Meet the lineup: Chengdu Hunters make first signings
The Chinese organization, owned and operated by big esports entities like HUYA Inc., have taken a nationalistic approach with their first player signings heading into the 2019 season. This mix of Chinese talent is the next generation of stars to hail from the Chinese OW Contenders Scene, now looking to make their next gambit as part of the Overwatch League.
The players include Ma “LateYoung” Tianbin and Kong “Kyo” Chunting formerly of Team CC. Guan “Garry” Lee is also making the switch via Lucky Future Zenith. Li “Yveltal” Xianyao and Luo “Elsa” Wenjie are joining the roster via LinGan eSports and finally, Ding “Ameng” Menghan completes the six-man announcement.
While Chengdu Hunters have done a lot to captivate the Overwatch League audience with their fearsome mascot and interesting colour pattern, the roster moves for Chengdu have been somewhat underwhelming given their hype at the beginning of offseason.
Chengdu made the initial roster announcements as a way to placate fans for the time being, but serious questions are being raised as to the validity of this roster for competitive purposes. This issue is even more pressing given the little amount of time Chengdu has left to find quality players before the deadline.
Regardless of ‘expectations’, Chengdu haven’t opted for the cheap route when scouting top tier talent from their region. Players like LateYoung and Yveltal became star players in their region after their whirlwind of success at the 2018 World Cup.
At just 19 years old, LateYoung is proving his critics wrong and made his entrance to the international Overwatch scene with expert performances over Finland and Canada. With a few more years of experience under his belt, LateYoung could very well be the anchor this Chengdu team needs to be the best team from China in a few years time.
Chengdu Hunters: An incomplete tribe
While the hype surrounding a few key players from this Chengdu team is more than palpable. Chengdu will need a lot more than six Contenders players to rise above the competition in 2019. Although we are approaching the deadline for Free Agent signings this offseason, the most important moves are still yet to come as Chengdu are more than likely still finding their ‘x-factor’ players that will push them to that next level.
If they are still pursuing Chinese talent, having the team cohesion advantage over multinational teams like Hangzhou and Toronto may benefit the Hunters more during the early stages of the season. But at the end of the day, talent is the most scarce resource in this league, and Chengdu needs all they can get before the start of next season.