The Secret Santa gift exchange is a time-honored tradition but also a minefield of anxiety and disappointment. What if someone draws a person they don’t know well enough to give a thoughtful gift? What if their gift is a complete dud or beyond weird, like receiving a taxidermied cat? But those times when the gift is perfect, and the reaction of surprise and joy is etched on someone’s face as they realized what they’ve received? Those are the moments that make gift-giving worth it.
Today’s goal is to provide such a gift to each and every team in the OWL’s Atlantic Conference. This Secret Santa will be reaching into his sack containing a copy of every Overwatch player and handing them out across the league. The goal is easy enough – to find the player who would improve each roster the most. Each player’s actual team is listed in parentheses.
Atlanta Reign – Jin Seo “Shu” Kim (Guangzhou Charge)
Atlanta has already been one of the biggest movers during the offseason. Free-agent pickups Tae-Hoon “Edison” Kim and Hugo “SharP” Sahlberg bolster an already solid DPS line, while ATL Academy promotions Blake “Gator” Scott and Xander “Hawk” Domecq sure up the tank unit. At this point, the only position in need of reinforcements is support – though help is likely on the way. It’s also where Atlanta could make its biggest upgrade. For everything he brought to the team in terms of communication and attitude, Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman isn’t the mechanical beast that Shu is. If Atlanta could replace Dogman’s leadership elsewhere, adding Shu would make them instant title contenders.
Boston Uprising – Seong jun “SLIME” Kim (Vancouver Titans)
Boston enters 2020 as one of the most unproven teams in the Overwatch League. That starts with their rookie support line of Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy and Sang-min “Myunbong” Seo. While both have impressed in Contenders, Swimmer lacks the big-game experience Boston would want out of a leadership role like main support. SLIME would erase any doubts whatsoever while giving Myunbong a top-tier partner to ease his OWL transition. Plus, it would be a great way to develop Swimmer behind one of the elite main supports in the league.
Florida Mayhem – Lee “LeeJaeGon” Jae-gon (Shanghai Dragons)
For the first time in their existence, the Florida Mayhem have put together a truly competitive roster. Between late-season signings and offseason additions, Mayhem fans have a lot to look forward to. That positive direction is why it’s so baffling to see them proceed with Choi “Kris” Jun-soo as their only main support. In an effort to leave the past behind, (and reunite Gang “GangNamJin” Nam-jin with his Runaway support partner) they bring in a dynamic young start to round out the revamped Florida Mayhem.
Houston Outlaws – Petja “Masaa” Kantanen (Atlanta Reign)
If the story with Houston sounds similar, that’s because it mimics Florida’s – a new and improved team still sporting a mediocre main support. Daniel “Boink” Pence survived the offseason, but he should not be the starter when Houston opens their season against the Mayhem. With the hero pool to endure meta changes and experience in a mixed-language roster, Masaa would be ideal for the Outlaws as they look to turn over a new leaf.
London Spitfire – Noh “Gamsu” Young-jin (Dallas Fuel)
This offseason, London became the first team to scrap a successful roster and start over. Gone are the champions of 2018. In their place is a group of largely unproven talent. Chief in that group is Dae-Han “JMAC” Choi. The new Spitfire main tank joins London via LGE.Huya, a Chinese team with a stellar domestic track record but a disappointing international resume. He’s young and talented, but it’s hard to see the Spitfire going far without a real leadership figure. There isn’t a more positive influence than Gamsu, and he would be the type of player who could pass the reins to JMAC when the time comes.
New York Excelsior – Seo “Myunbong” Sang-min (Boston Uprising)
What does one get for the person – or team – that has everything? New York’s roster is two-deep at every position except flex support and main tank. Dong-Gyu “Mano” Kim is Mr. Consistent, so that seems unnecessary. SeonngHyun “JJONAK” Bang, despite his otherworldly highs of 2018, showed signs of weakness last year during a meta that valued decision-making over mechanical ability alone. If that continues, or if a double-flex support meta becomes a reality, Myunbong would make a nice addition to an already loaded roster.
Paris Eternal – Kim “Alarm” Kyungbo (Philadelphia Fusion)
Paris already has Yeong-han “Sp9rk1e” Kim, the most hyped rookie in the league, so why not give them the runner up in that department as well? For Paris, the name of the game this year is to survive until May when Sp9rk1e comes of age. Alarm would go a long way to making that a reality, and he would give Paris fans something to be excited about until their superstar DPS comes online. Add in the potential lineup featuring Harrison “Kruise” Pond and five Korean players, and this is too good to pass up.
Philadelphia Fusion – Hong “Gesture” Jae-hee (Seoul Dynasty)
Philadelphia’s offseason was about going from players who fill a role adequately to players who blow a fan away with their skill. Alarm, Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway and Junho “Fury” Kim all fit that bill. Curiously, the Fusion decided to stand pat at main tank, where Sumin “SADO” Kim was routinely maligned as a weak link. That’s not to say he won’t succeed with more talent around him, but an upgrade is still possible. Getting Gesture and Fury back together would just be an added bonus.
Toronto Defiant – Matthew “Super” DeLisi (San Francisco Shock)
The Defiant have gone all-in on marketability in 2020. With an all-Canadian DPS line, they’ve managed to amass fan-favorites while still fielding a competitive roster across the board. The one big question mark has to be Adam “Beast” Denton. Despite stellar showings with Fusion University during their dominant 2018, he played sparingly last year. Adding Super here would dismiss any concerns at main tank and he would fit right alongside the stable of personalities Toronto has assembled.
Washington Justice – Indy “SPACE” Halpern (LA Gladiators)
After a strong Stage 4 and Corey “Corey” Nigra’s star-making performance in the World Cup, the Justice have big expectations following them into next year. The biggest hurdle they’ll face might simply be their inexperience. Most of these players haven’t really had any kind of target on their backs. That’s especially true for Elliot “ELLIVOTE” Vaneryd. Despite being signed during the season, he still hasn’t seen the OWL stage. That’s a tough leap of faith, but adding SPACE would make it a non-issue. Everyone already knows his Sigma is top-tier, and having another Team USA star in the nation’s capital would make too much sense.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
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