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GSL Code A – DRG, Cure, Hurricane advance to Code S, ByuN’s wrist issues flare up again




After a dull opening day full of one-sided matches, the second day of Code A could only be an improvement in terms of entertainment. While DongRaeGu scored a sweep over SpeCial to start the night, Cure vs ByuN and Hurricane vs RagnaroK delivered exciting matches which went all five games. We even got to see new GSL map Nautilus for the first time, as it was the deciding map for RagnaroK vs Hurricane.

Unfortunately, the proceedings were overshadowed by ByuN’s wrist issues coming to the fore once more, which forced him to call for a mid-game pause in game two of the series. It was the fourth consecutive GSL studio match in which ByuN had his wrist issues flare up, and the third one in which he needed an in-game pause for rest (GSL rules appear to limit the length of these unsanctioned pauses to three minutes, and the number to once a series). ByuN ended up losing the series by a 2-3 scoreline, with the content of the matches suggesting his wrist pain played a role.

DongRaeGu, Cure, and Hurricane will move on to the RO16 of Code S, which is set to begin on Sunday, Apr 04 3:00pm GMT (GMT+00:00). The final day of GSL Code A is coming up on Monday, Mar 29 9:30am GMT (GMT+00:00), where Dark vs PartinG and Stats vs Bunny will decide who takes the final two spots on the Code S roster. The Code S RO16 group draft will be held shortly after the Code A matches, so make sure to tune in for scheming, shmoozing, and s***-talking the unique event has become infamous for.

Match Recaps

DongRaeGu vs SpeCial

Game 1 – Deathaura: SpeCial went for a fast 3 CC build with Hellions, followed up by an attack with Hellbats and stim-upgraded Marines. This timing didn’t faze DongRaeGu at all, as he stopped it easily with Queen-ling-bane. The successful defense left DongRaeGu to grow his economy and Creep spread with relative ease, and SpeCial had no choice but follow him into a longer macro game.

While players like Maru make turtling up and playing for the late-game look easy, this game ended up showing how hard it can be in practice. Facing DongRaeGu’s Hive-tech army of Lurker-Viper-Bane-Ling, SpeCial struggled to reposition his Tank and Ghosts in response to DRG’s movements. DRG was able to strike wherever the Terran defensive line was the weakest, methodically taking out expansions before crushing the main army to seize victory.

Game 2 – Pillars of Gold: SpeCial went for a Cloaked Banshee opener this time around, nabbing a few Drones but not enough to cover his investment. Another Marine-Hellbat timing followed, and again, DongRaeGu was able to hold it off rather easily to take the lead in economy. Playing from behind, SpeCial tried to get anything done once he had Marines and Medivacs out on the map, but was again swatted away by DRG’s Queen-Ling-Bane defense. Once DongRaeGu started cranking out swarms of Muta-Ling-Bane off a roaring economy, it was all over for SpeCial.

Game 3 – Romanticide: A Battlecruiser rush was SpeCial’s choice of build this time around, but unfortunately, DongRaeGu once again stopped his initial gambit with minimal losses. However, SpeCial’s follow-up attack looked much more potent, setting up a siege at DongRaeGu’s third base with 2 BC’s, 2 Tanks, and a slew of Stim-less Marines. For a moment, it looked like SpeCial would take his first map of the night. However, DongRaeGu managed to patiently stall and preserve his third Hatchery, waiting until he had a large number of Queens, Zerglings, and Banelings (DRG later said he would have lost if an “S-class” Terran was playing from that situation). DRG was able to decisively break the siege, once again putting SpeCial terribly behind after his fruitless early attacks. Much like game two, DRG used his early game advantage to crush SpeCial with Muta-Ling-Bane in the mid-game, securing the 3-0 sweep.

ByuN vs Cure

Game 1 – Lightshade: The two Terrans’ builds diverged in a meaningful way early on, with ByuN opting for a slightly faster Factory while Cure went for a faster expansion. ByuN didn’t get much done with his first round of Tank-Medivac harassment, but set himself up to strike with two Tanks and two Ravens while Cure was still catching up on tech units. Cure was able to hold off this attack from ByuN, but at the cost of a LOT of SCVs (meanwhile, Cure’s counter-drop was shut down for almost no gain). Cure tried to turtle and play for a horrendous mistake from ByuN, but his prayers went unanswered as ByuN used his economy and army lead to clinically close the game out.

Game 2 – Deathaura: The openers diverged drastically in game two, with ByuN going for 1/1/1 and quick third base while Cure hid a Starport and Fusion core for fast Battlecruisers. Not only did Cure go BC’s, but he opted to take advantage of Deathaura’s mech-friendly nature to go for the rare TvT composition.

Cure’s initial BC’s didn’t do much damage, but they did succeed in keeping ByuN back and buying time for Cure to set up his slow macro-mech play. Cure actually ended up getting a lot of harassment damage done in the mid-game, taking advantage of the advance positioning of ByuN’s bio to execute deadly Hellion run-bys on SCV lines. This helped to keep ByuN’s growth in check as Cure played extremely passively off four bases.

It seemed like Cure had achieved one of the best early-mid games for mech possible, and he looked to expand beyond four bases once he was nearly maxed out. However, one fantastic, enveloping Marauder attack from ByuN seemed to negate all of Cure’s hard work, taking an excellent trade against the Tanks. Cure was forced to withdraw and wait to replenish his Tank count before he could try and take more bases.

ByuN called for a pause at around that time, with wrist pain striking again at a most inopportune moment. Due to ByuN’s injury or not, Cure was able to turn the tide once the game resumed. His second max-supply move out went much better, smashing ByuN’s bio to give him a decisive lead. Cure played his lead slowly, taking extra bases and pushing his Tank line within striking of ByuN’s own bases. ByuN looked for ways to use the mobility of his infantry-based army to exploit holes in Cure’s defenses, but he simply couldn’t find any meaningful opportunities. Cure ended up living the mech dream, slowly lurching forward with his superior army to extract the GG from ByuN.

Game 3 – Oxide: Both players opened up with builds looking to go for fast Medivac harassment, which resulted in the cute scene of the two transports passing each other in the middle of the map. ByuN ended up getting the better of the harassment exchange, killing a meaningfully greater number of SCVs.

ByuN used his advantage to get a third CC faster while getting to work on double-upgrades (as opposed to a single Engineering Bay from Cure). While ByuN failed to capitalize on his upgrade advantage due to a much delayed Armory, his economic advantage ended up carrying over. After some mid-game skirmishes, ByuN emerged with what seemed like a decisive lead, holding four bases to Cure’s three.

ByuN looked like he would safely close the game out once he added Liberators to his Marine-Tank army, but he abruptly let the lead slip through his fingers after taking a terrible Marine-Tank vs Marine-Tank fight which gave Cure a thirty supply lead. After that point, ByuN seemed to fall apart. He was sloppy in delaying Cure’s advance, needlessly bleeding away Marines and crucial Tanks. Cure continued to push forward, blowing up chunks of ByuN’s army until he received the GG.

Game 4 – Romanticde: Despite a funky 2-Barracks Reaper opener from ByuN, the early-mid game ended up being mostly uneventful (there was some ultimately inconsequential skirmishing) and the two players headed to a 4-base vs 4-base macro game on relatively even terms.

Decisive moves were made as the players reached max supply Marine-Tank armies. Cure sent out the majority of his forces for an attack into ByuN’s fourth base, whereas ByuN kept most of his army at home while a smaller detachment of Marines looked for a backdoor attack. The situation played out beautifully for ByuN as he managed to kill a significant number of SCV’s on Cure’s end on the map, while at home, he survived Cure’s attack with just some mining time lost. ByuN furthered his lead with another backdoor attack a few beats later, this time actually killing off Cure’s fourth Command Center.

ByuN was firmly ahead with 4 bases to 3 and a huge army advantage. While ByuN managed to convert that advantage into a win, the laborious, slogging process of getting there made it seem like the most obvious example of his wrist pain affecting his play. Cure’s only advantage was that he managed to get a decent Raven count against ByuN’s Marine-Tank army, and somehow ByuN managed to let Cure maximize that advantage at every opportunity. ByuN’s approach seemed to be trying to bludgeon Cure to death with a resource advantage, which allowed Cure to chew up ByuN’s Marines and survive for much longer than anyone expected. Eventually, Cure was forced to evacuate his Command Centers to expansions further and further away from his main base, making it impossible to defend both at the same time. ByuN capitalized on this weakness to finally force the GG out of Cure.

Game 5 – Pillars of Gold: Both players opened with 1/1/1 expansions, with ByuN going for a quick Medivac drop while Cure went for a Raven into a later drop. ByuN was content to kill off just a few SCVs with his initial Marine-Reaper drop, which then joined up with the rest of his forces for a quick Tank push. Unfortunately for ByuN, his push coincided with Cure’s delayed 8 Marine drop into his largely undefended main. ByuN tried to fight these Marines off with his SCVs, which went extremely poorly and resulted in disastrous SCV losses. ByuN had no choice but to go for a desperate frontal attack to try and get some damage done, but Cure repelled the attack easily to seal his 3-2 victory.

RagnaroK vs Hurricane

Game 1 – Jagannatha: Hurricane started with a 1 Stargate Void Ray-Oracle opening which would be his baseline strategy for most of the series. After taking his third base, Hurricane went up to 6Warp Gates and looked to hit a timing with 2 Immortals and an assortment of Gateway units. RagnaroK caught whiff of the attack in time to crank out Roaches and Ravagers on defense, but not quite soon enough to save his building fourth base. However, things went in RagnaroK’s favor when Hurricane tried to keep pushing into Zerg territory, with the Zerg swarm enveloping the Protoss troops and winning a decisive battle.

RagnaroK re-established his fourth base and pressured Hurricane with Roach-Ravager-Baneling, taking advantage of the Protoss player’s delayed splash damage units. While Hurricane did eventually get some Disruptors out to support his Stalkers and Immortals, it was too late to stop overwhelming numbers of Zerg units from running him over.

Game 2 – PIllars of Gold: Hurricane showed his second follow-up to his Void Ray-Oracle start, going for Dark Shrine and DTs. This proved to be a perfect blind counter to RagnaroK’s fast Queen-Roach-Ravager attack which sacrificed detection for speed. Hurricane happily gave up his third while his DT’s hacked down RagnaroK’s army (he even sent a DT to RagnaroK’s main to get some Drone kills).

Hurricane played his early lead out patiently, taking his third base and assembling a strong mid-game army of Immortal-Stalker-Archon. It looked like this army might be able to finish the game, but RagnaroK pulled off an impressive defensive hold with his Roaches and Ravagers. This bought RagnaroK enough time to establish a four base economy and tech up to Lurkers and Vipers, but he was still very much on the back foot. Meanwhile, Hurricane was free to build up his economy and start the transition to Carriers.

Eventually, RagnaroK had to move out with his Lurkers, Vipers, and Hydralisks to take more bases and try to keep Hurricane in check. A series of odd army movements saw Hurricane’s Carrier-centric force and RagnaroK’s swarm miss each other, and the two players ended up killing each other’s expansions. Hurricane was perfectly fine with that, with his remaining army of Carrier-Templar-Immortal being vastly superior to the Hydra-Lurker-Viper force RagnaroK had scraped together. Hurricane crushed RagnaroK in a few final battles to tie the series.

Game 3 – Romanticide: Hurricane’s mind games after his Void Ray-Oracle opener continued, this time adding two more Stargates to go for mass-Phoenixes. However, this strategy didn’t really end up getting much done, as RagnaroK played safely with lots of Queens and Spores, and added Hydras once the Phoenixes were revealed. Ultimately, the Phoenixes didn’t kill enough Overlords or Drones to justify their cost, and Hurricane was left belatedly transitioning to a ground army while RagnaroK’s economy ballooned out of control.

After maxing out on Hydra-Ling-Bane, RagnaroK looked to end the game with a strike on Hurricane’s fourth base. Hurricane’s marvelous use of Force Fields and Storm allowed him to weather the frontal attack, but he suffered painful Probe losses to the Baneling drops RagnaroK had launched at the same time. It didn’t take long for RagnaroK to reload with even more Hydra-Ling-Bane and go for another killing blow. Hurricane’s defensive micro failed him this time around, as his mispositioned Templar were killed off before they could cast their crucial Psi Storms. RagnaroK smashed through Hurricane’s defenses and collected the GG.

Game 4 – Oxide: Hurricane revealed the fourth variant of his Void-Oracle openers in the form of Glaive Adepts. It was a move Rag had a good read on, and he had Roaches in place to defend. Hurricane used his ten odd Adepts to keep RagnaroK on his toes while securing his third and adding Blink Stalkers and Immortals for a follow-up attack. RagnaroK was ready for this as well, and had more than enough Roach-Ravager-Ling to utterly crush the attack.

Firmly in the driver’s seat with a strong four base economy and superior army, RagnaroK looked to batter Hurricane with mass Roach-Ravager-Bane. At first, thing seemed to go to plan, with RagnaroK smacking Hurricane down whenever he tried to move forward and take a fourth base. However, RagnaroK started to get sloppy with his lead, using Banelings wastefully and attacking into positions with Overcharged Shield Batteries. RagnaroK’s wastefulness gave Hurricane the breathing room to tech up to Templars, and even to send out some Warp Prisms for backdoor attacks with Zealots.

The scales seemed to tip in an instant: Hurricane’s backdoor Zealots killed off the Lair in RagnaroK’s main, and at the same time his Templar-assisted army finally secured him a fourth base. Suddenly, RagnaroK was put on the clock, with a mediocre economy, no tech, and facing down a high-tech Protoss making a slow transition to Carriers.

RagnaroK decided he had no choice but to commit to Roach-Ravager-Bane and try to end the game. Unfortunately, his forces couldn’t make any headway against Hurricane’s Templar-backed defenses, and he conceded the game.

Game 5 – Nautilus: Despite playing on an exceedingly rare four-player map, RagnaroK decided to open up with a 12-pool build (Hurricane later said it reminded him of the time Dark did the same thing to him on a four-player map). Hurricane spawned diagonally across from RagnaroK—normally this would be bad luck for Hurricane’s cheesy strategy, but according to Liquipedia the acceleration zones in the middle of Nautilus make the travel distances fairly similar regardless of starting position.

In any case, Hurricane’s Probe scout caught the Zerglings just as they left RagnaroK’s base, allowing Hurricane to set-up a wall at his natural and pull off a near flawless defense. In RagnaroK’s desperate scramble to catch up in economy, he built his Roach Warren just a few seconds too late to stop Hurricane’s Warp Prism poke into his main. While Hurricane was teching up to Dark Shrine at home, he was already so far ahead that a simple warp-in of Zealots and Adepts was able to further sabotage RagnaroK’s economy. From there, Hurricane simply took his third a base and amassed a Stalker-Immortal force that finished off an impoverished RagnaroK.

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Unknown 9Z Team eliminates Vitality from BLAST Premier Showdown




The unknown 9z Team managed to eliminate Vitality in the first round of the BLAST Premier Showdown, in what is likely Cédric “RpK” Guipouy’s final game withthe French team.

9Z, a team that qualified for the Showdown through the South American qualifier, was marked as the heavy underdog going into the series. To make things worse, the team was forced to play with Rajohn “easTor” Linato as a stand-in. 

Vitality seemed to be in control of the game on the first map, as it comfortably won 9z’s Nuke map pick. It was in-game leader Dan “apEX” Madesclaire who showed his team the way, as he topped the charts at the end of the map. 

Going into the second map, Vitality seemed set to win the series in a comfortable 2-0 fashion. 9z had not played Overpass much recently, and even against weaker South American opponents the team only had a 25% winrate.

The first half went as expected. 9z got a small lead on the favored CT side and reached halftime with 9 rounds to its name. 

But Vitality failed to close out the game and as its defense fell flat, 9Z took advantage by extending its lead to a surprise victory. Pushing the series to a third map was already surprising, but 9Z went above and beyond that. They crushed Vitality to start off the third map and took an unexpected 9-0 lead. Vitality looked stunned and disorganized but eventually managed to gather themselves.

In what looked like the start of a historic comeback, the Frenchmen closed the gap. At 13-10, they had won eight maps in a row and were in control of the economy. But thanks to some incredible heroics by Santino “try” Rigal, 9z did the unthinkable and won the map. Vitality is eliminated from the BLAST Premier Spring Showdown, and 9Z will get the chance to continue the dream run in the next round against Heroic.

This is also a devastating blow for Vitality and an unfortunate end to RpK’s run with the team. The team has suffered early eliminations in a string of events and while this could partially be explained away by the consistently stiff competition, a loss to a little-known 9z squad shows that Vitality has some deep problems right now. The team is set to replace RpK with Jason “Kyojin” Nguyen moving forward, but only time will tell if that’s enough to get the team back on top.

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2021 Call of Duty Mobile World Championship Announced




Activision announces a $2 million prize pool while revealing details of the tournament.

An amazing opportunity has been announced for Call of Duty fans by Activision. They have officially revealed that they’re bringing back the Call of Duty Mobile World Championship, presented by Sony, which starts on June 3. A total prize pool of $2 million (USD) has also been announced.

Criteria for participation

Sony’s newest flagship smartphone, Xperia 1 III, will be the official mobile device of the World Championship. The Call of Duty Mobile World Championship will be open to everyone across the world. Players who meet the minimum ranked criteria can participate in the game events and qualify for the regional stages. An official list of all regions will be released soon. Players must attain level 10 or higher to take part in Ranked Multiplayer matches. They can also participate via tournaments, the details of which will be revealed later by Activision. Players must be 18 or more to participate in the tournament at the time of registration. The whole tournament will be broadcasted on the newly made COD Mobile Esports YouTube channel.

Five stages of the tournament

Single play mode will be the first stage of the tournament, where players should score at least 60 points in 10 matches on any of the four weekends. The players that have successfully cleared Stae One will then proceed on to Stage Two, which is team play. At this point, the players will form teams and play in them for the further rounds. Qualifiers are the third stage, where an elimination-style format will be used to cut down the competition. Then, the top scorers will go on to the next round called the Regional Playoffs. This will further carry out the elimination process of the players and only the top players will proceed to the World Championship Finals.

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Abby Trott on bringing League of Legends’ Gwen to life




League of Legends fans will recognize Abby Trott as the voice behind its new champion Gwen; the peppy skirmisher brandishing a giant pair of scissors as a weapon. Now that Trott is voicing Gwen, Daily Esports sat down with her (virtually) to learn a little of what the process is like.

Talking with Abby Trott on voicing League of Legends’ Gwen

“I love the layers of Gwen’s character. There’s an excitement and curiosity about her that’s almost childlike,” said Trott. “As someone who is newly alive and not knowing how long it will last, she has this sense of urgency. I think the writers did such an expert job of weaving all of these threads into her dialogue.”

Fans of other games and anime will recognize Trott as Nezuko in Demon Slayer, the immensely popular anime. They may also recognize her as the English singer of “Lifelight,” in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s theme song. Sharp-eared fans will even spot her as the voice behind Ribblepede, the adorably disgusting “rack o’ ribs” in Bugsnax.

Even while voicing such a wide range of characters, keeping her performances “grounded” is key to making a character relatable to Trott. “I think a good performance can make a character relatable. Believable,” she said. “In ‘the industry,’ the the phrase ‘grounded’ gets chucked around a lot. I aim to keep my performances grounded in truth; there’s always a piece of myself in there.”

Voicing Gwen is all about her personality

Players will definitely be able to hear Trott’s personality in Gwen’s lines. There’s excitement when she sees mountains for the first time in Summoner’s Rift. But there’s also anger, and even regret, when confronting other champions.

“Voicing video game characters can be tricky, since you don’t always get to see a script ahead of the recording session,” said Trott. “I’m a bit of a gamer myself and I want to make the player’s experience as immersive as it can be. With Gwen, I was mostly challenged by maintaining her unique Mid-Atlantic accent, combining elements of American and British English while remaining genuine. Luckily, I had the help of an excellent dialect coach, D’Arcy Smith, and an amazing team from Riot to guide me. It takes a true collaboration between the writers, directors, audio engineers and designers, actors, artists and more to bring a video game character to life. And I’m proud of where we landed with Gwen.”

Of all the lines that Trott recorded for Gwen, one of her favorites is when Gwen meets Viego, the resurrected king who accidentally created the Shadow Isles when trying to bring his deceased wife back to the land of the living. “Viego. She hasn’t forgotten you. And I haven’t forgiven you,” says Gwen. She isn’t dropping this grudge, even after a thousand years.

Trott’s other favorite quote? “Bad jokes are a waste of life.”

Abby Trott’s journey in voice acting

Trott’s experience in acting is a worldly one, starting in Japan and taking her across the globe to the United States. While working in Tokyo, Trott’s first professional opportunity came while doing voices for puppet characters in children’s musicals in Japan. There, Trott says, she fell in love with acting.

“My first opportunity to do voice acting professionally came when I was living and working in Tokyo. I have a background in acting and music, and I was performing in some children’s musicals around Japan,” Trott said. “The company I worked for needed voices for the puppet characters in the show. I auditioned and ended up booking some of those roles. I found that I absolutely loved it. The human voice can express so much. I had always been a fan of cartoons and video games growing up, but I never thought of voice acting as a profession that was accessible to me.”

She realized at that time that she wanted to pursue VO seriously, and that, in order to do so, she would have to leave Tokyo. This was because the opportunities that she was looking for, in recording animation and video games, were more rare in Japan than in the states. A few months later, Trott was in New York, working three jobs and taking voice 0ver classes in-between.

A contest with League of Legends alumni

It was around this time that Trott discovered an online voice acting contest hosted by Bang Zoom! Entertainment in LA. Trott had to make two videos, one for VO and one for Talent, by the very next day. After much hard work on her videos, she almost didn’t send them in because she was “terrified of what people would think.” However, Trott’s brother offered her a much-appreciated confidence boost, telling her to just go for it. With this support, she entered.

“Very surreally, I ended up winning,” said Trott. “Fun fact: the incredibly talented Patrick Seitz (Kog’Maw, Renekton, Lucian) and Keith Silverstein (Shen) were two of the judges. The studio flew four of us to Los Angeles for the finale, and I realized that this is where I needed to be. Six months after I moved to NYC, I moved out to LA… and I’m still here! Gettin’ all up in your video games.”

Gwen is set to release on April 15, and Trott hasn’t had a chance to play as her yet. However, according to her, that’s okay. “Honestly, I struggle to enjoy games when I have to listen to myself. It’s hard to get swept up in the fantasy when it’s ME. I still get sweaty palms when I hear the Smash Bros theme….”

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A team debrief ahead of the 2021 Overwatch League season




The 2021 Overwatch League season is starting up soon. Here is a debrief of the big moves and changes that teams have made over the off-season.

Alongside Eastern division specialist Bonnie Qu, we will give you a rundown of the rosters, a player to watch and a small description of the changes that these teams have made leading into the 2021 Overwatch season. (In order to keep track of the new players joining teams in Overwatch League’s 2021 season, they will be italicized).

2021 Overwatch League – Western Division

Atlanta Reign

Overwatch League 2021 debrief

DAMAGE: Kim “Edison” Tae-Hoon, Oh “Pelican” Se-hyun, Kai ”Kai” Collins
TANK: Blake “Gator” Scott, Xander “Hawk” Domecq
SUPPORT: Petja “Masaa” Kantanen, Seunghyun “Ir1s” Kim

Player to watch: Pelican

The Atlanta Reign have always been a mid-table team that has struggled in tournaments. But, the signings they’ve made toward the end of the season hinted at more depth. During the off-season, they made two big moves with Pelican and Kai. The latter was a standout performer on the Los Angeles Valiant, but the former is a highly-touted prospect. During the preseason press conference, both Kai and Indy “SPACE” Halpern mentioned their excitement for Pelican. The Reign look to be improving on last year but we’ll have to see if they can win some tournament games.

Boston Uprising

DAMAGE: Kelsey “Colourhex” Birse, Hong “im37” Jin-ui, Kim “Valentine” Byeong-ju
TANK: Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth , Leyton “Punk” Gilchrist, Seo “Stand1” Ji-won
SUPPORT: Sangmin “Myunb0ng” Seo, Kim “Faith” Hong-gyu

Player to watch: Valentine

The Boston Uprising is looking to come out of their rebuild. They’ve kept the core members that led them through last season. But, they also added some good rookie talent with Valentine and Faith. Valentine, in particular, was noted by Samir “Tsuna” Ikram of the Paris Eternal as a rookie to fear. They also originally added three veteran players with im37, Stand1 and SoOn, but SoOn was released due to visa issues. Either way, the new coaching staff seems to be an improvement, with Kim “Lori” Seung-hyun as the new head coach. Hopefully, the loss of SoOn doesn’t effect the team too much and they rally to a better 2021 Overwatch season.

Dallas Fuel

DAMAGE: Kim “Doha” Dong-Ha, Kim “Sp9rk1e” Yeong-han
TANK: Euiseok “Fearless” Lee, Choi “Hanbin” Han-been
SUPPORT: Kwon “Fielder” Joon, Kim “Rapel” Jun-keun, Seungsoo “Jesce” Lee

Player to watch: Sp9rk1e

The Element Mystic super-team has been assembled. To debrief, all former Overwatch players and coaching staff of the pre-2021 Korean contenders team have joined the Dallas Fuel. This includes the Korean core of the Paris Eternal from last season, but also free agents from all over the league. Doha is the only remaining player from last year’s Dallas Fuel but the additions look great. Specifically, Sp9rk1e was one of the key reasons Paris won a tournament last season. Unfortunately, their hitscan player Jung “Xzi” Ki-hyo had to retire due to health concerns. This leaves a hole in their team but they seem to be hunting for a replacement for the Overwatch League’s 2021 season. The only issue now is whether they can fit together fast and work around the departure of Xzi.

Florida Mayhem

DAMAGE: Sangbeom “BQB” Lee, Junki “Yaki” Kim, Baek “Checkmate” Seung-hun
TANK: Beomjun “Gargoyle” Lee, Minseok “OGE” Son
SUPPORT: Namjin “Gangnamjin” Kang, Sungjun “SLIME” Ki

Plater to watch: OGE

The Florida Mayhem looks to keep up their good form from last season. They had to make some significant changes, with their main tank going to the Shanghai Dragons. They ended up signing OGE and they also decided to pick up SLIME off of free agency. After adding rookie Checkmate, the Mayhem seems to be very similar to last season. However, the signing of OGE is one that is debatably positive. He didn’t perform well last season despite fans knowing his potential. If Florida wants to challenge the top teams, the 2021 Overwatch season rides on OGE and his synergy with the Mayhem.

Houston Outlaws

DAMAGE: Dante “Danteh” Cruz, João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles, Jungwoo “Happy” Lee, Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa, Jacob “JAKE” Lyon
TANK: Shin “PIGGY” Min-jun, Cho “JJANGGU” Myung-heum
SUPPORT: William “Crimzo” Hernandez, Enrique “Joobi” Triana

Player to watch: PIGGY

The Houston Outlaws have culminated a very interesting team over this off-season. They’ve kept some damage players and even seen the surprise return of Jake to their roster. However, they’ve revamped their tank line and support line. From Talon Esports, Piggy and JJANGGU are the new tank duo who have plenty of experience together. The support line is interesting too, as underrated flex support Crimzo will be paired with rookie Joobi. As a team with immense DPS depth, it all relies on the tankline, especially Piggy. Jake brought up how he is very good on Sigma, and can help carry them to victory this Overwatch season.

London Spitfire

DAMAGE: Jeffrey “blasé” Tsang, Dom “Hybrid” Grove, Johannes “Shax” Nielsen, William “SparkR” Andersson
TANK: Daniel “Hadi” Bleinagel, Mikkel “Molf1g” Djernes
SUPPORT: Riku “Ripa” Toivanen, Kristian “Kellex” Keller

Player to watch: Hadi

The London Spitfire has made their 2021 roster with the core of their contenders team, the British Hurricane. That contenders team was the most dominant in Europe, so they deserved their shot in the Overwatch League. They added some proven talent to the core they had in Blasé and Shax. But, now we get to see the best tank line in contenders in the Overwatch League. Out of the two, Hadi was pointed out by Kellex as the one to watch. His proficiency in rush compositions and flexibility on the main tank role makes him an interesting player to keep an eye on. We’ll have to see if the contenders coordination leads to success at the main league.

Los Angeles Gladiators

DAMAGE: Kim “Birdring” Ji-hyeok, Chris “MirroR” Trịnh, Kevin “Kevster” Persson
TANK: Indy “SPACE” Halpern, Kim “MuZe” Young-hun
SUPPORT: Jinseo “Shu” Kim, Grant “Moth” Espe, Kim “Skewed” Min-seok

Player to watch: MuZe

The Gladiators are arguably one of the most improved teams of the off-season. They snagged two of the top support players in free agency in Shu and Moth, instantly improving their backline to one of the best on paper. They kept the damage players they had at the end of last season, keeping faith in their talents. Lastly, they got a new rookie main tank in MuZe. Fans knew he was good from his time in Korea, but Space truly believes he can lead the Gladiators to victory. In the preseason press conference, he loved having a rookie main tank to teach and loved his aggressive playstyle. As the rest of their roster is very experienced, the progress of MuZe is key to the Gladiators challenging the top teams in 2021 Overwatch League.

Paris Eternal

DAMAGE: Nikolai “NaGa” Dereli, Stefan “Onigod” Fiskerstrand, Samir “Tsuna” Ikram
TANK: Elliot “ELLIVOTE” Vaneryd, Daniël “Daan” Scheltema
SUPPORT: Alberto “neptuNo” Molinillo, Emir “Kaan” Okumus

Player to watch: Tsuna

The Paris Eternal has changed heavily since last season, building a full European squad. Taking the best from all over contenders, the team is the definition of a mixed roster. None of the players have the same nationality, but some do have experience with one another. The experienced players from the Overwatch League aim to make this roster competitive, especially with the potential they have. Tsuna, in particular, showed moments of brilliance last season. So, if the Eternal surprise goes, it’ll be because of Tsuna.

San Francisco Shock

DAMAGE: Namjoo “Striker” Kwon, Sean Taiyo “ta1yo” Henderson, Charlie “nero” Zwarg, Lim “Glister” Gil-seong
TANK: Matthew “super” DeLisi, Hyobin “Choihyobin” Choi, Myeonghwan “Smurf” Yoo
SUPPORT: Minki “Viol2t” Park, Juseok “Twilight” Lee, Brice “FDGod” Monsçavoir

Player to watch: FDGod

The San Francisco Shock is going for the three-peat. Much like after their first championship win, they’re making moves on the fly and adapting by adding more depth. The losses this year are more drastic; with their main support Moth, flex player Rascal and hitscan ANS all leaving. But, they added Glister, Nero and FDGod as their replacements. With how key their depth was last year, these new players will have to step up when needed this Overwatch season, especially FDGod. His play for Paris was amazing but now he has to lead a championship team to a third title. He doesn’t have the substitute chance like the damage players do, as he is their only main support. If he can fit and work though, the Shock will remain the team to beat.

Toronto Defiant

DAMAGE: Andreas “Logix” Berghmans, Heesu “Heesu” Jeong, Lee “Na1st” Ho-sung
TANK: Adam “Beast” Denton, Sumin “SADO” Kim, Minhyuk “Michelle” Choi
SUPPORT: Park “Aztac” Jeong-su, An “AnSoonJae” Soon-jae, Jungwon “Lastro” Mun

Player to watch: SADO

The Toronto Defiant have rebuilt their core for the third time in three seasons. However, this might be the year they climb out of the bottom. They took the head coach and two key players from the Fusion last year: Heesu and SADO. But, they also took some good free agents and rookies. However, considering that the Defiant hasve always had a main tank issue, it all rests on whether SADO can work well with the Defiant roster. He was one of the best players on the Fusion last year, but the team is much different now. We’ll have to wait and see if the Defiant can work together and win in Overwatch’s 2021 season.

Vancouver Titans

DAMAGE: Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff, Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin, Minki “Teru” Kim
TANK: Abtin “ShRedLock” Shirvani, Nathan “frdwnr” Goebel
SUPPORT: Randal “Roolf” Stark, Anthony “Fire” King

Player to watch: Teru

The Vancouver Titans are still trying to recover from their surprise collapse at the start of last season. They got more time to complete the roster in the off-season, but they wanted to keep the players who played well for them. This includes main tank Shredlock, main support Roolf and damage player Dalton. However, the new signings do give some hope. Linkzr is a top tier hitscan when hot, and Frdwnr and Fire were underrated on the Reign. Yet, the signing of Teru is the most promising to fans of the Titans. Linkzr mentioned that the hype around Teru is justified and he can’t wait until people see him play. Along with the new signings, Teru will have to play well for the Titans to progress this 2021 Overwatch season.

Washington Justice

DAMAGE: Lee “TTuba” Ho-Sung, Jang “Decay” Gui-un, Taehee “Jerry” Min, Kim “Assassin” Sung-won
TANK: Kim “Mag” Tae-sung, Junho “Fury” Kim, Sungwook “Ria” Park
SUPPORT: Huichang “BeBe” Yoon, Wonsik “Closer” Jung

Player to watch: Mag

The Washington Justice went from a bottom tier team to challenger due to their playoff run at the end of 2020. A lot of things went their way and it was clear the team had potential. So, they removed the parts they could improve upon and went to free agency to evolve. They got great talent in Fury, Closer and Jerry, in order to help improve depth and add talent. However, the signings of Assassin and Mag are what could bring the Justice to a higher tier. Mag, in particular, was a main tank that players knew about for years. But, he was too young to join the league. Now, however, he is the main tank for a team looking to surprise many. Super specifically mentioned how he can’t wait to face Mag and see him grow. Alongside veteran Fury, the Washington Justice look scary for Overwatch 2021 and are a good dark horse candidate.

2021 Overwatch League – Eastern Division

Chengdu Hunters

DAMAGE: Yi “Jinmu” Hu, Huang “Leave” Xin, Lei “Jimmy” Yujia, Nian “Kaneki” Liu
TANK: Luo “Elsa” Wenjie, Ma “LateYoung” Tianbin, Ding “Ameng” Menghan, Qiu “GA9A” Jiaxin
SUPPORT: Li “Yveltal” Xianyao, Tan “Nisha” Li, Cao “Farway1987” Jiale, Zhou “Mmonk” Xiang

Player to watch: Head coach Wang “RUI” Xingrui

Everyone’s favorite pandas are back at it again in 2021, with much of the core roster that first established the Hunters as bringers of chaos still intact. They’ve often struggled with adapting to certain metas but, with a full 12-person roster, that could very well change. The most exciting member of Chengdu’s 2021 Overwatch squad is their head coach, RUI, who departed the team at the end of 2019 and returned this past off-season. He was responsible for many of the Hunters’ wacky compositions and strategies in their first season. RUI will no doubt be invaluable in helping the team find new ways to circumvent expectations.

Guangzhou Charge

DAMAGE: Ou “Eileen” Yiliang, Zou “MYKaylee” Zijie, Choi “ChoiSehwan” Se-hwan
TANK: Oh “Rio” Seung-pyo, Kim “Jihun” Ji-hun, Nam “Cr0ng” Ki-cheol
SUPPORT: Park “KariV” Young-seo, Kim “Mandu” Chan-hee

Player to watch: Cr0ng

The Charge have made some major changes this year, with several core players moving over to other teams in the league. Despite that, there’s no shortage of talent here, with league veteran Kariv as the team’s new starting flex support and rising star MYKaylee stepping into the damage position. The 2020 MVP candidate, Cr0ng, is the key player on this roster, having made a name for himself through his game-changing Sigma play last season. He’ll provide some much needed stability to this mostly new roster as they look to finally break out of the middle of the pack.

Hangzhou Spark

DAMAGE: Kim “GodsB” Kyeong-bo, Park “Architect” Min-ho, Zheng “Shy” Yangjie, Seo “Seominsoo” Min-soo
TANK: Xu “Guxue” Qiulin, Jia “LiGe” Chengjie, Shin “Bernar” Se-won, Lee “Takoyaki” Young-hyun
SUPPORT: Park “IDK” Ho-jin, Tong “ColdesT” Xiaodong, Liu “M1ka” Jiming, Lee “MCD” Jeong-ho

Player to watch: Shy

The Spark’s 12-man roster is full of rookies and veterans alike. Rookie players LiGe and MCD have played in Contenders for years prior to joining the team. This gives them some degree of preparedness for the league. On the veteran side, flex player Seominsoo was a core part of the Vancouver Titans’ roster that made it to grand finals in 2019. Meanwhile, Guxue has led Team China to double second-place finishes in the Overwatch World Cup. The one to watch this year, however, is Shy, a rookie damage player who’s been playing professionally since 2016. His arrival in the 2021 Overwatch league has been highly anticipated, though it remains to be seen whether he can live up to the expectations.

Los Angeles Valiant

DAMAGE: Cai “Krystal” Shillong, Liao “MoLanran” Yang
TANK: Han “Silver3” Haibo, Wen “NvM” Yelin, Cheng “ShowCheng” Yu
SUPPORT: Zhang “Highbee” Zening, Qi “Wya” Haomiao

Player to watch: Krystal

Following the surprising announcement that the Valiant had released their entire roster, the team assembled a new entirely all-Chinese squad. There are a couple of familiar names here, with Krystal and Wya having been in the league before. But, other than that, all others are rookies. The Valiant has a tough task ahead of them; every team in the Eastern division has been capable of beating one another at some point, and it’s hard to imagine that a team of mostly unproven talent will be able to rise to the occasion. Still, if the Valiant does manage to move mountains, it will be on the back of Krystal. Krystal was previously removed from the Spark for misconduct but he has since proven himself as a gifted flex player.

New York Excelsior

DAMAGE: Lee “FEATH5R” Seung-woo, Lee “Ivy” Seung-hyun, Lim “Flora” Young-woo, Kim “Gwangboong” Gwang-won
TANK: Jo “Yakpung” Gyeong-mu, Kim “Bianca” Dong-wook
SUPPORT: Bang “JJonak” Seong-hyun, Jo “Friday” Min-jae

Player to watch: Gwangboong

Returning NYXL fans will notice that the only recognizable part of the team’s 2021 roster is inaugural MVP JJonak. The departure of core players like Kim “Mano” Dong-gyu and Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-ryeol might have come as a shock, but the new players are more than capable of stepping into their shoes. There’s an abundance of raw talent on this team, especially when you look at their damage lineup. Gwangboong, in particular, has the mechanics and potential to become one of the league’s best damage dealers. It will be interesting to follow the NYXL’s journey in the 2021 Overwatch League and to see whether this new team has what it takes to rise to the standards of its predecessors.

Philadelphia Fusion

DAMAGE: Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok, Josue “Eqo” Corona, Niclas “ShockWave” Jensen, Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun
TANK: Gael “Poko” Gouzerch, Kim “Mano” Dong-gyu, Choi “HOTBA” Hong-jun
SUPPORT: Kim “Alarm” Kyeong-bo, Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway, Yang “Tobi” Jin-mo

Player to watch: Mano

The Fusion are currently grappling with visa issues but the strength of their available roster is nearly formidable enough to render those issues irrelevant. With fan favorite Carpe leading the charge once again and Overwatch veteran Tobi joining the support line, the Fusion are looking poised to finally break their second-place streak. The player to watch here is Mano, previously the main tank for New York Excelsior. Mano is widely regarded as one of the best and most consistent main tanks in the world. He’s proven capable of both carrying and supporting, and that flexibility will be key as the Fusion works on building their team’s new identity in Overwatch League 2021.

Seoul Dynasty

DAMAGE: Kim “FITS” Dong-eon, Park “Profit” Jun-young, Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-ryeol
TANK: Hwang “Marve1” Min-seo, Hong “Gesture” Jae-hui, Lim “Toyou” Hyun-woo
SUPPORT: Kim “Creative” Young-wan, Jung “Anamo” Tae-sung

Player to watch: Toyou

The Dynasty are coming into 2021 looking for some stability; something that has often eluded them. They finished second in the season playoffs last year but struggled to find their footing through the regular season. They alternated constantly between incredible highs and disappointing lows. The presence of veterans Saebyeolbe and Anamo will be helpful when it comes to stabilizing, but new addition Toyou fills a crucial spot in their tankline. The Dynasty’s best showings have always been when they’re able to run both of their main tanks, Marve1 and Gesture, at the same time. However, they’ve struggled otherwise. Toyou will hopefully allow the Dynasty much more flexibility when it comes to composition and strategy.

Shanghai Dragons

DAMAGE: Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun, Lee “LIP” Jae-won, Jung “Erster” Joon, Bae “Diem” Min-sung
TANK: Kang “Void” Jun-woo, Koo “Fate” Pan-seung
SUPPORT: Kim “Izayaki” Min-chul, Lee “Leejaegon” Jae-gon, He “Molly” Chengzhi

Player to watch: Leejaegon

The Dragons were on the warpath in 2020, topping the league with only two regular season losses. They aren’t expected to slow down any time soon this year, even with a new main tank. Their fast and ruthless playstyle is largely dictated by their likewise fast and ruthless main support, Leejaegon. Leejaegon manages to be one of the best supports in the league while also holding the title for most deaths. Look to Leejaegon to be a barometer of the Dragons’ success this season. If they can keep up with him, they’ll remain a force to be reckoned with.

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