In an extended interview on the Tactical Crouch podcast, Atlanta Reign head coach Brad “Sephy” Rajani revealed that the team will be fielding a 12-player roster for the 2020 season. “We doubled down on our previous investment,” he said, emphasizing the franchise’s commitment to excellence.
It’s been a transformative offseason for the Reign already, with free-agent pickups Tae-Hoon “Edison” Kim and Hugo “SharP” Sahlberg joining alongside ATL Academy promotions Blake “Gator” Scott and Xander “Hawk” Domecq. The departures of Ilya “NLaaeR” Koppalov, Donghyung “DACO” Seo and Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway leave the Reign at ten players currently signed for next season. Here’s a look at who could potentially fill those last two spots.
Jeffrey “Vizility” de Vries
Of all the names on this list, Vizility might be the biggest longshot. Not because he isn’t worthy, but rather because the Reign have four DPS players on the roster. Though if there’s any position where it makes sense to carry some extra weight, it’s DPS, and three of Atlanta’s DPS are better known for their hitscan play than the projectile heroes at which Vizility excels. Still, Jun “ErsTer” Jeong’s presence makes a backup flex-DPS largely nonessential.
Vizility’s talent is undeniable – he’s definitely on the shortlist of best players on the outside looking in on OWL at the moment. After a stellar World Cup performance and years grinding in Contenders, many expected this to be when Vizility made the leap to an OWL team. Unfortunately, opportunities for European talent have been rare to nonexistent this offseason. With more pressing concerns elsewhere on the roster, Atlanta is unlikely to change that.
Ji-hoon “DayDream” Song and Joon “Fielder” Kwon
When considering the Reign roster as it stands, the obvious choices to fill the final spots would be two supports. If that is indeed the plan, then it might make sense to pick up an already established duo. That this particular pair has a history with Edison and new assistant coach Chung-In “Mentalist” Kim is only a bonus.
The GC Busan Wave support line was a bright spot alongside Edison in the strongest region in the world. Fielder, in particular, stood out even in a stacked field of flex supports. So far, four of his Korean Contenders peers have been signed this offseason, and another, Jeong-ho “MCD” Lee of Element Mystic, was rumored to take this very roster spot.
Clearly, the Reign are interested in adding a Korean flex support, so why not complete the package deal? It would help fill out the mixed roster and offer a low-risk option for a team that already looks elite heading into 2020. DayDream is unlikely to supplant Petja “Masaa” Kantanen in the main support role, but Fielder could definitely give Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman a run for his money.
Gyeong Woo “CoMa” Son
If Atlanta is looking to go with a more established option at main support, then they should look no further than CoMa. The former Shanghai Dragon was a stable presence during a roller-coaster season and helped lift them from punching bag to Stage 3 champion. Eventually released after Shanghai acquired Runaway star Jae-gon “LeeJaeGon” Lee, CoMa is a veteran who’s played through nearly every meta in Overwatch’s history.
He wasn’t perfect in 2019, but he plays every hero to at least an average level. That’s a valuable skill for someone who would likely spend most of the season on the bench, subbing only in case of emergency or rest.
Nikola “sleepy” Andrews
Sleepy had a bit of a rough year in 2019. He was benched twice, first when Minki “Viol2t” Park came of age for the San Francisco Shock and again right before the Washington Justice went on their impressive Stage 4 run. Once considered among the best western flex supports in Overwatch, sleepy’s star has fallen as his teams excelled without him. He enters 2020 with a lot to prove.
Taking accurate stock of sleepy is somewhat difficult at the moment. After a solid, if unspectacular first season in San Francisco, he lost out to a bona fide superstar in Viol2t. He joined a Justice team in shambles midway through the season. Yes, he lost his starting spot to Gi-do “Gido” Moon, but it’s hard to extrapolate from there. Sleepy would be a reclamation project, but maybe a reunion with Sephy could get him back to form.
Steven “KodaK” Rosenberger
This is almost too obvious, but it would be irresponsible to leave KodaK off the list. For starters, the German flex support is already under contract with ATL Academy. After spending much of last season as Dogman’s backup, he joined the Contenders roster just in time to go undefeated in North America before finishing second at the Gauntlet.
If they had the option, Atlanta likely would have made KodaK a two-way player last season, but Gator and FunnyAstro already occupied their two two-way slots. With those two in OWL and the number of two-way spots increased to four in 2020, KodaK could easily fit into that role. He’s a known quantity for the Reign and someone the players already consider a teammate. If given the chance, he can compete for a starting role, especially if Atlanta stops needing Dogman’s comms and leadership. In short, he’s everything one could ask for in filling out the final spots on any roster.
Featured image courtesy of Tonya McCahon For Blizzard Entertainment.
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