The Overwatch League features twelve teams divided into two divisions: The Atlantic Division and The Pacific Division. With an aim to increase its global footprint, the teams are ‘unevenly’ distributed across the globe. We have already covered the Atlantic Division teams in our previous article. Going in depth about each team, its strengths and its players these articles aim to provide you with a first-hand knowledge of the Overwatch League. The League starts on January 10th and will continue for several months until the finals in July.The second part of this article covers three more teams from the Pacific Division including the tournametn favorites Seoul Dynasty.
The League has a prize money of $3.5 million in its inaugural season. With the matches being spread over the course of six months, this prize pool is going to add to the hype around the Overwatch League. The first season will see all matches being held offline. With the teams still not ready to host home and away matches for the first season, we will see all twelve teams housed at the Blizzard Esports Arena in Los Angeles.
The Pacific Division Teams are the focus of this article. We have divided the article into two parts to better focus on the teams. The Pacific Division has the following teams :
- Dallas Fuels
- Los Angeles Valiant
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- San Francisco Shock
- Seoul Dynasty
- Shanghai Dragons
Dallas Fuel was one of the few ‘rosters’ to be directly picked up in the Overwatch League.The team is owned by EnVyUs, an established name in esports. They were one of the most dominant teams in Overwatch prior to Overwatch League. EnVyUs were surprisingly late in announcing their entry into the Overwatch League. Obviously, their participation in the League was a badly kept secret, especially after a report by ESPN which placed them firmly with the Dallas franchise. But with another top team, Rogue being unable to secure a spot in the Overwatch League, despite having the finances to back them up, the community was growing anxious.
In addition to the former EnVyUs roster, Custa, Seagull, and XQC also joined the team. These new players add a new dimension to EnVyUs who, in some people’s opinion, are not in their peak form recently. The addition of XQC provided them with a dedicated tank player and a lot more flexibility in their team composition. The player who is known for his outspoken nature is a beast when it comes to playing the actual game.
Custa, with his Zenyatta is as good as any DPS while still providing ample healing to the team. His secondary fire shots often result in unexpected inroads to a fight giving the team a huge advantage, often times resulting in a team fight victory. A good spatial awareness by the support player means that the opponents have to invest a lot of time and resources in trying to be able to bring him down.
The core of the team remains strong and they have seen a strong combination of all three roles in the game. Mickie is by far one of the best Dva players in the game. He combines his plays with timed aggression and peeling back for the supports. His presence in the team provides them with a huge advantage over other teams and at the same time creating space for the DPS players in Effect and Taimou.
The Dallas fuels team obviously has a lot of experience in Overwatch, with the EnVyUs organization being an integral part of the team and its performance. While Apex Season 2 did not have a good result for the team, Season 3 was much better with a 4th place finish for the team. They lost 1-4 to Afreeca Freecs, but the Korean supremacy in Overwatch was almost an established fact by then. There is no denying the fact that EnVYUs had established themselves as one of the best NA teams by then. Their coordination and the firepower on the roster definitely helped the team develop together.
Dallas Fuel Roster :
Coming into the Overwatch league Preseason, the roster is definitely one of the strongest teams to be playing the preseason. The fact that the team has been together for a longer period of time. They have the coordination and the synergy required to succeed at the top level. With not much separating the teams in terms of skills, the synergy forms an important part of any rosters success.
Their performance in the Pre Season was definitely inspiring. They did not dominate, but they managed to defeat Houston Outlaws and Florida Mayhem. Houston Outlaws have definitely shown themselves to be a title contender and a capable team. The 3-2 win over Houston Outlaws definitely put together the teams in their right place. They are probably the second to the third-best team in the Overwatch League. However, there is a lot of time in between the preseason and the actual league. All teams will improve their performance with ample time to synergize and practice together.
The Dallas Fuels have a franchise that has a big fan following. With a strong team to produce good results in Season 1, they will hope to win the title.
Los Angeles Valiant
The core of the Los Angeles Valiant team comes from the former Immortals roster in Overwatch. They were one of the first teams to publicly support and enter the Overwatch League. Immortals owner Noah Whinston is a big fan of Overwatch League format and believes it is essential for esports to reach the next level. The Immortals roster were the champions of Overwatch Contenders Season 0. However, the team was faltering towards the end of the pre-OWL era.
The Los Angeles Valiant roster has players from all over the world. The multiple nationalities, however, does not prove to be a hindrance, despite the player being spread across five nations.There is a constant flow of ideas and information across the team as they look to develop and improve their performances. The Valiants have been together for some time now at their Team House on Redondo Beach. The players are slowly becoming familiar with each other not only in the game but also outside of the game.
Los Angeles Valiant roster is filled with talent. With some notable names in their lineup, there is no dearth of performers and star players on Los Angeles Valiant. With the likes of Numlocked, Unkoe, Kariv, Grimreality, Agilities this team has carved a name for itself over the past few seasons.
A look at their roster emphasizes the focus on DPS players for the team. With four specialized DPS players, this team does not lack damage. Soon on Tracer and Agilities on Genji have been instrumental in Immortals’ victories in the past. They have often been heralded as amongst the top three on their respective hero. Apart from these two players, they have Grimreality and Silkthread who are also able DPS players on the roster.
The DPS players
However, a big problem for the team is the concentration of DPS players around Genji and Tracer. GrimReality started off his role on Immortals as a Mcree player but transitioned into a Tracer towards the latter half. But with a team like Valiant, they will need a player to play other heroes such as Reaper, Pharah and maybe even doomfist. This is where Silkthread comes in for the team. While we have not necessarily seen him play these particular heroes, he is definitely capable of playing them as we have seen him on hitscans and Pharah sometimes.
The Immortals roster has deep ties to traditional sports with their AEG Worldwide connection. They have carefully decided on their colors which have a green and yellow shade. These colors are very reminiscent of some traditional sports teams and are generally considered to be ‘standard’ sports colors.
The Los Angeles Valiant roster :
Let’s take a look at their performance during the Pre Season. The team won both their matches against San Francisco Shock and against Los Angeles Gladiators. Right now they seem to be the better team from LA and that speaks a lot for their marketability in the Overwatch League. There is no doubt that Los Angeles is the capital of esports and as such securing a good and loyal fanbase in the region definitely helps in the long run. Knowing Noah Whinston and his vastly capable business decisions, we will definitely be seeing more of the team’s branding attempts in the future.
We have not really talked much about the support players in the team, but the team has some of the best support players in the league. Together as a duo, Kariv and Unkoe are the best players on Ana & Zenyatta. Verbo remains the Lucio player on the team and the shot caller, but the fact that he does not play the other supports ( as well ) means that he will not always be on the playing roster. That brings into question how the team expects to perform in all variants of their composition.
They have also added multiple coaches to help them not only within the game but also the player development outside of the game. With coaches ready to provide them psychological support and help in order to function properly as a team, the team is investing big time into the overall development. Cuddles, Daemon, and Gunba are the coaching staff for LA Valiants.
Los Angeles Valiant have high expectations for the team. They have a very high skill ceiling but with a lot of overlapping players. The different synergies within the roster come along with the individual talent make this team a dangerous opponent.
Los Angeles Gladiator
Los Angeles Gladiators are owned by the Kroenke family. The Kroenke family have investments in several traditional sports teams across the world.These include teams such as Arsenal, The Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Rams. Their first venture into esports comes in the form of an investment in Los Angeles Gladiators, a team based off the heart of esports in LA. As we approach Season 1, the Overwatch League will take place in Los Angeles.
They have kept just seven members on the roster. A seven-member roster presents its own set of problems. From being extremely inflexible to potential emergencies which might see some players being forced to sit out, the team needs a good backup plan.
Hydration is one of the better Projectile players and is extremely talented on Genji and Pharah. While his hero pool definitely stops at these two heroes, he has a very high skill ceiling on the two heroes.Ashr’s Tracer is extremely talented and can give consistent competition to the likes of Saebyeolbe and Sinaatra.
But they also have Surefour, one of the most well-known players in Overwatch as a whole. Surefour is extremely talented and has an insane hero pool. He can play almost any character with the same skill level and is well known for his off-meta picks. We have seen him pick heroes such as Bastion, Junkrat, Symmetra and be very effective with these heroes. In terms of performance, he might not be at his peak right now; but his versatility provides LA Gladiators a flexibility that their seven-man roster would not have normally allowed.
Los Angeles Gladiator roster :
The remainder of the roster has developed gradually over the past few months. Bischu comes into the team as the core of the team. His Zarya and Dva have been very consistent.While he is not the most flashy player, Bischu ensures the survival of his teammates which allows them to make the aggressive plays. Bischu’s often supportive tank plays enable the DPS to perform these highlight-worthy plays.
Both the supports on this team come from the erstwhile Team Gigantti. Their synergy with each other is evident in the way they peel and help each other regularly. Shaz is definitely one of the best Zenyatta players in the game. While it is generally difficult to rate support players simply cause of the lack of statistics in Overwatch, Shaz is known for his alternate fire kills. The Zenyatta right clicks definitely help the team secure a huge numbers advantage. His positioning in the backlines while dealing a lot of damage to the enemy team is what makes him a constant threat for every second that he stays alive.
The Pre Season really did not give us any indication of their strengths and weaknesses. While on one hand they won their series against London Spitfire, one of the strongest teams in the Preseason; they were also unable to overcome their local rivals – Los Angeles Valiant. The team still needs to find its identity and how they want to approach the games. Most of their matches and lineups seemed haphazard and without a specific plan. With a month for them to regroup and get their act together, we should see a better team in the regular season.
The Pacific Division has a total of six teams. Click here to read more about the remaining three teams in the Pacific Division.Click here to read about the six Atlantic Division teams in the Overwatch League.