Many teams went through changes during the 2019 season of the Overwatch League. However, the LA Valiant’s fall from grace, and rise to the top, was one of the most interesting storylines to follow. After doing so well in the inaugural season, the Valiant started their season by going 0-7 in Stage 1. After an equally crushing Stage 2, it was time to make some serious changes.
With those changes came and an almost entirely new roster. With former Houston Outlaws player Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell joining the team, the Valiant looked different. Stronger, rejuvenated, and able to play outside of a forced GOATs meta, they took away multiple wins. (They even stole the first Stage victory over the previously unbeatable Vancouver Titans.)
Despite their struggles, the Valiant managed to finish just shy of play-ins for the season, earning themselves a much-deserved redemption arc. Now that the offseason has started, FCTFCTN has taken to Twitter to announce his free agency. This means that, as of right now, the Valiant are without a main tank player. With plenty of talent to choose from before games start next February, the Valiant have their work cut out for them in picking a new main tank.
1: Gator, Atlanta Academy
High up on everyone’s list of players to snatch for the new reason is main tank Blake “Gator” Scott. Currently, on a two-way contract with the Atlanta Reign, Gator stood out among the best of the best this past weekend. The Contenders Gauntlet in Korea gave all of Atlanta Academy a chance to shine, and shine they did. Gator performed at an exceptionally high level, and together, he and the rest of Atlanta Academy shut down Runaway in a sweep.
As of right now, the Atlanta Reign have Hyun-jun “Pokpo” Park on their starting roster. Though fans have seen Gator play on the main stage, Pokpo is usually played first, and more often. If Atlanta chooses not to bring Gator up full time, the Valiant could absolutely take advantage of his free agency. With the way the Valiant have been leaning towards a more Western roster, Gator could fit in perfectly with the rest of the team.
2: Chayne, Bermuda Triangle
A Canadian superstar, Shayne “Chayne” La Rocque has been competing and grinding in Contenders for the past two years. Fans might recognize Chayne from his time on the team GOATs. Now known for the infamous 3-3 meta of tanks and supports, Chayne was part of the team to first implement the strategy that effectively changed the game for nearly a year. Since then, Chayne’s been competing on Bermuda Triangle. Additionally, he competed to earn a spot on Team Canada for the Overwatch World Cup.
Despite the ups and downs that this past Contenders season brought to his team, Chayne is a powerful and impactful player. With the amount of work he’s put into grinding and perfect his skill set, Chayne could thrive with a chance to prove himself on the Valiant. After all, there are not many teams that know the story of a lost season like the LA Valiant, and Chayne could find his stride with this team on the rise.
3: Trill, Dallas Fuel
A recent addition to the Dallas Fuel was Austalian main tank, Ashley “Trill” Powell. Fans will recognize Trill from the years he’s been competing on Team Australia for the Overwatch World Cup. Additionally, Trill has been grinding in Contenders, often on a server that’s less than kind to his internet. Despite his struggles, Trill made it to the Overwatch League this past year, earning a spot on the Dallas Fuel. The end of the Fuel’s second season was less than ideal, but Trill insists he’s ready to go.
Currently, Min-seok “OGE” Son is on the starting roster for Dallas. With the insane clutch plays that OGE has pulled off, it makes sense that Dallas wants him at the forefront. Trill has been subbed out more than once, getting a chance to play and shine to the best of his ability. If Dallas prefers to keep things the way they are, however, the Valiant could offer Trill a starting position full time. (Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Trill reunited with his Australian teammate Scott “Custa” Kennedy?)
4: Fusions, Boston Uprising
When the Boston Uprising suddenly traded their superstar main tank Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh to the Shanghai Dragons just two days before the start of the season, they needed someone to save them. Enter British superstar Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth. The new team captain and main tank, Fusions gave Boston a sense of direction in an otherwise tumultuous season and has proven himself as a serious player.
Earlier in the season, trade rumors of Fusions going over to the Valiant were circulating. However, the trade was over before it even began. With contracts ending and a chance to start overcoming in 2020, the trade that never was, could finally come to fruition. Fusions has the shotcalling, the personality, and the leadership to help the Valiant continue their upward trend.
5: Muma, Houston Outlaws
A team in need of some major changes is the Houston Outlaws. Though it’s true that not all of their issues are directly the fault of poor gameplay, there’s no denying that they need some help. The pieces are there, and fans can agree that one of the best pieces on the Outlaws is main tank Austin “Muma” Wilmot. Known for his aggressive gameplay, fans have come to know and love Muma over the last couple of years. He’s been with the Outlaws since the beginning, as well as competing for Team USA two years in a row.
The actual resignation and moving of teams could be the tricky part. The Outlaws are currently under negotiations for a new owner. This means that they don’t have the money, or permission, to make any massive roster changes. Muma could be a far-fetched dream for the Valiant. However, if it’s possible at all, Muma could find a new chance and a new home in Burbank. Together with superstar offtank Indy “SPACE” Halpern, the Valiant could continue to grow.
6: Numlocked, Team Envy
Before this continues, it’s important that everyone knows the history of Seb “numlocked” Barton. In their inaugural season, the LA Valiant signed numlocked to their roster. Between him and former main tank Pan-seung “Fate” Koo, the Valiant saw success in Season 1 that was hard to duplicate their second time around. Since then, numlocked returned to the game in Contenders. Initially, he played for the British Hurricanes before signing with Team Envy this year. At the Contenders Gauntlet, numlocked got to showcase how much he’s grown since his time on the Valiant, and has proven himself immensely since 2018.
It seems almost strange to think about numlocked returning to his former team. However, with the way he’s improved on his gameplay, the Valiant might need to look to their past to find their future. As a previous member of the team, numlocked would surely fit right back in with his old colleagues. The only snaffu that could prevent this reunion would be the addition of his tank duo, Hafþór “Hafficool” Hákonarson. With SPACE always in the starting line up, it’s hard to think about anyone else getting playtime. Perhaps forming two rosters, much like the San Francisco Shock, could be the Valiant’s answer to this possible signing.
As of right now, the official Valiant twitter has not posted anything about signings or departures. Keep an eye on them, as well as The Game Haus, as the offseason progresses for any upcoming signings.
Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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