Stage 1 is nearly in the books and it has become clear that some teams in the league have far from a finished roster. When considering the Los Angeles Valiant’s winless first stage and the recent acquisition of Yeonjoon “ArK” Hong by the Washington Justice, the smell of trades and transactions has begun to radiate throughout the Overwatch League head offices. While much of this is likely happening behind closed doors and in private conversations between GMs, there is certainly space to theorize and contemplate what moves could be in the works.
The following possible trade options are being evaluated based on each team’s identified needs, based on their Stage 1 performance and overall roster build. When holding these apparent needs up to the stockpile of underutilized players across the league, as well as players that could be traded to open up resources for their current team, the following trade ideas have been theorized.
[Note: Calling up Contenders players will not be considered for the purpose of this article. Only trades involving current league players and cash will be considered.]
Pine to Boston
In this trade, the New York Excelsior would trade Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim to the Boston Uprising for cash. After the departure of Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov and Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon, the Uprising’s DPS core looks worse for the wear. While their current DPS players Kelsey “Colourhex” Birse and Jeffrey “blasé” Tsang are relatively untested in a DPS-focused meta, the addition of Pine would give them more depth at the position and would guarantee them a hot hand at hitscan. Not to mention this would net them a fan-favorite player in the league and help with the team’s overall PR.
For New York, this move would certainly be tough on the fanbase, but seems like it is a necessary one in the long run. The other members of the roster are going to need new contracts at some point and that money has to come from somewhere.
Nevix and Rascal to Washington
San Francisco is a team that has the ability to move a lot of their players around at the moment, considering their wealth of DPS players and overall strong roster. In this move, the Shock would move Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson and Dong-jun “Rascal” Kim to the Justice for cash. The Justice have shown that they are alright with signing big name players in order to make a real push at improving and this move would be just that.
This move makes a lot of sense for the Shock as well. Although they may prefer to release Andrej “babybay” Francisty over Rascal, the overall interest in Rascal may be high enough to make his price more worth it for the Shock. Considering their massive stock of other DPS players, the versatility of Rascal is less needed for the Shock and certainly more needed for Washington.
Nevix has also received less usage on the Shock than his skill level may otherwise call for. This, combined with Washington’s desperate need for a solid off-tank, make it a nice choice for the Justice to fill out their roster and happily empty their pockets. Selling Rascal and Nevix could open the Shock up to either make a run at a top-tier player like Indy “SPACE” Halpern or simply sign a two-way player to give them depth at off-tank behind Hyo-bin “ChoiHyoBin” Choi.
Bunny and KuKi for Sayaplayer
Here, the Los Angeles Valiant would be surrendering both Joon-hyuk “Bunny” Chae and Dae-kuk “KuKi” Kim for Florida’s Jung-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha. The Mayhem are nearing a point of desperation when it comes to the main tank position as Seong-won “Swon” Yoon has struggled to find his footing early on. They have one player can demand a high price tag and it may be time to let him go.
In exchange for releasing Sayaplayer, the Mayhem would get another solid option at DPS in Bunny and a very versatile main tank (turned support player) in KuKi. This trade would be a blockbuster deal and could feasibly help each of these teams fulfill each other’s roster gaps. Whether through this trade or with some other sets of players, the Mayhem desperately need to find another option at main tank, just as the Valiant desperately need a standout DPS player.
Sleepy to Outlaws
In this final deal, the Shock would continue their housecleaning and send Nikola “sleepy” Andrews to the Houston Outlaws for cash. For the Shock, this could be the final move to either make a run for a top player or continue clearing up cap space to sign their current roster to hefty extensions. This trade also makes sense for the Shock considering how dominant Min-ki “Viol2t” Park has looked thus far.
Houston, on the other hand, needs Western options at support. Shane “Rawkus” Flaherty has come under fire recently for his tough start to the season, while others have defended and sought to justify his poor start. Regardless, Houston needs another option at off-support and Sleepy would have former synergy with the Outlaws newest addition, Dante “Danteh” Cruz. The only fear for Houston is that they may need to clear roster space down the road to re-sign current players. If this becomes the case, someone like Wonhyeop “ArHaN” Jeong may be moved.
With only 21 games left for each team in the regular season, teams need to decide quickly what their needs are and how best to fill them with the resources they have. Be on the lookout for teams to keep making moves as Stage 2 draws near. After the Stage 1 Playoffs, regular season action resumes on April 4 at 6:00 pm CT. How differently will the 20 OWL teams look by then?
Follow me on Twitter: @GoopyKnoopy I would love to dialogue with you about anything I’ve written!
You can also shoot me a line on Discord! (GoopyKnoopy#2205)
Featured Image Courtesy of Stewart Volland For Blizzard Entertainment
Follow The Game Haus for more sports and esports coverage.
“From Our Haus to Yours”