Top Esports have just taken down the 2020 League of Legends World Championship finalists Suning in the LPL Spring Split playoffs — and what a spectacular skirmish it was! You always know LPL teams will entertain, but sometimes the magnitude of their battles transcend even the most outlandish of predictions. In other (more simpler) words: they always deliver!
We know for a fact that the LPL is home to some of the best and most talented pro players who’ve ever taken flesh. DWG KIA might be atop the world of competitive League right now, but one could argue that right below them is a slew of top-tier LPL teams, all unique and potent in their own right. They play a different brand of League of Legends, and once you tune in it’s impossible not to observe the (controlled) chaos and bloodshed on the edge of your seat.
And, as expected, this much-anticipated clash between Top Esports and Suning in the 2021 LPL Spring Split playoffs delivered in every way, shape, and form! Not that anyone had any doubts, of course.
A Competitive Status Quo
Those who haven’t been following the LPL lately will surely be surprised to find out that this wasn’t exactly the most premier match-up imaginable. After all, Top Esports is currently ranked third with a very respectable 12W-4L record with Suning sitting in seventh place with a much less impressive 10W-6L tally. These are top-tier teams, there’s no doubt about that, but it still goes to show just how packed with talent the Chinese region is, and how quickly the winds of change tend to blow in the LPL.
Three of the four games they’ve played were downright sensational. They were about as even as humanly possible, with both teams trading heavy blows from start to finish. And just when you thought one team had the edge, they either made an egregious mistake and threw it all away or the other found the most miniscule opening and capitalized once their backs were against the wall. It was absolute insanity.
After two very competitive games, it was as if Top decided to kick things into overdrive and put the pedal to the metal. As a result, Suning got run over in record time. It took TES a second shy of nineteen minutes to annihilate the former World Championship finalists, with a twenty-thousand gold lead and 23 kills to their name. Suning didn’t even get a single turret, let alone anything else of value.
To Suning’s credit, they came back in game four and played a lot better, but it still wasn’t enough against a team as dominant and clean as Top Esports. Everyone over at Top Esports carried their fair share of the weight, but Yu “JackeyLove” Wen-Bo and Hung “Karsa” Hao-Hsuan definitely stood out in the most crucial moments.
The defending LPL champions can still pack a punch, even though they might not have as much momentum as some of their peers.
A Spectacular Photo Finish
Royal Never Give Up and Edward Gaming are two of the biggest favorites to win the 2021 LPL Spring Split, although the gap between them and the rest of LPL royalty (Top Esports, JDGaming, FunPlus Phoenix, and a host of other giants) isn’t nearly as big as it might seem at first glance. You could also make a case that the standings don’t paint the whole picture, but that’s a discussion for another time and place.
Regardless, the LPL playoffs have been insanely entertaining thus far and will only get better and better over the coming days and weeks. That’s what happens when we’re talking about a region as powerful and stacked with talent as the LPL. There’s always a brand-new superstar to talk about, or perhaps even a seasoned veteran who has revitalized his career by switching roles — as is the case with Li “Xiaohu” Yuan-Hao. Add in a couple of spectacular imports (like Park “Viper” Do-hyeon, formerly of Griffin or Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon, formerly of DWG KIA), and you have yourself what can only be described as the most entertaining and competitive region in the world.
Either way, we’re dying to find out who’ll eventually mount the LPL throne and represent China at this year’s Mid-Season Invitational in Reykjavik, Iceland!
Unknown 9Z Team eliminates Vitality from BLAST Premier Showdown
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.
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.
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….”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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