Esports Overwatch

Overwatch: Pacific Division Season Two Headliners

Headliner

In season one of the Overwatch league, dozens of popular players were able to enter the ring and show the world how dominant they could truly be on the world’s stage. Season one’s All-Star Weekend allowed these Overwatch icons to be paired and against the best in the business. Fans voted for their favorite players to compete in a series of matches, leading up to the main event pitching each divisions best against the another.

Considering the Atlantic roster comprised of a majority of the New York Excelsior’s starting roster, the Pacific roster represents a more diverse group of OWL All Stars. These stars were brought together by the votes from their supporting communities. In turn, these votes brought out some incredible talent from a variety of teams.

The Pacific Division’s roster included:

  • Chan-Hyung “Fissure” Baek—Dynasty, tank
  • Scott “Custa” Kennedy—Valiant, support
  • Se-Yeon “Geguri” Kim—Dragons, tank
  • Byung-Sun “Fleta” Kim—Dynasty, DPS
  • Je-Hong “Ryujehong” Ryu—Dynasty, support
  • Young-Seo “Kariv” Park—Valiant, support (starter replacement for Seagull)
  • Brandon “Seagull” Larned—Fuel, flex (retired)

To the misfortune of Dallas fans and Overwatch fans alike, the prominent streamer Seagull had earlier announced his retirement from Competitive Overwatch to focus on his streaming. Valiant support player Kariv joined the diverse roster in Seagull’s absence.

With season three of Contenders underway and season two of Overwatch League around the corner, which players enter season two with high expectations? Apart from the recently revealed Chengdu Hunters and the much anticipated Vancouver roster, each Pacific team currently has a starting roster available for February’s season debut. Bearing in mind Chengdu and Vancouver wont be represented in this list, eight players from the remaining eight divisional teams will be represented below.

Here are the Pacific Divison’s team headliners for season two:

Dallas Fuel: Timo “Taimou” Kettunen

Headliner
Photo Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

After a rough start to season one, Dallas really seemed to find their way as they cruised unexpectedly into the Stage Four playoffs after missing the previous three. After pushing the beastly New York Excelsior squad to a fifth game, Dallas finished the season on a high note.

Taimou remains an integral part of the Fuel’s engine of success. His elite skill set spans over an absurd amount of heroes. Known for his elite Roadhog and Widowmaker gameplay, Taimou can regularly fill on heroes such as, Hammond, Sombra, Brigette, McCree, and even Torbjörn. This flexibility will offer less restriction for compositions after committing their starting six to a map. With Overwatch currently flooded with the use of hard counters to compositions and heroes, flexibility can help offer more availability to these counters.

After completing his stint with Team Finland at the Overwatch World Cup, Taimou is sure to help ignite a fire under Fuel fans heading into season two.

Guangzhou Charge: Hong-joon “HOTBA” Choi

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Photo Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

With their roster and colors finally revealed, the Guangzhou Charge join Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu as cities representing Chinese esports in season two. With the winless Shanghai Dragons struggling to find any sort of rhythm in season one, Chinese fans are hoping to unveil a multitude of wins to rebound from the Dragon’s poor first season.

Hoping to annex some seasoned talent, Guangzhou looked to the runner up Philadelphia Fusion. The tank-heavy Fusion were happy to oblige by sending veteran flex tank, Hotba to start for Guangzhou. This commits the Fusion to their three tanks, Gael Poko Gouzerch, Joona Fragi Laine and Su-min SADO Kim.

Hotba’s success with the Fusion was inconsistent but promising. His stage four presence relinquished fan favorite Poko of his starting flex tank role for a time. Unfortunately, each of Hotba’s dazzling moments would be overshadowed by another missed opportunity. His true value to Philadelphia came in his flexibility. During the Fusion’s playoff run, Hotba filled valiently on hitscan DPS, flex tank, and support when needed.

The Charge gain a key veteran presence on their young squad. Hotba is sure to have eyes on him early in Guangzhou’s debut season.

Hangzhou Spark: Xu “guxue” Qiulin

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Image Courtesy of the Hangzhou Spark

With pink in the mix, The Hangzhou Spark are sure to generate a lot of support from the fan base for their looks. They can walk the walk, but can they talk the talk? First guess? Maybe. With a bonafide main tank like Guxue coming onto the scene, fans have more thank pink jerseys to be excited about.

The breakout Team China star went toe-to-toe with some of the world’s best at the position at this year’s World Cup. After facing both Finland’s Fragi, and Canada’s Félix “xQc” Lengyel before reaching the finals, Quxue squared up with Korean main tank Pan-seung Fate Koo to close out the tournament. Korea’s performance proved to be the only thing standing in Guxue’s way as the dominant Koreans quelled the Chinese upset.

His experience within both seasons of Contenders China also leaves room for optimism. After finishing second in both seasons with LGD Gaming, Guxue helped show his World Cup success wasn’t a fluke.

A strong consistent main tank only makes more space for your team to thrive behind. The young star may lack Overwatch League experience, but Guxue could potentially impact the Spark at a comparable level to Chan-hyung Fissure Baek’s with the Gladiators in season one.

Los Angeles Gladiators: Lane “Surefour” Roberts

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Photo Courtesy of Robert Paul of Blizzard Entertainment

One of the shining stars of the Gladiators roller coaster season was Surefour’s Widowmaker. Due to the Gladiators’ slow start, the team really hadn’t had a chance to really show their potential. After Fissure’s arrival, it was “Shields Up” from that point forward.

Fissure’s addition solidified LA’s main tank position with one of the best in the business. His presence offered protection for their Finnish support duo of Jonas Shaz Suovaara and Benjamin BigGoose Isohanni. The success of the support and tank lines really began to highlight the Gladiator’s talented DPS core.

Surefour was a bona fide starter. Not only that, but his strong season one performance left the community buzzing. After narrowly missing out of stage and league finals appearances, Surefour faced off against some of the best Widowmakers in the league at All Star Weekend, taking the title of best Widowmaker duelist in dramatic fashion versus the one and only Jae-hyeok Carpe Lee.

With their roster balanced, and the arrival of new, promising talent, Surefour and the Gladiators could be strong contenders in season two.

Los Angeles Valiant: Indy “SPACE” Halpern

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Photo Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

With control over California on the line, the Los Angeles Valiant start out season two behind the eight ball after losing their star hitscan DPS player Terence “SoOn” Tarlier to the newly formed Paris Eternal. His absence does create a considerable hole of which the Valiant must fill to remain competitive.

Valiant flex tank player Space truly looks to be that game-breaking piece potentially ready to carry in the spotlight. His campaign in season one helped lead the dominant Valiant towards a stage four championship and the top seed in the Pacific heading into the Grand Finals.

With GOATs and other metas surrounding tank play dominating competitive play, a dominant flex tank offers more flexibility and win conditions for a roster looking for success.

Space’s performance in season one played a large role in his selection to Team USA. Despite their early exit at this year’s World Cup, Space and Team USA finished the qualifying stages surrendering only three maps to the opposition. Combining a superb flex tank with current reigning World Champion South Korean main tank Pan-seung Fate Koo could potentially carry this team to some early victories.

San Francisco Shock: Jay “sinatraa” Won

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Photo Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The San Francisco Shock seemed left out of the California hype in season one. With both LA teams finding their success late in season one, the Shock struggled to replicate their neighbors accomplishments. Despite a talented roster, San Francisco never seemed to dazzle fans the way the Gladiators or Valiant could. A sub .500 team with many changes over the off-season hopes to shock its doubters and field a much more competitive product for season two.

It starts and ends with Sinatraa. As one of the most talented players in the world, Sinatraa has, and will continue to be fun to watch going forward. What the organization needs to do now, is find where he is most effective.

Sinatraa’s time with Team USA did a wonderful job of highlighting his versatile hero pool and superior usage of his “tactical crouch.” Although Team USA’s World Cup was spoiled by Team United Kingdom, Sinatraa’s vast hero usage showed to be a saving grace when used properly, and ultimately their own undoing when not kept in check. Much of USA’s problems derived from the team’s irregular shifting from Hero to Hero in their match against Team UK.

Season two will be an interesting experience for the young Shock squad. Moving on from four of last year’s roster, San Francisco will have plenty of scrims in their future in preparation for season two.

Seoul Dynasty: Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu

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Photo Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

A man who needs no introduction, Seoul Dynasty Captain and flex all-star Ryujehong is on the verge of a big season. The Dynasty themselves entered season one as overwhelming favorites before even playing a single match. Due to internal struggles, those expectations came crashing down as the Dynasty would fail to qualify for a single stage playoff run throughout season one. Much of their failure was due to their inconsistent main tank, and flex DPS play.

With a roster consisting of stars like “Jehong,” Byung-sun Fleta Kim and Jin-hyuk “Miro” Gong, fans were certain Seoul’s Dynasty would begin with season one. Unfortunately for Seoul, Miro proved to be a shadow of his former self. The star main tank showed to be a detriment to the Dynasty roster as the season wore on.

With no alternative in sight, Jehong shifted from support, to tank. It was a strange sight to see, but the captain stepped up. Regularly playing a variety of roles for the Dynasty and fighting through the lost season towards greener pastures, Jehong’s talent and flexability showed a glimmer of hope for the once proud squad.

Fissure’s addition breathes new life in Seoul’s season two hopes. After several depth additions, the Dynasty look to bounce back to their former glory with the veteran captain ready to work.

Shanghai Dragons: Min-seong “diem” Bae

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Image courtesy of Shanghai Dragons

It can’t get any worse for the Shanghai Dragons, and it certainly won’t. The winless Dragons entered the off-season ready for change. After retaining only three players from their season one roster, Shanghai now sports a new look. The majority Korean roster now headlined by Contenders standouts diem; formally of Lucky Future Zenith, and the KongDoo Pantera duo of Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang and Yong-Jin “YOUNGJIN” Jin.

What’s different? Plenty. The retained players have gone through the most grueling season imaginable for a player of any sport. The experience gained through those troubled days will be of upmost importance to this team’s success in season two. The additions will join veterans Eui-Seok Fearless Lee, Se-yeon Geguri Kim and Weida Diya Lu for season two.

After a first place finish in both seasons of Contenders Korea with Lucky Future Zenith, diem joins the Dragons as their primary hitscan specialist. A new Widowmaker enters the fray to challenge the league’s best. Diem remained one of the highest anticipated signings of this offseason, with many teams interested in acquiring the young DPS for good reason. The new young core of the Dragons offers a tremendous upside to the once winless team.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard

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