February 28, 2018 by coachcarter717
(Courtesy of Activision Blizzard Inc.)
Written by Carter Cotrupi
Stage 2 is underway and there have been some new faces debuting within the 12 teams in the Overwatch League. I’ve compiled a quick list of the teams that made a splash in the player signing period and who these new players are for each team!
Dallas Fuel reignite with the additions of aKm and Rascal
In the off-week before the start of Stage 2, Dallas Fuel announced the signing of former Team Rogue DPS star aKm. aKm was also a member of Team France in last year’s Overwatch World Cup and is renowned for his skill on Soldier 76 and McCree. As I briefly discussed in a previous article, it was a head-scratching moment for die-hard Overwatch fans when aKm was not mentioned on any of the 12 teams’ debuting rosters at the start of OWL.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) February 22, 2018
Even though he was bound to play in the league sooner than later, some analysts believed the Dallas Fuel acquired aKm for nothing more than using him as “trade bait”. People thought that they would use his mythos to draw trades for other missing pieces on the team.
Rascal is a solid DPS player who was quickly surpassed by the likes of Profit and Birdring during his Stage 1 tenure on the London Spitfire. Realizing that his utility role was being wasted on the bench, the team agreed to trade him to Dallas in exchange for monetary compensation. Rascal’s wide hero pool is better utilized as he fills in the much-needed “true” DPS/Flex role for the Fuel.
Dallas stunned everyone by inserting both new acquisitions into the starting lineup in their first Stage 2 match against the Shanghai Dragons. On Volskya Industries, aKm was ready to showcase his skills on Soldier 76. He displayed great game sense and filthy mechanical prowess. Rascal would later be used for his jack-of-all-trades skillset as he flexed onto Genji alongside Dallas’ Tracer star, Effect. They would carry that momentum to beat the LA Gladiators later on in Week 1.
While it is great as a fan of OWL to see such a quick turnaround from the Dallas Fuel, it is bittersweet when you consider the benching of original Team Envy members like Taimou and Seagull. Taimou struggled with his DPS play in Stage 1 and assured fans that he would remain the shot-caller and team captain in the tank position. Seagull on the other hand was nowhere to be seen once Rascal came in for their second match against the LA Gladiators. Taimou’s leadership can’t be replaced so easily, but I fear that Dallas might not have a place for Seagull in the current rotation.
Shanghai Dragons address winless season with four major signings
(Courtesy of Photographer: fomos/@kenzi131 on Twitter)
Much to everyone’s delight, the Dragons announced four big signings leading up to the start of Stage 2. International Zarya sensation Kim “Geguri” Se-Yeon topped the list of new player names heading to OWL. There were rumors ever since the start of the player signing period that the Dragons were looking at the South Korean main tank superstar, but the rumors were just that up until the official announcement two weeks ago.
Geguri has been the center of attention ever since the Overwatch League team rosters were announced. Fans all over the globe criticized OWL for being an “all-male league” despite its promotion for diversity in the community. Once that was all said and done, there came a split between people who wanted more female representation in the league and others who thought that any team adding a female player at this point would just be doing it for the media attention. Even Geguri herself said that she did not like the pressure that people on social media were putting on her as the face to represent all female Overwatch players.
Joining the Shanghai Dragons alongside Geguri (age 19) is He “Sky” Junjian (age 18), Lee “Fearless” Eui-Seok (age 20), and Chon “Ado” Gi-Hyeon (age 19). Sky is a support main known for his skillful Ana and Zenyatta play, two heroes that FiveKing and Altering have not been too proficient with so far in Stage 2. Fearless is a main tank with experience playing Winston, Reinhardt, and Roadhog. He contributed to the “ultimate dive” strategy that helped his former team win Overwatch APEX Challengers Season 5. I expect Fearless and Geguri will quickly takeover the current lackluster tank line. Ado fits into the projectile DPS role with incredible Genji play and high skill ratings with Tracer, Pharah, and Doomfist as well.
— Shanghai Dragons (@ShanghaiDragons) February 14, 2018
If the Dragons can develop good synergy between Geguri’s Zarya mastery and Fearless’ Reinhardt excellence, then their tank line would rise to become one of the best in the league. As for Ado, I think his skill with DPS heroes like Genji is a good compliment to current DPS star, Undead. Undead needs someone that can be a nuisance for the enemy team to take some of the pressure off him and Ado looks like he can fill that role better than Diya. As for Sky, I’m sure his skills as Ana will be a welcome addition to the Stage 2 meta which favors pros that play Ana, Zenyatta, and Lucio.
As it currently stands, none of the new South Korean signees are eligible to play because of their pending athletic visas, which could take multiple weeks or months depending on when Shanghai started to secure them. According to Shanghai Dragons manager Van, the earliest we could expect the four new recruits would be in the latter half of Stage 2.
Florida Mayhem fill out their barebones roster
(Courtesy of Florida Mayhem Twitter)
The Mayhem were one of the first teams to make a splash in the player signing period, announcing the addition of veteran off-tank Joonas “Zappis” Alakurtii. As detailed briefly in this article, Zappis has experience beating the former Misfits players that makeup the Mayhem roster. His experience as team captain for the all-Finnish Team Giganti will bring a much-needed leadership role for Florida to build around.
Other signings for the Mayhem include a trio from Meta Athena, the South Korean team that housed the likes of current DPS stars EFFECT and Libero. The signings from Meta Athena include: DPS Ha “Sayaplayer” Jung Woo, off-Tank Kim “aWesomeGuy” Sung Hoon, and former head coach Hyun-jin “r2der” Choi (now assistant coach on the Mayhem). These signings will now round out Florida’s roster to nine players which is still not ideal for a team that needs more depth, but it’s a good start.
Choi should go to work immediately on helping the Mayhem learn better discipline when executing their strategies in-game.
Join us in welcoming our new assistant coach @hyun_overwatch!
Stay tuned for more announcements in the coming days! 🌴💣
— Florida Mayhem 🌴💣 (@FLMayhem) February 13, 2018
LA Gladiators try out a new tank line with one of the best
(Courtesy of LA Gladiators Twitter)
As with Rascal’s case, the London Spitfire agreed to trade away main tank all-star Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung, who was being underutilized at the back of the depth chart. Despite being regarded as one of the best main tank players in the world, Fissure was having trouble fitting into London’s playstyle and found himself on the bench for most of Stage 1. There were rumors that also suggested Fissure did not get along with the team chemistry of the Spitfire and would most likely not synergize well with the team anyways.
Immediately, Fissure is being used as the main tank for the Gladiators and the results have ranged from pure excellence to iffy coordination on this new team. The main problem is breaking up the longtime duo of Bischu and iRemiix, who were calling the shots together throughout Stage 1. It remains unclear if we will ever see iRemiix back in the lineup with the superior mechanical skills of Fissure in the main tank role in Stage 2.
Seoul Dynasty and New York Excelsior looking for support
Seoul and New York have two of the best rosters in OWL right now. Right behind London Spitfire, these teams have the most talent across the board. But each player is subject to being human, as both teams recently discovered during the dreaded flu season. Ryujehong, support main for the Dynasty was suspiciously absent during their crucial Week 4 match with the Houston Outlaws. For NYXL, Ark has recently been sidelined due to a wrist injury caused by an “accident” in his off-time.
Seoul signed Heo “Gambler” Jin-woo, a support player who was part of the third-place Luxury Watch Blue team in Overwatch APEX Season 2. Gambler played alongside current NYXL stars Saebyeolbe, Janus, and Meko. It is unlikely that we will see Gambler overtake Tobi or Ryujehong’s starting positions in the current meta that favors their skillsets. However, this move will undoubtedly provide decent insurance in preparation for any further absences by either support player. During Ryujehong’s absence, the team switched Gi-Do “Gido” Moon over to cover his support role, but the dip in talent by the DPS/Flex player was noticeable.
— Seoul Dynasty 🐯 (@SeoulDynasty) February 26, 2018
Unofficial reports have said New York will bring on Tae-seong “ANAMO” Jeong in what would be their first depth-signing for the support role. ANAMO was the captain for Ardeont, the team that won the Overwatch Pacific Championship back in December. The pressure is on because of Ark’s injury. Having a third support player as a backup for NYXL would be more beneficial than calling on Mano (current Tank main) to bring back his early experience playing support.
TFW when you're a tank main but you have to play Mercy in this meta. pic.twitter.com/0NDj4RjpCZ
— NYXL (@NYXL) February 28, 2018