The Overwatch League’s new expansion teams spent the offseason competing to sign the most talented, most promising players they could find. While some teams emerged with an abundance of recognized talent from multiple regions, the Chengdu Hunters instead decided to focus on recruiting local players and building a strong community in their home region. But will this team manage to contend against the world’s greatest Overwatch League players in Season 2?
Head Coach: Xingrui “RUI” Wang
Assistant Coach: Chia-Hua “Ray” Chang
Main Tank: Menghan “Ameng” Ding
Main Tank: Yansong “jiqiren” Wei
Flex Tank: Wenjie “Elsa” Luo
Flex Tank: Tianbin “LateYoung” Ma
Projectile DPS: Hu “JinMu” Yi
Hitscan DPS: Tzu-Heng “Baconjack” Lo
Hitscan DPS: Zhihao “YangXiaoLong” Zhang
Flex Support: Chunting “Kyo” Kong
Flex Support: Li “Garry” Guang
Main Support: Xianyo “Yveltal” Li
Those who watched the 2018 Overwatch World Cup might recognize the Chendgu Hunters head coach, RUI. He led Team China to the Grand Finals last year, where they finished in second place. Prior to that, RUI coached Miraculous Youngster — a Chinese Overwatch team that housed several future Overwatch League players and staff.
The Chengdu Hunters’ assistant coach, Ray, formerly coached a Taiwanese Overwatch team named Flash Wolves. While the team only existed for one year, Ray still managed to gain a fair amount of valuable coaching experience.
A few of these players were formerly on the teams that Rui and Ray had coached prior to joining the Chengdu Hunters. Baconjack played under Ray on Flash Wolves, and jiqiren, LateYoung and YangXiaoLong all competed on Miraculous Youngster with RUI. LateYoung then continued to join RUI at the Overwatch World Cup, where they met Yveltal.
Additionally, many of these players have played together previously. After leaving Miraculous Youngsters, jiqiren and LateYoung played for Team CC — another Chinese team — alongside Kyo. Yveltal played alongside Elsa on LinGan e-Sports, and Ameng and Jinmu played together on Moss Seven Club and Big Time Regal Gaming. The only player with no prior experience playing with any of the other players or coaches is Garry.
It’s important to notice that the entire roster is Chinese. While this decision limits the pool of talent the team could recruit from, it also grants them several benefits. First, it helps the team to form a strong connection with its home city. Second, it simplifies communication within the team — a factor that is often overlooked when evaluating Overwatch rosters.
Overall, this is a very aggressive roster. These players are used to jumping in and taking the fight to their opponent. However, this kind of strategy can also leave the team overextended, which can lead to players being eliminated early and forcing the remaining players to regroup. If the Chengdu Hunters want to succeed with an aggressive playstyle, they will need to work on coordinating their attacks and compensating for the enemy’s response.
The Chengdu Hunters begin Season 2 with a fairly easy schedule in Stage 1. Most of their opponents are predicted to be in the bottom half of the leader board, with perhaps their toughest opponents of the stage being the Vancouver Titans and the Seoul Dynasty.
Stage 2 starts with back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, but both games are against weaker opponents — namely the Paris Eternal and Washington Justice. The second half of the stage will be much tougher, with matches against top-level teams like the London Spitfire.
There are several weeks in Stage 3 where the Chengdu Hunters will be playing 2 games. This stage will likely feel busy at first, but calm down toward the end, since they have a bye week during week 5.
The team’s toughest stage will likely be Stage 4. With showdowns against the Los Angeles Gladiators, the New York Excelsior and the Philadelphia Fusion. The Hunters will need to be at the top of their game.
One of the most anticipated matches that this team will compete in is during Week 4 of Stage 2. That week takes place in Dallas, and is hosted by the Dallas Fuel. It’s one of the first away games to ever take place in the Overwatch League, and the Chengdu Hunters will want to make a lasting impression during this memorable event. They face off against the Hangzhou Spark on Saturday, and the London Spitfire on Sunday. Both of these matches will be incredibly difficult, which means the Hunters will need to give everything they’ve got to secure a victory.
With some of the strongest rosters in Overwatch history competing for a spot in the playoffs, the Chengdu Hunters have some fierce competition ahead of them. If the team hopes to stand a fighting chance, they’ll need to rely strongly on building their team synergy. Individually, a few of these players — like JinMu and jiqiren — tend to be more aggressive in their playstyles. If the rest of the team coordinates around these player’s aggression, they could pose a serious threat to their unprepared opponents. However, if the Hunters fail to adapt properly they will collapse before they can even put up a fight.
The most important factor contributing to this team’s success is RUI. As head coach, it’s his job to take this team of relatively inexperienced players and transform them into playoff contenders. His coaching technique will be what makes or breaks the Chengdu Hunters in Season 2 of the Overwatch League. If RUI and his players are up to the task, they might just be the underdogs that climb the ranks this season, just like the Boston Uprising did last season.
The Chengdu Hunters are built around the idea of community. They are developing strong ties with their home city, and have passed up more popular, more developed talent in favor of players they know they can trust. Fans can expect this team to have a rough start of the season as they struggle to adjust to the new environment, new team and new meta. As the season progresses, this team should start to gain momentum and potentially pull off some unexpected upsets. Reaching the playoffs is not out of the question for this team, but it will require plenty of hard work, determination and just a little luck.
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Featured image courtesy of the Chengdu Hunters.
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