Around the OWL: London keep getting better, Philadelphia part ways with Hotba
London Spitfire have made two interesting signings from the Korean scene as Yung-hoon “Krillin” Jung and Hee-dong “Guard” Lee have officially been announced. The London Spitfire are continuing to build up their protege substitutes with quality talent from the scene and both Krillin and Guard are looking for an opportunity to flourish with their new surroundings.
In other news, Philadelphia Fusion have parted ways with their Flex tank player Hong-joon “HOTBA” Choi as they plan to open up more playing time for their star D.Va main Gael “Poko” Gouzerch. Upon his departure, HOTBA is now making his way to the Guangzhou OWL franchise and will still have a spot in the Overwatch League for the 2019 season.
Growing in numbers
While the London Spitfire franchise have enjoyed wild success in their debut season, remaining hungry for more wins and competition is essential to survival. With that in mind, picking up crucial role players that can fulfill their role without clouding the competition for a starting role will be a good way of facilitating growth within the team.
Last year, the London Spitfire faced a few roadblocks with their fully stacked twelve man roster. The team had a tough time just figuring out an optimal rotation as there was an actual abundance of talent. After cutting off some of the ‘excess fat’ from their team, the starting lineup for London was able to get comfortable in their roles and players like Gesture and Profit benefited from the extra playing time.
Bringing in other A-list talents to a team already capable of winning championships isn’t always a good idea, and London are taking precautionary steps to ensure long-term success rather than incremental success with another big time player in their ranks. Looking especially impressive on his road to London was Guard this past year as a member of Element Mystic.
After dominating the Minor league scene in Korea, Guard remained one of the more impressive players on a not so consistent team and his inclusion to the roster is a great pickup for London. If there’s one element that London have lacked in their DPS core, it’s a go to Tracer and Sombra main that can wreak havoc on the flank and Guard’s specialty is jumping in and out of enemy fire with those elusive heroes.
HOTBA heads to Guangzhou
In a rather predictable turn of events, Philadelphia parted ways with Flex tank HOTBA after enjoying success as a Overwatch League finalist this past year. Although HOTBA was never a liability for Philadelphia, it was time to make room for Poko as the main D.Va player for the team.
Poko’s style and ability to find kills from any and every angle with D.Va’s ultimate was the gelling agent that helped Philadelphia find unique edges over their opponent. The controlled and less flashy style of HOTBA while more reliable, was not necessary in the compositions Philadelphia was trying to pull off.
Now that HOTBA has joined the Guangzhou OWL franchise, he becomes the first official player on the roster. As other teams have fully announced rosters and even logos under their branding, the newly announced Chinese teams have been less media friendly with their signings.
Regardless of that fact, HOTBA is a great building block for any Overwatch League franchise and Guangzhou will surely follow that signing up with more unique and capable players in the near future.