On Oct. 24, 2018, one of Overwatch Legaue’s newest organizations had revealed their new branding and colors as the official OWL representatives in Toronto. The name Toronto Defiant; with their red, black, and grey colors, was chosen to capture the grit, integrity, and attitude of the Toronto esport community.
The reveal had a sold out crowd. Banners fell donned with the Defiant crest for the anticipated reveal, while the intimidating Zenyatta and Sombra team skins were also teased. What many fans had been waiting for was a look at the Defiant roster. Unfortunately, fans did not get a reveal that night. Following the event, Toronto wasted no time in answering their fans’ calls.
Only three days following their teams reveal, Defiant fans rejoiced seeing the first of their team’s roster presented. Kang-jae “Envy” Lee was revealed as Toronto’s flex tank for season two. With some previous experience with the Los Angeles Valiant, Envy has most recently seen competitive experience with Meta Bellum in Contenders Season two.
Previously of the Boston Uprising, Se-hyeon “Neko” Park was also revealed as Toronto’s flex support. Internal struggles between management and coaching caused a discomfort among the Uprising players through stage four. The season one All-Star chose to depart from Boston and found his way to Toronto filling a very important role for the Defiant.
With new team captain Envy retaining his focus on flex tank heroes such as D.Va and Zarya, Neko’s vast Hero pool will allow for immense flexibility for the Toronto squad. According to Winston’s Lab, Neko would commonly run Zenyatta in season one for Boston. With Zen’s usage at the end of season one falling from 50.58% to 46.25% and other heroes like Lucio jumping from 10.17% to a whopping 54.36% and Ana skyrocketing from 2.70% to 41.03% flexibility seems to be the name of the game heading into season two. The Defiant understand the relationship a meta has with a team’s success. A player like Neko helps bring the flexibility a new team will need to compete.
With both support and tank flex positions filled, Toronto decided to reveal their damage dealers next. Lee “Ivy” Seung-hyun and Lee “Stellar” Do-hyung were revealed two days following Neko and Envy. Both Ivy and Stellar have joined Toronto after leaving their previous Contenders squad O2 Ardeont following a sixth place finish at Contenders season two in Korea.
O2 Ardeont’s hitscan role was primarily filled by teammate Ju ho “Climax” Maeng, often selecting Widowmaker, McCree, and Tracer. This opened the projectile role wide open for both Ivy and Stellar. From their time in contenders, both showed a projectile DPS skillset. Ivy and Stellar both impressed with Pharah when called upon, but Ivy seemed to be the primary choice for the projectile role. He regularly showed off his Genji proficiency while occasionally flexing to Pharah, Junkrat, and Sombra. Much of Stellar’s time with O2 Ardeont found him flexing to Tracer or other supporting hitscan options to accompany and compliment Climax.
The lack of a pure hitscan does leave some worry for the flexibility of Toronto’s DPS. Both Ivy and Stellar clearly posses a versatile hero pool, but In the Overwatch League, proficiency and moderate experience can only get you so far. With dominant hitscan players like Philadelphia Fusion’s Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee and New York Excelsior’s Do-hyeon “Pine” Kim dominating the Widowmaker gameplay in Toronto’s Atlantic Division, Toronto’s lack of a star Widowmaker or hitscan specialist could put them at a major disadvantage.
Shield and Support
With both Envy and Neko announced as Toronto’s flex tank and support respectively, the latest roster announcement completed the projected starting six for the Defiant. The day after Stellar and Ivy’s announcement, Jae-yoon “Aid” Go and Gyeong-mu “Yakpung” Jo were announced as the team’s main support and tank.
Aid joins the Defiant after a disappointing season with the Houston Outlaws’ Academy team, GG Esports. The team’s disappointing season can mostly be attributed to their lack of chemistry throughout season two of Contenders. With Neko’s experience in season one available to Aid, this could prove to be the most potent duo on the squad. Each possess very skilled usage of a majority of the available support heroes. Neko should fall in as the team’s Zenyatta, but the remaining heroes seem up for grabs until more chemistry develops between the two and those decisions are made.
Yakpung leaves O2 Ardeont and rejoins teammates Ivy and Stellar in Toronto. Yakpung and Envy form a formidable tank duo, but the lack of experience between the two leaves many questions on their pairing; however, each do show savvy understanding of their roles. Yakpung will fill primarily on Reinhardt, Winston and Orisa, while Envy will potentially follow with coordinated usage of D.Va and Zarya.
The Defiant have followed up on their team announcement stating:
We've got two more slots to fill. More details will come soon. Stay tuned. 👊
— Toronto Defiant (@TorontoDefiant) October 30, 2018
With two more slots to fill, there are clearly more players incoming, and we may still be in store for a big signing up north. Although the six starting slots are filled, it’s easy to assume the current roster may not all be starting by February.
Be sure to stay with The Game Haus for more info on Toronto Defiant’s signings!
Featured photo from Toronto Defiant
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