While we’ve all been waiting for the Los Angeles Valiant Roster Announcements the Boston Overwatch League team has stolen the spotlight. As the fifth team to announce their branding we’re still less than halfway to knowing all of the teams’ names and branding. Without further adieu, here is what we know about the Boston Uprising…
Despite multiple scandals and setbacks during the inaugural season, the Boston Uprising managed to rally in the latter half to maintain a top 6 finish. Working within a multilingual environment and leaning on the talents of individual players were keys to the Uprising’s success. Striker’s stellar Tracer play and NotE’s flex tank skills helped support the team. With multiple pickups for Season 2, including Team United Kingdom’s Fusions and New Zealand DPS Colourhex, the Uprising are looking to change their look and keep up their success.
|Park “Axxiom” Min-sub||Boston Uprising||Tank|
|Noh ‘Gamsu’ Yeong-jin||Boston Uprising||Tank|
|Min-seok “AimGod” Kwon||Boston Uprising||Support/Flex|
|Lucas ‘NotE’ Meissner||Boston Uprising||Tank/Flex|
|Kwon ‘Striker’ Nam-Joo||Boston Uprising||DPS|
|Kristian ‘Kellex’ Keller||Boston Uprising||Support|
|Kelsey “Colourhex” Birse||Boston Uprising||DPS|
|Jeffrey “blasé” Tsang||Boston Uprising||DPS|
|Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth||Boston Uprising||Tank|
This past week we sat down with Chris “HuK” Loranger from the Boston franchise to talk about the Overwatch League. The Kraft Group is one of the big names in the league and it is great to see how HuK is planning to build out the team.
- In terms of recruiting, you are still in the middle of the player signing window. How have things been going and have they matched your strategies?
HuK: It’s going well. I don’t think I could ever say anything differently. It’s been a very thorough process for us. We have a system where we want to be very diligent with who we sign, because unlike esports contracts which are a little more at will, Overwatch League contracts are iron clad more or less where if you sign a player, you “sign” a player and they are on your team for good and you have to pay that salary. From our standpoint, we’re looking for high skilled, humble, coach-able individuals. We think that is going to give us longevity and strength going into the first season and beyond. I think having those characteristics as a player is the most important. Especially if you look at Contenders and APEX results, where a lot of the teams who were really good in Season 0 are now struggling in Season 1.
Day Two – Player Signing Period
The first two days of the player signing period for the Overwatch League have been surprisingly quiet. While most of us had been expecting a flurry of announcements we’ve been left with radio silence so far. We expect things to pick up as the weeks go by and one of today’s big reports looks to set the stage.
Chris “Huk” Loranger is set to join the Boston team to lead their team operations, according to Jacob Wolf of ESPN. It’s reasonable to expect to hear about a few more signings like these before the players start getting locked in. With a number of the teams not having established eSports leaders in place, they’ll need to make smart hires. It looks like Boston is the first to make a high profile signing to help run the team – and possibly pick their players.
A big question to answer is who at each team will be the one evaluating and signing players. It’s not unreasonable to think that Noah Whinston and his Los Angeles team could start announcing signings any day now. This is due to the leadership they already have in place with the Immortals. For the Northeast teams, they have deep pockets but they’re going to need smart leadership to spend it wisely.
Chris Loranger is an eSports veteran, having played professionally in both Starcraft as well as Starcraft 2. Most notably, he’s one of a very small number of western professional gamers to have played extensively in Korea. He has a breadth of experience in eSports and knows the landscape of all its major locations quite well.
It’s going to take strong leadership and management for most of these teams to rise up to be able to compete with the likes of Seoul and Los Angeles. Expect to hear more news of smart signings like this from some of the less established teams. Once they’ve got management in place we expect the player signings to roll in.
Boston is the other major player on the East Coast in the Overwatch League. Boston folks love their sports. They love their Patriots and that is where this team will excel. Robert Kraft is the owner and the Kraft Group has already set up a page talking about the Team and the League. Granted it is small right now, but it is there.
Boston is a video game town. With MIT having some of the best technical folks on the planet this is very much a hot bed for Esports. It also hosts PAX East, one of the largest gaming shows in the U.S. (it is bigger than E3 peeps). So if you don’t think of games when you think of Boston, think again. They have a much better footprint than New York.
Here is what Robert Kraft had to say on the subject:
“We have been exploring the esports market for a number of years and have been waiting for the right opportunity to enter,” said Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group. “The incredible global success of Overwatch since its launch, coupled with the League’s meticulous focus on a structure and strategy that clearly represents the future of esports made this the obvious entry point for the Kraft Group.”
The best thing about Kraft is they will hire the top talent in the region to manage the team. They will also build a solid team which again, comes into question with home grown talent. It is the challenge that all East Coast teams will have.
The main question continues to be how do you win over your local market? Where do you plant your flag and who will arrive first to the events? The Kraft Group will be able to access large venues and host the events. So they have a strong side to the event seen. It really depends on how the two cities with some of the largest populations win over their fans.
The rivalry between New York and Boston will begin from day one. It may already be talked about now. You did have other teams taking shots at Boston already simply because of the Patriots name behind the organization. It makes for great hype as we go into the season.
The main question with the Northeast franchises is will they partner with top Esports teams already established? There are a lot of good teams out there in the U.S. market who can be bought up and moved into these cities. So who in management makes that call?
For Boston, it is clear they have a slight edge over New York in terms of tech community and events. Their investors have an equal ranking as huge powerful financial firms. So, once this league gets into the trenches that is when you will see the differences come in quickly. Regardless of how much both teams compete, they will be going after established Esports names on the West Coast and well, Seoul.