Like many of the top OWWC teams, Team France has a core roster they tend to stick to, with only a few new faces added each year. But with veteran support Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson passing on trials and Mr. D.Va bomb himself, Gael “Poko” Gouzerch having to withdrawal due to health issues, France looks like a whole new team.
No, That’s Not Booing
The only player to return to France’s 2019 roster is none other than their star damage dealer Terence “SoOn” Tarlier. Appearing for a third year, SoOn is a fan favorite due to his sharpshooting Widowmaker and sneaky back capping Tracer. Due to his already lengthy esports career, being selected for a third year in a row doesn’t phase him much, but this year has been much different for him. “Usually I don’t speak much except for strategy, but now since I’m alone, I [have] to work with new players that I don’t know. Also I have to share my experience on everything, so it costs more energy/time and less focus on myself.”
Focus is something very important to the seasoned player. “The day before [the] match, I try to keep my energy as much as possible.” He explains. He avoids too much excitement with his teammates, talking loudly, working out, and even cleaning. “Right before the match I just wait, focus on what I have to do [and] have every strategy in my head…I just wait and keep calm. Then when the match starts, I know I’m 100% ready and full of energy.” While it may not seem like it, he says that playing in a match exerts a lot of energy. “After a close [best of 5] you feel tired because you give everything to win.”
What makes SoOn truly legendary is how the crowd erupts every time they bellow his name. While the uninitiated may at first confuse the chorus of “Sooooooooooooon” for booing, it has become quite the tradition. Even the man himself doesn’t know exactly why the chant started, but he’s pretty sure it started during the first Battle for LA and he’s glad it has stuck around.
A Whole New Support Line
France has kept the same support line for the past 2 years, flex support uNKOE and main support Michael “winz” Bignet. But this year the Caduceus Staff and Orbs of Harmony have been passed onto Brice “FDGod” Monsçavoir and Damien “HyP“ Souville, respectively. While other members of the team had to wait to see if they made the final roster of seven, both HyP and FDGod locked in their roles, as they were the only support players to make the team of 12.
Fans of OWL will be familiar with HyP, as he played for the Paris Eternal this season. Although he did not see any play time past Stage 1, he has a wealth of experience under his belt. His insight was even an asset to last year’s Team UK, as they consulted him frequently about the GOATs meta. His most recent team before joining Paris was the much talked about Eagle Gaming. During last year’s qualifiers in Paris, it was rumored that the squad was dominating scrims against the World Cup teams. Being one of the first teams to truly master GOATs, HyP and company were able to cleanly win EU Contenders Season 2, in front of a massive home crowd.
Being the youngest member on the team, FDGod has to feel an incredible weight on his shoulders. But with varying success throughout Contenders and other minor tournaments, he has more experience than people give him credit for. Considered to be a highly underrated player, he made quite an impression on Head Coach Quentin “Wrath” Sevegner during trials. In a post on Medium where he explained his roster choices, Wrath said of FDGod, that he was “One of the best, if not the best European Lucio in terms of mechanics.”
A Bonded Tank Line
Main tank Simon “Chubz” Vullo and newly appointed off tank Théo “Tek36” Guillebaud are already used to playing together on Samsung Morning Stars. The pair joined the EU Contenders team earlier this year and hope to bring their synergy to the OWWC stage.
During the roster selection process, Wrath touted Chubz as, “…the best Winston/Orisa of these trials and an excellent tank in general on other characters”. Being the only main tank selected for the roster made it clear whose shield France would be standing behind.
With Poko bowing out of the competition, Tek36 was given the opportunity to step up. Initially being compared to a Swiss army knife by his head coach, Tek36 brings his superb adaptability to the team. Already known to be solid on D.Va and Roadhog, his flexibility could give the French an edge over the competition.
A Few Extra DPS
Confident in their other choices, the French committee seemed a bit unsure of who would fill the seats for DPS. With a staggering 7 DPS players making it to the 12 man roster, France had a tremendous decision to make. With SoOn already confirmed, France decided to go with another pair of Samsung Morning Stars alumni.
Lucas “Leaf” Loison has quite the list of teams to his name. Aside from Samsung Morning Stars, the Doomfist expert has also spent time on prestigious teams like GamersOrigin, Eagle Gaming, and currently Team Gigantti. Earning a top 3 placement in almost every major tournament he’s participated in, Leaf’s experience and ability to adjust as needed are just what this newer team needs.
According to three-time Community Lead Mathias “Troma” Szanto, Jeremy “Hqrdest” Danton is the joker amongst the team, always capable of making anyone laugh. An absolute ace on McCree, Hqrdest has also shown to hold his own on projectile heroes, such as Pharah. A part of Eagle Gaming’s final roster, he helped destroy the competition in EU Contenders Season 2, alongside HyP and Leaf.
The Legacy of Avecle6
Anyone who has watched OWWC in the past 2 years is familiar with one simple, yet contagious chant. “Avec le 6!” Translated from French it means “With the 6!” It serves a dual purpose for Team France, as both their name and their war cry. The brainchild of Troma started during France’s 2017 OWWC run. Originally meant to emulate the beloved hashtag and motto of the French national rugby team “Soutiens Le XV” [“Support the 15], it has now become synonymous with Team France.
SoOn says that because Troma started Avecle6 it always makes him think of the Community Lead. “I think about him because he made this community,” he says. “Everyone is under this name. So, for me, Avecle6 means positivity.
An Unmatched Fervor
The French community is known for their boisterous and unmatched spirit. Bursting into song multiple times to sing the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise“, last year’s Parisian crowd gained notoriety for how deafening they could be. Alban “Albless” de la Grange, Paris Eternal’s former Team Manager and a former caster, says “I think French people are now pretty used to [having] esport tournaments both national and international so they’re already ‘hype ready’”. He says the French enthusiasm can be attributed to a great local scene, determined rookie players, and the abundance of French representation in OWL. Plus he adds, “Most importantly this is the World Cup we’re talking about. We are proud, very proud, of our colors.”
The French fans aren’t the only ones causing a commotion though. The French broadcast talent has become just as known for their high energy and rambunctiousness. Following the success of a 2018 World Cup video, Albless and his broadcasting friends decided to make another one. A parody of a popular French song, “Alors Alors” by rap duo ‘BigFlo & Oli’, their new video “Avecle6” is definitely imbued with the French spirit. He describes the song and video as a way “…to hype up both the World Cup and the French team”. He then adds, “The French broadcast crew is also doing a great job at building up the hype throughout the year for both the League and the World Cup.”
Dedicated and Hungry
Troma says that this year’s roster is quite possibly the most dedicated and the hungriest roster France has seen yet. “The old teams were hungry for fights too but this year it’s on another level in terms of dedication”. He says this is because the team is made up of mostly Contenders players who want to prove themselves.
When asked why the community should be rooting for France this year, SoOn echoes Troma. “It’s players from Contenders, they are 200% motivated to win. Even if we probably lack the experience or skill, motivation and discipline can be stronger.”
The preliminary matches start in less than a week, but no match schedule has been released at this time. Games are tentatively scheduled from 12:30PM EST until about 1:15 AM EST on October 31.
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