OWL Pellets Challenge - Detroit Defiance
Recently, I was tasked with making a mock Overwatch League team for Sideshow’s community event, the ‘OWL Pellets Challenge.’ Our stipulations were similar to the same rules for the Overwatch League; they must be 18 or older, they must not be retired, and they must not already signed by an existing Overwatch League team. As a challenge, we could not select any members of team RunAway, as are widely considered to be the “golden standard” as the best whole team that could be selected. Playing for the green and black, please welcome—the Detroit Defiance
DPS: Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung Woo
DPS: Cheon “Ado” Ki-hyun
DPS: Jeong “Nenne” Yeon-Kwan
DPS: Kim "GodsB" Kyeong-bo
Tank: Jeong "NoSmite" Da-un
Tank: Yong-ha "Brek" Son
Tank: Choi "ChoiHyoBin" Hyo-bin
Flex: Song “SASIN” Sang-hyeon
Support: Se-yong "DNCE" Kim
Support: Choi "Kris" Jun Soo
Support: Min "GILY" Joon-ho
Support: Yoon "BeBe" Hui-chang
I’ve built this team with a keen eye for themes of consistency, potential growth, and proven success. A big foundation I wanted to build around was the idea of a strong core group of players that have already found success in the most competitive region, South Korea, and more importantly, OGN’s APEX League. This is exactly why I jumped at the chance to grab a majority of the X6-Gaming roster to my mock Overwatch League team. After breaking into the Korean Overwatch scene back in the spring of 2017, X6-Gaming made their presence known with a shocking victory over Lunatic-Hai 2-1 in the Nexus Cup 2017: Spring Qualifiers and upset Team EnVyUs in APEX Season 3 with their brilliant Junkrat pick.
A team that has been together since as early as APEX Season 2 marched straight through the main Nexus Cup tournament. X6-Gaming skated past their group, only losing 1 map. Their group featured Chinese teams iG.Ice, NGA.Titan and Solution Gaming. On their way to the grand finals, X6-Gaming took victories over Lucky Future and LW Red - twice. They then went on to take the silver medal losing in the semi-finals and grand finals to wNv.KR. X6-Gaming then tried their hand at qualifying for OGN Season 3 throughout the Challenger Series, which they passed through relatively unchallenged. Throughout all of the regular season, X6-Gaming went 9-2 (28-10) and only seem to only be challenged with MVP Space and Rhinos Gaming Titan. X6-Gaming would then qualify for Season 3 with their victories over Mighty AOD (3-2) and Afreeca Freecs Red (3-1). Now, X6-Gaming has become a staple in OGN’s APEX League making 2 consecutive playoff appearances (Season 3 and 4).
This diverse portfolio comes with players like Choi "ChoiHyoBin" Hyo-bin, Yoon "BeBe" Hui-chang, and Jeong "NoSmite" Da-un, X6-Gaming has a diverse line-up that has proven itself as a serious contender, but needed just a touch more color. That aside, this does not take away from their own individual accolades. Upsetting teams like EnVyUs and Lunatic-Hai are no small feat. Leading the charge was their main tank, NoSmite. In many ways, NoSmite is the fearless leader. During APEX Season 3, he left his main tank position to throw a triple DPS ‘curve ball’ at the western favorites, team EnVyUs - and it was a smashing success.
Leading into Season 4 of APEX, NoSmite continued with his stellar tank performance racking up 23.1% (+23% the average of APEX Season 4*) of his teams kills (PTK), 8 (+28%) kills per 10 minutes, and 12.8% (+49%) of his teams first kills on Winston. X6-Gaming is a team that is multifaceted, they’ve got the potential to have threats coming in from a lot of angles that put them a step ahead of some of the other teams in the league. NoSmite partnered with teammate ChoiHyoBin and long-time tank for Afreeca Freecs Blue, Yong-ha "Brek" Son, are going to form an iron-clad defense that will continue to improve the support line of X6-Gaming’s record of having extremely low first deaths. For example, their flex support player, BeBe, has been held to an astonishingly low 2.9% (-74%) first deaths on Ana. To build a house, you need a strong foundation, and that is exactly what the X6-Gaming roster represents; a bedrock of some of the finest talent coming out of South Korea.
To add to the roster of X6-Gaming, we’ve seasoned in some great additions to the team. From Meta Athena we’ve taken Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung Woo and Choi "Kris" Jun Soo. Both of these players have proven their worth ten fold as key fixtures in the APEX Season 2 run for Meta Athena. Sayaplayer’s prowess on the majority hitscan heroes is at a certain level where you cannot afford to ignore him, in and off the sever. To be completely honest with you, he was the first person I added to this team. His McCree is as incredible as is his Tracer play. Becoming a catalyst for success with the X6-Gaming roster should be an easy plug and play. This star DPS player brings with him a equally talented support player in his teammate from Meta Athena, Kris.
Kris has been on Meta Athena for what seems to be forever. He was there at the start of their success during the beginning of APEX Challenger Season 1 and he has continued to thrive even through his teams turbulent last few seasons. Every team needs a solid foundation, an anchor that binds the team together - and I believe Kris knows full well what that looks like. This is mimicked in the way he plays as well. During APEX Season 4 and the Bigfile Overwatch Battleroyal, Kris averaged a 4.84 (+48%) ultimates per 10 minutes and only took an average of 86 (-24%) seconds to charge his ultimate. When a Lucio heals an ally, you gain ultimate charge. The same thing happens when you damage an enemy. With that being said, this shows that Kris has adopted a potent defensive style of Lucio, where he generates one extra ultimate per 10 minutes at a rate 30 seconds faster than the average! With slightly over five hours played on Lucio between these two events, this starts to paint the picture that Kris is more focused around providing the most healing he can to his team and supports the idea that he is the bedrock that his team can rely on to succeed even in troubling times.
Someone who has been on quite the quiet uprising is Cheon “Ado” Ki-hyun, and for those die-hard MVP Space fans out there, this name might be vaguely familiar as he played with them during the Bigfile Overwatch Battleroyal. If you weigh the performance he put on with Genji during the Bigfile Overwatch Battleroyal, which featured the likes of X6-Gaming, Meta Athena, and Afreeca Freecs Blue, against the averages of APEX Season 4 you get something is a little surprising. Ado’s Genji performance throughout the Bigfile Overwatch Battleroyal managed 36.6% (+36%) of his teams kills, 13.49 (+55%) kills per 10 minutes, 4.33 (-32%) deaths per 10 minutes, 18% (+30%) first kills, and held himself to 4% (-63%) first deaths. With the dwindling sea of projectile players for the Overwatch League, Ado meets all the criteria to play within a team. Perhaps not as a starter, that much is still to be decided on, but this kid has got some brings the firepower and serious potential, potential that you cannot really afford to pass up on.
Next, we’ve got Jeong “Nenne” Yeon-Kwan, Tracer specialist previously for LW Red and now on Lunatic-Hai. Instead of decorating Nenee’s prowess and skill with flowery language, let me show you what this rising star can do.
Obviously you can’t cover all of your bases, but you need to cover as many options as you can. That mantra is what I’ve tried to encapsulate with my roster and no one does this better than our team captain, Se-yong "DNCE" Kim. He’s gone from being a solid DPS players back in APEX Season 1 for KongDoo Uncia and has transitioned into a more supportive role for the same team. The transition was absolutely seamless and DNCE continues to impress with strong performances with his Zenyatta. During OGN APEX Season 4, DNCE racked up a solid 11.8% (+22%) percentage of his teams kills (PTK), 4.2 (+30%) kills per 10 minutes, and 8.3 (+46%) first kills. If this man isn’t your definition of a bloodthirst support, I don’t know what is! He hasn’t traded in his Soldier 76 completely, and it can be called upon whenever the team is in need. This flexibility harkens back to the core of some of the founding principals that I built the team on. Becoming meta fluid is important in an ever changing landscape.
Staying on that same topic, Song “SASIN” Sang-hyeon has been an incredible asset to his team in RX Foxes (formerly NC Foxes). With his aggressive D.Va, he should feel right at home with D.Va’s new retooling with the ability in Micro Missiles and the changes to Defense Matrix. Even prior to the change, SASIN racked up quite a track record for securing kills with D.Va. In Season 4 of APEX he managed a 23.1% (+63%) of his teams kills (PTK), 6.72 (+43%) kills per 10 minutes, and secured 11.2% (+96%) first kills for his team. This is quite the performance for any player’s rookie season, but it doesn’t end there. He has also played quite a bit of Genji and Pharah for his team - with relatively mixed success. Having a rock steady core around him in the form of X6-Gaming and friends, SASIN should have the space needed to improve and show a better performance that should be vastly different to what he has shown previously.
Securing some of Korea’s rising talent was a foremost thought process in building the team. Yes, we need proven talent like the core of X6-Gaming, Sayaplayer and Kris from Meta Athena, but what is going to make this team outlast and defy the competition is our investment in rising stars like Nenne, Ado, and SASIN. From the little time they’ve had to prove themselves in APEX Season 4 and the Bigfile Overwatch Battle Royal these players have left lasting impression on me as future allstars. Like I’ve mentioned in the past, there are tons of technically gifted players out there in the wilds of the Seoul PC Bang forests, you just need to get out and find them.
I believe I’ve drafted a nice balance of new and old mixed with a very diverse cast of consistent performers. The team’s wheelhouse would be based in a very hyper aggressive Dive centric play style, while also being able to dabble in any triple tank compositions the metagame - or the coaching staff - would dictate. With fixtures like Ado, NoSmite, SASIN, and Sayaplayer running the offensive and DNCE and Gilly directing the flow and pace of the game from the reer. As for the more slow tempo, attrition based styles, we would swap a few pieces out. I’d wager that Brek would take over for NoSmite and ChoiHyoBin for SASIN respectively. This allows for Reinhardt to enter the field along with a more defensive and reactive D.Va play to allow Kris and BeBe to sustain the long teamfights. Depending on the metagame we could have GodsB rotate into the starting DPS line-up due to the fact that he has such a diverse hero pool. The amazing thing about this roster is that so many of these players can play many roles. This makes the team almost ‘role fluid’ in a way similar to the way RunAway did in Season 4 of APEX. It’s a style that is heavily criticised, but I believe in time will prove itself. Having an incredibly diverse team in a shifting landscape means that you should never be caught off guard. There should always be a player who can fill the gaps and make up for lost ground.
All that said, I’ve laid my hand on the table and I’m incredibly excited to hear from the other fantastic writers to present the “aces up their sleeves.” This thought experiment was an absolute blast and a I would recommend any Overwatch esports fan to attempt the challenge. Thanks to Sideshow for allowing me to participate and I hope the team I assembled defies expectations!
Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLG’s of 2006. He started out primarily following Starcraft 2, Halo 3, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. He has transitioned from viewer to journalist and writes freelance primarily about Overwatch and League of Legends. If you would like to know more or follow his thoughts on esports you can follow him at @Volamel.
Graphics and artwork done by @Volamel.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment, OGN, Akshone Esports, the Overwatch League.
Statistics courtesy of Winston’s Lab.