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Off-Season OWL Team Grades: Atlantic South

With a little under a month to go, the OWL offseason is finally coming to an end. Rosters are essentially set and players have started to fly to their new team houses to get that much-needed practice before the season. Fans can finally get excited for one of the most pivotal seasons of OWL.

Many teams have made significant roster changes in hopes to find that championship squad. Before Blizzcon, The Game Haus gave teams a grade based on their moves. The time has come to change some of those marks. Here are the offseason roster grades for the Atlantic South teams heading into the 2020 season.

Atlanta Reign: A

+ Xander “Hawk” Domecq                                          – Ilya “NlaaeR” Koppalov
+ Tae-hoon “Edison” Kim                                           – Dong-hyeong “DACO” Seo
+ Hugo “SharP” Sahlberg                                           – Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway
+ Chung-in “Mentalist” Kim, Coach                           – Cas “Casores” van Andel, Coach

At the end of 2019, Atlanta had proved themselves to be quite capable of contending with the top-tier teams. It comes to no surprise that Atlanta kept the majority of their roster this offseason, as the core remains relatively strong. But it’s the additions to Atlanta are what may just push the team over to the next level.

Photo: Tonya McCahon For Blizzard Entertainment

Hawk gets the call-up from the Atlanta Academy this offseason, and the promotion is well earned. Alongside Blake “Gator” Scott, Hawk held the front line to a NA Contenders Season 2 Championship, and a 2nd place finish in the Gauntlet. Having a large amount of experience playing with Gator, Atlanta may look to use the former Academy tank line heading into 2020.

On the DPS side, the Reign have signed GC Busan standout Edison, as well as Envy’s SharP. Both players are incredibly talented, but will have to fight to take the starting spot from Andrej “babybay” Francisty. The depth at the DPS slot will easily propel this team to top of the rankings. Backed by the strong support line of Petja “Masaa” Kantanen and Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman, expect Atlanta to be hovering around top 5 for most of the season.

Philadelphia Fusion: A-

+ Seung-hyung “Ivy” Lee                                              – Alberto “NeptuNo” González Molinillo
+ Jun-ho “Fury” Kim                                                      – Elijah “Elk” Gallagher
+ Kyung-bo “Alarm” Kim                                               – Finley “Kyb” Adisi
+ Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway                                 – Simon “Snillo” Ekström
+ Phillip “ChipSa” Graham                                            – Elliot “Hayes” Hayes, Coach
+ Hee-su “Heesu” Jong                                                 – Seh-wi “NamedHwi” Go, Coach
+ Dong-gun “KDG” Kim, Coach
+ Christopher “ChristFer” Graham, Coach
+ Seung-bo “Mobydik” Sim, Coach
+ Joni “Seita” Paavola, Coach

Here we have OWL’s first attempt at creating a super team, at least one that wasn’t already a team before joining the league. Leading the way are the returning duo at DPS, Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee and Josue “Eqo” Corona. The already potent damage line will be supported by Fusion University’s incredible flex support Alarm, and all-star flex tank Fury. With FunnyAstro completing the support line and Ivy waiting on the wings, this Philly team is brimming with championship potential.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

There is however, an elephant in the room – actually 2 of them. The first is leaving Su-min “Sado” Kim as the sole man tank on the roster. Despite playing an amazing Winston this past season, the scientist doesn’t seem poised to be relevant in the meta. His limited hero pool may be something opponents can exploit.

Speaking of limited hero pools, ChipSa is by far one of the strangest signings this past offseason. A well-known streamer, ChipSa typically only plays Doomfist. In a meta where Doom excels, then sure this addition makes a little more sense. But with incoming nerfs to his one character, ChipSa may be riding the bench for the season.

Houston Outlaws: A-

+ João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles                              – Won-hyeop “ArHaN” Jeong
+ Jeffery “blase” Tsang                                                      – Christopher “Bani” Benell
+ Jun-keun “Rapel” Kim                                                     – Jake “Jake” Lyon
+ Tae-hong “MekO” Kim                                                     – Tae-yeong “TaiRong” Kim, Coach
+ Seung-soo “Jecse” Lee                                                   – Hyun-woo “HyunWoo” Kim, Coach
+ Harsha “Harsha” Bandi, Coach
+ Chris “Dream” Myrick, Coach
+ Dong-eun “Hooreg” Lee, Coach

The Houston Outlaws have really outdone themselves this time. Not only did they bring in a good coach in Harsha, the Outlaws solved many of their problems they stumbled into last year. Even though they lost Jake “Jake” Lyon to retirement, Houston made sure to reload their roster with top-tier talent.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

With the recent pick up of Jecse, the Outlaws backline is completely upgraded from last year. The Rapel/Jecse support line is certainly one of the highlights of this new Houston team. If Rapel doesn’t pan out, they have OWWC gold medalist Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty waiting to step back in.

To the surprise of many, Houston signed MekO, giving the team a meta-proof flex tank. Then theres the depth at DPS, which is an incredible boon going forward with all the travel coming this season.

The new-look Outlaws are out of excuses now if they underperform, and expect them to come out swinging in 2020.

Washington Justice: C+

+ Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye                                                     – Hyang-ki “SanSam” Kim
+ Ho-sung “Ttuba” Lee                                                          – Jun-wha “Janus” Song
+ Min-seok “AimGod” Kwon                                                 – Hyeon-woo “Hyeonu” Cho
+ Seetoh “JohnGalt” Jian Qing, Coach                                – Gi-hyeon “Ado” Chon
+ Seung-jun “Sup7eme” Han, Coach                                   – Gido “Gido” Moon
+ Hae-joon “Wiz” Lee, Coach                                                – Nikola “Sleepy” Andrews
+ Christopher “Bani” Benell, Coach

While Washington did show glimpses of great game play towards the end of last season, they were still noticeable weaknesses in that roster. In this past offseason, the Justice made the necessary subtractions to put themselves in a good spot to move forward. However, they didn’t quite do enough to truly help the organization make the next step towards playoffs.

Photo: Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment

With Corey “Corey” Nigra and Ethan “Stratus” Yankel coming back for another year, the Ttuba signing is one of just roster depth. Potentially Washington has something up their sleeves for the Bubble Burster Gaming alum, but as it stands Ttuba will need to earn that starting spot in scrims leading up to the season.

AimGod is a great pickup, if he can avoid the trouble he ran into while on the Uprising. Supporting along with Yeon-joon “Ark” Hong, the Justice back line seem well prepared to make an impact. New main tank rOar on the other hand is a bit of an odd addition, as the Justice signed Swedish tank duo Eliot “ELLIVOTE” Vanyard and Lukas “LullSiSH” Wiklund mid way through last season. Splitting those two up would be an interesting move, but time will tell what the Justice will do with their front line.

Until then, expect Washington to play through Corey for as long as they can get away with it.

Florida Mayhem: B

+ Jun-ki “Yaki” Kim                                                                – Sang-won “Swon” Yoon
+ Nam-jin “Gangnamjin” Gang                                             – Yong-jun “DPI” Choi
+ Dae-kuk “Kuki” Kim, Coach                                               – Jae-mo “Xepher” Koo
+ Min-seok “DOX” Kim, Coach                                             – Jae-ho “RaiN” Park
                                                                                                 – Hyeon-woo “HaGoPeun” Jo
                                                                                                 – Hyung-il “KH1” Kim, Coach

After a second terrible season, the Florida Mayhem may have started to find their core to turn things around. The biggest addition to this roster, by far, is the Runaway support Gangnamjin. A highly-touted flex support coming in from Korean Contenders, Gangnamjin will give a much needed boost to the Florida back line. Tagging along is Runaway teammate Yaki to help solidify the DPS position. The combination of of Yaki and hit-scan specialist Jeong-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha has a ton of potential to be very good.

Picking up Kuki from Runaway is one addition that will give Florida its best shot of turning this team around. He’s shown to be a great leader during his time with Runaway, heading the team as it finished first in Contenders season 2 and a third place finish in the Gauntlet.

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

What Florida did not fix was its issues with the tank line. Pan-seung “Fate” Koo essentially is the only reliable tank within this Mayhem roster. The two midseason pickups Beom-jun “Gargoyle” Lee and San-ha “Karyan” Choi never really made an impact. In Karyan’s defense he didn’t get a chance to play, but Gargoyle didn’t show much as he played in one stage to specifically play Roadhog. It’ll be another tough season if Florida’s front line fail to create space for their playmakers behind them.

 

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Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul and Blizzard Entertainment

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