Featured Image courtesy of Robert Paul For Blizzard Entertainment
If you asked right now “What are the 3 best teams in the Overwatch League?” the answers would probably involve Shanghai Dragons, Philadelphia Fusion, San Francisco Shock and Florida Mayhem. But that might be about to change in the near future.
Hangzhou Spark, Paris Eternal, and the New York Excelsior are ready to shake up the power rankings. These three teams got similar upgrades, and now all have new Flex DPS players with high potential to turn things around for their teams.
Despite popular belief, none of these teams were actually playing badly. The community can be harsh with teams that are dropping matches here and there, and that was what was happening with these teams. The new additions might be just what they needed to get the extra wins in order to reach the top of their division and the Overwatch League.
Before the break, the Spark weren’t exactly shining. Back in 2019, this team was rock solid. Despite some slow beginnings at each meta, they could always improve and at times were a Top 3 team. But those were different days. Now, with hero pools, there’s no time to adapt and learn. With almost no significant additions, the team was struggling to win consistently.
But all that is about to change; the team got their new DPS star, Minho “Architect” Park. Architect joined the Overwatch League back in 2018, signing the San Francisco Shock in the middle of the season. At the time, he was exactly what the Shock needed, and was able to help the team a lot. In 2019 he didn’t play nearly as much; the Shock have a stacked roster and the meta favored their other DPS players. Make no mistake though, Architect is a monster.
His flexibility is remarkable, and he’s one of the few players that can comfortably swap between projectile and hitscan DPS with no problem, and is even able to play other roles when needed. Now reunited with his former teammates from X6-Gaming (his team in Korean Contenders), Architect might be the key to push Spark back to their former glory days.
New York Excelsior
Kim “Haksal” Hyo-jong is what you might call a living legend in Overwatch. Despite being considered a rookie last year, Haksal has been around in Overwatch since 2017. He’s been in tournaments since the days of APEX back in Korea, making it to the finals of APEX Seasons 2 & 4 with Runaway.
New York Excelsior weren’t weak in the Flex DPS department by any means. With Lee “WhoRU” Seung-jun and Haeseong “Libero” Kim in that position, they were set and ready to go; but Haksal is a superstar, possibly the best DPS player in the world. He’s the kind of super-aggressive player than can make the difference in every DPS duel and finally help NYXL find the league title they’ve been dreaming of.
With Haksal joining, Yeonkwan “Nenne” Jeong back from the US, and Kim “Mandu” Chan-hee turning 18, NYXL has the key elements that could allow them to fully transition toward a more aggressive playstyle. Whether doing so will help them win the title is something only time will tell, but Haksal certainly won’t hurt their chances.
Before the season started, I predicted Paris would be good. Not only because of Kim “Sp9rk1e” Yeong-han, but also because of Choi “Hanbin” Han-been and Jung “Xzi” Ki-hyo bringing a lot of firepower to their positions. If you add to that the massive improvements to the coaching staff, this could be one of the best teams. But honestly, that was only half right.
Neither Benjamin “BenBest” Dieuafait or Daun “Nosmite” Jeong were expected to perform as well as they have, and Brice “FDGoD” Monscavoir has proven to be exceptional on Main Support. After their previous Flex Support players both retired, Kwon “Fielder” Joon has come in on 200 ping from Korea and is still looking like one of the league’s best Flex Support players. Nicolas “NicoGDH”, who was underperforming last year, has improved massively as well. All this together has made Paris a better team than anyone could’ve expected.
But now, the promised child has arrived. Sp9rk1e has been hyped by many, and rightfully so. He wasn’t just a good player in Korean Contenders. He used to dominate. Sp9rk1e has everything he needs to be the new Haksal and dethrone him as one of the best DPS players in the Overwatch League. By doing so, he may very well bring Paris to the top.
Right now, people might talk about the Shanghai Dragons, Philadelphia Fusion, San Francisco Shock or Florida Mayhem as the top team. However, these three teams are making a case as new potential contenders. The competition for the top has never been better.
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