The 2020 season of the Overwatch League is about to begin. Unfortunately, due to the Novel Coronavirus breakout, some teams won’t be playing anytime soon. For the safety of teams and fans alike, the decision was made to cancel the Chinese Homestands that were scheduled in February and March. At the moment there is no news of where and when these games will be held. How will the Guangzhou Charge be affected by this change of plans?
The threat of the spreading virus has interrupted valuable practice time and uprooted the Guangzhou Charge from their home base in China. According to the team’s Chief Operations Officer, Eddie Meng, the Charge were just getting their pre-season training camp started when the Coronavirus epidemic caused disruption. What started as taking precautionary measurements within the team quickly turned into a forced move to South Korea. Unfortunately, due to visa issues, the Chinese players and staff were unable to make this move so suddenly.
As of right now, most of the Guangzhou Charge have made it to their new home base, and they have since gotten back to training. However, their Chinese counterparts are still missing. Qi “Wya” Haomiao, their new Chinese flex support pickup, will likely not see playtime over Jinseo “Shu” Kim, so his temporary absence is manageable. The team might be missing assistant coach Xiao “creed” Yan, but they still have their head coach and two other assistant coaches with them. The absence that is undoubtedly hurting them the most is DPS player Yiliang “Eileen” Ou. DPS stars Charlie “nero” Zwarg and Jungwoo “Happy” Lee are very capable, but as the most-rotated role, it’s ideal to have all DPS players available to scrim. Hopefully, the team can reunite soon, but the clock is ticking until their first match of the season.
Homestands and Games
With a total of five Homestands scheduled, the Charge were looking at a nice home-field advantage throughout the year, despite a tough travel schedule. In an unfortunate turn of events, the cancellations are taking three of those Homestands away from them. Originally, the Charge’s debut games of the season were set for Week Three, at what would have been their opening Homestand. This could have been a great source of early momentum for the team, but that momentum has now been replaced with chaos.
Now, the Charge’s first game of the season will be held at the Seoul Dynasty’s first Homestand during Week 5. Since the Charge are currently stationed in South Korea, they won’t have to travel far for this match. Interestingly, this is the same weekend that the Hero Pools make their way into the League. Their first opponents will now be the Vancouver Titans, a strong force to contend with. A late start, a new system and taking on one of the most powerful forces known to the Overwatch League. Will the Charge be up for the challenge?
Guangzhou’s following two homestands are canceled as well. This puts the Charge’s second game of the year in Week Nine. This time, their match will take place in Dallas, Texas, and once again they’ll face the giants, or rather, the Titans. The Charge will have almost a full month to prepare for their rematch against Vancouver. If they can take one or both of these wins off of the top tier team, they’ll be in good shape to take on the rest of the League.
(Author’s Note: This schedule is subject to change if the Overwatch League are able and decide to reschedule the matches within February and March.)
The Good, the Bad and the Keys to Success
Once April comes around, the Charge might be able to finally settle into a normal schedule. This has both good and bad implications for the Guangzhou team. On one hand, the Charge may have an advantage by coming in late. One big concern about the Overwatch League format this year is burnout. With constant travel and lack of efficient practice time, this will easily be the most exhausting year for players and staff. The Charge, however, will be feeling fresh after playing one match within eight weeks. This could give them an edge over any teams that might be starting to falter due to the hectic schedule. The Charge can also review opposing team’s matches, giving them plenty of time to come up with counter-strategies.
On the other hand, it might be tricky to get accustomed to the travel and constant new surroundings. Most other teams in the League will be used to the hectic Homestand format by that time. Other teams will have more stage time under their belts. This shouldn’t pose too much of a problem for the mostly-veteran squad, as they spent time on stage all last year. The Charge do have new blood in Nam “Cr0ng” Ki-cheol though, as well as Wya, should they choose to field him. By this time, the other rookies will likely be well adjusted to playing on stage in front of the masses. Hopefully, Cr0ng and Wya can make themselves comfortable quickly with the help of their experienced teammates.
Can the Charge make the best of their situation and come out swinging? Or will they struggle to catch up after starting two months behind? With the right moves and mentality, the Guangzhou team could ace this obstacle course and come out ahead.
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