It is a common misconception that tank play requires less skill due to its reduced mechanical requirements. Although a sensible understanding of abilities and combat is required, positional awareness and team coordination are traits sought after by all successful tank players.
Tank presence can make or break an engagement. Main, or shield tanks help provide cover and protection for a composition; Dive tanks can utilize their mobility to push an engagement to an area an opponent would not prefer to engage. In both instances, tanks are here to create space for their team to take full advantage of their available arsenal. Supports gain the cover and map advantage, while DPS can acquire shooting lanes and advantageous map points to engage from. In the Overwatch League, we have seen engagements won and lost at the hands of overwhelming tank play countless times.
In OWL, the fight can shift in an instant. The abilities and ultimates available for a team’s tank line can keep a team in the fight or even win it outright. Main, and off-tanks each have very important roles for their teams. A team’s main tank watches the front line, commonly shot calls to make their team aware of the incoming engagement, and proceeds to open space for the rest of the team to thrive behind. A team’s off tank will commonly function as their main tank’s squire. Defending their fellow tank’s positioning and offering a solid foundation for back line support.
With season two right around the corner, dozens of pros will be put on display for thousands of viewers. Many rosters have not been finalized or even begun to show form yet; however, from last season’s experience, world cup performances, and streamers regularly showing their stuff, we can determine which tank duos are ready to put on a show in season two, and which are set to struggle.
Breakout: Muma & Coolmatt (Outlaws)
The tank line for the Houston Outlaws was a high point for the Texas squad for a majority of season one. Austin “Muma“ Wilmot finished the season ranked as the league’s top Orisa, third ranked Reinhardt and fourth ranked Winston. According to Winston’s Lab, Muma had never dropped below seventh in any of these main tank roles throughout the season. His instincts are incomprehensible.
His off tank, Matt “Coolmatt“ Iorio, remains a flexible part of the Outlaws composition. With D’va as his main focus, Coolmatt finished his first season ranked tenth among D’va players within OWL. Often showing skill on Zarya and occasionally flexing to Hanzo, Coolmatt offered excellent off tank play for a team working against the season one meta.
Houston suffered greatly in season one having no clear Tracer to excel in a meta that required such a role. Even without the preferred compositions, Muma and Coolmatt offered enough leadership and grit to help swing several victories. With the meta shift and Brigitte’s introduction at the conclusion of the season, OWL fans were offered a glimpse of what is to come in the coming season for a team ready to embrace the meta.
Sleeper: Fissure & Zunba (Dynasty)
Frankly, there is no denying Chan-hyung “Fissure“ Baek’s impact in the Overwatch League. Starting season one as a bench player for the London Spitfire, Fissure was soon dealt to the Los Angeles Gladiators in a sudden deal that surprised even him. With a language barrier separating communication with a majority of his new teammates, fans were skeptical of his immediate impact with the Gladiators. After finishing stage one with with a 4-6 record, earning them eighth place in the overall standings, the Gladiators began a dominating run to the Stage four finals.
Fissure’s time in LA came to an end after internal issues lead to the Gladiator’s decision to bench Fissure for their playoff run. Now with the Seoul Dynasty, Fissure looks to pair with Seoul’s off tank Joon-hyuk “Zunba“ Kim to pick up the pieces left by recently departed main tank, Jin-hyuk “Miro” Gong.
Fissure’s dominance at the main tank position is second to none. His success is the team’s success. Fissure’s arrival fills Seoul’s largest hole and it seems to be a perfect fit. With an already stacked roster, look to see Fissure and Zunba as a top tank duo throughout season two.
Bust: Poko and Co. (Fusion)
Many could argue, the tank position is a team’s most important position, while damage requires the most skill. Consistency with both is key. Unfortunately, inconsistency could show to be the Fusion’s downfall in season two.
Philadelphia proved to be an offensive powerhouse this past season. Recently released DPS George “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha is a starting caliber DPS headed to a fresh new roster for season two. His replacement, Josh “Eqo” Corona showed exemplary synergy with his partner Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee following Eqo’s takeover. The devastating combo of Eqo and Carpe easily overwhelmed opponents and helped pave the way for the Fusion’s trip to the Grand Finals.
While their DPS found their groove, Philadelphia’s tank line seemed to flow with the wind last season. Philadelphia opened the season with French sensation Gael “Poko“ Gouzerch on off tank, and the Finnish Firework Joona “Fragi“ Laine as their main tank. Some of the most unreal Self Destructs from season one came at the hands of Poko himself. Fragi on the other hand, could always be found at the front line gaining absurd amounts of ult change through his aggressive playstyle. The hyper-aggressive playstyle of Fragi showed results at both ends of the spectrum. His heroic charges either offered big play potential or devastating defeat for the Fusion.
As the season wore on, Philadelphia began featuring their flex player, Hong-joon “HOTBA“ Choi and their previously suspended tank, Su-min “SADO“ Kim. All four players managed to pull off insane plays throughout the season. The only question is, who will lead the Fusion to redemption in season two? Poko seems locked in, but Fragi, Sado and Hotba all seem to offer a different advantage for the Fusion. The challenges faced in managing such a talented tank core could prove to be Philadelphia’s misfortune. Once a duo with balance is formed, the Fusion have a real chance to compete this year.
Featured Photo Courtesy of Play Overwatch
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