The Overwatch League closed out the first week of the offseason by releasing a list of contract statuses for every player in the league. The list revealed that the Los Angeles Gladiators now have three free agents on their roster – Jun-woo “Void” Kang, João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles and Lane “Surefour” Roberts. In the weeks ahead, these free agents are free to explore any options they’d like for the 2020 season, and teams are allowed to begin scouting them.
All three Gladiators free agents could all make for excellent pickups, but a few teams in particular will undoubtedly have eyes on Surefour. A flexible and experienced DPS player who has taken opportunities to shine both with Los Angeles and with Team Canada, he has proven himself as a reliable and consistent member of any roster he’s on. Surefour could round out quite a few teams for season three, and with his contract up for grabs, chances are that he’ll garner plenty of attention. But which teams could especially lock in on him? A few options come to mind.
After a lackluster second season, the Fusion’s roster could definitely use some revitalizing. The Fusion themselves seem to agree. Out of their 2019 roster, only Isaac “Boombox” Charles and Gael “Poko” Gouzerch remain under contract for the time being. With the exception of Finley “Kyb” Adisi remaining on as a team option, the team’s entire DPS lineup has gone into free agency. Rumors in particular have been flying around Jae-hyeok “carpe” Lee’s future with the team, especially now that he can explore his other options.
Perhaps the Fusion’s most obvious weakness during season two was their lack of flexibility. Even in Stage 4, as teams experimented with role lock, Philadelphia remained committed to the meta, even when they lacked a solid grasp on it. Moving forward, they could benefit from both a deeper hero pool and a willingness to play around with the meta. Bringing in Surefour would provide an excellent first step towards both of those aims. His proficiency on a variety of heroes allows him to make up for any departures from the Fusion’s former DPS line. Beyond that, his comfort with trying new things could be just what Philadelphia needs.
Overall, the Reign had a fairly successful debut season, and role lock gave them a particular chance to surge. At the moment, the team has left everybody under the team option except for two-way support player Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway, whose contract has been locked in. This means that they’ve opted to hold on to their roster for the time being, but they’ve also left their options open as the offseason kicks into gear. With so many possibilities for their future, the question turns to what Atlanta needs.
After faltering a bit in the middle of the season, the Reign had a real chance to thrive in Stage 4. They used role lock as an opportunity to show off a strong DPS line, and found a real team identity after shuffling their starting lineup around for a while. Atlanta has proven that they’re not afraid to try new things and make good use of their players’ various strengths. After doing so well at the end of the season, they could get away with keeping things as they are. They could also benefit from rounding out their DPS pool with someone who matches their adventurous playstyle. With Surefour on the market, they could find that added boost of variety that they need to keep their 2020 opponents on their toes.
Los Angeles Valiant
The Gladiators’ top rival, picking up Surefour? Perish the thought. Still, the Valiant enter the offseason with some interesting questions to answer. Of their three DPS players, Brady “Agilities” Girardi and Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa remain under contract, while Johannes “Shax” Nielsen remains under the team option. After seeing results from their drastic midseason changes, the Valiant likely won’t shake themselves up too much. However, they’ll undoubtedly look to keep up their momentum and avoid a repeat of Stage 1. In order to keep trending upwards, they could use some depth.
Currently fielding an eight-man roster, the Valiant have excellent players in every role, but not many options if they need to adjust. If they want to continue building on their late-season success, their best option is to avoid becoming predictable. Adding Surefour to their DPS lineup gives them a better chance to adapt on the fly if they need to, and further deepens an already-solid hero pool. If the Valiant commit to bringing in some similarly flexible talents, they’ll be in an excellent spot to kick off 2020.
Back to the Gladiators?
Of course, entering free agency doesn’t necessarily mark the end of Surefour’s career with the Gladiators. Though they have to make a suitable offer as well if they hope to keep him around; synergy with his teammates and the prospect of remaining in Los Angeles could both make them an attractive prospect. However, it’s currently difficult to piece together the Gladiators’ game plan moving into the offseason. The team currently lacks management since they parted ways with esports organization Sentinels in September. The team’s social media has been silent for weeks, leaving fans perplexed about the future of their team. With so much up in the air, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll easily retain any of their free agents, Surefour included. One thing is certain, however – now that the offseason is in full swing, fans of every team can expect a whole lot of action.
Follow Darby on Twitter @soundchecck! She is happy to talk about anything she’s written! You can also get in touch with her on Discord (soundchecck#7242).
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
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