The Overwatch League offseason is underway, and the free-agent market is already heating up. Players are 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, here’s take a look at every OWL team and which Contenders players they could sign for 2020. Part 1 covered the Atlantic Division; today we tackle the Pacific.
Chengdu Hunters: Molly (LGE.Huya)
The Hunters enter 2020 with more certainty than just about any other team. All ten players are returning from last year’s squad, and they’ve locked up Huang “leave” Xin to give them some more star power in the DPS line. That leaves just one space for a new addition, and LGE.Huya’s He “Molly” Chengzhi is a likely choice to fill that spot. Chengdu’s Academy team may have disappointed at the Gauntlet, but that doesn’t invalidate their domestic success. They won both Contenders titles, and Molly made a name as one of China’s best flex supports. If Chengdu rolls with a twelve-man roster next year, he could get the call to the big leagues.
Dallas Fuel: SharP (Team Envy)
Even after a mediocre finish at the Gauntlet, Envy had a phenomenal year in Contenders. They won two titles in North America and finished second at the Atlantic Showdown before they fell short in Seoul last week. Hugo “SharP” Sahlberg has been a massive part of that. He’s been biding his time in Contenders, but the Swedish hitscan star will finally come of age in December. He would give the Fuel a spark that they’ve been missing in their first two OWL seasons – a young foundational piece to build around for the future.
Guangzhou Charge: BERNAR (Fusion University)
The Charge enter the offseason with three free agents, all tanks. Late season additions Aaron “Bischu” Kim and Joona “Fragi” Laine seem unlikely to return, but the future is more uncertain regarding Hong-Jun “HOTBA” Choi. If he finds a new home in 2020, the Charge could turn to Contenders for his replacement. With a resume that stretches back to APEX Season 1, it’s impossible to find a more experienced candidate in Contenders than Se-won “BERNAR” Shin. His time with Fusion Uni has given him the big-game experience that a lot of OWL rookies lack. That should make him a high-value target for a Charge team expecting improvement in year 2.
Hangzhou Spark: Yaki (Runaway)
The Spark don’t have many changes to make after a stellar expansion season. They found their core in 2019, and now they just need to make additions to get the most out of it. The one glaring hole they had was the lack of a true superstar DPS talent. Jun-ki “Yaki” Kim is certainly capable of filling that role. He did it for years with MVP Space before joining Runaway and proving he could do it on a winning team. If he joins the Spark, expect more of the same.
Los Angeles Gladiators: Mag (Runaway)
Few teams entered the offseason with more decisions to make than the Gladiators. Amidst significant organizational turnover, they’re also looking at a rapidly changing roster. After a trade sent Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye to the Washington Justice, the Gladiators are in need of a new main tank. If they’re willing to wait a few months until he turns 18, Tae-sung “Mag” Kim could give them a bona fide star at one of the most important positions in the game. The challenge is staying alive in the playoff race until June.
Los Angeles Valiant: Gator (ATL Academy)
The Valiant signaled last season that they want to build a Western roster – aside from Kariv – and they fueled a late-season comeback with some savvy pickups from Contenders. Now that they’ve parted ways with Russel “FCTFCTN” Campbell, LA is back in the market for a main tank. Blake “Gator” Scott should be at the top of their list. A Contenders star with OWL Playoff experience, Gator is one of the most proven and flexible main tanks in all of Contenders. It might take a big offer to get Atlanta to let go of such a promising young talent, but the pickings are slim when it comes to OWL ready Western main tanks.
San Francisco Shock: Myunbong (O2 Blast)
Let’s be honest, the Shock don’t exactly need to pick anyone up after winning the 2019 title. If they do, it will be a luxury, a bit more depth to back up a loaded roster. At the moment, they have at least three players at every position, except support, so that’s the logical choice for any pickup. Sang-min “Myunbong” Seo has been excellent for O2 Blast all year and would serve as a strong backup for Minki “Viol2t” Park. Plus, he’s another player they could develop for the future.
Seoul Dynasty: Glister (Gen.G)
All signs point towards a potential super team for Seoul in 2020. With the addition of Junyoung “Profit” Park and Jaehui “Gesture” Hong from London, they’re well on their way. Whether they need backups or a DPS partner for Profit, Gil-seong “Glister” Lim would be a solid choice. He’s been one of the most hyped Korean prospects for years now, and coming from Seoul’s Academy team makes him a natural fit.
Shanghai Dragons: Kaiser (O2 Blast)
With Youngjin “Gamsu” Noh expected to sign with Dallas, the Dragons are down a main tank and a key leader. There probably isn’t a Contenders player in the world more equipped for that kind of position than Sang-hoon “Kaiser” Ryu. The Overwatch journeyman has been waiting for years for his OWL shot and the Dragons should consider giving it to him. He would be an instant fan favorite and could fill the hole left by Gamsu.
Vancouver Titans: Edison (GC Busan Wave)
Another team expected to make minimal changes in 2020, the Titans don’t have any glaring weaknesses. A single pickup to sure up their DPS line might be all it takes to push them over the top. Tae-Hoon “Edison” Kim would have been a hot commodity this year if he had been old enough to join the OWL, but now his time has come. If it’s not Vancouver, then another team will have themselves a potential star in Edison. The GC Busan Wave phenom would pair phenomenally alongside Hyojong “Haksal” Kim, giving the Titans a DPS line to rival the best in the league.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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