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Esports Overwatch

Overwatch League: Guangzhou Charge Season Preview

Guangzhou Charge

The Overwatch League is bringing in eight new teams and the Guangzhou Charge are one of them. This team boasts a roster of players from many different nations. They are hoping to have a similar season as the Fusion and surprise everyone as their roster gels together.

The Roster

Sado
HOTBA by Robert Paul and Blizzard

Head Coach: Cho “J1N” Hyo-Jin

Assistant Coach: Jung “Tydolla” Seung-min

Assistant Coach: Hong “Sungwoo” Sung-woo

Special Correspondent: Li “Tutu” Qiong

Main Tank: Oh “Rio” Seung-pyo

Flex Tank: Hong-Jun “HOTBA” Choi  

DPS: Ou “Eileen” Yiliang

DPS: Lee “Happy” Jung-woo

DPS: Finley “Kyb” Adisi

DPS: Charlie “nero” Zwarg

Support: Kim “Chara” Jung-yeon

Support: Chen “OnlyWish” Lizhen

Support: Kim “Shu” Jin-seo

Support: Lee “Rise” Won-jae

Coaching Background

The head coach of the Guangzhou Charge for Season 2 is the former Meta Bellum coach, J1N. He led the Korean contenders team to two semi-finals in contenders Korea seasons 1 and 2. Before this, he played on the Korean teams MiG Frost and AF.Blue, before moving to the Chinese team, Solution Gaming as a coach. As a result of this, he has past experience in leading a roster of mixed languages and playstyles, something that the Charge believes is very important for their diverse roster.

Courtesy of: Guangzhou Charge Twitter

The assistant coaches of this expansion team consist two other former Meta Bellum coaches, Tydolla and Sungwoo. Tydolla was previously a pro Korean player who played on notable teams such as Afreeca Freecs, ROX Orcas, and MVP Space before moving to coaching in mid 2018. Sungwoo was another player turned coach who used to play for the team Negative Synergy before leading DeToNator.KOREA, an all Japanese team, on an undefeated Contenders Pacific Season 1 run.

It is also worth noting that the team took on Li “Tutu” Qiong (previously known as Chixiaotu), a former Chinese commentator who worked very closely with the 2018 China world cup team. Tutu was brought on as a Special Correspondent for the Charge.

Player Background

When looking at the players on the Charge, the first noticeable characteristic is the wide diversity of the player base. While the Charge don’t represent as many nations as some teams from Season One, such as the Dallas Fuel or the Philadelphia Fusion, it is the only team that combines players from Korea, China, and the west, effectively combining three very different playstyles and strategies into one team. Analysts are divided over this approach; some believe this could cause Shanghai Dragons levels of breakdown in communication, while others believe J1N and the rest of the diverse organization staff can help unify these different players.

Guangzhou Charge, Kyb
Photo courtesy of Liquipedia

The Charge are also going into this season with only one returning Overwatch League player; this being HOTBA, who was a trade from the Philadelphia Fusion. While the rest of the roster may be new to the LA stage, there are certainly some recognizable faces amongst them. A strong Meta Bellum core is transferring over with the coaches, and should provide a strong support and main tank combo that has worked together before. Nero and Shu are also notable North American contenders players, these two having worked together on Toronto Esports before this. Eileen and OnlyWish have been recognizable names in the Chinese scene, specifically the former for his performance on the 2017 Chinese world cup team. And to round out the roster we have Kyb, another world cup name, though this one from the 2018 United Kingdom team. Only time will tell how the parts of this team will be able to function together when they play their first match on February 15th against the Chengdu Hunters.

The Schedule

With the new format of the schedule, there are 28 games, playing against every team at least once.

These are the teams Guangzhou faces two times this season:

  • Chengdu Hunters
  • LA Gladiators
  • Shanghai Dragons
  • Dallas Fuel
  • Seoul Dynasty
  • San Francisco Shock
  • Hangzhou Spark
  • Vancouver Titans
  • LA Valiant

What To Take Away From This

These are all of the Pacific teams and the Charge will be looking to establish themselves within the division. While the top of the Atlantic is pretty heavy with talent throughout. They will start the season by facing off against Chengdu which should be a win but then they face the Titans twice and both Los Angeles teams once in stage 1. This will likely be their hardest stage for the Pacific opponents with stage 3 looking like their easiest.

The Charge, will face these teams once during season 2:

  • Atlanta Reign
  • Philadelphia Fusion
  • Houston Outlaws
  • Boston Uprising
  • Washington Justice
  • London Spitfire
  • Paris Eternal
  • New York Excelsior
  • Toronto Defiant
  • Florida Mayhem

What To Take Away From This

As was stated before the Atlantic is very top heavy in terms of talent and the Charge will face the big dogs three straight weeks during stage 4. The Fusion, Spitfire and Excelsior will likely all be vying for playoff positioning and thus they will be taking these games very seriously. If the Charge can come together and be playing at their peak near the end of the season then hopefully they will be able to take some maps and maybe win a game or two off that group.

Player to Watch

Overwatch World cup
Ou “Eileen” Yiliang

The Charge have a decent number of playmakers at their disposal, but likely the name you’ll be wanting to take note of most would be the 18-year-old Chinese DPS star, Eileen. He was too young to play in the first season of the Overwatch League, however he has plenty of experience under his belt. He has been playing with LGD Gaming for nearly two years now, helping the team reach a second place finish in both Contenders China seasons 1 and 2, and he was also on the 2017 Chinese world cup team, which finished in the Top 8. He is highly renowned for his skill on various projectile DPS heroes, most notably his Genji.

Eileen himself wants to make a large impact on the scene, especially being such a young player as he is. His goal for the Charge is of course to make playoffs with the team, and he says that while the language barrier has been difficult, the team is working together to overcome it. Indeed, if Eileen can demonstrate his continued skill and work with his teammates despite the language issues, he can help demonstrate not only the Charge’s idea of mixed rosters being viable, but that Chinese players still have a strong spot of their own in the Overwatch League, and have earned their place at the table with the rest of the big scenes.

The Playoffs

After watching the Seoul Dynasty preseason match many people are hyped for this Guangzhou Charge team. While they have a lineup of players from around the world, it was clear that the talent is there along with the communication. There were times when they all seemed to be on the same page and if they can continue to build those lines of communication this team could make an impact.

As for there playoff hopes it will really depend on communication and ability to adapt. They seemingly have a talented roster but are they talented enough to make that ever important transition to the big leagues? This will be a question for every team but if players like Eileen and the tank duo can meld together this team will definitely be fighting for a playoff spot in their first season.

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