The Game Haus

The Good, the Bad, and the Maybe’s of the OWL Off Season

owl 2019

It’s been over a month since the Grand Finals in Philadelphia, and many teams have shaken up their rosters in major ways. For better, or for worse, looking to 2020 is what every team has on their mind. With the League going global, things like travel and burnout are coming into play. The location of the team home makes a difference when it comes to signing players.

As such, teams have lost a lot of staples to their brand, and fans have seen some shocking news. Some of these risky moves have been made for the better. Others, however, don’t really make much sense. And in the middle are choices that fans will have to see play out before deciding if the risk was worth it. Going over the good, the bad, and the maybe’s of the OWL off season gives everyone a chance to prepare for what’s sure to be an amazing 2020 season.

Good: Swimmer to the Boston Uprising

Finally, finally, Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy has made it into the Overwatch League. Fans of the Boston Uprising, and their academy team Uprising Academy, have been following this main support for over a year. A Lucio specialist, Swimmer brings energy to the game that professional crave. A love for the core of what Overwatch is and a passion to always get better makes Swimmer one of the most positive players on the scene.

With the departure of their veteran support, Kristian “Kellex” Keller, Swimmer gets his chance to shine and rise up. Alongside his former Uprising Academy main tank, Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth, and his current offtank, Walid “Mouffin” Bassal, Boston has made smart moves to elevate the best of their ranks. Swimmer is a player worth remembering, and keeping an eye on as 2020 approaches.

Bad: Fissure to the Vancouver Titans

offseason owl signings
2019-04-05 – Overwatch League 2019 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Though this signing is nothing more than a current rumor, it doesn’t bode well. With Jang-hyeon “TiZi” Hwang looking for a team, and Sang-beom “Bumper” Park seeing little play time by the end of the season, the Titans could be in trouble. Their hunt for a main tank, however, could have led them to former player Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek. Fans will remember Fissure most recently as a player for the Seoul Dynasty. Previously, however, Fissure played for the LA Gladiators, and the London Spitfire. Fissure has been on many teams, and has certainly shown the mechanical skill to compete with the best of the best.

However, his inability to mesh well with the teams he’s played on doesn’t bode well for the Titans. A team of camaraderie, composed of former Runaway players, the Titans play so well due to their synchronicity. Adding Fissure into the mix might not be the best idea. As previously stated, this signing is merely a rumor at the moment. However, if the rumor comes true, the unstoppable Titans could see defeat in their future.

Maybe: Team Canada to the Defiant

One of the most shocking roster cuts came from the LA Valiant. They released several star players, including Brady “Agilities” Girardi and Young-seo “KariV” Park. These two went together to the Toronto Defiant. Additionally, Lane “Surefour” Roberts, star of the LA Gladiators, also went to the Defiant. With their location in Canada, it makes sense that players like Surefour and Agilities joined to be closer to home. They join fellow Canadian Liam “Mangachu” Campbell, another staple of the Defiant, and of Overwatch Canadian players.

In theory, this should be a good trade. Team Canada has always been successful in the Overwatch World Cup, and these players have great synergy together. However, this past year, Team Canada vastly underperformed. There’s other elements at play to wonder about, of course, but there’s no denying that Team Canada was lacking. Will this level of nonchalance affect their 2020 season on the Defiant? Only playtime will tell.

Good: Alarm and Fury to Fusion

The Philadelphia Fusion are a team that always manages to surprise their fans. With gameplay that’s either top tier, or something to be desired, the Fusion had a rough 2019 season. After placing second at the Grand Finals in 2018, they didn’t exactly live up to their reputation. However, in their offseason, the Fusion have made two moves that will certainly give them more power in their roster.

First and foremost, the Fusion made a smart choice in bringing up their star Contenders support, Kyungbo “Alarm” Kim. After a spectacular season with Fusion University, it makes sense that the Fusion were quick to nab Alarm before other teams got a chance to do so. In addition to Alarm, the Fusion nabbed an amazing player in Jun-ho “Fury” Kim. Released from the London Spitfire, which he played with for two years, Fury is one of the best offtanks in the entire League. The Fusion didn’t necessarily need an upgrade in that role, but having Fury in their ranks massively increases their flexibility and skill.

Bad: SADO Re-signed to the Fusion

offseason owl signings
Overwatch League 2019 Season Stage 3 photo:Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment

On the other hand, the Fusion sadly kept their main tank position stagnant. Su-min “SADO” Kim has been playing main tank for the Fusion since Joona “Fragi” Laine’s switch to the Guangzhou Charge. While SADO does have impressive Winston play, the meta called for a top tier Reinhardt. On more than one occasion, SADO wasn’t able to deliver the performance the team needed. His aggressive playstyle doesn’t exactly suit the playstyle of his other teammates. Therefore, the Fusion suffered from a lack of coordination.

Getting rid of SADO cold turkey wasn’t exactly the answer. However, signing another main tank to mesh with the team would’ve given Fusion a massive boost. As stated, SADO plays Winston very well. In a world where Dive returns to the stage, SADO would fit in wonderfully. However, the meta right now calls for a strong Orisa. SADO hasn’t shown that he’s up for the challenge. The Fusion missed their chance to sign someone who is, and their lack of depth when it comes to main tank leaves fans worried for their future in 2020. 

Maybe: The Valiant’s Green Roster

Teams that people expect to make complete roster changes are typically the Boston Uprising, or the Florida Mayhem. Even the Dragons would be higher up the line of teams to completely gut their roster. However, this year, the Valiant have them all beat. Previously, the only remaining players were main support Scott “Custa” Kennedy, hitscan Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa, and damage dealer Johannes “Shax” Nielsen. All other staples of the Valiant brand were released, and have been signed to other teams.

Since these releases and trades were leaked accidentally, the Valiant poked fun by “leaking” their new roster as well. Recently, Custa appeared in a video after his stream. In this video, he discusses the new players joining the team. Most of them are players from Contenders, including the return of Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey, and Damon “Apply” Conti. Other new players include Sanglok “Dreamer” Song, Owen “Slur” Warner, and Jung-won “Lastro” Mun. A team of fresh faces from the Contenders scene is always something to take with a grain of salt. These changes could do wonders, and this team of rookies could become unstoppable. However, fans of the Valiant won’t truly know until these players hit the stage in 2020.

Keep In Touch

As of right now, all teams have to have a minimum of eight players by November 15th. As such, fans can expect more signings to come through before the week is out. Keep up with TheGameHaus for all breaking roster announcements.

Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.

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Follow me on twitter @macklemalloryOW for all things Valiant! #WingsOut

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