We were promised a chaotic off-season going into 2020 and we have not been disappointed! But before we get started, here is part one of my predictions.With franchises rebuilding and star players shuffling about on top of the addition of global travel being added next year, the league is in an incredibly malleable state and nothing is as it seems. With MORE moves undoubtedly being made, here are a handful of my own predictions on what could be coming in the 2020 season of the Overwatch League.
ILLICIT, Fl0w3r, and ArK to London
Coming into season one, the London Spitfire acquire two of the most promising South Korean teams on the table; KongDoo Panthera and GC Busan. What a lot of people overlook is the potential cost of those two teams. With the recent departure of Joon-yeong "Profit" Park and Jae-hee "Gesture" Hong, I assume London is going to rebuild this season with a more stringent budget in mind. Now cut to the Seoul Dynasty who has a field of players that they are going to have to acquire visas for as well as expand their budget to accommodate travel expenses.With that said, I think as we advance into the off-season, Seoul is going to shed some weight. Je-min "ILLICIT" Park could follow his former coach from BlossoM and current head coach of the London Spitfire, Cheolyong "Agape" Hong.Both Yeon-oh "Fl0w3R" Hwang and Yeonjoon "ArK" Hong could reunite as they both were developed through the same LuxuryWatch system with the former playing for both LuxuryWatch teams at certain points and the later only playing for LuxuryWatch Red. With their experience working with both Agape and Hyeon-sang "Pavane" Yu, I believe this move to situate London for a solid South Korean rebuild around their remaining players.
Sharyk to Houston
Main tank has historically been a very impactful role in Overwatch and moving forward it’s only going to increase in value and I believe Houston is going to expand its tank pool by adding Latvian main tank, Normunds "sharyk" Faterins. This isn’t to say that Muma is somehow bad or unwanted, but with how important main tanks are going to be in the coming months, it’s the role I would bet teams are going to want to invest in and begin to build a tank “bullpen”.For the last 17 months, sharyk has worked with promising Overwatch Contenders teams like Winstrike Team and the Toronto Defiant’s academy team, the Montreal Rebellion. Both teams were playoff contenders and ended with respectable 3-4th place finishes. He also has ties to the newly appointed Houston Outlaws assistant coach, Chris "Dream" Myrick, who he’s worked with on the Montreal Rebellion.And when it comes down to the all-mighty dollar, sharyk has a leg up on the competition because he is a free agent. Buyouts can be a severe hurdle for talent to advance up the pipeline and the fact that sharyk does not have that in his way, certainly makes him a more attractive signing compared to some of his peers.
Jecse to Paris
The Paris Eternal signing four new South Korean coaches is a letter of intent for their 2020 roster plans. With this in mind, I believe Paris will be going for a mostly Korean roster at the very least and will be targeting Seoul Dynasty’s main support, Seung-soo "Jecse" LeeYes, with Finnish coach Seita still officially with Paris and with how many European players Eternal still have contracted, there is a slight chance they possibly form a mixed roster. However, I have my reservations on how effectively that could work. Why not follow the path of least resistance and have your coaching staff work within a system they have experience with?If we accept that to be true then I think it’s safe to say that the Eternal will be looking for a Korean shot-caller. With Jecse’s rumored free agency and taking into consideration his previous experience with many of the former Element Mystic players that now are on Paris Eternal, I think the move makes sense for both of the possible scenarios. Let’s say that Kruise stays with the Eternal, but doesn’t end up working out in the long run? Jecse is there to assist in a pinch. And if they go for a full Korean stable, they can rely on a strong shot-caller to lead their rebuild in 2020 and beyond.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.