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Alan: “Actually, I think China is one of the most under-scouted areas and the reason is that we lack proper and redundant eyes to look for talents.”

Volamel 2019-02-11 09:27:26
  The Chinese Overwatch scene is often seen as a mysterious, as very few people attempt to give insight into what happens in their neck of the woods. However, Gai "Alan" Yandahan, a Chinese insider, Overwatch expert and Overwatch Contenders commentator has set some time aside to speak with Esports Heaven about what problems the Chinese Overwatch scene faces, his thoughts on the Chengdu Hunters and who might make a good addition to their team, as well as how the Chinese scene views the introduction of the Contenders Showdown events.
Of the eight teams that competed in trials, the two newest additions to season one of 2019 are SFDD and Team For Victory. Out of the two teams, which do you expect to have the most impact? Team For Victory (TFV) will have more impact on, I think. First TFV is more likely to go into Contenders with most experienced members and many of them have participated in many online tournaments. On the other hand, it’s still uncertain that what SFDD will do about their future and they are less experienced. We don’t have any official dates just yet, but I’m sure Overwatch Contenders China is right around the corner. Is there a storyline or roster that you’ll be keeping a close eye on during the upcoming season? I think for the new season, my personal focus would be LGD. This team has become one of the most interesting team since they can easily turn from a rookie team to a mature team. Although they didn’t get a single gold medal of Contenders, they are still having their places in China. And also I am looking forward to their possible change for next season. What do you think the main problem with Chinese Overwatch is compared to other Contenders regions and even in the Overwatch League? What do you feel needs to change to see China rise to the top? I think the main problem of the Chinese Overwatch scene is the lack of coach and management talents in the scene. Actually, I think China is one of the most under-scouted areas and the reason is that we lack proper and redundant eyes to look for talents. And at the same time, the Chinese Overwatch scene is kind of an isolated island. Thus we don’t have channels for talents to go for a ride in different regions. The Chengdu Hunter enter Overwatch League Season 2 with the highest representation of Chinese talent out of the three additional Chinese expansion teams. How do you expect the Hunters to perform? Personally, what I am feeling is between worry and desperation. But the recent good news is they pick up Jiqiren which is a solid main tank. And also the core of the team, Coach Rui, has gone through many difficulties and questions. So I think 2019 will be a tough season for them, but they won’t just sit duck to be the bottom one. As someone who has been covering Chinese Overwatch for some time, I know you’re deeply familiar with many of the players. If there was one addition you’d make to the Chengdu Hunters, who would you sign and why? My personal choice would be KHeart from Team CC. The first reason is that I think Chengdu Hunters will need a solid and ready-to-go hitscan player, and KHeart is, of course, one of them. The second reason is that KHeart showed his self-motivation, earning capability and resilience. I’m sure you’re preparing your own power rankings for the 2019 season of the Overwatch League, but who are some of the teams you’ll be looking at this season? Any underdog teams that you think could take Stage 1? Just like others, I think teams like NYXL, Philadelphia, and London will still the powerhouses, but the underdog in my mind would be Guangzhou Charge, Atlanta Reign and Dallas Fuel. Currently, these three teams are underrated, and someone will even think they can’t get to the first half. But I think they are potential Stage 1 leaders. Just recently we received more information about the Contenders Showdown and the Gauntlet. What are your thoughts on having more international competition? How did the Chinese scene take the news? It’s definitely a good thing and the Chinese scene takes it simply as “thrilling”. Generally speaking, more LAN events and especially international LAN events are important to provide exposure to teams and players, and also provide topic and focus for fans and viewers. For teams specifically, I think Chinese teams are more motivated to get a better result in Contenders so they can go play on an international stage. If the Pacific Showdown was added last season, how do you think the representative from Contenders China would have fared? Personally, I think there would be a pretty fair outcome. I think top Chinese team like T1w, LGD, and Flag Gaming are strong enough to stand a better place than most OCE teams and AU teams, but they will have some troubles facing SK teams, especially when it comes to some really top ones.
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.

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