With the tradings and signings done for all Overwatch League teams, it’s time to look over them all. In the next couple weeks, I’m going to go over each team and what’s changed since the inaugural season. Each team will have it’s own article, going over which players and coaches left, and who has replaced them. After going over the changes and my opinions on them, I’m going to rate them much like I did in my weekly series last season. This rating will be a little more in depth, considering I have more time than a week to look over the teams, especially the new ones.
To start off, this week I will write about the new expansion teams, starting with the Canadian ones. Let’s take a look at the Toronto Defiant.
Starting off this in-depth look into the eastern Canadian team, let’s look at their attacking players first, also known as ‘DPS’ players.
Damage players (DPS)
The Toronto Defiant’s DPS players are Do-hyung “Stellar” Lee, Seung-hyun “Ivy” Lee, and Joon-seong “Asher” Choi.
First thing to notice about these players is that all three are Korean, as is the entire roster (spoilers). So, to start off, let’s look into the duo of Stellar and Ivy’s past.
Both Stellar and Ivy used to play for Korean Contenders team O2 (formerly O2 Ardeont). Most people in tune with Korean Contenders know Ivy was a lock for whichever roster he was on, but Stellar was played less. This didn’t mean he was bad, or that they were a bad duo. Both Stellar and Ivy were on the roster that upset favourites Element Mystic in the quarterfinals of Korean Contenders Season 1. They ended up getting to the finals before losing to other underdog, X6 Gaming. But, second place in the first season of Korean Contenders was no easy feat.
Stellar was known for his Tracer play, a hero that wasn’t always in constant play throughout both seasons of Korean Contenders. Ivy, however, was much more flexible, being able to play Genji, Pharah and Sombra. While I originally was a little skeptical on if this duo could do it on the Overwatch League level, they do have two things on their side. Communication and previous experience together. But before I move onto the tanks, we have one more DPS to talk about.
Asher used to be a Tracer specialist for the Los Angeles Gladiators back in the inaugural season. While he wasn’t played too often, as mentioned in my article involving his signing, he played well. It was just unfortunate that the Gladiators had the top tier duo of Lane “Surefour” Roberts and João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles. If Asher had more of a chance to make it in the lineup, he would’ve played more. But, because of the other players playing really well together, Asher eventually got released. While he also played McCree, his hero pool wasn’t truly shown at the Overwatch League level. One thing he does bring is some experience on stage, something not everyone in this roster has.
To finish off the DPS, I see their starting duo being Asher and Ivy, with Stellar rotating in on certain maps. While Asher and Stellar share similar hero pools, Asher seems to be better on paper. More experience, more flexibility. As long as Ivy gets used to playing with Asher, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Not only are these players also from Korean contenders, but one is coming from O2 as well. The Toronto Defiant’s tank players are Gyeong-mu “Yakpung” Jo and Kang-jae “Envy” Lee.
First, let’s start off with Yakpung. He was the main tank for the same team as teammates Stellar and Ivy; O2. He was consistent throughout both seasons on that squad. Even though he was more of a Winston player than a Reinhardt player, he filled the main tank role well. Was he the best main tank in Korean Contenders? No. Will he play well in the Overwatch League? We’ll have to wait and see. Luckily enough, he’s got a pretty good off-tank to pair with him.
Envy was originally with the Los Angeles Valiant when the Overwatch League started. While he played well when he could, he was competing against top tier off-tank Indy “Space” Halpern. Halfway through the season, Envy parted ways with the Valiant. He did want to continue playing competitive Overwatch, going back to Korea to play for Contenders team Meta Bellum. Even though he was a late pickup, he helped them reach a semifinal appearance in Season 2. Much like Asher, he has experience in the league, which will factor into their team play and coordination on stage.
In the end, this tank duo needs to learn to play together. With them both being Korean, communication shouldn’t be an issue. As long as they get along and learn off each other, this tank duo could be underrated. We’ll have to see in this upcoming season how they fare.
Last but certainly not least, the support players. The cogs of all machines in the Overwatch League. The Toronto Defiant’s support players are Se-hyeon “Neko” Park, Jae-yoon “Aid” Go and Joo-seong “RoKy” Park.
All three of these players are from different teams, so let’s start with Neko. Neko started last year playing for the Boston Uprising in the Overwatch League, a mainstay on Zenyatta. He was always under consideration for the most underrated Zenyatta in the league, consistent and impressive. But, partway through the season, the Uprising signed another Zenyatta player: Min-seok “AimGod” Kwon. AimGod performed well, but Neko still got the starting position over him. It wasn’t apparent until Boston traded Neko that they decided that AimGod would be their new starting Zenyatta. Neko brings a lot of experience and skill to this roster.
The most recent signing (along with Asher) is RoKy. This signing, along with Aid, was outside of the norm of this roster so far. While most of the pickups have been either Korean players from the Overwatch League or O2, these two are different. For example, RoKy comes from X6 Gaming, the same team that beat O2 in the Season 1 finals of Korean Contenders. Much like his teammates who came from O2, X6 were always considered underdogs, even after their title win. Season 2 of Korean Contenders proved to be harder on his team, as they lost in the quarter-finals, just as O2 did. RoKy was mainly a Lucio player, but also played Mercy. I would expect him to be the substitute from map to map.
Last, but not least, Aid. His pickup was the only one in this entire roster than was from North American Contenders. He still is Korean, completing this entirely Korean roster, but his experience with English players must be important to this team. Playing for GG Esports Academy (Contenders team for the Houston Outlaws), he played well in Season 1. While his team reached the semi-finals then, his team under-performed in Season 2. Not only does he have experience with North America like Asher and Envy, but he has lots of experience in Korea as well. He was part of the original GC Busan roster way back in the Road to Apex before Apex Season 4. That same team was full of future Overwatch League players, such as superstars Joon-yeong “Profit” Park and Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong from the season 1 winning London Spitfire.
Starting Team Prediction and Rating
Before I go into the ratings and starting predictions, it’s important to say what coaches Toronto has got and how good they are. Out of all the expansion teams, the Defiant’s new coach seems one of the best. Lee “Bishop” Boum-jum is an ex-coach of the London Spitfire, helping build their roster and get a Stage win before leaving the team. This coaching hire is very promising.
Ivy and Asher on DPS, Yakpung and Envy on tank, and lastly Aid and Neko on support is my prediction. But how will this roster do in the Overwatch League?
It’s too early to call, so instead I will simply give a rating out of 10, like I used to in my weekly reviews. Here’s a link if you want to read it, but it’s a bit different now that I’m grading teams based on how their team was built without any game experience.
Going off of the scale given, this roster is getting a 6.5/10. On the same scale shown on the link I gave, this means that this team is alright, possibly good. The mix of previous Overwatch League players along with experienced Korean Contenders players and some prospects is well made. The only risks are the lack of superstars, with the closest one being Neko. We’ll have to see how well they play as a team to see where they end up in the League, but this team has potential.
Agree with my opinion? Think I’m completely wrong? Leave a comment with your ideas.