Top 5 best players NOT in the Overwatch League
The Overwatch League is home to some of the best and brightest talent the game has to offer. But with a limited amount of spots and roster situations not being ideal for every top player, there was some noticeable exclusions that couldn’t be ignored in Season One. While there are still plenty of players good enough to join the scene, logistical issues, age restrictions, or just plain bad luck have kept them on the sidelines, but that won’t be the case for long.
With new teams to be added in the coming season due to the oncoming expansion, the prospects for most of the players on this list will be high as 2019 approaches.
5. Daniel ‘Dafran’ Francesca
The inclusion of Dafran on this list is more of a hopeful wish than anything given Dafran’s pro career as of late. Dafran’s emergence on the scene was almost meteoric given the infancy of the Overwatch scene at the time, but that didn’t stop Overwatch fans from gravitating towards his methodical playstyle.
From a very early point in his career, his spotlight as a must-see player was always hindered by his off stage grievances. The life of a competitive Overwatch gamer was not at all what Dafran was used to, and the decision to stop playing for his team at the time gave way to him being banned from the scene in 2017 as he pursued a life of streaming and abandoned pro play altogether. More than a year later, Dafran more than likely faces no regrets on his tough decision, but the community will always beg the question of what it could’ve looked like if Dafran joined the League.
4. Seung-Jun ‘WhoRU’ Lee
At just 17 years of age, WhoRU has cultivated a cult-like following for those following his path up the rankings in North American Overwatch Contenders. After establishing himself early on as a prospect to be reckoned with at Lunatic Hai, the star studded wunderkind has made the Contenders scene his stomping ground with some downright nasty gameplay on several projectile DPS.
His ability to get the ball rolling on Offense is an uncanny skill that not every DPS in the Overwatch League has mastered at his level. At such a ripe young age, WhoRU carries himself with the mentality and skill set of a player five years his elder, but still has the mechanical flair to pull off those crowd pleaser moments Overwatch fans enjoy so much.
3. Sang-beom ‘Bumper’ Park
Coming in at number three, Bumper has made a name for himself on Korea’s best Contenders team for years now as being one of the most complete players to ever grace the scene. The sheer number of role swaps he’s had since his debut might suggest that he’s a player still finding his way, but the reality of the matter is that Bumper’s flexibility has made him a commodity for his team RunAway for quite some time.
Playing a multitude of heroes to the ability that Bumper has is no small feat, and once he can make his grand arrival on the Overwatch League stage, fans all around the world will be able to appreciate his journeyman approach to the game as he continues to revitalize his strengths.
2. Hyo-jong ‘Haksal’ Kim
Yet another player ineligible for the Overwatch League due to age restrictions, Haksal has dominated the Overwatch Contenders scene in Korea for what feels like a lifetime as he has been a welcome addition to a RunAway squad in need of new artillery. Regardless of age, there is no lack of maturity when it comes to Haksal’s patience in the clutch, and his playmaking ability on projectile heroes seems to turn up a notch when the pressure gets high.
If RunAway don’t make it to the Overwatch League as a package deal, there is a good chance that Haksal becomes one of the more frequented Free Agent options once he’s eligible to compete after his birthday in October. As a newly crowned champion of the Korean scene, his name value has more than likely skyrocketed due to the demand, but for a player of his caliber it will only be money well spent.
1. Yeon-oh ‘nanohana’ Hwang
Easily one of the most talked about players on the Overwatch Contenders: North America circuit since his arrival to the scene, nanohana, formerly known as Fl0w3r, has been a hot commodity on the New York XL2 roster. Although his skill cap may not be as high as some of the other players on this list, nanohana has delivered on name brand value with a slew of high level performances on the Academy lineup and the main New York Excelsior team can vouch for his greatness.
After only missing the age limit for the Overwatch League by one month last season, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that nanohana will feature on an Overwatch League roster by the start of Season Two. Any roster that is available to pick him up is lucky to have him, and since NYXL didn’t make it to the Finals last year without him there is a possibility they bump him up to the main team and manage to keep his talents for another season to truly test out their potential.
With the cornucopia of young and able DPS talents coming to the league in Season Two, nanohana will definitely be a name at the top of that list once he gets to show off his true skills on the big stage the same way he showed out for Team South Korea in last year’s World Cup.