A lot has happened in not much time in the world of Overwatch Esports. From more players leaving teams and entire teams being disbanded, to an Overwatch League Community Countdown event taking place to amp up the hype for the second season. Here is what has been happening recently in professional Overwatch.
Dogman Joins Atlanta Reign
Fans of the Contenders North America team known as ATL Academy were surprised to see that their flex support, Dustin “Dogman” Bowerman, was no longer with the team. After a confusing period where Dogman tweeted that he was looking for a team, the official Twitter for the Atlanta Reign stated that Dogman had actually been promoted to their Overwatch League roster to play flex support for the team.
This is a huge pickup for the Atlanta Reign, as Dogman was key to the success that ATL Academy had during Season Three of 2018 Contenders North America, with the team coming second place behind reigning champions, Fusion University, in a tight match that ended 4-2 in favor of Fusion Uni.
Far and Simon Leave Gladiators Legion
The academy team for the Los Angeles Gladiators, Gladiators Legion, are now down two more members in their ranks. DPS player, Connor “Far” Broderick” and assistant coach Simon “simon” Schumph, have both parted ways with the team to pursue new opportunities.
This news comes recently after it was announced that their flex tank, Daniel “Gods” Graeser, had also left the roster to take up new opportunities with other teams. The Gladiators Legion have had mild success in their recent runs in Contenders North America, competing in all three seasons for 2018, making it to the playoffs in both Seasons One and Two, only to fall short in Season Three. Four members remain on the roster for the Legion, and with space to acquire new members, it’s possible that they will be able to gain the pieces they need to have a good run in the 2019 season of Contenders North America.
Overwatch League Community Countdown Begins
Fans of the Overwatch League were excited when the official Twitter for the league tweeted out saying that there would be a Community Countdown taking place to ready up supporters for the beginning of the second season starting on February 14th. However, it wasn’t all it shaped up to be.
The tweet that announced the Community Countdown came out merely two days before the countdown was due to take place, with the tweet stating that it would be hosted on different channels from across the Overwatch streaming community, with names such as Jayne and ZP taking the reigns to stream the events.
Also included in this tweet was the schedule for the countdown, with the management for the Overwatch League stating that there would be ‘practice scrimmages’ taking place on February 9th and February 10th, the first two days of the event. However, this was quite a misunderstanding on their behalf. Teams taking part in the countdown didn’t play serious compositions during their matches, with teams such as NYXL running their world-famous flex support, Bang “JJonak” Seong-hyun, on Reinhardt and Philadelphia Fusion’s main tank, Kim “SADO” Su-min, playing as Genji.
Understandably, fans were upset at the miscommunication, having been promised serious games only to receive matches that were more hilarious than anything. However, it sparked serious rage amongst the community, with prominent members being rather outspoken about the matter, including Overwatch League analyst Brennon “Bren” Hook going to the lengths as to say that if he were in charge, he would fine teams for not taking the matches seriously.
Other members of the community didn’t take it to such lengths, with team members from those teams competing defending their bizarre strategies, with main support and two-way player, Elijah “Elk” Gallagher tweeting about how it would be silly for teams to play seriously just days before the official season is supposed to start. Others thought differently, with Contenders North America caster and host for two days of the event, Andrew “ZP” Rush, discussing how it may not be just teams hiding their strategies that is the reason behind the odd compositions. ZP suggested that if teams did actually try during these matches and lost, there would be no excuse for losing with a serious composition.
This isn’t the only drama to appear as a consequence of this Community Countdown event. Because the matches were taking place from February 9th to February 13th, Blizzard decided to pre-record the recent Contenders North America Trials matches that were due to take place on February 9th and then air them later on, much to the annoyance of players and teams competing in the matches on those days as well as fans of Contenders North America.
The Community Countdown still has some events to go, with one on one matches and Ana Paintball due to take place along with six versus six Capture the Flag games and a showmatch still on the schedule for the remaining days of the event.
CIS Hope Disbands
Unfortunately for Contenders Europe fans, a team has disbanded amidst the trials and tribulations of the new trials for Contenders Europe 2019 Season One. The team known as CIS Hope, a mixed Russian and European team, have announced that they are disbanding. The team formed at the end of 2017, with some relative success before the team was signed in August 2018 to Winstrike Team, again achieving decent results in their tournaments. However, it was then announced that the roster was to return to CIS Hope on February 8th, and then their dissolution was announced on February 11th.
Some players have expressed their sadness about the disbanding, with Austrian flex support for Novus Ordo Seclorum, Oliver “ecLipse” Nguyen, tweeting how his team beat CIS Hope fair and square, and CIS Hope gave up in the Trials. He also mentioned that perhaps if Blizzard hadn’t cut out the prize money for Contenders Trials, it would give players that don’t make it through to Contenders something to play for. This comes after Blizzard recently cut out the entire prize pool for Contenders Trials circuits in all regions for the 2019 seasons, having recently had prize money that teams could compete for.
The second season of the Overwatch League is right around the corner, with the matches kicking off on February 14th, starting with a rematch of the Season One Grand Finals between the London Spitfire and the Philadelphia Fusion.
Images via: Overwatch League, Los Angeles Gladiators.