Overwatch League Countdown: Top 5 expansion team players
With the Overwatch League steadily approaching in the New Year, more than a handful of top tier talents are joining the league via Korea, China, Europe and beyond. The stage has been set with 20 teams entering the fray, and eight of those teams are completely green to the action. Players like Dafran, Haksal and guxue may be new to the league, but these are all players that bring about massive promise to each of their organizations and they may very well possess the skill to dominate the competition in their own sense over the course of the 2019 season.
For this list, we will be breaking down the absolute must watch talents that are joining the league next year. As the bandwagon for teams like Vancouver Titans and Hangzhou Spark start to pick up steam, it may be wise to hop on the train now before they become household names.
5. Xu “Guxue” Qiulin – Hangzhou Spark
At this point, we’ve spent more than enough time highlighting just how special guxue is as an Overwatch League prospect. Over the course of the next few years, guxue has real potential to become a franchise player in his role, a role which is invaluable for any OWL team interested in winning.
While taking victories over tough opponents may be tough at first, guxue and his Hangzhou Spark lineup have quality at every point. Coming in at number five on this list is no oversight to his level of talent, though. The composition of high pedigree names on this list is a testament to just how much hype is being brought to Season Two. Look for guxue to become a top 10 player in his role at the very minimum next year.
4. Ou “Eileen” Yiliang – Guangzhou Charge
A less publicized prospect compared to others on this list, Eileen is raw talent personified as his DPS plays made waves all across China in 2018. While Eileen is by no means a complete player, sometimes being criticized for his one note playstyle, his upside is extremely high given the mechanical ability he’s displayed thus far.
As a member of Guangzhou Charge, Eileen will have plenty of friendly competition to keep his skills up to par as he competes for a starting spot. If he’s able to secure his spot over the likes of Kyb, Nero and Happy, he will truly establish himself as the next big DPS to watch. China’s DPS talents have always been discounted for some odd reason with the development of their scene, but Eileen has all the capabilities to put his region right back on the map.
3. Park “BUMPER” Sang-beom – Vancouver Titans
BUMPER has long been regarded as one of Korea’s best kept secrets. His ever evolving play style, mastering three different roles over his veteran Overwatch career, is no small feat in todays game and will likely fail to be replicated again. Simply put, BUMPER has set the standard for any Overwatch League player hopeful of getting in the league, on more than one role.
At just 19 years old, BUMPER still has massive upside as an evolving player in this league. If the Vancouver Titans continue their RunAway esque performances, there’s no stopping this team and BUMPER will for sure be a main ingredient to their success. Whether its Reinhardt, Winston, Mercy or even D.Va, BUMPER has the capability to dominate in more ways than one.
2. Daniel “Dafran” Francesca
Say what you will about the antics surrounding Dafran and his triumphant emergence into the Overwatch League, but there’s no doubting that his inclusion on Atlanta Reign will be a key reason to tune into all their games. Dafran’s cult following via his stream will now follow the trend into the Overwatch League where the mythical DPS talent can make his presence felt against the most fearsome teams ever assembled.
Dafran against the elite defenses of NYXL, London Spitfire and Seoul Dynasty will be an absolute treat to watch. With Atlanta Reign making him the centerpiece of their franchise, there’s a high chance Dafran can get to show his skill in the most optimal way. With Atlanta being one of the teams to feature a Homestand weekend, expect to see plenty 99 shirts in commemoration of Atlanta’s most pog team member.
1. Kim “Haksal” Kyo-jong
If you can consider BUMPER to be the Shaquille O’ Neal of the Vancouver Titans organization, Haksal is the closest thing to Kobe Bryant you can get on this roster. For years, Haksal has been the most fearsome projectile DPS on a non championship winning team. While RunAway suffered consecutive second place finishes, Haksal consistently got praise as their most valuable asset, even winning MVP plaudits for APEX Season Four.
As the Overwatch Contenders era began in Korea, Haksal quickly became the most prominent talent in the region and at just 18 years old — he’s just getting started.
Haksal has the keys to the city for Vancouver Titans as the weight of his teams success will rest firmly on his shoulders. Using the Shaq and Kobe analogy for the ‘01 Lakers makes sense for Vancouver’s duo, and in reality the rest of their team is just as important to the puzzle with their insane depth at multiple positions. While Vancouver may still be a few degrees away from contending for a title, Haksal will be the spark plug that takes them to the next level for this year, and many more to come.