The Overwatch League offseason is underway, and the free-agent market is already heating up. Players are already finding new teams, and nearly every team has holes they need to fill. The best front offices will find their new pieces not only among the crop of new free agents but also from the fertile grounds of Contenders. With that in mind, let’s take a look at every OWL team and which Contenders players they could sign for 2020, starting today with the Atlantic Division.
Atlanta Reign: Hawk (ATL Academy)
After their 2nd place finish at the Contenders Gauntlet, this ATL Academy roster should be at the top of the list for any team looking for western talent. The Reign would probably like to keep some of that talent in-house, but open spots on the Reign roster might be hard to come by after a stellar expansion season. Xander “Hawk” Domecq might be good enough to force his way in. Donghyung “DACO” Seo and Nathan “frd” Goebel were both solid options in 2019, but neither was spectacular and rumors of internal issues followed DACO throughout the season. Both are on team options, but Hawk could challenge to start right now.
Boston Uprising: Mouffin (Uprising Academy)
Though he might not instantly come to mind as an OWL-ready pickup, Walid “Mouffin” Bassal fits both the needs of Boston and the profile of an Uprising pick up. They’re in need of a stable off-tank and GM Chris “HuK” Loranger has a penchant for scouting undervalued talent. He would be more of a long-term play as a prospect to develop into a valuable player, but Boston could speed up that process by getting him some time in the OWL. The fact that he’s already in the Uprising system only makes this easier to envision.
Florida Mayhem: LeeJaeGon (Runaway)
As Florida finds itself rebuilding for the second straight offseason, they have question marks at nearly every position. Main tank Pan-seung “Fate” Koo and DPS Jeongwoo “Sayaplayer” Ha are the foundational pieces the Mayhem want to build around. Now they just need a star support player, and no one fills that roll better than Jae-gon “LeeJaeGon” Lee. For better or worse, his hyperaggressive Lucio play makes things happen. Whether he’s getting huge environmental kills or getting himself in trouble, LeeJaeGon is constantly creating opportunities that haven’t been there for the Mayhem in their two seasons. If they’re serious about the turnaround, he’s the start they need.
Houston Outlaws: Luddee (Gladiators Legion)
Thanks to organizational gridlock in 2019, this will essentially be Houston’s first time at making offseason roster changes. Right now, the Outlaws have players returning at every position except for main support. Neither Daniel “Boink” Pence nor Chris “Bani” Benell has been flexible or effective enough to really warrant re-signing, so where do the Outlaws turn from here? Among western players, they’ll struggle to find a stronger candidate than Ludvig “Luddee” Hakansson. He’s a proven main support and a fantastic leader with a track record of success wherever he goes. Pair him with their other offseason acquisition of Hydration and the Outlaws will have already had a solid start to their offseason.
London Spitfire: Sp9rk1e (Element Mystic)
If current rumors prove to be true, both Junyoung “Profit” Park and Jaehui “Gesture” Hong are headed to the Seoul Dynasty. Losing those two would mean saying goodbye to two of their superstars, including the 2018 Finals MVP. Assuming Profit is indeed out the door, London will be in search of a DPS to replace one of the most flexible and talented players in Overwatch. If anyone is remotely capable of filling those shoes, it’s Yeong-han “Sp9rk1e” Kim, who is perhaps the most coveted Contenders player ever to hit the Overwatch league. The Element Mystic prodigy is fresh off a convincing Gauntlet victory and is ready to set his sights on OWL. If London can win the inevitable bidding war for his services, they’ll have secured a new way forward for the franchise.
New York Excelsior: QoQ (Runaway)
As shocking as it may be, New York are in the market for a new off-tank after Tae-Hong “MekO” Kim became a free agent on Thursday. If they turn their attention to Contenders rather than OWL veterans, Sung-jun “QoQ” Yuhas is a top candidate. His record with Runaway speaks for itself. Two Korean Contenders titles, two NEXT titles and a third-place finish at the Gauntlet. QoQ has been a rock for this iteration of Runaway, consistently delivering and elevating his teammates at all times. A lot like Meko in that way, QoQ would be a strong replacement for one of the best off-tanks in the league.
Paris Eternal: Leaf (Gigantti)
Paris is another team that’s hard to pin down heading into the offseason. 2019 was hardly a success, but it’s hard to single out any position that feels like Paris have to change. Assuming Terrence “SoOn” Tarlier is sticking around, the Eternal could be looking to upgrade the flex-DPS position to give him a steady partner. Lucas “Leaf” Loison is an obvious choice here. His hero pool will work well alongside SoOn and between him and Nicolas “NiCOgdh” Moret they can cover pretty much anything. It would mean the end of the Georgii “ShaDowBurn” Gushcha experiment, but Paris have to make changes somewhere. A versatile French DPS player seems like a good place to start.
Philadelphia Fusion: Alarm (Fusion Uni)
This one is a no-brainer. Kyungbo “Alarm” Kim has been groomed for this during his year and a half with Fusion University. Long considered one of the best prospects in Overwatch, Alarm is sure to be a target for many teams looking to make a splash this offseason. Philadelphia, however, already holds his rights as an Academy player, meaning they can match any offer that he receives. With that power and their deep pockets, expect the Fusion to retain their flex-support wunderkind.
Toronto Defiant: Crimzo (Team Envy)
The Defiant enter the offseason on the verge of a rebuild after their expansion season fell apart down the stretch. So far just one player, JooSung “RoKy” Park, is under contract for 2020, and he’s been moved to two-way player status. Basically, they could be going in any direction. One that seems likely is to build around the DPS duo of Andreas “Logix” Berghmans and Liam “Mangachu” Campbell. If they have interest in another Canadian to pair with Mangachu, then William “Crimzo” Hernandez is a strong candidate. He was a standout on Zenyatta both for Envy and the Canadian World Cup team.
Washington Justice: Kodak (ATL Academy)
More than any team so far, the Justice are making waves this offseason. They’ve already parted ways with their entire coaching staff, released most of their roster, found a new head coach and, on Friday, added Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye. As they retool around the dynamic DPS pairing of Corey “Corey” Nigra and Ethan “Stratus” Yankel, the Justice have an opportunity to build an immensely talented team for 2020. Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger would be an ideal next step for a team that showed flashes of insane potential in their expansion season. With a little bit of OWL experience and the recent success of ATL Academy, Washington might not be the only team with their eyes on Kodak.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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