We pick back up with our Top 10 Overwatch League Newcomers list at the #6 spot. Check out yesterday’s article to find out which players, coaches, and/or managers cracked the Top 5 and for more on an introduction into the piece itself. Let’s get right to it.
6. Cai “Krystal” Shilong: DPS for Hangzhou Spark
Former DPS standout for the dominant Chinese Contenders team, T1w Esports Club, Krystal comes to Hangzhou with a great deal of competitive experience. Krystal got the world’s – and apparently the Spark’s – attention alongside Guxue in the 2018 OWWC for Team China. The two stood out as being some of the best players in the entire tournament.
What makes Krystal so awe-inspiring is his ability to flex and adapt to a wide variety of different situations and Heroes. Part of being an elite DPS player in the OWL is precisely that flexibility. Players like Josh “Eqo” Corona for the Philadelphia Fusion gave his team the ability to play nearly any composition they needed to because he could fill nearly every DPS slot.
With Guxue’s aggression and Krystal’s flex power, Hangzhou boasts a scary and unpredictable style of play heading into OWL 2019. This is a style that may give the team some early wins as the rest of the league struggles to quickly adapt.
7. Dennis “Barroi” Matz: Analyst for Toronto Defiant
Perhaps the most underrated move of the off-season was the Toronto Defiant’s pickup of Winston’s Lab founder, Dennis “Barroi” Matz. Listed as an Analyst for the Defiant, Matz will give the team a level of statistical analysis and interpretation that no other team in the league has in quite the same way. Because no other team has a talent like Matz, it’s difficult to measure exactly what his impact will be, but it seems unlikely that he wouldn’t help the team in a big way.
As the season goes on and there are more stats to work with, look for this pickup to show more and more value for the Defiant. It will also help coaches for the Defiant more quickly get to the root of the problem, as Paris coach Julien “deamoN” Ducros said in an article for the Washington Post about Matz being hired to the Defiant.
Overall, while this is unknown territory to an extent, there is no doubt Toronto will benefit from a savvy understanding of statistics. Only time will tell until we see exactly how they benefit from this, in terms of wins and losses.
8. Daniel “dafran” Francesca: DPS for Atlanta Reign
Perhaps the biggest question mark of the entire OWL 2019 season is how Dafran will perform for the Atlanta Reign. Dafran has former competitive Overwatch experience with Selfless Gaming, however, he was disqualified from all competitive Overwatch back in 2018 Contenders Season 1 for throwing games on stream. More recently, Dafran made a post claiming that he was leaving the Atlanta Reign, which he shortly went back on and apologized for. Both of these isolated instances, mixed with Dafran’s controversial personality, make him an extremely dangerous pickup for Atlanta.
In the same breath, his mechanical skill on hitscan DPS heroes also cannot be denied. He is considered to have some of the best tracking of any player in the world and can play a wide variety of hitscan Heroes.
Dafran’s success in the OWL will inevitably come down to his ability to play with a team consistently for several months without any incidents. If he can do that and contribute to the team at his potential, Atlanta has an incredible asset in Dafran. Balancing this potential skill with the potential burnout and toxicity dips Dafran lower in this list than he perhaps should be.
9. Harrison “Kruise” Pond: Support for Paris Eternal
The first support player on this list is British World Cup standout, Kruise. Formerly with Toronto Esports, Orgless and Hungry, EUnited, and a plethora of other teams, Kruise comes into the league with among the most experience of anyone on this list. The man has been playing Overwatch, and playing it well, since 2015. That gives him a level of game knowledge and understanding that few other OWL newcomers possess.
More than just his knowledge of the game, Kruise is also a very mechanically skilled Mercy player (and an occasional Genji player… what?!). There were several moments in the World Cup, particularly on Volskaya Industries, where his positioning and ability to hide behind corners led to his team eventually winning the team fight. On a Paris squad that some have their doubts about, Kruise may need to channel some of that same skill to save his team in OWL 2019. Either way, this is a massive pickup for Paris.
10. Min-seong “diem” Bae: DPS for Shanghai Dragons
You’ve heard of Carpe. Well, here’s Diem. Carpe’s longtime friend, Diem, has finally made his journey to the OWL to play for the rebuilding Shanghai Dragons. The Korean DPS player has been with Lucky Future Zenith in Chinese Contenders for the past several seasons, helping them have a great deal of success in the region. His career, however, goes as far back as APEX Season 3, playing for Mighty AOD.
While Diem is a bit of a toss-up for Shanghai, he has a great deal of potential to be a monster DPS player for this team. If he can get playing time, that is. Currently, the team has four DPS players slotted on the roster, the only position where they actually have some depth, as it turns out. Because of how crowded the DPS role is for Shanghai, these next three weeks will be pivotal of Diem if he wants to come out as the week 1 starter.
Shanghai doesn’t play the Fusion until Stage 3, Week 5 during the ATL homestead. Perhaps that matchup will give us the face-to-face matchup of Carpe and Diem we all so badly want to see. If he starts for any game, this is the one we will hope to see him in.
Yeon-kwan “Nenne” Jeong & Yeon-oh “Fl0w3R” Hwang: DPS players for NYXL
The newest two DPS players for NYXL, Nenne and Fl0w3R (formerly Nanohana) have to be considered amongst the top OWL newcomers in the league. The reason, however, they do not make the top ten is due to the crowded DPS situation in New York. With three of the best DPS players in the league ahead of them, these two will have their work cut out for them if they are going to be starters on this team.
Li “Yveltal” Xianyao: Support for Chengdu Hunters
Perhaps the brightest spot for the Chengdu Hunters is former Team China and LinGan e-Sports support player, Yveltal. Many who cover Chinese Contenders crop Yveltal to be an incredibly well-rounded support player with a very high ceiling to grow. At only 18 years-old, Chengdu may have found a player they can build their franchise around if they can develop him properly.
Former Runaway Roster: Vancouver Titans
It’s difficult to pick one player from this roster that will be an individual standout, but the team as a whole is projected to do very well this season, despite none of the players having OWL experience. With this team’s former synergy, they may have an advantage that few other expansion teams have, making it likely that they will start out strong in Stage 1, if not through the entire season.
Joni “Seita” Paavola: Strategic Coach for Paris Eternal
Among the stacked coaching staff for Paris is Seita. Formerly an incredibly skilled raid leader in World of Warcraft, Seita brings an eye to Overwatch that few other coaches have. This, in addition to having played competitively for some time and having coached Team Gigantti and Team Finland, gives Seita an incredibly well-rounded resume. With his talent alongside the other Paris coaches, the Eternal go into OWL 2019 with the among the top coaching staff’s in the entire league.
The Overwatch League is back on February 14th at 6 pm CT with a rematch of last year’s Grand Finals. Be sure and tune into the Stage 1 action and see some of these OWL Newcomers begin their legacies in the league.
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 Paste Magazine
“From Our Haus to Yours”