The Chengdu Hunters appear to be making roster moves late this off-season. On Friday, the Chengdu Hunters announced that they released main tank player Wei “jiqiren” Yansong and DPS player Zhang “YangXiaoLong” Zhihao (sometimes referred to as YXL).
The Hunters have had an unusually quiet off-season. While other teams have more or less finalized their rosters- the Chengdu Hunters have yet to announce their new Coach officially. After the departure of Coach Xingrui “RUI” Wang back in November, many had long speculated that the team was overdue for some roster announcements. Now with only five weeks of the off-season remaining, what kind of moves might they make?
Main Tank Woes
Main tank player, jiqiren, was benched for much of the season. While he did prove himself to be a solid player in the few cases where he did play, he certainly couldn’t outshine fan-favorite main tank player, Ding “Ameng” Menghan.
Ameng was made famous this year for his iconic playstyle – almost exclusively playing Wrecking Ball. Ameng’s off-meta style became ubiquitous with the Chengdu Hunters playstyle. Jiqiren, on the other hand, had a more conventional playstyle and hero pool. His departure is perhaps an indication that the organization is choosing to double down on Ameng and the Hunters’ uniquely untraditional playstyle.
Jiqiren will likely find a new team in the Chinese Contenders scene. His departure is relatively unsurprising, given the little chance he had to perform.
The DPS Route
Meanwhile, the departure of YXL was a surprise. YXL was more or less a mainstay this season. He and fellow DPS player, Lo “Baconjack” Tzu-Heng, often subbed in and out – but in terms of time played, YXL had more matches under his belt.
The DPS duo of YXL and Yi “JinMu” Hu was considered a dynamic duo this season. YXL was a competent player but was overshadowed by JinMu’s flair. Both players are incredibly flexible, although their hero pools often overlapped.
Now with Huang “leave” Xin joining the ranks, who has a similar flexible hero pool, the overlap could be considered unnecessary. Again, it is more than likely that YXL will be picked up by a Chinese Contenders team. His late-exit makes it improbable that he will get a chance to try out for another Overwatch League team.
The Hunters in 2020
With two slots opening up in the Chengdu Hunters roster, who might fill these positions?
The Overwatch Beacon, a Twitter account dedicated to translating and reporting on the Chinese Overwatch scene, has posted in recent weeks some rumors circulating in China. According to the Beacon, off-tank player Tianbin “Lateyoung” Ma is considering leaving. Lateyoung, another player who spent much of the season on the bench but is a reasonably popular player.
The Beacon also reported that the Hunters are looking to add one Main Tank player and one support player to their roster. With a Taiwanese main tank player, Chen “ATing” Shao-Hua, who played in Chinese Contenders, as a possible new addition.
More announcements are sure to come soon as the start of the season draws closer.
Featured photo credit to Chengdu Hunters Official Twitter Page
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