Where there’s ups, there has to be downs. This past off-season of the Overwatch League has certainly been tumultuous, to say the least. Certain teams have completely rebranded, choosing to gut their rosters for a clean slate in 2020. Some teams have made signings that had fans scratching their heads. Some teams haven’t changed anything at all, and whether that be for better or for worse is a question that can’t be answered until February.
Regardless of which teams performed last year, this upcoming season brings chances for big changes. Among these changes are the teams that some would say fell from grace or, in the case of certain teams, didn’t do enough to rise through the ranks, and instead remain at the bottom of the Overwatch League heap. For all the winners of the off-season, here are some of the losers who could’ve done more to push their limits and achieve success.
The Los Angeles Valiant
Plenty of Overwatch League fans have been put through the ringer these last few months. However, fans of the Los Angeles Valiant felt a specific kind of heartbreak only Boston Uprising fans have suffered through. The LA team caught everyone by surprise when they initially cut nearly all of their superstars from the roster. First, they traded Indy “SPACE” Halpern to their rival team, the Los Angeles Gladiators. Brady “Agilities” Girardi and Young-seo “KariV” Park soon followed, leaving the Valiant to join the ranks of the Toronto Defiant. The Valiant’s last saving grace, Scott “Custa” Kennedy, recently announced his retirement. Instead, he’ll join the analyst desk this upcoming season, alongside former player Jacob “Jake” Lyon.
After losing such monumental players, the Valiant staffing chose from a batch of fresh, new faces to represent them in 2020. Among those faces are previous Florida Mayhem players Damon “Apply” Conti and Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey. While those names sparked something akin to hope in the heart of Valiant fans, the rest of their signings (which were “leaked” in a cheeky fashion) didn’t inspire the same feelings.
These players are mostly unknowns, and unknowns rarely give fans hope after their roster has been completely gutted. Sanglok “Dreamer” Song, Owen “Slur” Warner and Jung-won “Lastro” Mun certainly have a lot of expectations to live up to. With how quickly angry fans took to social media, and the amount of support they’ve seemingly lost in this transition, it’s safe to say that the Valiant have a lot of work to do to maintain an honest and open relationship with their 7s.
The Boston Uprising
Regardless of how they perform, the Boston Uprising inspire some kind of underdog feeling when fans watch them play. Their first season, they became the first team to achieve a perfect stage, going 10-0 in Stage 3. In their second season, they became the first team to win four games on reverse sweeps, inspiring the Boston magic. However, despite their victories, the Boston Uprising can’t seem to hold that magic together long enough to last an entire season. Little sparks of hope seem to burn out as quickly as they ignite, and during this off-season, the changes they’ve made aren’t exactly for the better.
Boston fans know what to expect when the off-season comes around. Nearly the entire roster was gutted, including new fan favorites such as Jeffrey “blase” Tsang and Minseok “AimGod” “Jeff” Kwon. Though they’ve maintained their new captain and main tank super star, Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth, fans are still worried about Boston’s green signings. With the long-awaited promotion of Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy, many thought maybe Boston had unlocked the key.
However, their newer signings haven’t provided the same sense of comfort. Tae-hee “Jerry” Min and Sang-min “Myunbong” Seo still have to prove themselves on stage. There’s something to be said about having a little faith in that Boston magic, considering Chris “HuK” Loranger’s knack for finding diamonds in the rough. However, it hasn’t inspired analysts enough to consider Boston a real threat in 2020.
The Vancouver Titans
It seems silly to put a team that came in second at the Grand Finals among a list of losers. However, there’s something to be said about Vancouver’s lack of direction headed into 2020. With expectations higher than ever, and a team that still thrives on Runaway’s foundation, the Titans fell short during this off-season. For starters, both of the main tanks that the Titans had secured are no longer with the team. Both Sang-beom “Bumper” Park and Jang-hyeon “TiZi” Hwang were released, leaving a vacant spot on their roster.
To the surprise of most Overwatch League fans, the Titans chose to fill that void with previously retired player Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek. Dynasty, Gladiator and Spitfire fans alike can explain to the Titans why Fissure is a cautionary tale. With how quickly Fissure experiences burn out, the Titans could possibly suffer from having him on their team. Fans could also ask why change anything in the first place, seeing as the Titans have been a team together for nearly three years. There’s bound to be internal reasons behind such big changes. Regardless, it doesn’t change the lack of hope that many fans feel with Fissure at the helm.
As always, there are chances for these teams to improve and turn their luck around. We’ll have to see how these teams fare with these chances come February. Until then, fans can only wait with anticipation to see if they can overcome the wrench thrown into their plans.
Featured Image Courtesy of Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment.
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