Uncertainty isn’t always a bad thing. 2021 should be interesting for the Charge.
Uncertainty isn’t always a bad thing, it just teases the unknown, and if you haven’t seen Overwatch League’s social media channels by now, then you’ll be glad to know that the 2020 offseason is in full swing. Teams are starting to posture for new players, new coaches, or completely going in a new direction. However, there is one team that looks to be doing a bit of everything.
The Guangzhou Charge have not been the best team, but they certainly have not been the worst either, which makes it so surprising to see that they’ve been so quick to make what seem to be drastic changes. The Charge recently announced that they had parted ways with their coaching staff which included head coach Cho "J1N" Hyo-jin and assistant coaches Jung "Tydolla" Seung-min and Hong "Sungwoo" Sung-woo. Where are Guangzhou headed in 2021, what sits on the table for them as we dive deeper into the 2021 offseason rabbit hole?
Built from the ashes of the Meta Bellum and Meta Athena coaching staff, the 2019-2020 Charge staff never earned the respect they deserved for being a consistent threat across a number of metagames. Yes, we’ll remember them fondly from the 2020 Sumer Showdown title, but across all of GOATS and double-shield and even venturing into Hero Pools, the Charge were not a team who you could simply look past.
This is a staff that managed to finish ninth overall in the 2019 regular season standings with a 15-13 record with a roster that didn’t jump off the page at first glance. Funnily enough, they finished higher than teams like the Philadelphia Fusion, the Shanghai Dragons, and the Los Angeles Valiant. Lest we forget their run this season as one of Asia’s more fierce competitors peaking in the Summer Showdown. From the outside looking in, this staff seemed competent and could improve the roster moving into 2021.
Why flip the script now?
Many see this as a simple coaching change, but when you stop and think about it, these are the people who have direct sway and control over the roster at large. This isn’t just one or even two coaching leaving the team; this is an entire coaching staff leaving the team. This is a sign of upheaval. Things are about to change for the Charge—and this leaves us with two very distinct pathways to venture into; one that sees the Charge challenging for a title and another that has the Charge doubling down on global reach.
What is exciting about this change is that this opens up the possibility for a new contender to step into title discussions in Asia. If the Charge wanted to start writing blank checks, they could easily approach former London Spitfire coaches, Yu "Pavane" Hyeon-sang and Hong "Agape" Cheolyong to lead their roster in 2021 and into world title discussions. What people seem to forget is that this coaching duo took a team, majority of which were very green rookies, and brought them up to be able to battle some of the middle-of-the-pack North American team and take certain Asian teams to their limits. Now, we can’t mince words; the 2020 Spitfire lived up to their low expectations, but this roster had promise and credit to the coaching staff to helped them get there. Outside of that, this coaching duo has found success both separately and apart.
Agape worked alongside the London Spitfire during their 2018 world championship run and alongside LW Blue during the pre-Overwatch League era. Similarly, Pavane also worked with LW Blue and also with the New York Excelsior in their dominant regular-season finish in 2018 and in their third-place finish during the 2019 playoffs. This is the core of a staff that knows how both the to build success and has done so in the past—and if the Charge are willing to outbid their would-be suitors than Asia is looking at another powerhouse.
Who knows, if this actually plays out as intended we could follow the breadcrumbs right to the Charge signing talented DPS player Lim "Glister" Gil-seong and perhaps any would be New York Excelsior prospects that find themselves looking for new homes.
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With how successful Overwatch is in Asia, and with the financial restraints put on them from COVID-19 and what it has done to the homestand model, perhaps the Charge are refocusing on their internal values. This has always been a team that was interested in creating a multicultural and truly global team. Within the last year, the Charge onboarded both players and staff from not only from South Korea and China, but ones from Spain, America, Finland, and the United Kingdom. Perhaps to lean more into that vision, they might be targeting a more multicultural coaching staff to support their global roster.
To give Charge credit here, they’ve already done this in the past by signing North American coach Rohit "CurryShot" Nathani and competitive manager Brenda “bsuh” Suh. However, recently they have moved closer towards this assumed goal by signing North American data analyst Sean “Seabo” Boyle. Now they have the pick of the litter during the offseason with many western teams looking to completely rebuild and retool their support staff.
Rest assured, the Guangzhou Charge will likely be fine no matter what direction they head in. They are a team that is often slept on, but always seems to do fairly well for themselves and, every once in a blue moon, hit a burst of momentum and look like one of the best teams in the region.
Images via Blizzard Entertainment