Around the OWL: Florida Mayhem hit self-destruct; Dallas Fuel sticking with the plan
In an explosive chapter of Overwatch League roster shakeups, several teams made decisive personnel moves heading into Free Agency with Florida Mayhem and Philadelphia Fusion letting go of their talent. Elsewhere in the league, Dallas Fuel offer seven of their 10 players a contract extension that are still to be negotiated in the weeks leading to the October deadline as Cocco makes the switch to Assistant Coach.
Florida Mayhem go nuclear
Another week, another major roster shakeup in the Overwatch League and Florida Mayhem have opted for that approach this time around. After having relatively no buzz with their approach to any players this past month, Florida Mayhem elect to go the nuclear option and have cut six players from their roster according to multiple online sources.
These players include CWoosH, Logix, Manneten, zappis, Zebbosai and Zuppeh, a majority of which are the main contingent of players that originally started this six man roster less than a year ago. Now Florida Mayhem are left with two DPS players in TviQ and Sayaplayer, and a main tank in aWesomeGuy. This intense roster move has to be part of a bigger scheme from Florida Mayhem management, and all signs point to Florida opting for a full Korean roster heading into the 2019 season.
Of the six aforementioned players, the most notable departures in Manneten and Logix have been shown the door as contracts were soon to expire, despite their performances with the team being rather steady. With this mass exodus of players from Florida Mayem, the writing on the wall is clearly there for CEO Ben Spoont and massive changes had to be made for this team to move forward. With TviQ still on the roster there are murmurings around the League that he may be used as trade collateral as they look to rebuild this offseason.
With all the amazing breakout teams that came out of this last season of Overwatch Contenders: Korea, it’s hard not to imagine that at least a few players opt for that team style given London Spitfire’s success this past year. Florida have most definitely set the groundwork to make an audacious move like signing the entire roster of RunAway or Kongdoo Panthera as a bulk deal in the coming month. Mayhem already have a fundamental building block in DPS with Sayaplayer, and adding more players of his caliber and culture may completely change the dynamic of Florida’s game.
If all goes well for Florida in October, we may be looking at this moment of distress from management as a master stroke in disguise once the dust is settled on Free Agency.
Dallas sticks it out
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Dallas Fuel elect to keep their seven man core roster after departures of Seagull and some releases of a few players this past week. As the legendary Chipsajen was shown the door, and cocco made his transition from player to Assistant Coach, Dallas Fuel offered contract extensions to Taimou, EFFECT, Mickie, HarryHook, aKm, OGE and uNKOE as they look to continue building off their Stage Four success late last season.
The only problem to this hopeful recipe for success is the big absence of Seagull now that he has fully dedicated his time to streaming. His presence both on and off the stage will be missed as his level head and cool temperament were a key component to finding success in their Stage Four run, not to mention his mastery of Hanzo and D.Va are two key heroes that need to be replaced with ample back up.
At the moment, they still have Mickie and EFFECT to make up the flex threat that Seagull brought to the table, but the question marks as to whether EFFECT will even re sign his contract are very much in the air given his fallout with Dallas earlier in the year. Even though Dallas Fuel are showing faith in their players and looking to continue growing with their core base, the players themselves might think otherwise and find better playing conditions for their respective role if available.
Moving forward, there is no doubt Dallas Fuel will keep their ears to the ground and continue looking for that right trade opportunity that will benefit them as much as possible. But taking seven roster spots off the table this close to Free Agency is a clear sign that they are comfortable with what they have, and will likely build around this core with a few additions to round out the hero pool.
Free Agency Madness!
While Florida Mayhem are still in the midst of their self-destruct, a more infamous team already made that choice before them this past weekend for obvious reasons. Shanghai Dragons let go of eight players this weekend in an attempt to start their identity anew for Season Two. It seems that Shanghai have gotten used to the idea of operating without a strong Chinese player base as Fearless and Geguri are two of the three players left on the roster, while notable names like Ado were also added to the chopping block.
Even though the choice was drastic, going 0-40 in a single season of Overwatch is a pretty understandable motive to blow the entire project up, and the big money Shanghai Dragons will have no problem making their case heard as pivotal players look for a new home this coming month.
Adding to the ever growing list of Free Agents that were left to dry, Philadelphia Fusion and Los Angeles Gladiators made some moves to open up roster space, with Shadowburn being the most popular player to emerge out of those names. Before the Shadowburn release, the market for a free agent DPS outside of Korea was rather low, and now the doors are open for a solid DPS player that can function at OWL level on four to five heroes in his role. Shadowburn had to make room after Eqo started to impress in his absence from the team, but that doesn’t mean he will be surplus to teams that didn’t make the playoffs this past year.
Also added to the list of prominent players looking for a new home is none other than NYXL’s Janus after an uneventful playoffs run for the New York squad. Even though Janus wasn’t a household name to the likes of JJoNaK and SBB, he did play a part in the winning formula that NYXL crafted when they were at their best, and there will surely be new teams looking for a talented Main Tank that can be solid in the right system with Free Agency right around the corner.
The Boston Uprising, Houston Outlaws and Seoul Dynasty have also made roster cuts this past week in an effort to clear roster space.