After a weaker-than-expected Season 1, the Seoul Dynasty have decided that it’s time to change it up.
In mid-July, the Dynasty announced a complete revamp of their coaching structure, parting ways with all of their coaches and promoting former head coach Hocury to General Manager. Hocury’s first order of business was to secure former Gladiators main tank Fissure on August 21st.
Not to be outdone (by himself,) Hocury’s next mission was to work on the coaching staff. On the 28th, the Dynasty announced the acquisition of former Mosaic Esports/6nakes coach KDG and former interim Spitfire Head Coach Changgoon.
“KDG and Changgoon fit right into the culture of unity, teamwork and positivity that Hocury is creating for the Dynasty squad. KDG enters with a strong esports background, having played StarCraft professionally before coaching Mosaic Esports and 6nakes. Changgoon brings over a championship pedigree — after a stint with GC Busan as Manager and Coach, he led the London Spitfire to the inaugural Overwatch League Grand Finals Championship.”
“I feel really good about the team and coaching staff we’re constructing for the 2019 season,” Hocury said. “We are putting all the pieces in place to win and we all look forward to getting to work.”
“In KDG and Changgoon, Hocury and our organization are thrilled to have found a coaching tandem with the same vision of how to build a team,” said Arnold Hur, Gen.G esports Chief Growth Officer. “We’re confident that under their leadership, all our players will develop a winning mentality and set us up for success in Overwatch League this season.”
So the Dynasty are confident, at least. The real question is whether or not their changes lead to success in Season 2.
So far, it looks like you guys think it will!
— The Game Haus Esports (@TGHEsports) August 29, 2018
The Dynasty’s changes come days before the Free Agency window opens on September 9th, but they won’t be the only moves we’ll see this off-season. The Shock have already released three players, Seagull retired and rumors are flying everywhere about trades, acquisitions and signings. With six new teams entering the mix soon, the water will only get muddier as time goes on. So let’s take a look right now at who’s making moves over the next couple weeks.
A playoff-caliber team in Season 1, Boston still struggled under certain circumstances, falling out of the playoffs early after a rough Stage 4. President of Gaming Chris “Huk” Loranger has always made it clear that he was looking for coachable players, but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to waste his time. The Uprising announced open tryouts in late July, and may be looking to adjust certain portions of the roster with more malleable players.
Notable gaps for the Uprising include a lack of projectile specialists and viable flexibility at support. Snow and Avast never played in a meaningful capacity during Season 1; I expect them to find new homes in Season 2. Kalios also had limited playtime throughout the regular season, but he’s good enough that other teams may want him. Keep an eye on the Uprising in the weeks to come.
The Fuel are a frustrating team to follow. Just when you think things are looking up… their most flexible player flies away. While I don’t think this will be cause for major changes in the Fuel’s roster, GM Mike “hastr0” Rufail announced on Twitter that change is a-comin’ in Dallas.
— Mike Rufail (@hastr0) August 25, 2018
The core roster in Dallas is comprised of former Contenders champions, Team EnVyUs. That starting lineup didn’t see much playtime together this season, though. Cocco played only a handful of games – the prevailing rumor is that former Head Coach Kyky had “given up” on him. Here’s hoping Aero – or someone in the Overwatch League – has a little more faith. Cocco is worth it.
EFFECT struggled to maintain his composure as the Fuel dragged their way through the season, eventually taking an extended break for the entirety of Stage 4. We have yet to hear what his status in Season 2 will be, though it’s been clear that he still has the stuff.
Taimou and aKm both struggled at times in Dallas – though to be fair, who didn’t – and could easily find new homes in the off-season. Watch for aKm to move as part of a package deal with long-time teammate Unkoe, if they move at all.
The core group of players I wouldn’t worry about would be Mickie, OGE, Unkoe, and Harryhook. Support and tank synergies are important, and these four have worked well as a core for the Fuel once they figured things out in the coaching department. Chipshajen has looked a bit lack-luster, but there’s always room for a backup Mercy player in the Overwatch League. (Though I think he has so much more potential! He deserves a starting spot!)
Oh, Florida. Not much to say beyond what’s been said for the Mayhem. They struggled all season long, despite their roster changes, and will need a lot of work coming into Season 2.
Zuppeh and Zebbosai were often dubbed the worst support duo in the league, Zappis hardly saw any playtime (which didn’t make much sense now that we’ve seen him crush skulls with Team Finland,) and the front line in Florida has looked more see-through than the water at the Keys. aWesomeguy and Cwoosh have both been middle-of-the-pack worthy, but Florida needs more than that to push for playoffs in Season 2. At least Logix, TviQ and Sayaplayer are nutty.
The Outlaws are a tough team to read. While you could make the argument that a lot needs to change in Houston this off-season, Outlaws GM Flame has made it clear that he brought these guys together for their personality, not their dashing good looks.
The team struggled on a few mechanical fronts – namely at Tracer – so I could see some adjustments being made there to cover that gap. Mendokusaii never played a game this season, and I don’t think he’s going to start in Season 2 – at least for the Outlaws, anyway. Boink also lost a lot of playtime to Bani once Lucio fell out of favor. He’s gonna have to prove his capability if he wants to stay in the black and green.
It would be easy to say “They won the championship, we’re good here,” but the Spitfire present an interesting quandary. After paring down the roster for logistics’ sake in the later part of the Season, it remains to be seen if London’s new coach(es) will keep that philosophy, or choose to expand again.
Not that there are many places where they need the help – their front line is scary, their backline is scary, their DPS… you get the idea. I like where the Spitfire are at. That doesn’t mean they do, though.
There’s a Fissure-sized hole in the front line in LA, and I don’t know if iRemiix can fill it forever. He showed great promise when he entered the playoffs against the Spitfire, but that lasted about… three maps. The Gladiators may need someone a little more consistent to fill those very handsome, best shoes in the world.
Luckily for them, they’re sitting on the best T2 main tank in the game right now. Panker is ridiculously good, and the Gladiators have exclusive, first-dibs access to his contract if they want to bring him into the big leagues. Spoiler: They do. They really do.
The Valiant aren’t in a bad spot by any means, but there’s the argument that they could do better. Fate and Space are one of the best tank duos in the league, and Custa+Kariv have scary good synergy. The question, then, is what to do with the spots in the middle – which are currently contested by no less than six players.
KSF, Finnsi, Agilities, Izayaki, Bunny and SoOn will all need to prove their mettle this off-season, or they’ll be enjoying a nice Double-Double before closing time. Bunny and SoOn are really, really good, and I don’t think they’ll be going anywhere. The rest, I’m not so sure. Agilities is a star, no doubt, but he has drawn the Valiant’s eye (in a bad way) before. He’s a juicy trade waiting to happen, and the Valiant might decide it’s better to start fresh, like a delicious basket of fries. (Can you tell what I’m craving as I write this?)
As for Numlocked and Verbo… it looks like the Valiant have moved on. Not that being a backup in the Overwatch League is a bad thing, mind you – I just don’t think they’ll be making it back on stage anytime soon. At least in LA.
I don’t think the NYXL need to change a thing for Season 2. Yeah, they lost their footing at the end, but there’s no getting around their regular season record. If they actually try, this team is unstoppable. The real question is, who’s willing to pay the big bucks to steal an NYXL player? Every team is gonna want Jjonak, or Saebyeolbe, or Mano, or Meko… and so on. NYXL will have to throw some major cash to maintain their squad.
An easier target for competing teams would be farther down the NYXL depth chart. Janus, Pine, and Anamo are less frequent starters, and could go more easily (and more cheaply, too.) If anyone goes, I’d bet it would be them. But that’s a pretty big if.
The Fusion have given out a lot of “no comments” in regards to their roster lately, which almost certainly means change is coming to Philly. There are plenty of players the Fusion could part with – Joemeister, the only player to never go up on stage in Season 1, springs to mind right away. Dayfly, fragi, ShaDowBurn and Snillo also spring to mind – all phenomenal players, but maybe not for the Fusion. Each is worth a starting spot in their own right, though Head Coach Kirby did say they keep a 12-man roster to run internal scrims. Maybe that will stay the case?
The Shock have already made some moves this off-season, but I don’t think those will be the only ones. Head Coach Crusty mentioned to us at the end of the season that they’d be bootcamping in Korea, looking for players – and last I checked, Korea has a lot of great Overwatch talent to choose from. Depth for the tank and support lines would be nice, and could synergize well with Architect and Choihyobin. Language barriers suck, but the Shock seem determined to overcome it. That should make for some interesting moves.
The sheer volume of changes necessary for the Dragons puts the rest of these teams to shame. There’s precious little that doesn’t need to change in Shanghai, and they know it – open tryouts and applications for coaching positions litter the team’s Twitter page, and there’s no doubt in my mind that many players simply aren’t coming back.
Rumors also abound that the Dragons’ few good players are actively being scouted by other teams, including Ado to the Dynasty and Geguri to… well, probably everywhere. She’s pretty good. That is Shanghai’s darkest timeline. The Dragons need to write some big checks to cling to what they have, and discard the rest. There are plenty of good Chinese players out there still – a couple of which are on the roster. They need to get to the rest before Guangzhou does.
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