More and more roster announcements continue to drop, which remind the Overwatch League community that the off-season is continuing to move. No one would’ve thought at the beginning of Season 3, almost a year later, that the pandemic would continue on. That put into question how will the Overwatch League deal with homestands in Season 4.
It was announced that there is going to be a two region format like in the latter part of 2020. It would make sense to have an even split of 10 and 10 teams in each region. An even 10 and 10 in each region would be able to do better comparisons when it comes to ranking and logistically when it comes to tournaments. Here are the top pick of teams to be in the APAC Region.
Seoul Dynasty, Shanghai Dragons, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, and Chengdu Hunters
These five (Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Seoul and Guangzhou) are the most obvious teams to be a part of the APAC region for Season 4. They are the five teams that are based in Asia. Previously, four of these five teams relocated to South Korea at the end of the 2020 season. It would not be unreasonable for these teams to do it again and play in the APAC region. As the locations are close, teams such as the Hangzhou Spark could go back to their China-based HQ to play without ping issues. It is a no-brainer that these five would stay in APAC. The only team that could move to North America, if they wanted to, would be the Seoul Dynasty as they have their HQ in California. With an all-Korean roster (as of writing), it wouldn’t realistically make sense to move them away from where they are comfortable.
The NYXL was a part of the APAC region during the 2020 season. They struggled for a while to find a practice room for the whole team. At the end of the season, the team was finally all together in one location. Now that the team has most of the issues figured out, it would make sense to stay in APAC as that is where most of their players are from. The NYXL let go of one of their main translators, Steven Kim, which would also suggest that they would be staying in a region that wouldn’t need as much Korean-to-English translations, though it should be noted that the NYXL still has translators on the team.
Dallas might be one of the hardest sells. Their hometown fans are amazing and passionate about their team which has been seen in their localized homestands. This on top of their newly built HQ and practice room for their teams would make one wonder why would they want to be a part of the APAC region when they have so much in NA going for them. Would it be a loss? Yes. Could it be worth it? Absolutely.
The Dallas Fuel has an interesting history with South Korea and Korean players. The original Season 1 core came from EnVyUs. This team won the Season 1 APEX tournament in South Korea. This garnered them a lot of fans in Korea that supported the team for years.
Their rumored treatment of some of the South Korean players on the team has been less-than-stellar throughout the Overwatch League. Notably, Dongjun ‘Rascal‘ Kim was a fan favorite player in which his treatment while on the team garnered a lot of criticism. This was only provoked again with the issues that came up with Guiun ‘Decay‘ Jang this past season.
Why is this being brought up? The Dallas Fuel and their rumored treatment of Korean players has a rocky track record. To give up their own buildings, though it would be assumed they would still be in use for their CDL team and over esports, and allow their team that is essentially a rebuilt Element Mystic team to be in Korea would be huge for their image. Korean players when asked what they miss will say many times during the past AMAs Korean Food or just Korea in general. To keep the players happy and comfortable by moving to APAC would be a huge move for this organization.
The Washington Justice had a mixed roster until the end of last season. They acquired Chunghee ‘Stitch’ Lee and Hyeonwoo ‘JJANU’ Choi late, but had them come back to NA and the Justice HQ. This year, it seems as if the team are continuing with the Korean roster for Season 4. There are members of the team staff such as GM Aaron Heckman who aren’t Korean and would have to make the switch to the APAC region, but player and coach wise the majority are Korean. Would it be ironic that the team with the American colors and logos to be headed overseas to play in the APAC region? Yes.
This also gives the Justice an opportunity to restart and change the narrative. The last two seasons has not be ideal for them, but a change in scenery could reset the narrative around the team. Other than the Dallas Fuel this movement to APAC could be most strategic for the Justice in adjusting how they are seen within the league.
The Florida Mayhem are another team that has a real solid foundation in NA. Last year, though with an all-Korean roster, the team stayed in NA. The Mayhem are owned by Misfits who also own the Florida Mutineers. To have both of their major esport teams in one area would be optimal for any organization. The staff has members such as Swingchip that is a Korean translator, many of their staff are not Korea such as Dom Gardner and Brandon Padilla. Along with the Dallas Fuel this would be the team with the biggest stretch as they did not opt to move to APAC last season. It would be interesting to see how the team would perform while faced against more of the APAC teams rather than the NA ones that they played against last season.
It is unsure what direction the London Spitfire are going to go roster-wise this year. They have released all of their Korean players that were on the squad in Season 3. The rumor is that they are going a different direction, away from the Korean-based cores when it comes to the roster. If there are no Korean players on the squad or even comprise of a minority of the team, it wouldn’t make sense to be a part of the APAC region. The London Spitfire was added because they are the other team, along with the NYXL, that was a part of the APAC region in Season 3. Their position could easily be swapped with the Paris Eternal depending on their roster as well. It would be nice to see a team that isn’t all-Asian to be present in the APAC region and the London Spitfire could be that team.
APAC Regional Teams
Why might teams want to stay in NA? Is there an advantage or disadvantage moving to the APAC region? There has been talk about how there are generally weaker teams in NA than APAC, despite the San Francisco Shock, the strongest team in the league, being in NA. There are a lot of pros and cons for an organization to move their team across the world in a middle of a pandemic.
Are there teams that should be on this list that wasn’t? Sound off in the comments.
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