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Fantastic Roster Reveals and How to Craft Them

Praise Jerry. The 2020 season of the Overwatch League season is in full swing. Already there have been some incredible matches and some standout performances from the big stage. The hype is alive and the memes are flowing like a waterfall. On the topic of hype and memes however, is where the notion of a roster reveal video is found. In the pre-season, amid all the leaks and speculation teams with the foresight to do so would do their fans a kindness and eventually actually confirm who would be playing for them in the upcoming season. Many teams opted to make their announcements by way of the ever-popular Twitter platform. Usually, through legitimately well-done graphics, though as exciting as it was to see a still image, nothing piques the interest quite like a well-done roster reveal video.

These videos are an excellent way for teams to engage their fans in a more visceral manner. Tantalizing the senses in more ways than just the visual. Utilizing soundbites and or music in tandem with expertly edited, or in some cases incredibly meme-like ways. The goal with such a video should be to do one or more of the following three things:


  1. Build Hype/ Excitement for the team
  2. Establish a clear team identity
  3. Begin to craft a narrative arc for the team going into the new season.

The Gold Standard

One of the teams that seems to be particularly gifted in the art of reveals is the Atlanta Reign. For a new team about to enter the league way back in 2018 just before the start of the second season of the Overwatch League they were looking for a way to get people interested in supporting them from the beginning. They did so early on by way of one of the most exciting reveal videos in professional Overwatch.


This video did wonders for the Reign brand and really put them on the map. It was already doing a great job by way of graphics, music and gameplay to really introduce their players to the world. Yet it would not be the gold standard without the absolutely brilliant bait and switch that concludes it. The reveal that the immensely popular former pro turned streamer Danial “Dafran” Francesca would be on the roster was monumental. From the moment his cheeky chuckle is heard the team’s identity was born. This would be a team with one foot in the hype and the other firmly planted on the memes. Dafran’s decidedly not PG personality brought a blast of energy into the league and would go on to spread through the team. Making them unafraid to talk trash, “tactical crouch” and troll. Yet they were insanely likable all the same. In short this one perfect moment in a now almost two-year-old video perfectly encompasses the infectious personality of the Reign.


Hype Perfected.. City Honored

Moving into the 2020 pre-season however is where the definition of HYPE can be found… the New York Excelsior. This team has always known how to generate hype for the team; in doing so they have also found a great way to balance the hype for their players with a genuine love for the city they represent. Their roster video released prior to the start of the 2020 season may be the new Gold Standard.

This video perfectly celebrates the assembled roster while embracing the New York identity. The video lives and breathes with the city while showcasing the great skill that fills out their roster at each position. Everything from the choice of music, the eye-popping effects and the immaculate editing present a team primed to show that they left 2019 as a dominant team and they intend to enter 2020 the same way. Truly not enough can be said in praise of this video. Setting a new standard for how to generate hype.


The Meme Dream

Outside of the immense hype machines of the Reign and NYXL teams have come to embrace their more goofy personalities and put them on full display with their reveals. This is where the revamped Los Angeles Valiant live. This team prior to their legitimately solid start in 2020 had a lot of questions surrounding the quality of the roster that had been assembled following the departure of many fan-favorite players. In fairness, none of their reveal videos did a particularly great job of building hype, unless the viewer was already familiar with the players. What their videos did do however was fully embrace the meme and seek to connect fans with the players by way of the goofy side of life.

Now this particular video didn’t exactly go over particularly well with a decent portion of the fan base. Many felt it was cheap and did not put the team in a respectable light. Yet it did its job of establishing the personality of the team quite well. This is a team of lovable goofballs. Evidenced most clearly by their delightful twitter presence. Where they lament their lack of success in romantic endeavors, proudly show their support for sponsor “MeUndies” and engage with their fans by way of memes and heart in full measure. While it may not have been the way to go to get fans excited about the rosters in-game skills, it certainly was the way to get fans to want to support this group of lovable lads all the same.


The Endgame

Crafting a narrative is something that most teams would not bother with, yet the Reign are not most teams. They understand the importance of story, even if it is just a near shot perfect recreation of another story. For their 2020 reveal the production team at the Reign put the work in to recreate the trailer to the highest-grossing film of all time Avengers- Endgame.

Through still more silly, meme influenced moments a narrative becomes clear and sets goals for the team in 2020. They want to win the championship, they want to be the team to dethrone the seemingly insurmountable San Francisco Shock. Giving fans a clear showing that beyond their strong roster that is showcased in one way or another in the video, they intend to deliver on the potential they displayed at the end of the 2019 season. This is the story they want to tell in 2020. Every team wants to win for sure, yet after watching this video it is clear how much the Reign truly want it.


Also again the team killed it with the final moment reveal… that popular flex support player Steven “Kodak” Rosenberger is back on the main team. This delightful recreation of the AntMan reveal is sure to put a smile on any who sees it.


Stories in the End

Roster reveal videos have the opportunity to do more than just introduce the players, they can make a statement to the world about who the team is. They can send the hype meter to new heights or introduce the world to the lovable goofs who will be competing this year. In the end what they do is allow teams to begin writing their own story.


Follow Ethan on Twitter @EthanButler for all your Vancouver Titans, Overwatch League and Esports needs.

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