This Overwatch League Franchise Did Not Make Their Own Event

EsportsHeaven 2023-09-25 12:05:52

The playoff race will descend upon Toronto, Ontario, Canada as the Overwatch League looks to put its finishing touches on its sixth season. However, the city's home team, the Toronto Defiant, will unfortunately miss their own event.  How did this Overwatch League franchise avoid making their own event, let alone missing the playoffs entirely?   

Lead Up To Disaster

  For context, the Toronto Defiant has never been shy about spending money. However, success has eluded them.  After reuniting former Overwatch Contenders powerhouse, American Tornado, Toronto had extremely high expectations coming into the 2023 season prior to announcing that they would play host to the playoffs.     Veteran North American tank, Colin "Coluge" Arai, had just come off a surprising and successful season with the San Fransico Shock in 2022.  Christian "Ojee" Han and Benjamin "UltraViolet" David were a support package that looked to not only be the best Western support duo but among the best in the world.  Isaiah "Hydron" Rodriguez, Samuel "s9mm" Santos, and Nicholas "Speedily" Zou seemed to provide enough depth and flexibility that they would become meta-proof as a DPS corps.  The potential was there but the results never manifested.  

A Mid Regular Season

    Opening the season 0-2 was not a sign of confidence for such an exciting Toronto Defiant squad.  They would scrape wins together against lower-tier opponents like the Los Angeles Valiant in week four and the Vegas Eternal in week five, but the pace was set.  The Defiant would end their Spring Stage with a record of 3-5 and a -3 map differential.  Toronto was going to need to change if the Midseason Madness was going to be within their grasp.  However, they would fail to advance through the first round of knockouts to book their tickets. The Toronto Defiant lost to the New York Excelsior, 1-3.  Shortly after being sidelined for the Midseason Madness, the Defiant would undergo some drastic roster changes in hopes that they would recover and make a run during the playoffs.  

Hope or Nope? 

  Ahead of the Summer Stage, the Defiant would part ways with DPS players s9mm and Speedily, as well as their main support Ojee.  In their place, they would sign two South Korean players in Go "Spectra" Dong-woo and An "OPENER" Gi-beom. Initially, this paid dividends as the Toronto Defiant would improve their season standing finishing the regular season with a record of 8-8 with a completely even map differential.  Ironically enough this would continue a pattern where the Defiant would end their regular season in the middle of the standings.  While directly qualifying for the 2023 Overwatch League playoffs in their home town was off the table, the play-in tournament looked promising for a team that seemed to adapt early to the game introducing a new hero. Early looks from the 2023 Overwatch League Play-Ins showed that Toronto was a force to be reckoned with advancing to the upper bracket final over the Vancouver Titans and the Washington Justice. However, while the Defiant took them close, the Boston Uprising would knock the home team hopefuls to the losers' bracket where they would pair off with the surging London Spitfire.  Unable to get a read on the European's Reinhardt-based composition, the Defiant were quickly dispatched, 1-3, ending their season and their hopes of playing in front of their home crowd. 
Images via Blizzard Entertainment

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