Next up in our power rankings it's Los Angeles Valiant, we breakdown their off season and take a peek at their roster of fresh talent ahead of the new season.
See our other OWL 2020 team preview: #20 Boston Uprising
Los Angeles Valiant comes in the 2020 season with a brand new roster, fresh out of Contenders.
All major players left the boat
This off-season has been a rough one for the Los Angeles Valiant. Both tanks Indy “SPACE” Halpern and Russell “FCTFCTN” Campbell left the team, the first one joining the direct opponents of the Valiant — the Los Angeles Gladiators. We haven’t heard anything about the latter since his departure from the team.
We will always look back at the time spent with these players with nothing but gratitude. Thank you for bringing so much joy, and thank you for showing us what it means to be a 7.#WingsOut pic.twitter.com/M73mLngz6i
— Los Angeles Valiant (@LAValiant) October 23, 2019
Toronto Defiant also went shopping in Los Angeles Valiant roster, signing off-healer Youngseo “KariV” Park and projectile DPS Brady “Agilities” Girardi. The final blow came from the support line, especially with the team captain and Valiant icon Scott “Custa” Kennedy announcing his retirement. He joined the analyst desk from the Overwatch League, leaving behind his past as a professional player. In the wake of Custa’s departure, the second support from Los Angeles Valiant, Owen “Slur” Warner was released from the team.
In two months, Los Angeles Valiant lost two tanks, three supports, and their main DPS player. Only three players from the 2019 season remained at the end of the season, including two mid-season trades. Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa stayed in the team ever since he joined in April 2018, and the mid-season traded players Johannes “Shax” Nielsen and Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey both stick with Los Angeles Valiant.
New faces to Los Angeles
Following the massive departure of their players, Los Angeles Valiant had to react quickly. On October 31st, they signed three players: Sanglok “Dreamer” Song, Damon “Apply” Conti and Jungwon “Lastro” Mun. Those signings were leaked weeks before by former member and team captain Scott “Custa” Kennedy on his stream, starting the hype around Overwatch off-season trades leaks.
We are aware of the recent leak that was published to our YouTube from @Custa's stream, and can confirm that everything said in that video is in fact true.
— Los Angeles Valiant (@LAValiant) October 31, 2019
Dreamer, Apply and Lastro all played in Contenders, without winning a title. Dreamer is a main tank, formerly from Sydney Drop Bears. He ended up Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 2: Australia on the 3-4th place, losing to Mindfreak. He is the first player from Sydney Drop Bears to join an Overwatch League team without going through academy teams.
The name of Damon “Apply” Conti may ring a bell to some fans - this projectile DPS played briefly for Florida Mayhem in 2018, before going inactive and falling back in Contenders. His last team was Revival, but he didn’t participate in any major event since last Summer. The last signing from October was Jung-won "Lastro" Mun, former member of Skyfox. Despite being in a somewhat average team, Lastro proved that he could be a decent flex support, consistent in his Zenyatta picks and Ana nades.
Early January, two more players joined Los Angeles Valiant: Rick “GiG” Salazar and Jae Ho “RaiN” Park. Both have a more solid background, yet not as impressive as other teams signings. GiG previously played with XL2 Academy, New York Excelsior’s academy team and placed 2nd in the Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 2: North America West. RaiN is a former Florida Mayhem player, until the roster sweep last June.
Finally, the latest signing for Los Angeles Valiant is Kai “KSP” Collins. This hitscan specialist played in Contenders for Young and Beautiful, Samsung Morning Stars and New York Excelsior’s academy team XL2 Academy. He also participated in the 2018 and 2019 Overwatch World Cup with Team United Kingdom.
A complicated division
The Overwatch League is split between two divisions, depending on the home city of all teams. If they are from the American East Coast, Eastern Canada or Europe, teams join the Atlantic Division. If they are from the American West Coast, Western Canada and Asia, then they are on the Pacific Division.
As Los Angeles is on the American West Coast, they play in the West Pacific Division. This is a tough one, as the Valiant will face some of the strongest teams on the League: Los Angeles Gladiators, Vancouver Titans, and the OWL reigning champions San Francisco Shock.
Can the new roster handle the heat?
Los Angeles Valiant is betting a lot on new players fresh out of Contenders and returning OWL players such as Damon “Apply” Conti and Jae Ho “RaiN” Park. However, these two haven’t spent much time on the main stage. The lack of experience combined to the newest update of the Overwatch League, such as the homestands and hero pools and a tough Division to go through might be too much to handle for Los Angeles Valiant.
- Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey
- Sanglok “Dreamer” Song
- Rick “GiG” Salazar
- Jungwon “Lastro” Mun
- Jae Ho “RaiN” Park
- Kyle “KSF” Frandanisa
- Johannes “Shax” Nielsen
- Damon “Apply” Conti
- Kai “KSP” Collins