The 2020 Overwatch League season will usher in a new era of Overwatch. With how much emphasis is being placed on travel and with the game constantly changing, rosters will undoubtedly be retooled and bolstered as teams look to improve. And with China’s renaissance late in this season, it’s time to look at some of the new talents that could be joining the league from Overwatch Contenders next year as rookies. Whether you’re an Overwatch Contenders fan or someone who loves the Chinese Overwatch League franchises, here are five Chinese Overwatch players you're going to want to keep your eyes on as we head into the 2020 season.
Easily one of the most exciting players that could enter the league next season is flex support Tong "Coldest" Xiaodong. Throughout each of his five seasons of Overwatch Contenders he has played in, Coldest could arguably be named the best flex support in all five seasons. He first broke out onto the scene on Team Skadi’s Gift and transferred with a majority of the roster to Flag Gaming in the summer of 2018. Now he resides within the Hangzhou Spark’s academy team, Bilibili Gaming.Coming off a dominant regular season and a respectable 3-4th place in the playoffs of Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 2: China, Coldest earned the respect of the head coach of the Chengdu Hunters Xingrui "RUI" Wang. In a Reddit thread translating a recent update on the Chinese World Cup roster, RUI mentions that “[...] coldest didn't make any mistakes and seems to have a lot of talent” and “he's a good player but just lacked a bit of what I wanted. [I] think he'll do well in the future.” Coldest’s signature hero is Zenyatta, but has piloted almost all of the flex support cast throughout the last season to a reasonably high level.
He "Molly" Chengzhi has been in the mix since late 2017 and has been incredibly versatile throughout his career thus far. Flex support has always demanded a wide variety of heroes, but Molly has pushed that by showcasing both a serviceable Sombra and Tracer during Overwatch Contenders Season 2. For the entirety of his career, Molly has been a part of LinGan Esports--for better and for worse. Throughout their run in Overwatch Contenders, Molly and LinGan Esports has been a playoff team, but early in 2018, they struggled to advance once in the playoffs. It wasn’t until 2019 that the team began to thrive as the team won repeat seasons of Overwatch Contenders in May and again in August of that year. Much like his flex support counterparts, Zenyatta is easily his best hero but he can play the standard cast of support heroes to a varying, yet high level.
Along with Molly, Tang "KaMi" Yitao has also been a standout on the LinGan Esports roster for the majority of the year. But don’t let the Contenders titles fool you, KaMi has been around for a long time, debuting on EHOME.CN all the way back in the winter of 2016. He lasted with that stable throughout the year and through 2017 as well before joining Team Skadi’s Gift early in 2018. After around four months, he departed the team and joined LinGan Esports and has been there ever since.He is a hyper-flexible player that has shown strong performances on Mei, Genji, Hanzo, Pharah, and Brigitte during 3-3 metagame. Above all else, KaMi has shown a great understanding of his role within each metagame. His Mei revealed a surprising mastery over cooldown management and he was able to shut down pushes by himself with a well placed Ice Wall. His Pharah showed some solid positioning, ducking and dodging the many hitscan players that tried to clip his wings. All and all, KaMi has the potential to be a star player and at the very least, he’ll be a fantastic addition to any number of the Chinese franchises.
Deng "over" Sifanhaseasily been the best main tank this year in Overwatch Contenders China. He has always been within striking distance of being the best, but with certain players being called up, Over fits the mold incredibly well--and for good reason. He has had his nose to the grindstone for nearly three years playing for teams like Team Celestial, EHOME.CN, Lucky Future, SN2, Flag Gaming and has now landed on the Hangzhou Spark’s academy team, Bilibili Gaming. The two roles that need serious consideration and tend to correlate to a strong team are flex support and main tank. His consistency on Reinhardt, Winston and more recently as Orisa, gives me faith that he’d be a great fit to round out a tank line going into the 2020 season. With this in mind Over is going to be a hot commodity for any franchise that is looking for a main tank to tie together a brilliant roster.
With a long tenure on Vici Gaming that spanned across most of 2017, Jiang "jwj" Wenjie is a diamond in the rough. For those that have dabbled in Chinese Overwatch but got out of the pool, this is “Jason” from Vici and Flag Gaming. Once he joined the Shanghai Dragons’ academy team, Team CC, earlier this year, he changed his name to “jwj.” Jwj has been on my radar for some time now, practically for about a year. After joining Flag Gaming during the middle of Overwatch Contenders 2018: Season 2 he had an immediate impact with some aggressive Genji performances. Since then he’s gone on to showcase a stellar Pharah and a handful of other projectile heroes to a degree that both Flag Gaming and Team CC will allow him to pilot certain picks even though the metagame doesn’t necessarily call for it. Jwj is a fantastic DPS player and could end up being a brilliant projectile specialist on a handful number of Overwatch League teams.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 like to know more or follow his thoughts on esports you can follow him at@Volamel.Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.