Written by volamel
Overwatch League is around the corner, Contenders Season 3 should be kicking off any day now and after the 2018 World Cup, the Chinese region has entered the vernacular of the competitive Overwatch community. Yes, the World Cup team has had amazing performances and have been waiting to be discovered by the masses, but there are dozens of other talented Chinese players that have been brewing domestically for nearly a year. I can sing the praises of the Chinese World Cup team for hours. They were well built and incredibly versatile -- and because of their success, we can strike while the iron is hot! Barring the World Cup team, here are ten more names you may want to keep your eyes out for when consuming Overwatch content, whether in the Overwatch League or in Overwatch Contenders Season 3.
Plagued with inconsistency during his second season of Overwatch Contenders, it seems like things have turned around for LinGan e-Sports, KaMi. A longtime veteran of the Chinese Overwatch scene, Kami has been competing since late 2016. For the last two years KaMi has been chipping away at the Overwatch ladder and this season he might make his first major dent. As a projectile specialist, you would imagine that KaMi would have a difficult time in the current tank dominated metagame -- think again. His team still facilitates him on picks like Junkrat and Pharah, but will mainly be playing Zarya for the time being. Now that I’ve seen him have success away from the Dive centric metagame that played into his hero pool, I think KaMi is here to stay.
As the spearhead for the Shanghai Dragon’s academy team, Team CC, I think it’s this season that jiqiren returns back to peak form, something we have not seen since his days on Miraculous Youngster. Last season it was all about Guxue, now this season is jiqiren’s time to shine. In the few matches we’ve seen from Team CC in the LanStory Cup - Hangzhou online qualifiers, everything seems to be falling in order. His aggression is being properly followed and the new additions to Team CC make them an absolute powerhouse in the metagame. As long as everyone falls in line with such an aggressive main tank, Team CC could easily be one of the best teams in Overwatch Contenders Season 3. Jiqiren will continue to cement his style this season, mark my words.
MoLanran was an easy addition to this list. He carved the sky last season as a Pharah specialist, but don’t let that fool you, he spent a ton of time on Sombra and Tracer as well. Along with his DPS partner, Krystal, he and MoLanran are a massive pool of versatility to pull from for T1W Esports. But you have to pay attention when this kid plays Pharah -- it’s something special. He is quickly climbing the ranks of the domestic DPS players and I expect a lot from him coming into Season 3. MoLanran and T1W Esports are going to do some big things in Season 3, just watch.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that your support line is the backbone of a strong team. And having someone that can play both main support and flex support is worth their weight in gold. Garry from Lucky Future is one of those players. While you might look at Lucky Future’s performance last season in Overwatch Contenders and scoff, the team looked leagues better in Contenders Trials than they did in Contenders Season 2.
Garry is very experienced and could easily be added to a lot of mainstay Chinese teams and be a great addition. After playing for nearly two years competitively Garry is a solid player -- nothing jaw-dropping, but someone who you can rely on to give you a good performance.
Molly has been someone that I’ve taken an interest in as of late. His team, LinGan e-Sports, had a very strong showing during Overwatch Contenders Season 2, many of the players were overshadowed by a few standout players that were very flashy. Now, that should not discount the rest of the team, and after going back through some of their games, I saw Molly quietly waving his hands in the background waiting to be noticed.
His Zenyatta is quite strong and he’s actually got a few DPS picks at his disposal. Come to think of it, his hero pool actually mimics someone like Bdosin from London Spitfire. I will say that his Brigitte was a bit underwhelming but I think China, as a whole, took a while to adapt to her playstyle.
Molly is going to do some great things with LinGan e-Sports this season. Keep an eye out for him during their matches!
Flag Gaming has been a team that I’ve been very quietly fond of. They have this slight underdog air about them that is endearing and I’ve got a lot of respect for their flex support player, Coldest. I think you’re going to see more and more support players be forced to flex more and more and the clear lines of “main” and “flex” supports will blur quite a bit. The reason I mention this is because Coldest has hero picks in both support roles that he can play at a very high level!
He’s most known for his Zenyatta, but you’ll also see him on Moira, Ana and the occasional DPS pick. Someone this flexible really impresses me; pair that with some great mechanics and you’ve got a stellar support player that you can count on.
It’s so hard to denote roles when we look back at a team like Moss Seven Club. When you have a tank like RIVEN, formerly known as Yixin, who plays Winston, D.Va, Zarya, and Orissa, you just end up calling him a “tank”
no specificity needed, just tank
. With his partner in crime, Vanessa, they made up a big reason why Moss Seven Club was so successful in Contenders Season 2. To his credit, most of the time you did see him on D.Va and Zarya when Vanessa would play Reinhardt, but if the map called for a Winston, it would usually be RIVEN to step into that role. Where the team was ultra-flexible, the tank line were the standouts for me -- RIVEN included.
Many people talk about how you want to draft teams that are “meta-proof” so that their performance isn’t drastically hindered by patches and changes within the game. Let me introduce you to Vanessa. I’ve been high on Vanessa since his days with Moss Seven Club in Contenders Season 1. The evolution that he and that team has gone through has been fantastic to watch. He’s gone from Season 1 where Moss Seven Club did not win a single match to Season 2 where they made playoffs large in part by their fluid tank line. Now by fluid, I mean highly flexible, almost too flexible. Moss Seven Club tended to get almost too fancy with their role-swapping and they never seemed to find any comfort. That being said, Vanessa can play everything. Have you ever seen a main tank instantly swap to Junkrat or Sombra during your attack? No? Well if you’re facing Vanessa, that’s something you’ve got to prepare for. He also heroes like D.Va and Roadhog in his repertoire. With the proper coaching behind him, I seriously think he could be incredibly valuable for any team.
Are you ready for the best player you’ve never heard of? Well, I guess you probably already have heard of this player by proxy. If you’ll indulge me for a moment, have you heard of the Chinese team that runs Doomfist “like a tank”?
Yes, this is that
Mijia, or more popularly known as ShuaiGuo, was the star player of Ambitious Immortals and their strange triple DPS style.
He’s an incredibly flashy player, but I have my worries. Ambitious Immortals played a very distinct style, can Mijia adapt to fit a normal style or will his new team adapt to him? I want to see what he looks like in a team that runs compositions that are a bit more standard. Combined with the fact we’ve only seen him really dominate on Doomfist, I question how deep his hero pool is. While he and his former team have found recent success, I also draw into question his experience at the top level.
Ambitious Immortals ran through Open Division and Contenders Trials without much resistance. Now, the team has been dissolved and their players scattered. After putting such a distinct player in a new team and a new environment, I can’t in good faith put him at number one. Mijia is a phenomenal player. If he can show up and prove me wrong at every turn, he could very well be in the standing for the best player in China.
Last but certainly not least we have a name people may already be familiar with: Eileen. With his performance during the 2017 World Cup, he jumped out immediately for his flexibility in hero picks as well as being an incredibly flashy player. While the hero plays can get him into trouble from time to time, it’s his comfort with leading the charge that makes him special. In many competitive arenas, you often hear about the “killer instinct,” this immediate knowledge and understanding of a situation that allows people to capitalize on a situation. Eileen has this in spades. When it comes to flexibility he checks all of the boxes and then some. Junkrat, Hanzo, Doomfist, Genji, Pharah, you name it, Eileen can play it -- and more than likely has. Barring the obvious puns, Eileen is an what I look for in a standout player. He is versatile, he has experience, his style of play is malleable, and his mechanics are outstanding. It hurts me not to put Mijia at number one, but I worry if his style of play is forced to change, can he still rise to that same level we’ve seen him at before? It’s difficult to say, therefore I’ve got to give the razor-sharp edge to LGD’s projectile star. If there is one name I want to remember from this article, it’s Eileen’s.
Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLGs 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 to follow his thoughts you can follow him at @Volamel.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.