Overwatch League has added three new Chinese teams during the expansion. Each has their own unique storyline going into this season. The Chinese region has an increased global attraction after the success of their 2018 World Cup team as well as the powerful rosters within their Contenders region. Here are two things each team should look for this upcoming season.
Carpe vs. Diem
While there may have been a discussion about whether or not Overwatch League is an anime, there is no arguing that the story of these players is right out of an anime. In an article from the Shanghai Dragons, translated by OW_Beacon, Diem and Carpe have known each other since they were 10 years old. They found each other through Counter-Strike before reconnecting in Overwatch. Their names are no coincidence either. It was both of their ideas to have this paired nickname. Diem has said that if he outplays Carpe on stage, he will tell Carpe to change “Carpe Diem” to “Diem Carpe.” Both of these players are world-class Widowmakers. While Carpe is the more well-known of the two, if you have watched any of Chinese Contenders Season 2 you know how much of a monster Diem can be in his own right on Widowmaker. We might be lucky enough to see these two battle it out in the playoffs, but we have a guaranteed matchup between the two come Week 5 of Stage 3.
The Switch to an All Korean Roster
Shanghai has finally gotten themselves a full Korean roster, aside from substitute DPS Diya, built around Geguri and Fearless. Now there should be no worries about communication issues between all players. The pieces they’ve added around aren’t too shabby either, bringing in four players from the KongDoo Panthera squad that finished second in Korean Contenders 2018. In a lot of their play from last season, Shanghai seemed disjointed on their dives and lacked coordination with their ultimates. Now that all the players share a language, Shangai should finally be able to get their first victory.
From China with Love
With three new expansion teams from China, the Hunters are the only team fielding an (almost) entirely Chinese roster. None of their counterparts can say the same, opting instead to favor Korean players. A lot of these players may be unknown to those who don’t follow Contenders closely; however, this team is stacked with local Chinese Contenders players. This team has a unique ability to show exactly what the Chinese region brings to the table besides the big names of Krystal and Guxue (who we will talk about later). Players like JinMu, who was a starting DPS player in Chinese Contenders. Yveltal is an amazing support from LGE and Team China and Ameng is a player who can flex from Tracer to Orisa at a moment’s notice. They have all been in the Chinese region for a long time and now look to prove themselves to a wider audience when they make their debut in OWL.
The Return of RUI
Many people may remember RUI for his brief stint with the Shanghai Dragons last season. Unfortunately, he had to leave the team due to health issues. Now he is back in OWL and ready to make an impact. RUI is most well known for his coaching performance at the 2018 Overwatch World Cup with China, but before that he was the coach of one of the best Chinese teams in history, Miraculous Youngster. Team China and Miraculous Youngster took the Overwatch scene by storm under the guidance of RUI. If RUI can do the same with Chengdu, expect a lot of power rankings to be busted.
The International Roster
Guangzhou did something that not many people would’ve expected going into the season: they decided to add not only Korean and Chinese talent but some talent from the West as well. Very seldom in esports do you see Chinese teams pick up players from Western regions. While this is an interesting concept it raises some questions about how well the team will play together. With Zero and Kyb being native English speakers, Eileen and OnlyWish native Chinese speakers, and the rest of the players being Korean, will they be able to mesh together?
The LGD Duo
The Charge have picked up two long standing Chinese players from LGD Gaming in Eileen and OnlyWish. Both players have been on LGD since 2017 and have now moved up together to OWL. Eileen has always been highlighted as one of the best DPS in China, known for his excellent Genji play. In his time with LGD he’s shown flashes of brilliance and the ability to carry; however, there have been flashes of inconsistency in his play. The same applies to his support friend OnlyWish. Very few supports in Chinese Contenders really stand out on their own merits. OnlyWish’s decision-making has been a constant question in his play since I began covering him in Chinese Contenders Season 2. In order to succeed at the top level of Overwatch, these things will need to be improved throughout the season for Eileen and OnlyWish. Their communication and ability to minimize mistakes will be deciding factors whether or not they will see playtime over their counterparts.
The guxue Paradox
The name guxue is one you probably recognize after his performance at the Overwatch World Cup in 2018. Guxue stole the show on team China with his aggressive Winston play. Now he has gone from LGD Gaming to the Spark, a roster that is entirely Korean with the exception of guxue and his OWWC teammate Krystal. The question now becomes if guxue will start, or he will rotate with his main tank counterpart NoSmite, previously from X-6 Gaming in Korean Contenders? In an article by Bonnie Qu, guxue states that the whole team is learning English. This should make the language and communication barrier easier to navigate. Perhaps the Spark will rotate between the two players depending on map,they may have to compete for the starting Tank role. Either way, we should see a few Primal Rages coming from guxue.
The Power of Anime
Whether or not you believe in anime in OWL, the addition of Hangzou has undeniably brought a sense of anime into the Overwatch League. The Spark are owned by the Chinese company Bilibili, a video sharing company that dabbles in anime. Along with this fact, their branding and social media have definitive anime undertones. Their logo even has hints to Misaka Mikoto’s signature “Railgun” attack from A Certain Magical Index and their branding has already brought in numerous fans based on its connections to anime. Overwatch League may not be an anime, but Hangzou is doing their part to bring in a little bit of that anime spice.