How Will The Grand Finals Impact Future Rosters?
The Grand Finals are just around the corner, but teams will have to begin preparing for next season soon. Although all of these teams have talent, it is never out of the question for teams to look to improve. The Shock saw contributions from Seonchang "ANS" Lee after winning last season's finals, and the Vancouver Titans ended up with an entirely different roster partway through the season. With that said, all of these teams might have to answer some questions after the excitement of the Grand Finals comes to a close.
This team is absolutely stacked. Players all over this roster put their names in the hat for award season, most notably ByungSun "Fleta" Kim who has already won the MVP award. Jae Gon "Leejaegon" Lee is also in the running for Rookie of the Year. No matter what role you look at, this team has stars in their starting lineup. They have a complete twelve-man roster, and their substitutes are no joke either with the likes of Min Sung "Diem" Bae and Jinhyeok "Dding" Yang specifically showcasing their star power in Shanghai's late-season renaissance in Season 2.
Whether this team ends up winning the finals or not, it is difficult to say that they should make many adjustments to their roster. It would be prudent to say the most likely change, win or lose, is replacing a substitute for some more depth, but that probably isn't a major concern for the Shanghai Dragons. This team finished with a 27-2 record and first place in the entire Overwatch League. They look ready to take down their opponents in the Grand Finals and roll into next season doing the same thing.
This team has the most questions around it before the Grand Finals even take place. They only did well in one of the three tournaments as they took the Shanghai Dragons to Game 5 in the May Melee. Outside of that, the squad saw few positives throughout the season. Finishing at 12-12 with a -7 map differential in the regular season didn't make anybody think they would go on a fantastic run through the playoffs. But that's what makes them so interesting. They swept three of their four series in the playoffs and took the Dragons to Game 5. That alone was surely enough for some players to show they deserve a spot in the Overwatch League. But what if they go all the way? The Seoul Dynasty made some late-season roster refinements, including the addition of Hyeon Woo "ToYou" Lim but settling with Jaehui "Gesture" Hong and Min Seo "Marve1" Hwang as their starters.
Even if Gesture and Marvel were the starters, ToYou showed potential in his regular-season performances. But is some late-season form good enough to warrant a team that finished in the bottom half of the league table? It gets extra tricky if the Dynasty win the entire thing. It could be argued that Seoul would not be in the Grand Finals if they did not get hot with the right meta at the right time. Of all four of the Finals' teams, the Dynasty might have the most work to do in the offseason. They have the core pieces in place, but adding a star player or a great specialist might be necessary if Seoul plan on having a better than .500 regular season.
How do you tell a team that finished first in its region for the regular season that it needs to change its roster? By pointing out that it failed to win a single tournament. They failed to make the finals in the May Melee and finished second in the Summer Showdown and Countdown Cup. Claiming that this team needs to make changes is an overreach though. They have been one of the best in the world over the past few months. Making the finals in both of the most recent tournaments as well as sweeping the red hot Washington Justice should encourage fans. Yes, they didn't win the tournaments, but it takes a lot of consistency to perform at such an elite level throughout the entire season. If the Fusion win, it will be a testament to their roster's capability and that the team was simply that one series short.
However, if they lose, especially if they lose early, the pressure might lead to some changes. The pieces are in place for this team, including Rookie of the Year candidate KyeongBo "Alarm" Kim along with Sumin "Sado" Kim proving himself as a top-tier tank player. The DPS line showed great improvement throughout the season as well. If the public pressure got to the Fusion, it would be hard to find a replacement for any of their roles that would drastically increase their chances at winning. The New York Excelsior underwent some roster changes after failing to win in Seasons 1 and 2, and it didn't play out as well as they hoped. It is never wrong to look for improvement, but the Fusion should be careful if they look to change a roster that only lost two regular-season series.
San Francisco Shock
They won last year and only made a few roster adjustments, and it would be hard to justify massive changes this time. They won the May Melee and the Countdown Cup and finished the regular season with a 25-3 record. The Shock have all of their bases covered at every single role. The other three teams that the Shock will be facing might look at adding some extra depth to their roster, but if this Shock roster stays together, it is easy to claim that they have one of the best benches in the league. Picking any of their role-duos and there is a fair argument for them to be the best duo in the league.
This is an interesting situation where it might be easier to say that players who could be stars for other teams might look to play elsewhere if the Shock do not win it all rather than the Shock needing a reboot. Whether or not this team wins the Grand Finals, they will quickly be regarded as one of the favourites to make it next year if they stay together.
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