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What OWL Teams Still Have Players From the Inaugural Season: Part 1

Original Players

With the craziness of this Overwatch League offseason, it is worth a look back at how teams have changed since the league’s inception. Looking at retention of the original players for each team, there appear three distinct categories. The first are teams that have had a complete overhaul, with none of the original players still with the organization. On the other end of the spectrum, there are stronghold teams that have retained a larger number of their players. The last category are teams with 1-3 ‘surviving’ players who provide the foundation for a new strategy for their teams.

Today is a look at the ‘overhauled’ teams – those that have parted ways with every single player that was with the team as the 2018 season started. The four teams that fit this criterion are the Boston Uprising, Los Angeles Valiant, London Spitfire and Florida Mayhem. This will take a look at where the players have gone and what direction the teams seem to be moving in.

Boston Uprising – 0 Original Players

Pre-2018 Roster:

Lucas “NotE” Meissner

Kristian “Kellex” Keller

Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh

Nam-joo “Striker” Kwon

Stanislav “Mistakes” Danilov

Woo-yeol “Kalios” Shin

Mikias “Snow” Yohannes

Jonathan “DreamKazper” Sanchez

Se-hyeon “Neko” Park

Connor “Avast” Prince

Despite a strong showing in the Inaugural Season, including the first-ever undefeated stage and appearances in the Stage 3 and Season Playoffs, the Uprising have gutted their team. Following the season, they released four players (Kalios, Avast, Snow and Mistakes) and transferred Gamsu to Shanghai. Additional preseason pick-ups included Jeffrey “blasé” Tsang, Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth, Renan “alemao” Moretto, Kelsey “ColourHex” Birse and Minseob “Axxiom” Park.

Season 2 started solid with the team reaching the Stage 1 Quarterfinals but dropped off from there. The team signed Zion “Persia” Yang and Do-hyung “Stellar” Lee mid-season in addition to trading Richard “rCk” Kanerva for Lucas “NotE” Meissner from the Dallas Fuel. But the season culminated in an 0-7 Stage 4, and they released four more players (Persia, alemao, rCk and Stellar) and traded blasé to the Houston Outlaws. They have promoted Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy and Walid “Mouffin” Bassal from their Academy team and signed Sang-min “Myunbong” Seo, Tae-hui “Jerry” Min and Munchkin in the hopes 2020 can be a fresh start.

Original Players
Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Los Angeles Valiant – 0 Original Players

Pre-2018 Roster:

Brady “Agilities” Girardi

Terence “Soon” Tarlier

Ted “silkthread” Wang

Christopher “GrimReality” Schaefer

Young-seo “Kariv” Park

Stefano “Verbo” Disalvo

Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson

Indy “SPACE” Halpern

Pan-seung “Fate” Koo

Seb “Numlocked” Barton

Kang-jae “Envy” Lee

The Valiant saw a good first season in the Overwatch League and title of Stage 4 Champions. But there was plenty of player movement behind the scenes. They made four acquisitions (Jun-hyeok “Bunny” Chae, Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa, Min-chul “Izayaki” Kim and Finnbjörn “Finnsi” Jónasson) and three releases (Envy, GrimReality and silkthread) throughout the season. The team also traded uNKOE for Scott “Custa” Kennedy.

After releasing three more players (Finnsi, Numlocked and Verbo) before free agency, they transferred Soon to the Paris Eternal and picked up Dae-kuk “KuKi” Kim from the Seoul Dynasty. Yet Season 2 started with a massively disappointing winless stage. Mid-season they picked up three players from the Florida Mayhem (Caleb “Mcgravy” McGarvy, Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell and Johannes “Shax” Nielsen) in a trade for Fate. Beyond this, they experienced the retirement of KuKi while releasing Bunny and trading Izayaki to the Shanghai Dragons. Still there was disappointment in the air as the team only qualified for the Stage 3 Playoffs, and were one win out of contention for the play-in games in the Season Playoffs.

Leading up to the 2020 season, the Valiant decided to run a mostly-newer and less-expensive roster according to the Sideshow leaks. Notably, they traded Agilities and Kariv to the Tornto Defiant, and SPACE was bought out by the Los Angeles Gladiators. The team has looked to Contenders for up-and-coming talent, signing Sang-lok “Dreamer” Song, Damon “Apply” Conti, Owen “Slur” Warner and Jung-won “Lastro” Mun. They said goodbye to FCTFCTN, and while Custa has been on the team the longest, he was only an early acquisition from the Fuel and does not count as an original player.

Original Players
Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

London Spitfire – 0 Original Players

Pre-2018 Roster:

Ji-hyeok “birdring” Kim

Jun-young “Profit” Park

Dong-jun “Rascal” Kim

Dong-eun “Hooreg” Lee

Jae-hui “Gesture” Hong

Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek

Seung-tae “Bdosin” Choi

Jong-seok “NUS” Kim

Won-sik “Closer” Jung

Hyeon-woo “HaGoPeun” Jo

Jun-ho “Fury” Kim

Seung-hyun “WooHyaL” Seong

On the road to winning the Inaugural Overwatch League Playoffs there was much movement within the team. London signed Jang-hyeon “TiZi” Hwang but released him just four months later. The team parted ways with four more players throughout the season (HaGoPeun, WooHyaL, Hooreg and Rascal) and traded Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek to the Los Angeles Gladiators. Despite this tumultuous roster, the right pieces fell into place just in time for the Season Playoffs and they became the first Overwatch League Champions.

In the subsequent offseason they were the only team in the league to re-sign all their players. After transferring Closer to the Dallas Fuel, they picked up Yung-hoon “Krillin” Jung and Lee-Dong “Guard” Hee in free agency. Ji-hoon “Quatermain” Song also joined the roster in the midst of the season. Yet they never quite found the same success as they had in the prior season, partly due to the meta shifting away from their preferred playstyle.

After a lackluster 2019 season, London lost eight players. They released Bdosin and Quatermain, and chose not to re-sign the contracts of Birdring, NUS and Guard. The two major trades saw Profit and Gesture sent to the Seoul Dynasty, while Guard was traded to the Philadelphia Fusion for Se-won “Bernar” Shin and Tae-hoon “Fuze” Kim. This leaves Krillin as the only veteran player on the team, but he was not even there for the championship run in 2018. The team has none of their original players, but hopefully this overhaul will launch London to a more promising season in 2020.

Original Players
Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Florida Mayhem – 0 Original Players

Pre-2018 Roster:

Kevin “TviQ” Lindström

Andreas “Logix” Berghmans

Aleksi “Zuppeh” Kuntsi

Sebastian “Zebbosai” Olsson

Johan “CWoosH” Klingestedt

Tim “Manneten” Bylund

Unsurprisingly on the ‘overhaul’ category of this list, the Mayhem have not been able to find a team they are comfortable with. They finished the inaugural season second-to-last but picked up their star player Jung-woo “Sayaplayer” Ha after Stage 1, along with Joonas “zappis” Alakurtti and Sung-hoon “aWesomeGuy” Kim

In the following offseason, the team only kept three of their players and attempted to build a fully-Korean roster throughout the course of the season. This meant they dropped Logix, Manneten, CWoosH, Zebbosai, Zuppeh and zappis. To fill out the new roster space, they signed five players, Jae-mo “xepheR” Koo, HaGoPeun, Apply, Sang-bum “BQB” Lee, Sang-won “SWoN” Yoon and Jun-soo “Kris” Choi. They underwent a three-for-one trade with the Valiant to acquire Fate and then signed Seong-ju “Byrem” Lee, Jae-ho “RaiN” Park, Beom-jun “Gargoyle” Lee, Yong-joon “DPI” Choi and San-ha “Karayan” Choi. But it was in vain as they finished the season 6-22, with four of the wins occurring in Stage 4.

Leading into 2020, they have chosen not to pick up the team option for five of their players, thus dropping HaGoPeun, Swon, xepheR, RaiN and DPI. The team signed Jun-ki “Yaki” Kim and support Nam-jin “Gangnamjin” Nam-jin Gang from team RunAway. Hopefully this new roster will keep up the success they found in Stage 4, bolstered by Sayaplayer as their veteran.

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This is the first of a three-part series. Part 2 can be found here. Part 3 can be found here.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on the next two parts, and for more sports and esports articles from other TGH writers along with Matthew. 

You can also follow Matthew @setanta_ow or message him on Discord (setanta#2155).

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