Recently, T1 announced that they are holding tryouts for their upcoming Contenders team. This team is expected to be a rebrand for Fusion University, as T1 plans on participating in Overwatch Contenders Korea 2020. For fans of the Philadelphia Fusion, this announcement did not come entirely out of left field, but it is still bittersweet. In October, Comcast Spectator and SK Telecom announced the launch of T1 Entertainment & Sports. Not too much later, FUNI’s head coach, Chris “spazzo” Infante, parted ways with the team, saying that the Fusion planned to have a full Korean staff next season. With only two members left on FUNI’s roster, this rebrand is coming at what is probably the easiest time to make this transition.
The Kings of North America
For two years, Fusion University dominated the North American region. They became well-known for their brash, aggressive playstyle. Watching FUNI play was equal parts exhilarating and exhausting, especially when it came to those Map 5 moments where they would just barely clutch out a win over their opponents.
Eventually, Fusion University became thought of almost like the villain of the NA scene. Everyone wanted to become the team that took FUNI down, but no one ever could. Season after season, the Fusion Uni boys would come back stronger than ever. Even after Zachary “ZachaREEE” Lombardo moved up to join the Dallas Fuel and Elijah “Elk” Gallagher signed a two-way contract with Fusion proper, FUNI continued to dominate.
Fusion University had an almost unbeatable record before their move to Korea. In two years, they won four consecutive titles and only dropped one game against Mayhem Academy, thus ending their 30-0 streak. After losing to Mayhem Academy, FUNI came back with a vengeance and destroyed Gladiator’s Legion in the NA East finals, thus securing their last NA title and qualifying for the Atlantic Showdown.
After dominating at the Atlantic Showdown, Fusion University surprised the Contenders community by announcing that they would be moving the team to compete in Korean trials. In Korea, FUNI blasted through trials but struggled once the regular season began. Losing is not something that this team ever dealt with regularly, and it took its toll. After the Atlantic Showdown, Elk rejoined the team to compete in Korea. However, he was sent home after a unanimous group decision as the team faced loss after loss. In his place, the Fusion signed on Tae-hoon “Fuze” Kim since Carson “CarCar” First had been put on loan with Meta Skyfoxes. While FUNI did not immediately start winning after Fuze joined the roster, they did start to improve. FUNI managed to qualify for playoffs with a 3-4 record but fell to Runaway in the quarterfinals.
Overall, FUNI did okay for their first season in Korea. Korea is the toughest region in Contenders. The fact that Fusion University were able to turn things around on some level is a great accomplishment. Although things did not work out in the team’s favor, they learned a lot and managed to walk away with their heads held high.
The Next Chapter
Yesterday, the Fusion finally announced that Simon “snillo” Ekström is moving on. Many expected this move, as Snillo was not included in the Fusion’s 2020 roster announcement video. He has been with the Fusion since the beginning. He became an important part of Fusion University’s roster after moving to a two-way contract earlier this year. As of now, only Ho-sung “Na1st” Lee and Chang-sik “ChangSik” Moon remain on FUNI’s roster. However, ChangSik’s contract will be up soon. He has announced that he is looking for a new team on Twitter. With Na1st expected to try out for the incoming T1 team, the days of Fusion University are officially over.
Where they lead, fans will follow
Five of Fusion University’s roster has made it into the Overwatch League. Fans can expect to be keeping a close eye on the Toronto Defiant, Philadelphia Fusion, NYXL and London Spitfire as the boys compete next season.
Toronto Defiant: Beast
Adam “Beast” Denton, formerly known as “BeastHalo”, is starting on the Toronto Defiant next season. Beast’s journey to get into the Overwatch League has been a tumultuous one. Although he qualified last year, Beast never made it into the League after a signing attempt with the Chengdu Hunters never went through.
Beast is going to start alongside Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson next year. The Toronto Defiant struggled hard after their Stage 1 success last season. During the offseason, the Defiant acquired multiple new players, including star DPS players Lane “Surefour” Roberts and Brady “Agilities” Girardi. Starting as an all-Korean roster before turning to a mixed roster mid-season, Toronto is hoping to turn things around by adding more diversity to their 2020 lineup.
Philadelphia Fusion: Alarm
Kyungbo “Alarm” Kim is the only member of Fusion University to be pulled up to the main roster. Unfortunately for fans, Alarm was not eligible to join last year due to his age. While fans are disappointed to have never gotten the chance to see Elk and Alarm play together on the Fusion, Alarm is going to do great things. Although Elk has moved on, Alarm will find a great partner in Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway. FunnyAstro will be taking over the slot of main support from Alberto “neptuNo” González. neptuNo is now on the Guangzhou Charge.
The Fusion’s support line has always been a major source of strength for the team. NeptuNo and Isaac “Boombox” Charles became one of the most iconic healing duos in the league. NeptuNo’s aggressive Mercy playstyle caught the eyes of many while Boombox became one of the primary shot callers for the team. While Boombox is still on the team, fans are doubtful he will see much playtime. Alarm is considered by many to be the best flex support in Contenders.
However, Boombox also has experience playing with FunnyAstro. They work well together and have done fantastic things while playing for Team UK. With new head coach Dong-gun “KDG” Kim in charge, there is a chance that both Alarm and Boombox will switch out regularly. KDG has a lot of experience with juggling between two starting rosters after his time coaching for the Seoul Dynasty.
For someone so young, Seung-jun “WhoRU” Lee has an extensive history in the Overwatch scene. Before joining Fusion University, WHoRU was an original member of Lunatic-Hai. Lunatic-Hai is one of the major Overwatch dynasties, and the majority of its original roster became the Seoul Dynasty. Like Alarm, many have been waiting for the day WhoRU became eligible to join the League. There were many whispers that WhoRU would be joining his buddy Zacharee on Dallas, but it is NYXL who is now lucky enough to call WhoRU a teammate.
The NYXL have an interesting DPS situation. With Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim now retired, and Yeon-oh “Fl0w3R” Hwan having left, the NYXL have four players with overlapping hero pools. Although WhoRU is a great DPS player, so are the rest of his teammates. Geolocation might allow for more teams to become more flexible with their starting lineups due to extensive travel. However, the lack of versatility in player’s hero pools might see Hae-seong “Libero” Kim in the projectile spot more often, especially if Mei is to be part of the new meta like many are expecting.
London Spitfire: Bernar and Fuze
Unlike Beast and Alarm, Se-won “BERNAR” Shin and Fuze are going in blind. The London Spitfire have parted ways with all of their 2019 roster save for Yung-hoon “Krillin” Jung. The inaugural championship team is unrecognizable going into 2020. Fans of the Spitfire have every right to be upset with the team’s decisions, especially considering how expensive homestand tickets are. After all, why would someone pay that much money to see a team they don’t even know?
However, London is gaining two great players in BERNAR and Fuze. While Fuze was not on FUNI for that long, he helped them turn things around when things were dire. BERNAR has always been an incredible flex tank. He is extremely consistent in his gameplay and will be a great asset to this team going into the 2020 season. They will be joined by more Contenders talent as the Spitfire move home to London. Many are doubtful of how this team will do, but if fans can put their faith into anyone, it’s BERNAR.
Follow me on Twitter: @Sybil_OW for all things Contenders! You can also message me on Discord @ Sybil#3517! I’m always happy to discuss anything I’ve written!
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