Proliferation of GOATS, big roster moves shape up Stage 3 of OWL
We are now just more than two stages into Season 2 of the Overwatch League. This is a halfway point to this year’s grand finals and an opportunity to consider what to expect through the remainder of the 2019 Overwatch calendar.
The competition thus far in Season 2 has been fierce. Vancouver Titans tore a Stage 1 win from the hands of the San Francisco Shock, and in the Stage 2 playoffs the Shock took their revenge against the Titans. The top of the pack this season may already seem determined, but a lot can change in the coming weeks and months.
Ongoing patches and an updating map pool will be among those changes. The introduction of patch 1.36 into the League brings immediate change to Ashe, Brigitte, D.va, Roadhog, and Torbjorn, as well as the introduction of new escort map Havana.
It is not yet determined if the new hero balance tweaks and short season break will provide enough momentum to move the meta away from the omnipresence of GOATS. OWL is the litmus paper for meta changes, which means whatever we see on the big screen will inevitably flow down into competitive matchmaking.
A lot of player changes were made in the mid-season that could have an impact as we move forward.
Florida Mayhem have chosen to move towards an all-Korean roster. They released Sweden’s Kevyn "TviQ" Lindström as the last of their international players and let coach and substitute player Sung-hoon "SNT" Kim step away.
“The direction [I] wished to go for as a playing coach and the direction of the team wanted to pursue has diverged from one another,” SNT said.
The Mayhem did acquire Seong-ju “Byrem” Lee and Pan-seung "Fate" Koo. The main tank was traded from the Los Angeles Valiant in exchange for Caleb "McGravy" McGarvey, Johannes "Shax" Nielsen and Russell "FCTFCTN" Campbell, showing clearly that the Valiant are also thinking ahead to the deciding stages and hoping a strong tank presence will help them get back to last year’s top-tier shape.
Other changes were made by the Toronto Defiant after DPS Joon-seong "Asher" Choi’s retirement announcement, in response to which they picked up Daniel "Gods" Graeser and Normunds "sharyk" Faterins. These are talented players, but chemistry and communication could be an issue as they are the only English-speakers on the Defiant roster.
Lastly, the Dallas Fuel continue to reach into their Team Envy playbook, this time pulling out Ashley "Trill" Powell. He’s an impressive Australian player previously featured in the World Cup and Sydney Drop Bears, and his arrival in the OWL has long been anticipated by fans.
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