These are the next generation of stars that you need to keep your eyes on.
With the Summer Showdown wrapping up in a few short days, with the Countdown Cup and information on playoffs coming in July, the Overwatch League is beginning to reach its conclusion for the 2020 season. All while some of the best teams in the world were competing at the top of Mt. Overwatch, hundreds of teams and players clatter around the base, competing for accolades, prizes, and the dream to reach the top one day.
While there are many young players in Overwatch Contenders that left an impact, these are just a few of the standout performances fans, both casual and hardcore, need to keep their eyes on.
Flex support is a position that constantly outdoes itself in terms of how deeply talented many of its players are and Kim "Lr1s" Seung-hyun for North American team Third Impact is no different. Making his debut on teams like Meta Athena in Overwatch Contenders: Open Division and Goin Water S, Lr1s has been a prospect since the beginning of 2019. However, his first real bout with success came in North America alongside Third Impact. Alongside the team, Lr1s helped lead the team to top finishes nearly all season long and was a cornerstone for the team in their second-place finish in playoffs.
“I found Lr1s to be a standout because of his mechanical skill on Zenyatta, and how often he could outduel other flex supports and gets first picks for his team,” said Overwatch Contenders commentator and expert Jennifer "LemonKiwi" Pichette. “When I got to speak to him in person, he wanted to have his interview in English, to practice what he had learned so far. I could tell he put a lot of effort into his answers, he was very kind and worked very hard to achieve what he did.”
LemonKiwi continued explaining that head coach Alex "byZenith" Ames said that Lr1s didn't talk much due to the language barrier, but when he did, everyone would listen. “He grinds so much behind the scenes and follows up with staff to make sure the team as a whole is improving. Zenith swore Lr1s deserved an Overwatch League tryout as the season ended, I truly believed him. Lr1s is a Contenders MVP for a reason.”
However, that isn’t the only member from Third Impact that impressed this season.
A veteran in the Japanese and Pacific region, DPS ace Sean Taiyo "ta1yo" Henderson has finally gotten the chance to shine on a western stage. Debuting all the way back in 2017, ta1yo has hundreds of accolades from representing Japan in the Overwatch World Cup to a number of high placing in the Pacific region of Overwatch Contenders.
Players rarely last as long as ta1yo which speaks to his incredible work ethic and drive to become one of the best. Known for his hitscan prowess on heroes like Tracer, Sombra, and Ashe, ta1yo will undoubtedly be on the shortlist for a number of teams looking to fill out their rosters in 2021. When asked about the young star, LemonKiwi had this to say; “Ta1yo is mechanically insane.”
In an interview with Third Impact head coach byZenith, he revealed that Ta1yo didn't play much ranked and was considering going to go back to school. “I'm glad Ta1yo continued to compete, his McCree was so incredible to watch,” LemonKiwi explained. “He plays with so much confidence and trust in his team.”
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For a number of years, Fabio "AFoxx" Veigas has been a standout western flex support. Best known for his massive role on the famous European team Angry Titans, AFoxx debuted all the way at the beginning of 2017 on Vivi’s Adventure. Throughout 2018 and 2019, AFoxx and Angry Titans were staples in the European region throughout a number of metagames, peaking during Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 1 where they toppled the London Spitfire’s Academy team, British Hurricane, in a memorable series. His success in Europe ultimately paved the way to North America where he joined Team Envy which later became Team Doge.
With a resume as gilded and as lengthy as AFoxx’s he’d make a fantastic addition to any franchise looking to add a veteran presence and voice within their team. After working with AFoxx for a number of seasons on Angry Titans, former coach for the Toronto Defiant, Matthew "Optidox" Sims, had a glowing review of Team Doge’s veteran flex support.
[He is a] great individual player [and a] great leader. Angry Titans wouldn't have been nearly as effective without his voice.
Going into the 2020 season of the Overwatch League, one of the big issues on many of the rosters was the depth at main tank. As teams were set to travel the world before the COVID-19 pandemic, having a deep tank line with players in the bullpen would have been ideal. Seeing how many good South Korea main tanks are on the market for next year should give us all hope and unless you’ve been living under a rock, Kim "Mag" Tae-sung has been one of the hottest free agents on the market.
After a quick stint in China with the team Legend Young Beyond, Mag returned home to South Korea and found his way onto to legendary team RunAway. Throughout 2019 and 2020 Mag has been a top main tank, only limited by his age. This fantastic Reinhardt and Winston player is now of eligible age and will be the free agent to watch going into 2021.
Taking a quieter approach to his contemporaries is Kim "MuZe" Young-hun. After performing well at Overwatch Contenders: The Gauntlet in 2019, MuZe hit the global radar with a bang. No one expected Talon Esports to do as well as they did and MuZe was a large factor in their success. 2020 saw him travel to Europe to join Paris Eternal’s academy team aptly named, Eternal Academy, however, the stint in France didn’t last long as the Contenders team folded in April.
After returning to South Korea, MuZe joined WGS Phoenix and continued to impress on nearly all the tanks the metagames have asked of him. However, his Winston stands out among the rest. The consistency that MuZe has to find kills with Primal Rage resembles an Overwatch League caliber talent. Rivaling some of the best Overwatch League main tanks, MuZe’s juggle mechanics are a breath of fresh air to watch and will be on display when he aids a franchise in their 2021 attempts in the Overwatch League.
Images via Blizzard Entertainment