On Monday, Jang Hyeon “TiZi” Hwang’s contract with the Vancouver Titans came to an end. The Titans’ late-season addition was a crucial part of their postseason run and an eventual runner-up finish in the 2019 OWL playoffs. With the Titans reportedly pursuing ChanHyoeng “Fissure” Baek in the main tank position, TiZi is a free agent once again, now seeking his third OWL team in as many seasons. With a wealth of experience and a versatile hero pool, TiZi will make a valuable addition for any team in need of a stable starter or a rock-solid backup. Here’s a look at some of the teams that could have TiZi on their radar.
With an already established main tank in Seungpyo “Rio” Oh, Guangzhou might not seem like the ideal destination for TiZi. Still, it’s one of the few teams left where he could conceivably compete for that starting position. Whether he manages to supplant Rio or settles into a backup role, TiZi will be valuable to the Charge.
Last year, Guangzhou were the youngest team in the league. The team was aware of their youth and even made late-season trades to pick up Joona “Fragi” Laine and Aaron “Bischu” Kim. Neither saw much playing time at all, but their experience had value for a team that was one win away from making the playoffs.
TiZi would be the ideal fit in that role, with the exception that he could possibly contribute in-game, should his name be called. He’s already shown a top-tier Orissa, and his time with Vancouver proves he can handle himself under pressure. For a team looking to make the leap to contender next year, that kind of leadership is hard to find. If that wasn’t enough, the org is already familiar with TiZi after his stint with their Academy team earlier this year.
After signing ByungSun “Fleta” Kim, the Shanghai Dragons have already secured a splashy offseason. They’ve added the superstar to get them over the hump in 2020 after breaking through in 2019. Now they need to do the hard work of filling out the roster around their hyper-talented DPS line.
When Youngjin “Gamsu” Noh signed with the Dallas Fuel, he left a hole in this team. A stable, veteran presence, Gamsu was the face of a Shanghai squad filled with OWL rookies last year. TiZi could fill that same role for a new iteration of the Dragons. His hero pool makes him a safe bet in any meta, and Shanghai will need a leadership figure with some new faces shaking up the roster next season. If Shanghai can find a steady flex-tank to pair with TiZi, they could be poised to continue their trajectory.
This time a month ago, it would have been ludicrous to suggest TiZi would make his way to Paris. Back then, the Eternal fielded an entirely European roster, and TiZi seemed unlikely to leave Vancouver. Time – and the addition of three players from Korean Contenders juggernaut Element Mystic – have made France a viable home for the former Titan.
Now Paris has shifted to a mixed roster, one that seems poised for success after landing perhaps the most coveted Contenders prospect on the planet. Yeong-han “Sp9rk1e” Kim won’t be eligible to play until nearly June when he turns 18, but Paris can get a head start on integrating their newest star. That could mean bringing in a Korean main tank to compete with Benjamin “BenBest” Dieulafait.
As to how TiZi would fit on the Eternal, the tank duo of him and Han-been “Hanbin” Choi could be one of the best in the league. At the very least, he’d be another leadership voice in the team. Outside of Terrence “SoOn” Tarlier, no one on this roster has seen any measure of Overwatch League success. Sure, Element Mystic won the Contenders Gauntlet, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the OWL. TiZi’s background could help elevate the Eternal from a talented mixed roster to an OWL contender.
With Friday’s 8-man roster deadline fast approaching, perhaps no team’s future is more up in the air than the London Spitfire’s. The championship roster from 2018 is gone, sold for cash and parts or released entirely. All that remains of last year’s team is Young Hoon “Krillin” Jeong, who saw a combined 40 minutes of playing time. They’ve picked up the pieces and started anew with the signings of Tae-hoon “Fuze” Kim and Se-won “BERNAR” Shin, but rebuilding is never easy.
In their hour of need, it wouldn’t be surprising to see London turn to a familiar face. TiZi’s time with London was brief and forgettable, lasting a mere three months. TiZi joined as a backup to Jaehui “Gesture” Hong after Fissure was traded to the Gladiators, and he was cut before ever seeing the stage. At that time, London wasn’t able to effectively use their larger roster, so they whittled it down to the championship core.
Now, though, London is in need of a figure like TiZi, someone who’s been around the block a few times and knows what it means to be a professional. He can bring some structure to a team that will be starting from scratch in 2020. At the main tank position, he might have to compete with London’s rumored pick-up, Chinese Contenders standout Dae-Han “JMAC” Choi. If nothing else, TiZi has value as a mentor to JMAC and the young talent the Spitfire are bringing in across the roster.
Featured image courtesy of Ben Pursell for Blizzard Entertainment.
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