what one can expect from them.

 

LGE.Huya (Chengdu Academy)


LGE (formally known as LinGan e-Sports) will be showing a very new look this season. He “Molly” Chengzhi and Chen “Lengsa” Jingyi will be reprising their role in the backline for HGE, and Tang “KaMi” Yitao returns as a solid Flex DPS. Zhong “Haker” Haotian, Chen “ATing” Shao-Hua, Dae-Han “JMAC” Choi, and Min-Jun “PIGGY” Shin round out the roster, and from there our conversation really kicks off.

Photo Courtesy of Liquidped

ATing is arguably the biggest pickup for the squad, given his performance with last season’s PAC champions Hong Kong Attitude. While China often shies from GOATS comps and their tank-heavy ilk, the strategies the region employs in its stead still require strong front line play – something ATing can hopefully bring in spades. JMAC is also a main tank player, though his starting time vs ATing’s may be an emergency-only scenario – unless, of course, his scrim performances dictate otherwise. With precious little footage available for his play, we’ll just have to wait and see.

PIGGY is a relatively new face in the Overwatch scene – he played for PHOENiX (a PAC team) last season, but has no other teams on record. Despite his relative obscurity, his team made it to the semifinals before falling to HKA – a fact that did not go unnoticed by LGE’s coaching staff, apparently. Keep an eye on him if you’re interested in developing talent in the OT position.

 

Bilibili Gaming (Hangzhou Academy)


It’s hard to fault BLG’s logic when formulating their roster this season. Flag Gaming had a dominant regular season at the end of 2018, playing near-perfectly (short of their Grand Finals loss to T1w). Beyond the pieces pulled from Flag, additions like Zheng “Shy” Yangjie and Feng “Yakumo” Zihan add a nice dash of star power and flexibility. Favored hero lists like Ana/Zen/Widow/Tracer and Genji/Pharah/Roadhog, in a meta as volatile as China’s? Yes please. If the new additions can gel quickly with the core from Flag Gaming, this team is in good shape for a playoff run. As Haus-friend and general Chinese Contenders expert Ieuan “vowels” Hall put it…

 

GZ Academy


BLG aren’t the only team preparing a star-studded roster for a potential playoff push. Guangzhou Academy, much like its parent team, has assembled a multi-national squad of heavy hitters that are ready to throw any foe off kilter.

Won-Jae “Rise” Lee, Charlie “nero” Zwarg, and Chen “OnlyWish” Lizhen are operating under two-way contracts – which is probably why we haven’t seen much of them in Burbank – and are definitely ready to dish out some pain in Contenders. Liu “Century” Shiji is the grizzled veteran this team will need, and wasn’t half bad when playing for Team CC either.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Joining the trio of two-ways is a cavalcade of proven talent, pulled from many corners of the world in a distinctly Guangzhou way. Jang-hyeon “TiZi” Hwang played main tank for RunAway before being signed (and released by) the London Spitfire, followed by a brief stint and similar release from XL2 after they decided to opt for local talent (and other Korean players, because… well, they want to win a game or two at some point, right?)

Dongjian “MG” Wu has done well for himself after the disaster that was Shanghai’s first season – he was an integral piece to Flag Gaming’s success last season, though he didn’t make it (or chose not to go) with many of his other teammates to BLG. He’ll have his chance to show he made the right move soon enough.

To round out this roster – as if it wasn’t already stacked enough – GZ signed Chi-Yeung “Moowe” Yip. Yes, that Moowe. Go watch his performance at the Incheon Qualifier last year, or this clip. Those two performances will tell you everything you need to know.

Beyond the flashy player signings, also keep an eye on former Valiant Head Coach Henry “cuddles” Coxall, who might have the most interesting job in Overwatch right now.

 

Team CC


Shanghai’s academy team has made a number of changes to the roster, which may or may not serve them fairly well after a middle-of-the-pack finish last season. BUTEUK has proven himself a solid coach after WGS’s results last season, and should do similarly well here with CC. Qiu “GagA” Jiaxin and Kin-Long “ManGoJai” Wong are both extremely impressive in their roles, and should hopefully lift the team to new heights – a necessity when considering the sheer bulk of talent present in the region.

 

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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

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