The 2019 OWL offseason officially begins on October 7, but has already begun in practice for several teams across the league, most notably with the London Spitfire and the Washington Justice. It’s clear that teams across the league are recognizing the importance of this offseason and many are likely to be making big changes.
So, to help give fans a feel for where their team might be headed, The Game Haus has gone through each of the 20 OWL teams and have picked the player most likely to be released before the offseason’s end. This story also comes after information was revealed concerning each player’s current contract status. While that will be considered, there is still potential for players with team options or current contracts to be traded, just as much as there is a chance current free agents will be resigned to their current teams.
In short, it’s still very much the Wild West in the OWL offseason.
Dong-hyeong “DACO” Seo: Team Option
One of this season’s memes was something along the lines of “Where’s DACO?” This sentiment reflects the fact that Atlanta’s offtank has been mysteriously absent from play for most of the season, even failing to appear in much of the Reign’s promotional content. With a situation with so little public information known, it’s fair to suspect internal issues between DACO and the Reign and his subsequent departure from the team.
Minseok “AimGod” “Jeff” Kwon: Free Agent
Much like DACO, AimGod has been mysteriously absent from much of the Uprising’s latter half of the season after being one of their brightest spots through much of the early stages. Rumors have swirled about his discontentment with the team, but there is nothing publicly known to bass that off of. So, for much the same reason as fans ought to expect DACO’s departure, they also ought to expect the end of AimGod’s tenure in Boston, perhaps along with several other players.
Wei “jiqiren” Yansong: Under Contract
This past season was a bit of an unfortunate one for jiqiren after Ding “Ameng” Menghan proved to be a more adaptable main tank than many thought. The more adaptable the Yottachad continues to become, the less likely it is that jiqiren will see playtime. The Hunters may opt to keep him around as a backup, especially considering that every single player is still under contract. But, if they looked to acquire more depth at other positions, it could spell the end for jiqiren’s time at Chengdu.
Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor Rua: Under Contract
The Fuel are likely to get rid of several players after a disappointing 10-18 season, and HarryHook tops the list of who are likely to be the first to go. The Overwatch veteran has had an incredible career dating back to his time on Team EnVyUs, but as he approaches 29-years-old, he is amongst the oldest players in the league. This mixed with his little playtime do not bode well for his future with the Fuel, even with his still being under contract.
Jae-mo “xepheR” Koo: Team Option
Of all of the players most on the chopping block in the eyes of the fans, xepheR is perhaps the most unanimously agreed upon. Florida’s offtank looked bad when he did play, and now that the Mayhem have acquired Beom-jun “Gargoyle” Lee, who looks to be a building block for them, xepheR’s time in Florida is all but guaranteed to be up.
Joona “Fragi” Laine: Free Agent
Fragi has been a consistent fan-favorite since his time in Philadelphia, and his transition to Guangzhou confirmed it even more. But, despite that, the Charge seem to be running with Seung-pyo “Rio” Oh as far as playing time is concerned. Fragi could feasibly stick around as a marketable main tank to bolster the Charge’s brand, but its more likely that he will be cut or moved to a coaching role this offseason.
Cai “Krystal” Shilong: Under Contract
Krystal hasn’t really been a part of the Spark’s roster in a significant way the entire season and is currently suspended, while still being on the team. His issues with the team may be closer to being resolved, which would bode well for his future, however, the Spark’s other DPS stepped up in a big way last season and he is currently under contract with the team. Whether the Spark want to stick with the Chinese DPS prodigy or not is unknown, but they certainly had a successful run without him.
Wonhyeop “ArHaN” Jeong: Free Agent
ArHaN may be the only other who can win the battle versus xepheR for “Most Likely to be Cut.” This was especially confirmed when the Outlaws decided to drop both Korean coaches early in the offseason. The best fans can hope for ArHaN is getting traded or resigned by another OWL or Contenders team, because his time in Houston is almost certainly over.
Yung-hoon “Krillin” Jung: Under Contract
Had this list come out a few days ago, perhaps this would be a different name. But, considering Krillin is still on London’s roster, despite being a relative unknown, could mean that London are either going to try and fit him into their 2020 roster, or that they want to see if they can find a bidder for his (likely cheap) contract. If it’s the latter and London decide to truly build around Jun-ho “Fury” Kim and Joon-yeong “Profit” Park, expect Krillin to be first on the trade block.
Los Angeles Gladiators
Riku “Ripa” Toivanen: Team Option
The Finnish support trio that never was. What went from an amazing bit of preseason content turned into a very uneventful season for Ripa, stuck in the shadow of his two Finnish support brethren. The Glads may opt to stick with Ripa for depth or some potential starting role in the future, but if they choose to make any changes with their current roster, Ripa is also likely the first to go. After an impressive 17-11 season, it’s unclear how much they will choose to change, if any.
Los Angeles Valiant
Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey: Team Option
McGravy is a player with an excellent history of being a star talent in Contenders, but not seeing much playtime in the OWWC or OWL. Part of this is simply due to circumstance, as he has found himself stuck behind one of the best Western offtanks, Indy “SPACE” Halpern, both with Team USA and with the Valiant. For McGravy’s sake, he needs to find a new home where he can get back to his Team Envy prowess. This will most likely not be with the Valiant.
New York Excelsior
Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim: Under Contract
The Big Boss has been Big Benched for the entirety of the 2019 season. Stuck in a crowded group of NYXL DPS players, Pine struggled to stand out. There’s no doubt he’s still a top sniper and hitscan player in the league, but not playing doesn’t help his chances. It’s worth noting that Pine is still under contract while star offtank Tae-hong “MekO” Kim is a free agent. Even so, if bets were taken on which would be on the NYXL next season, the money should be on MekO, not Pine.
Roni “Lhcloudy” Tiihonen: Team Option
Lhcloudy is the player the Eternal will likely not re-sign for a variety of reasons. First, rumors have been swirling that Philly’s French offtank Gael “Poko” Gouzerch might look to come to the Eternal to play at home, along with several other EU players on the market like Fragi and Alberto “neptuNo” González. But, even if those are merely rumors, cloudy finds himself in hot water due to the higher levels of play from other players on the team who have showed improvment over the course of the season. This is a roster that will, overall, look a lot different next season, expect Lhcloudy to be a part of the changes made.
Finley “Kyb” Adisi: Team Option
Perhaps Kyb did more for the Fusion behind the scenes last year than he will get credit for. But, from the outside looking in, the British DPS player will have a tough time getting his option picked up by Philly. His only hope, oddly enough, lies in the fact that the Fusion’s other DPS options are both free agents and could be getting competing offers. If one or both are picked up, maybe Kyb stays, but the Fusion are likely to work hard not to let that happen.
San Francisco Shock
Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson: Free Agent
Being the only player not re-signed on a championship team is a tough pill to swallow. But, as many have remarked over the past few weeks, Nevix was a key player behind the scenes for the Shock and played a part in getting them to their Grand Finals glory. All in all, it’s not really a question of if Nevix gets picked up elsewhere, but more so a question of who will get him.
Sung-hyeok “Highly” Lee: Under Contract
Despite both Je-Hong “Ryujehong” Ryu and Jin-Mo “Tobi” Yang being free agents, Highly is still the player on the Dynasty that seems most likely to be traded or cut. His only saving grace is that he’s young, and perhaps the Dynasty see a future in him. But, with as important of an offseason as this is, it’s hard to imagine the Dynasty will take a chance on a young player that might pan out, when they could pick up Contenders Korea or OWL talent that is proven. The Dynasty desperately need open roster spots, so it may be trading time or paid vacation time for players like Highly.
Weida “Diya” Lu: Team Option
Plain and simple, there seems almost no way that the Dragons pick up this team option. There is always a chance they pick up fan-favorite Se-Yeon “Geguri” Kim’s option to rotate in with Kang-Jae “Envy” Lee, but Diya is in an overall much tougher spot due to his being less popular and at a role where the Dragons already thrive. Expect an LFT post very soon.
Jin-ui “im37” Hong: Team Option
The Defiant played Moneyball early and lost with im37 when they had a DPS void. But now, as they look to build more towards a Western/mixed roster, the future looks grim for the ultimate Path to Pro player. His poor performance in 2019 and the vast array of free agent DPS out there ought to make im37’s team option an easy choice for the Defiant.
Dong-eun “Hooreg” Lee: Under Contract
With only one player not under contract in Jang-Hyun “TiZi” Hwang, the Vancouver Titans are likely sending a message that they want to run it back in 2020. The only possibility for players to move around is in the cases of players like Hooreg, who the Titans could ship off for cap space or more depth at offtank. It’s one of the least likely to happen on this list, but anything is certainly possible this offseason.
Jun-hwa “Janus” Song: Free Agent
The Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega. Janus was the first player brought on to the Justice along with his former coach, and he will likely be in the first wave of players who see the door. Why? The Justice have already committed to their Swedish tankline and are looking more and more like a Western team in 2020. With Janus’s struggles in the past and this new identity shift, his tenure in Washington is almost definitely done.
As a reminder, all of the current offseason changes will be continuously updated in TGH’s Complete List of Overwatch League Offseason Moves.
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