The preseason for the Overwatch League has come to an end in the 1st week of December. It was a great opportunity for each team to see how their skills would work out in the League and for them to figure out what players they will need to keep their eyes on.
The Overwatch League announced that they will be adopting the regional franchise system and have teams based in cities worldwide. Many Overwatch fans voiced concerns over this system at first, however, 12 teams were eventually created by esports organizations and companies.
Afterwards, each team was kept busy in order to recruit the most influential Overwatch players worldwide. The Overwatch fans were busy keeping track of various news pieces on the contracts between the League teams and famed players, and the 12 League teams were finally ready to play with their complete rosters.
As there are 12 teams in the League, a variety of organizations, capital, and people have gathered around the League market. Since the preseason has come to an end, it will be a good time to go over each team’s assets and team transfers.
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This team is owned by Kraft Group, a collection of privately held sports companies, which was founded by Robert Kraft. Chris ‘Huk’ Loranger, a former Starcraft 2 pro gamer, is the gaming manager of the Boston Uprising.
Along with HuK’s active recruiting, the players who have performed well in the APEX League, including Striker, Kalios, Gamsu, and Neko, have joined the Boston Uprising. They also recruited players from a variety of teams such as Mistakes, DPS player from Team 123, Dreamkazper from Tempo Storm, NotE from Toronto Esports, Kellex from Team Singularity, and Avast from Luminosity Gaming Evil.
Some Overwatch fans worried that many of their players did not have great name value prior to the preseason, although they did moderately well with their results at 1 win and 1 loss in the preseason.
As for the Dallas Fuel, many of their players were former members of Team EnVyUs, a powerful Overwatch team from NA. Team EnVyUs experienced a roster change during the season they played in the APEX League; nevertheless, they managed to grasp victory in the first season. Afterwards, they dominated the NA Overwatch Contenders League as they had outstanding DPS players like EFFECT and Seagull join their team.
With this team history, they naturally became the Dallas franchise for the League after they signed a contract with Hersh Interactive Group, owned by Mike Rufail. Also, they recruited xQc, a Canadian main tank, Seagull, a popular streamer in NA, and Custa, a sub healer from Australia, making their team one of the best teams outside of Korean-only teams.
The Florida Mayhem is the team owned and run by Misfits Gaming and CEO Ben Spoont. Misfits is an EU pro team which had their players, as well as the coaches, join Team Florida without additional recruitment.
However, many of their fans worried about them having only the minimum number of 6 players in their roster, which meant all 6 of their players had to keep on playing during the year-long league. This actually served as a problem during the preseason in which they ended up getting 2 wins and 2 losses.
The Houston Outlaws is owned by OpTic Gaming and CEO Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez, and many of their members are from NA as they recruited players from Faze Clan, FNRGFE, and Cloud 9. JAKe, Rawkus, and coolmatt from their team have played for team USA in the Overwatch World Cup.
Their roster includes no Korean players, although they have two Korean coaches, TaiRong and HyeonWoo. Since they have many players with great name value, they were considered to be one of the most powerful teams outside of Korean-only teams, alongside team Dallas. Unfortunately, even though they have displayed outstanding performance against the Seoul Dynasty and Dallas Fuel, they ended up with 2 wins and 2 losses.
The London Spitfire is owned by the well-known NA esports organization, Cloud9, and Jack Etienne. This team has garnered much attention from the Overwatch fans as they had players join their team from KongDoo Panthera and GC Busan, two teams that have built great careers in the APEX League.
Many Overwatch fans were looking forward to what synergy the London Spitfire would have with two powerful teams brought together, although they had players from KongDoo Panthera and players from GC Busan take turns to play in the actual matchups during the preseason. There were discussions about them keeping this system going later in the future via their official social media accounts.
Los Angeles Gladiators
Los Angeles Gladiators is owned by KsE-eSports, which is run by Stanley Kroenke and Josh Kroenke. They are known to own Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, and American sports and entertainment holding company.
They recruited a variety of star players from different teams including Surefour from Cloud9, Shaz and BigGoos from Team Gigantti, Asher from CONBOX, and quite a few others.
Some Overwatch fans felt insecure about the Gladiators having a small number of players on their roster, yet they displayed unexpected potential as they managed to defeat the London Spitfire. They eventually ended up getting 1 win and 1 loss in the preseason.
Los Angeles Valiant
The Los Angeles Valiant is another LA franchise team alongside the Gladiators, owned by Immortals and CEO Noah Whinston. Most of their players were former members of Immortals, including GrimReality, Agilities, envy, Fate, Verbo, and KariV.
SoOn and uNKOE from Rogue, numlocked, a former tank for NRG esports, and silkthread, a well-known Tracer player from NA, completed the roster by joining the team. Altogether, the lineup is looking to be a pretty aggressive force.
New York Excelsior
The New York Excelsior is owned by Sterling.VC, the esports VC fund supported by the Sterling Equities, a family-run group of companies. After Sterling.VC managed to acquire the New York slot in the League, they recruited almost every player from the LW Blue, including Fl0w3R, although he was placed in the inactive roster due to the age limit. Their roster includes Saebyeolbe and Mano, two players from the OWWC.
They also recruited JjoNak, a well-known Ana main as their sub healer, and Ark from LW Red, completing their 8-player roster. Although JjoNak didn’t get to play due to an age problem, and the team ended up with 1 win and 1 loss in the preseason.
This Philadelphia franchise is owned by Comcast Spectacor, the company known to own the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center as well.
They have recruited outstanding players from a variety of nations, including Korean players such as Carpe, HOTBA, Dayfly, and SADO. Additionally, they recruited ShaDowBurn, one of the world’s best Genji players, Fragi, a Finnish main tank, and Eqo, an excellent DPS player from EU. 6 of their players had experience playing in the OWWC.
However, they could not participate in the preseason due to logistics issues; how well they will able to perform in the regular season has yet to be seen.
San Francisco Shock
The San Francisco Shock is owned by NRG Esports. NRG Esports was founded by Mark Mastrov and Andy Miller, two co-owners of the Sacramento Kings, in 2015. Later, NRG Esports continued to gain more and more fans as they made teams playing in 8 pro video games league based in San Francisco. They also gained much attention when Shaquille O’Neal, Jennifer Lopez, and business owners from Silicon Valley invested in the organization.
Moreover, Overwatch fans had their eyes on the Shock when they successfully recruited iddqd, the famed DPS, and sinatraa, the top NA Tracer player. Along with these two players, they also recruited outstanding players like Nevix from Cloud9, sleepy from Tempo Storm, dhak from Selfless Gaming, and more, putting together their aggressive roster.
Seoul Dynasty is owned by KSV eSports International and CEO Kevin Chou. KSV is an esports organization created in collaboration between Seoul and Silicon Valley. This Seoul franchise managed to acquire the roster of Lunatic-Hai, the winning team from the APEX League. Afterwards, KSV continued to expand their business as they created teams for League of Legends and Playerunknown’s BattleGrounds.
The key players of Lunatic-Hai, including Ryujehong, Tobi, Zunba, Miro, and Gido, joined the team. Later, their roster was completed with the addition of DPS players Fleta and Munchkin. Due to their excellent roster, they were picked as the strongest team in the League and they managed to prove the greatness of the ‘Dynasty’ with their 3 wins in the preseason.
The Shanghai Dragons is owned by NetEase, the Chinese IT company, and the CEO William Ding. They stepped into the spotlight when they announced their franchise team, the Shanghai Dragons, before anyone else in the League.
The Shanghai Dragons are comprised entirely of Chinese players from a variety of Chinese Overwatch teams, such as LGD Gaming, Vici Gaming, 1245, Team CC, and a few others. Among these players is uNdeAD, MG, and Fiveking, who played a major role in bringing Team China to the playoffs with their great performance in the group stage for the 2017 Overwatch World Cup.
Many Overwatch fans were looking forward to seeing how this Chinese team would do in the League, yet were disappointed by their 2 losses in the preseason. However, considering the superplays by eNdeAD and Diya, it is difficult to see this team as weak.
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