Last week, ten teams traveled to Seoul, South Korea, to compete in The Gauntlet. The Gauntlet took place in the historic Giga Arena, and OGN produced the tournament. A major throwback to the APEX days, fans watched as new talent took the stage where most of today’s Overwatch League legends once stood.
This tournament was important for many reasons. Not only did it prove which region was the best, but it also provided a chance for eligible players to show the world what they’ve got. Invitations were extended to every Overwatch League team to send representatives to scout for players to potentially add to their 2020 rosters.
Contenders players are often quite young. Some, like Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong, will not be eligible to play in the Overwatch League until 2022. In this article, two of TGH’s Contenders experts – Kate Shepard and Sam O’Dwyer – take a look at and discuss standouts from Gauntlet that will be eligible for the 2020 season.
Sam’s Pick: CQB
Yang “CQB” Hao-Cheng may not be the first name on everybody’s lips after watching the Gauntlet, perhaps due to the exceptional number of young DPS players that were on show. However, this 21-year-old Taiwanese player was impeccable for the majority of the tournament. The moment that solidified this player’s worth was during the final moments of the fourth map against Gen.G Esports. Talon’s Lucio player was able to build his ultimate at twice the speed of his opposing main support and use it to negate the Korean squad’s ultimate advantage. The timing of a Lucio beat is crucial to the success of a team and the differentiating of Lucio players.
There are several teams in the league that could use a mechanically skilled leader like CQB. The most likely team would be the Chengdu Hunters. They are the only team that predominantly features players from the Chinese region and they already have a Taiwanese player on the roster. This could mean that the Chinese parent organization of the Hunters see no issue with having Taiwanese talent represent them. Furthermore, the main support position is the only role at which Chengdu does not have any depth. Currently, they only have Li “Yveltal” Xianyao to fill the role. The entire Hunters roster is under contract for 2020, meaning they believe in their players and will only be looking for additional depth. Because of this, CQB would be the perfect pick-up for Chengdu.
Kate’s Pick: Kodak
Alongside CQB, Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger had an incredible performance at Gauntlet. Fans were initially disappointed when Kodak announced that he would be permanently moving down to Atlanta’s academy team. However, this turned out to be the best possible move for his career. Kodak has become an integral part of ATL Academy. He’s an incredible Ana and Zenyatta, and his Moira is solid too. While he spent quite some time on Mercy throughout Gauntlet, it was whenever he was able to swap onto Ana that ATL Academy would genuinely shine.
Kodak has already proven himself to be a player worthy of the Overwatch League. Initially starting on the Atlanta Reign’s main roster, it was not until Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman joined the team that Kodak would move to the bench. Both Dogman and Kodak are incredible flex supports, but his colorful personality gave him an edge as the Atlanta Reign looked to build their brand. Although Kodak has been doing well on ATL Academy, it is time for him to rejoin the ranks and find a team that will utilize his skills.
Two potential teams for Kodak could be the Houston Outlaws or the Washington Justice. The Outlaws, in general, are due for an entire roster upgrade. However, one of their main issues has been their support line. Kodak’s experience and talent would be a great addition to the team as they look to rebuild during the offseason. As for the Washington Justice, Gi-do “Gido” Moon and Nikola “sleepy” Andrews are both officially on the market as the Justice work towards revamping their roster for next season. Kodak would fill that spot with ease; something that both of these teams lack is a strong leader, and Kodak has become that leader for ATL Academy.
There is not a single player on the Gauntlet winning roster of Element Mystic that does not deserve an Overwatch League trial. Jeong-ho “MCD” Lee was consistently great across all support heroes but particularly special on Ana. Depending on how expensive this player turns out to be, the economically cautious Boston Uprising team may be a great fit for his talents, given that they recently let go of their entire support line.
It is nigh impossible to condense the talent of each region’s Contenders scene into one scouting list such as this. It should be fully expected that we will see more players from the tier two scene join OWL in 2020 than just the ones listed here. If you want to be just as well informed on which players will be future stars, tune in to the next season of Contenders from your region. Overwatch Contenders is set to begin again in early 2020 alongside the start of the third OWL season.
Keep an eye out for part three of this list in which Sam and Kate discuss their tank picks!
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