The OWL award season was highlighted in a recent announcement on OWL.com. This announcement detailed which awards would be given out this year, featuring some new awards like Role Stars and Rookie of the Year. However, there were some quintessential postseason awards that were missing from the list, including the following awards.
7th Man/Best off the Bench
This award is typical of most traditional sports and is a great way of highlighting a player that may have been missed by some throughout the season. In OWL especially, every player counts and players with certain specialties can be clutch on certain maps for their teams. Sure, some teams don’t have a clear starting six, but any player not consistently in the lineup could have been qualified for this award, maybe with a minimum of a certain number of maps played.
Most Improved Player/Biggest Comeback
This one is especially baffling because of the narrative power an award like this has. Not to mention this season has had some great comeback stories. Players like Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell and Andreas “Logix” Berghmans have had monumental impacts on their new teams after being shown the boot in the Inaugural Season. Highlighting their stories in an award like that is good for fans, good for the league and good for the players. Everyone loves a comeback story, after all.
Top Play/Moment of the Year
There have been some insane plays this year, what better way to celebrate them than to dish out some hardware? This, again, is another easy way for the league to continue to drive more narratives and celebrate its most exciting moments. While Stages 2 and 3 struggled through the heart of GOATS, this award could serve as a reminder to fans that the OWL truly can be exciting and adrenaline-filled.
Or, if the league decided to go for a moment outside of the game itself, the Shanghai redemption moment could be a great choice as well as the OWL’s first-ever homestand in Dallas. Again, lots of great narrative potential here.
Coaching Staff/Head Coach/Front Office of the Year
Of everything listed so far, this one actually might be the most surprising. There is not a single award that highlights a non-player member of any of these teams. With an organization like Shanghai that completely rebuilt, those behind the scenes deserve every bit as much credit as the players do. Overall, if the OWL is looking to traditional sports as the model for a plethora of other things, why not in awards as well?
Instead of Role Stars: All-Rookie 1st & 2ndTeam, All-Pro 1st & 2nd Team, etc.
This last one might be splitting hairs, but the Role Stars just doesn’t seem all that interesting. Instead, why not break it up into more concrete and familiar categories. Especially as the league moves further and further on, seeing which rookies made the all-rookie team or seeing which tanks made the all-tank team (six top tanks) would be more interesting than just calling it Role Stars. Again, of the awards broken down so far, this one is likely the pickiest, but it is still something that seems like it could be reimagined in future seasons to make it more interesting.
Some Questionable Choices Were Made
The choice of awards combined with the questionable MVP voting process has given fans a lot to gripe about in this year’s OWL award season. If Hyojong “Haksal” Kim continues making a serious run late in the season, he may just become one of the biggest MVP snubs in esports history. But, despite all of this, there is still some great OWL action still to come and some very deserving players will receive awards at the season’s end.
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