The Overwatch League 2019 off-season has officially reached its most critical point. In terms of the official schedule for the offseason, all Overwatch Teams need to have eight members officially signed by Friday, November 15th. The league also just passed another important deadline early this week; as of November 11th all currently unsigned players have become free agents.
As of the time of writing, there are still several teams that are either below the 8 player minimum, or in need of improvements for the 2020 season. Even teams that have eight players may still be lacking in a crucial position at the moment; fans may instead see those pickups happening after the deadline. But with so many former OWL players officially up for grabs, and tons of tier two and world cup talent, teams shouldn’t have difficulty in filling these positions if they plan well. Continue on below to learn which positions each of the Pacific Division Overwatch League teams will be looking to fill as soon as they can based on their current rosters.
Happy 18th Birthday to Leave today! Unfortunately, due to health reasons, Leave will not be playing for Team China during this year’s OWWC. Get better soon and we will see you on stage again! pic.twitter.com/A6xUSPN5IT
— Chengdu Hunters (@ChengduHunters) October 24, 2019
The Chengdu Hunters might very well be set for the 2020 year, having made virtually no changes during the off-season thus far. Their only addition has been Huang “leave” Xin, who agreed to sign with them back in July of 2019. Assuming no players will be dropped, the Hunters’ roster now consists of four tanks, four DPS and three support players. Considering that Chengdu seems to be remaining fully Chinese (plus one Taiwanese player) and that they have already nearly all the best unsigned Chinese players in the world, it’s doubtful that they will need to add anyone else. Chengdu could go for a 12th man in the form of a support, such as Tong “Coldest” Xiaodong who may have been teased. Regardless, with Leave now on the roster, this team seems to have very few weaknesses.
The Pacific Texas team is stacking up their roster to the max for the coming year; assuming they don’t make any releases, the Fuel will have a full 12-man roster in 2020. Their current lineup consists of three supports, four tanks and, just like their Atlantic Texan rivals, five DPS. With a full roster, it’s very hard to make the case for the Fuel to pick up more players as they currently cannot. However, there still is one glaring hole in their lineup that they may have prevented themselves from fixing now.
While most of the positions on Dallas have been uplifted, most notably DPS with the insane acquisitions of Gui-un “Decay” Jang and Dong-ha “Doha” Kim, their support line has not had any changes made. Despite individual talent, the Fuel’s support line has never been cohesive and has stood out as a sore spot on the team. A good adjustment there may have bolster the effectiveness of the whole team. Trading is still possible, so this does not mean they’ve locked themselves out of all future changes. If they do make this improvement, there’s little that could stop this team from finally being on par with the rest of its division.
Guangzhou currently sits with only six players returning from last season, meaning this team will need to make some additions soon. Their current roster consists of three DPS, two supports and a main tank. Their first addition certainly needs to come at the off-tank position, as they’ll need a replacement or two for Hong-joon “HOTBA” Choi. Once that is filled, adding a support player or two would finish up the roster well. The three DPS currently on the team have enough skill, hero depth, and cohesion that the position should remain stellar, especially due to Charlie “nero” Zwarg’s insane level of play.
Out of any team on this last, Guangzhou may elect just to get to eight players and not go above. Considering that the Charge typically ran only seven of their players in Season 2, and six of that squad have returned, the Charge may simply elect to run a smaller roster regardless of roster count. Given the team’s Stage 4 dominance, all of these players have already proven their value for the upcoming season.
The Hangzhou Spark have also elected to keep on a majority of their players for next season. Including Jun-Ki “Bazzi” Park and Da-un “NoSmite” Jeong who are two-way, this Chinese team has nine active players. Out of these, three are DPS, two are support and four are tanks. This puts the Spark in a solid place, as their whole playstyle is based on their players’ cohesion more-so than having star players pop off individually. If Hangzhou were to make an addition, they could possibly use another flex DPS to backup Jaehwan “Adora” Kang. However their tank-line is strong, their support duo is polished, and they demonstrated to everyone in playoffs last year why they deserve to be called a top-four team. The Spark are once again looking quite solid.
Los Angeles Gladiators
The first of the two LA teams seem to be on the way to creating a fairly strong lineup. Evaluating the Gladiators’ current roster becomes a bit complicated due to them having several players who announced their own free agency without the org officially stating their release; for example, Lane “Surefour” Roberts was not officially announced to be leaving the team until the Defiant posted about signing him, even though he had been in free agency for over a month. However, following the recent signing of Gia Huy “Chris” “MirroR” Trịnh, they have confirmed six players to return.
🔮 Mirror, Mirror on the Wall 🔮
— Los Angeles Gladiators (@LAGladiators) November 12, 2019
Amongst these are two players of every role, both main and flex for each. While the Gladiators don’t have any glaring holes at a certain position like Guangzhou, they will still need enough players to reach the minimum. The best bet for them would likely be either two more DPS, and possibly a tank. Their two supports, Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni and Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara are one of the most cohesive support lines in the league and a third support would likely only slow the team down. However, with Ji-hyeok “birdring” Kim being known for performing below standards at times, and MirroR being new to OWL, backups for these spots are good ideas for this potential super-team of OWL talent.
Los Angeles Valiant
The other Los Angeles team in the league has done quite a bit of shuffling as well. Currently, the Valiant sit at the eight-player threshold, having three DPS, three supports and two tanks. Despite having the right number to qualify, the Valiant shouldn’t stop here for pickups. Like the Uprising and Spitfire, LA has approached this season by taking on less expensive players; while this may work well for the Valiant long term, if any of them underperform they could use some backups. This is most applicable in the tank line above anything else; while Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey has been in OWL before, he’s had almost zero stage time, and his tank partner Sanglok “Dreamer” Song was a support main until the beginning of 2019. Tanks would be the main focus, but they might need extra players in every position to ensure a winning season.
San Francisco Shock
The San Francisco Shock were the Champions of the Overwatch League this past season. Within that time, they achieved a Golden Stage, went to every stage finals, and after losing to Altanta, did not drop a map the remainder of playoffs. It’s safe to say that this is this the top team in the world at the moment. The Shock have kept nearly their entire roster, only giving up Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson. Right now they have three DPS, three tanks, two supports and also Dong-jun “Rascal” Kim, who can play nearly every role. This team has virtually no gaps, and could easily take this roster to win another championship next year. As long as they don’t drop players, the Golden State boys will be golden yet again.
Due to the approaching geolocation, the Dynasty became possibly the hottest team this off-season. They will be looking for a stacked roster to represent Korea, and currently have 10 players under contract. This includes three DPS, four tanks and four supports. With Jehong “ryujehong” Ryu having declared free agency, that number drops to ten, but still it’s enough.
The Dynasty have already made strong moves to sure up their weaknesses from last season. Their preexisting tank line was a class act, and adding Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong to their roster will further improve it. They also reinforced their DPS line by adding Joon-yeong “Profit” Park, yet having a hitscan addition may be wise. Their support line might also need some improvement simply to have someone fill the massive hole Ryujehong’s leaving behind. The Dynasty are aiming high and have shown they have the means to do so; filling in these last few gaps could push them over the edge to becoming possibly the top team in their conference.
Assuming that two-way players count, Shanghai just makes the eight-player minimum for Friday’s deadline. After having just signed Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim from the Dynasty, they have two supports, two tanks and four DPS (which includes the team’s only Chinese player Weida “Diya” Lu, who is on a two-way contract). With half of their players being DPS, the Dragons definitely have some spots they need to fill. Both of their current supports are flex supports, and both their tanks are flex tanks. Given this, Shanghai absolutely needs to find a main tank and a main support soon.
Once those immediate needs are met, they can begin looking at fixing their off-tank situation as well. Kang-jae “envy” Lee never meshed well with the rest of the team, and Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim has been confined to the bench for far too long. Perhaps a new main tank would remedy this, but the Dragons might want to look for another capable off-tank in case. Filling these gaps would bring the league’s original Chinese Overwatch League team back to their Stage 3 glory.
To the fans who have been patiently waiting: we’re pleased to confirm that diem, Diya, DDing, Envy, Geguri, IZaYaKI, and Luffy all have been re-signed for the 2020 season! Please look forward to a bright future with new and old friends! pic.twitter.com/6dwUOfRXIy
— Shanghai Dragons (@ShanghaiDragons) November 8, 2019
The final team on this list, the Titans have made no official new signings, yet rumors abound. Despite Jang-hyeon “TiZi” Hwang having just been let go, the Titans still have above the minimum number of required players. They have three supports, four DPS and two tanks. However Vancouver’s roster has been through quite a lot of experiences together over the years. Coming up from Runaway, their cohesion and prior trials and successes together was what made this team an indomitable force.
After the run they had last year, the silver medalists certainly have little weakness overall. They dominated the regular season and only faltered when other teams finally caught up to them. However, while they have two star supports, and a plethora of excellent DPS, including Rookie of the Year Hyojong “Haksal” Kim, they could use some bolstering in the tank line above all else. Now that Tizi is gone, they have one tank of each position, which could put a strain on the whole team. With Sang-beom “Bumper” Park having been benched during playoffs for uncertain reasons, a back-up here would be beneficial for the whole roster. If that position is bolstered up, this could absolutely be the year of the Titans’ revenge arc.
The Final Countdown
Teams still have a few more days to get the eight-player minimum, but hopefully many of these improvements will be considered even after this deadline passes. If any team neglects their roster needs just to pass the requirement, they will find themselves falling to the bottom of the leaderboard. Knowing where their weaknesses lie is the key to improvement, and any team could make it to the top by understanding where theirs are and fixing them.
“From Our Haus to Yours”