Overwatch League – Watch Out! Support Edition

Zenyatta and Dva

Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Today I’ll be talking about support players – one from each team. Supports have a special place in my heart – I played Medic in TF2 and Resto Druid in WoW, so I’ve always kept an eye on what the healers are doing in any game I follow. Overwatch is no exception, and what’s great is that their gameplay can be just as interesting and compelling as any Tracer’s or Genji’s! I hope you enjoy this closer look at 12 of my favorite support players. Each has the chance to really make his mark on the League this season. You can check out the rest of the Watch Out! series here.

 

Zebbosai

Easily one of my favorite supports, Zebbosai has come a long way from his pocket Soldier days. Acquired by Misfits a month after launch, the ex-Graviton Surger (there’s a nostalgia bomb for you) has been one of the most consistent support players around, and often sits atop the pile of best Lucio/all-around support in the EU. Now he has his work cut out for him in Florida, where the Mayhem are gunning for honor, glory, and quite a bit of cash. Back to back 3rd place World Cup finishes say “consistency”, but the 3-4 loss to Team Gigantti says “not quite perfect”. Keep an eye on Zebbosai as the Mayhem enter their first bout vs. London on January 11th.

 

Avast

The former LG Evil/Hammers eSports support has had a decent, though not jaw-dropping career. Close losses to Immortals, Selfless and Rogue mar the otherwise impressive story of the two teams’ rise from unknowns to Contenders. While we’ve come a long way since the Monthly Melees and Carbon Series of old, it remains to be seen how successful Avast will be in Boston. He’s definitely the support with the most success on the team- and there are four of them, by the way- so expect to see him putting in plenty of hours when gameday rolls around. Boston’s first tilt will be against New York to finish off the second day of games on the 11th.

 

Custa

The Adelaidean (what a great word) played for Fnatic before a brief stint with Arc6- making his signing to the Fuel (which we totally called, by the way) a nice reunion with main tank xQc. While Chipshajen and Harryhook have been a rock solid support duo, Custa’s signing adds just a little more depth and fluidity to the roster. It also gives Harryhook more opportunities to bust out his Soldier: 76, which I will never say no to. Worth noting: Custa played a lot of Moira during the preseason. While no one had had the time to get really, really good at her, if Dallas can find a composition that suits the hero, Custa may well cement his place in the starting line. His Zen isn’t half bad, either.

 

Rawkus

So you know how Zebbosai is one of my favorite supports? Here’s another. Rawkus enters the Overwatch League after a long and fairly successful run with Faze Clan. While half of that roster was signed to Philly, the Ana star, alongside flex tank player SPREE, were both signed by Houston. At the World Cup, Rawkus held his own against South Korea’s Ryujehong- often considered the best Zenyatta/Ana player in the world- which very nearly caused an upset in the quarterfinals at Blizzcon. Now in Houston, some of the best pieces of Team USA have come together to make something truly special. JAKE and Linkzr may be the big names in the killfeed come season 1, but don’t be surprised to see Rawkus pop up in equal measure when their first match against none other but his former teammates in Philly comes around on January 11th.   

 

HaGoPeun

HaGoPeun is one of those support players that really could just call themselves a DPS player, and no one would be the wiser. There are a few people like him on and off this list- Harryhook, Kariv, and Shaz, just to name three- but HaGoPeun may have impressed me the most during the preseason. The former GC Busan player has one of the most consistent, frighteningly accurate Zenyatta’s I’ve ever seen- and that pool is a deep one. While uNKOE, Jjonak, and Sleepy (just to name a couple more) can all boast laser-accurate Zenyattas, the Spitfire have something truly special here. And while the ex-GCB half of London’s roster had a few speed bumps along its preseason road, I don’t think HaGo’s seat on the bench will be too warm. Going up against the likes of Ryujehong, Boombox and Chipshajen (I told you there were a lot of good Zens!), I don’t think London will leave someone this good on the sideline for too long. Their first regular season matchup? A 2 PM showing on the 11th against Florida and their resident backline cannon, Zuppeh. Should be a good one. <

 

Shaz

Looking at Shaz’s list of wins is… an enlightening experience. While many players have a good mix of impressive victories, middling finishes and tournaments they’d rather forget about entirely, Shaz has ten- ten- first place finishes. While a good few of those are minor or weekly tournaments, they’ve come against some big names, like Gamers Origin, Rox, and Dignitas – former home of Houston star Linkzr. The big one on the list- a shiny Contenders Season 1 trophy, off a 4-3 win against the Misfits (who you know now as the Florida Mayhem.) He’s played with a good variety of teams and talent as well, including the third Hammers eSports squad (replacing LG Evil) and current Mosaic eSports tank and Team UK player ChrisTFer. Now he stands shoulder to shoulder with the LA Gladiators- and he’s ready to win the crowd. His Zen- remember, there are a TON of good Zens right now- is scary good, and his Reaper flex has been the bane of front lines and back lines alike. Definitely my favorite Gladiator right now, and someone to watch out for as they take on the league’s top talent. Their first matchup- the second game of the season, against a rested and ready Shanghai squad.    

 

Zenyatta

Photo Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

 

 

uNKOE

A well-respected name in any support player conversation, uNKOE was a part of one of the most dominant forces in western Overwatch we’ve ever seen. As Rogue took the world (minus Korea) by storm, the camera often followed him as often as his firing squad of fellow Frenchmen, AKM and Soon. With good reason, turns out- the man clicked many a head in his day, and it doesn’t seem like he’s lost any momentum pushing into the Overwatch League. His preseason performance was as comfortably consistent as the Valiant could have hoped, and you know that any plan the Valiant has will probably involve uNKOE’s dangerous aim and ridiculous survivability.  The LA Valiant help kick off the first game of the first day of the first season of the Overwatch League- man, that’s a mouthful- as they go up against San Francisco at 4PM sharp (PST, of course) on the 10th.

 

Jjonak

If you look up Jjonak on the competitive Overwatch subreddit, the results sound… almost too casual. Jjonak with an incredible Zen 4k. Jjonak turns 18 and uploads a montage. Jjonak casually kills a Valk Mercy and some others.

AND SOME OTHERS? He took down half the team and almost had another before the clip even ended. And that wasn’t even the most impressive post there, by a lot. In the words of the 5th post in those search results, “Yeah… Jjonak is good at Zen.”

NYXL didn’t really impress as much as I expected them to during the preseason – which doesn’t say much, I know- but really, all they need to do is keep this guy and Saebyeolbe on the field. Game over. Look for NY to repeat their 3-1 preseason performance against Boston to close out Thursday’s matches week 1.

 

Joemeister

Oh, Joe. With a long tenure at Complexity Gaming followed by a pickup from Faze Clan, it’s been an up and down (generally up, to be fair!) sorta career for the Toronto native. His biggest losses have been two 0:4’s to EnvyUs, and really, who wasn’t getting 0:4’d by EnvyUs anyways. Now the Lucio star has a chance to get some 4:0’s instead, though who knows how easily that will come for the Fusion. The roster seems stacked, half Faze Clan, half Team UK, half other errant yet ridiculous talent from across the T1 scene but with no preseason footage to go off of, it’s anyone’s guess as to how well all that talent has actually come together. I fully expect the Meister to have a pretty significant role in the team’s success, though. Hopefully he’s gotten a few more Mercy hours under his belt since the World Cup. His first matchup with Philly? A doozy, against his former teammates Rawkus and SPREE.   

 

Sleepy

So we can all agree San Fran’s roster reveal video was the best one, right? Cool highlights, Tupac playing in the background, J. Lo was there – you name it. Each player rolling out and getting a sweet multikill is always fun to see, and the names were familiar, likeable, popular – wait, who? Sleepy? In the time it took me to try and think of who he was, he had killed three people. Color me impressed. His performance in the preseason kept my interest piqued, he held his own against any Tracer thrown his way and then some. Even in a team packed to the gills with fraggers, Sleepy should not be slept on. I’ll call it now, Sleepy will be the first name we see in the kill feed of a regular season OWL game, as San Fran seeks to shock the Valiant on the 10th.

 

Fiveking

He’s got a Lucio tattoo on his leg. That’s what you need to know about this guy. That’s the kind of person Fiveking is. I could tell you about his tenure with Invictus gaming, or his performance at the Shanghai World Cup qualifiers (which was impressive, by the way.)  [I could show you this 5 minute clip of him bouncing around like an absolute madman, destroying people and saving his team in an entertaining variety of ways.](https://www.bilibili.com/video/av10752285/)  I could also explain to you the hurdles he’s had to overcome to get to where he is in the Overwatch League, including a grueling travel schedule made worse by visa issues, a constant bane of extranational rosters like Shanghai’s. Which are all compelling and interesting stories. I could tell you any of these things- or I could just tell you that he’s got a Lucio tattoo on his leg.

And it’s great. Watch for it as Shanghai takes on the Gladiators for our second match of the season.  

 

Ryujehong

The man. The myth. The legend. The hair cut! What a guy, this Ryujehong. His name is whispered reverently any time you talk about support players. Points and counterpoints are thrown about, argued and discussed- but Jehong is always there. Watching. Waiting. Sleeping a Genji. Killing that Genji. Waiting some more. Star support players come and go, but so far, this guy has been the real deal- across metas, tournaments, oceans, he’s been as consistent as they come. And it shows in his fanbase- as the Dynasty set up their peripherals and squeezed their handwarmers between matches, people would rush down to the stage with jerseys, event programs, t-shirts, you name it. Event personnel literally had to come down and tell them to disperse. That’s the kind of guy Ryujehong is.
 

Personal story time – I was right up front as Seoul Dynasty played Houston in the preseason, and despite having swung a US flag around while wearing a ridiculous outfit at the World Cup group stages, I went and bought a Dynasty Jersey right then and there. Sorry, Coolmatt. Your look of confusion at my USA socks and distinctly Korean jersey was second only to the scream the guy next to me made as I pulled the jersey out of my backpack. And the thumbs up I got from Jehong.

 

Brandon Padilla
Brandon has followed competitive gaming since 2008 and has been featured several times in PCGamer Magazine, and has bylines with The Game Haus and Afterwatch. His mix of in-depth analysis and experienced opinions lends itself well to coverage of the Overwatch League.Follow Brandon on Twitter!
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