In this new series by Brandon “thibbledork” Padilla, we tackle key aspects of the Overwatch League to watch out for as we get into the inaugural season. Today’s topic – tanks. A vital part of every team’s success, which tanks are going to shape the League’s earliest performances?
The former CONBOXer enters the league with an extensive pedigree in professional gaming- and a history of near misses. With middling finishes through his APEX career, the grizzled veteran could very well turn that around in Boston. While many sell the team short, the Uprising are hungry, and their preseason showing wasn’t all bad- though we’ll see if that carries over into the regular season. Be sure to keep an eye on Gamsu’s Winston vs. other notable names like Miro, Mano, Muma, and KuKi- his playstyle often differs widely from the more aggressive Winstons you normally see.
One of Dallas’ newest additions, the French Canadian recently came under some fire for his on stream antics. While he has often known for his high energy streams and personality, many worry that he has pushed himself too hard recently, adding extensive scrims to his already packed stream schedule. Nevertheless, xQc has rallied from his brief fall from grace, apologizing profusely (and genuinely) while throwing himself right back into his work as prospective main tank for the Fuel. His aggressive, high octane playstyle may well be the thing that takes Dallas to heights even greater than their already lofty pedigree might suggest- provided he remembers to take care of himself and manage that boundless energy.
With only six members on Florida’s roster, each player has to be put under extreme scrutiny. While Manneten is a rock solid portion of said roster- and really, each player is no slouch- he will need to push himself harder than ever to support his team. A rare Roadhog savant, Manneten’s tank flexibility has been a major strength that has served the Mayhem well. His D.Va has seen the most airtime lately, given her place in the meta, but he’s a consistent high level player across every tank we’ve seen him on so far. With other teams boasting two or three tanks a piece, easily covering and overlapping every possible combination, Manneten (and Cwoosh) will have to work overtime to keep the Florida front line strong. And if single tank compositions grow any stronger, watch out for his Widowmaker- it’s nuts!!
Often hailed as the best D.Va in the west, Coolmatt comes into the Overwatch League with a lot to prove. With lots of synergy with his fellow Outlaws, his preseason performance was strong- but will he be able to hold his own against top tier off tanks like Zunba, Mickie, and Bischu? Only time will tell. If #69 can keep his Bunny Blaster frags and team wiping D.Va bombs coming like he did in the preseason and Contenders, Houston could easily join the conversation for top of the pile this season.
Gesture is currently considered by many to be one of the best main tanks in the game- and it’s a well deserved distinction. His Winston play is smart and responsive. His Reinhardt is snappy and efficient. Both heroes played a major role in GC Busan’s meteoric rise through the Korean scene and into APEX/APAC championship spots. Can he continue to push his team through the upper echelons of the Overwatch League? Or will he and his fellow ex-GCB teammates take a back seat to the more experienced half of the London roster?
Luis Galarza Figueroa has one of the most inspiring stories in the Overwatch League. A Barceloneta native, Hurricane Irma left his home in tatters. Now he fights for the LA Gladiators, representing his people with pride. The strength of the Gladiators’ preseason showing was due in no small part to his efforts, where his aggressive zone control and survivability made space for his DPS and ridiculous support line to shine. Will the Puertorriqueño help steer his team to a surprise playoff run? Or were the Gladiators’ early victories just a fluke?
The Valiant’s main tank is another with a decent eSports pedigree. From Mighty AOD all the way to Los Angeles, Fate’s transition into the Overwatch League has gone as smoothly as anyone could have hoped. Fate’s cohesion with his team is apparent any time you watch him- his movements are well coordinated, his engagements with his DPS are crisp, and his cool-down usage is effective and well disciplined. He and Envy can easily be in the conversation for best tank duo in their Pacific- but they’ll need to convert their preseason momentum into regular season victories.
While New York’s preseason showing left a little to be desired, there is yet hope for the XL roster. One of the brighter spots is Mano, a veteran main tank with plenty of clout in a crowded “who’s the best” conversation. His experience with LW Blue (who comprise the majority of NYXL’s roster) is an easy stepping stone to greatness, but there are some gaps that need filling. Look to Mano to be the tip of the spear as NY pushes for a playoff spot- with star DPS players abound, the tanks will need to do their job to give the team its breathing room.
-While we obviously haven’t seen much (well, anything at all) from Philly, this roster has me excited. Fragi is a key component of that excitement. One of the oldest names in the Overwatch competitive scene, Fragi promotes excellence, innovation and proficiency wherever he goes. Ninjas in Pyjamas took the Overwatch world by storm in the early months of competitive play, and Team Gigantti was one of the most dominant forces in Europe, picked clean by OWL teams looking for top tier talent. Will Fragi’s brutally effective tank play gel with the new styles brought in by the myriad of talent on Philly’s roster? Or will the early hurdles the team faced kill their momentum before they even start?
Nomy is an interesting piece of the Shock’s puzzle. A team stacked with DPS mains- where do the rest fit in? Nomy’s playstyle seems to be working well with the rest of his team so far- his smart positioning and fight management enables his team to run rampant on unprepared foes, and his game sense keeps his healers safe even when heavily pressured. While many see him and Super as a weaker tank duo when compared to some of the greats, they have a decent history together and have no shortage of individual talent. His play will definitely be a key talking point when discussing San Fran’s successes- or its shortcomings.
It’s no secret that Seoul’s roster is stacked, with some of the longest standing and most successful talent brought on as a unit to take the League by storm. Strangely, though, the talk of the town when it comes to the Dynasty’s tanks hasn’t been greatest Winston contender Miro or god-tier off tank Zunba, but a new addition- former MVP Space main tank, Dae-kuk Kim. KuKi has been astonishingly consistent, even faced off against some of the best teams in the world- something the Dynasty definitely picked up on. He played the lion’s share of the preseason, so definitely keep an eye on his playtime going into season 1. Will his workload continue at its current pace, or will he be swapped out more freely with the likes of Miro and Zunba?
Things were off to a shaky start for Shanghai (say that one three times fast,) but with visa issues and a tight travel schedule immediately preceding the preseason, we have yet to see the Dragons at full strength. Roshan will need to rally his team if they want to have any hope of turning things around from their low energy start- his DPS players are more than capable, but they need the space that only a high-level Winston main can provide. Roshan has proven he can deliver- Shanghai’s brightest moments often came with his help- but consistency is going to be the name of the game these first few weeks.