The news of the Vancouver Titan’s massive roster release sent shock-waves through the OWL scene. Incredibly talented players were suddenly on the market for the highest bidder. The former Runaway squad have pieces that could improve any team in OWL, but the question becomes – where will they go?
A source close to the Overwatch League spoke to The Game Haus about how it feels unlikely that a team located in North America nabs any of the former Titans. As with plenty of companies throughout the country, the main issue for US teams stems from the COVID-19 virus. Before the pandemic, teams had already struggled to bring over players due to visa-related problems. Last year the Washington Justice were unable to start their then-recently signed tank duo of Elliot “ELLIVOTE” Vaneryd and Lukas “LullSiSh” Wiklund thanks to the slow process. In fact, LullSiSh wasn’t able to play this season as well due to the same issues.
Teams typically need to wait 3-8 weeks for a US P1 Visa in order to play for a team located in the United States. Now that process has dramatically increased in time with the advent of a global pandemic. For teams looking to win now, waiting over a month to have a player eligible to play is not conducive to winning. The season is already past its halfway point, and if a team were to make a roster addition that has to deal with Visa issues, it would be one that would hopefully reinforce their roster for the playoffs rather than the regular season.
Some teams have even lost players due to visa’s expiring and not having access to re-instate them. Players like Albert “neptuno” Gonzalez Molinillo and Qio “Wya” Haomiao from the Guangzhou Charge have needed to step away from the team due to visa expiration.
To that end, TGH can confirm that teams located in the United States have tried to make a deal with some of the orphaned Titan’s players. It just happens that legal issues have roadblocked teams from moving forward with deals quickly which has deterred some from making the signings. It is still probable that teams are working on getting through these hurdles but it might be a bit before any former Titan’s players are seen on an NA roster.
That leaves the free agents to more than likely sign with Pacific teams such as Seoul and Guangzhou. These teams fit the bill as prime candidates for potential landing spots. As primarily Korean teams that are looking for that last piece of the puzzle to become playoff contenders, it makes sense that these players would favor the pacific orgs. Also, the fact that the Titan’s players wanted to go home during this would obviously play a factor.
There is the case of Joon “Fielder” Kwon playing for the Eternal which brings up some potential questions. Both of Paris’ flex-supports prior to Fielder had decided to retire earlier this season, calling into question of when Paris began the process of acquiring Fielder. An interesting decision for Paris has been to play Fielder while he remains in Korea, playing on incredibly high ping. With Fielder playing at home, the Eternal don’t need to worry about acquiring a work visa to play for the team, and he can play immediately.
As the Paris Eternal look to improve their 1-1 stretch with a player off base, the rest of the league will certainly be watching with baited-breath. Will OWL teams try and mimic this decision? How much success will Paris see as they continue to work on getting Fielder into the team house? And most importantly, how sustainable is this set up for Paris?
The global crisis that is COVID-19 has deeply affected every facet of life. Unfortunately for OWL viewers, that includes the growth and production of the Overwatch League in its entirety. Players that should have been immediately added won’t see playtime for quite a while, thanks to the delays caused by the pandemic. Whether teams decide to wait out the visa process or not, expect the Vancouver Titan alumni to find new homes soon enough.
Featured image courtesy of Carlton Beener for Activision Blizzard Entertainment
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