The French Shuffle [OWL Edition]

October 09th
written by Karahol
Twitter/tumblr

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People who are familiar with the CS:GO scene even a tiny bit, just watching the major tournaments and the playoffs, know that there are some French rosters who every now and then, when roster changes are needed, trade their players and they try to build the strongest French lineup possible. In Overwatch, we had such a lineup, with a very strong core and a brilliant history in the scene, with story lines that got people engaged in the game and the competition itself. It was Rogue and with them dropping their French lineup a few days ago, and players entering free agency, it’s time to see where these players will land and how they will shuffle the cards for the Overwatch League lineups.

An article by ESPN’s Jacob Wolf stated that Immortals, one of the 7 founding teams of the Overwatch League, have already approached Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson and Terence “SoOn” Tarlier so as to sign them in their roster, alongside Numlocked, the tank for Envision for season 1 of Contenders. This revelation came out of nowhere, since the players announced on twitter that they entered free agency almost at the same time as the article came out and also uNKOE tweeted out an image that indicated he was “unemployed”. For them to have been assigned already, it seems kinda weird, so it could have been a verbal agreement of some sort. Either way, uNKOE is undeniably one of the best Flex Support players in the West (especially on Zeynatta and Ana, while not so much on Mercy) and Immortals during S1 seemed to lack a bit in the Support department. Kariv, in particular, was dying a lot more first in fights than others. His addition will definitely strengthen the team. As for SoOn, his hero pool overlaps with GrimReality’s and he could be a replacement for him if ESPN’s sources are confirmed. In my opinion, he’s definitely an upgrade DPS-wise and he has recently shown us he can play Junkrat and Doomfist to a decent level.

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Dylan “aKm” Bignet, the youngest of the Bignet brothers, stated on twitch that he didn’t have any offers to try out for OWL teams. He actually had to pursue the opportunity himself and after asking around, he managed to land one trial. A 2-hour scrim block was all he got. His frustration was evident on twitter, as well. Unlike his teammates, we have no leaks that he’s to be signed with a team, but his hitscan potential is surely Top 5 in the world, having earned the respect of many Koreans, including that of Flow3r’s and Alwaysoov’s, the coach of Lunatic-Hai, while participating in APEX S3. Whichever team will sign him will definitely see an upgrade in their firepower.

For Nicolas “NiCO” Moret, the situation is even harsher because of his role on the team, flexing between Genji and D.Va, which put him on the negative side of things one too many times. Originally a very strong projectile DPS player, he was forced to stay on D.Va due to the changes in the meta and the team’s game plan that required that hero. The end result was that he was forced on a hero that doesn’t mesh well with an attack-oriented mindset and really hard to shine. Despite that, however, for a very long period of time he helped Rogue secure many titles and wins over tougher opponents. His chances to make it into OWL are slimmer and according to a tweet of his, he’s also looking for opportunities in Contenders S2, after the signing window for OWL expires.

And now we come to the players whose future within the Overwatch universe is a big question mark, since they haven’t expressed on social media that they are actively looking for teams. They are also the players who were in charge of leading the team in terms of shotcalling and analysis: Jean-Louis “KnOxXx” Boyer and Michael “Winz” Bignet. Both of them have a very strong legacy in esports, with KnOxXx being a legend in the Team Fortress 2 scene and Winz a legend in Quake and other games.

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The first has been especially quiet on twitter, compared to the rest of his team, without making any comment or statement at all about the situation they were in or the state of OWL rosters. He’s unarguably one of the best Winston players in the West, with tournament stats to back him up as a very intelligent player that knows how to maximize the hero’s potential, but he also can play Lucio and he has the mindset for shotcalling. For me, he’s in a tough position, because his skill set is something you would look for early on during the formation of a roster; he’s a great player to have as the foundation of a team. But now most teams are looking for pieces to finalize their rosters, so I hope one way or another to see him in the Overwatch League. He’s too good to pass on, unless of course he decides to move on to some other game.

Winz, on the other hand, spoke his mind about the formation processes of OWL rosters on twitter, and despite many others sharing the same sentiment as him from within the scene, I am not sure how this will work out for him. For 9 months now, he decided to stay on Lucio and for most it worked out for them. His performance was never outstanding on the hero, compared to others, but there are many teams in the global Top 10 with no outstanding Lucios. The biggest question mark is how good he is on heroes we ‘ve seen him play in the past, like Zarya, and what kind of role he wants to assume within a team. He’s probably in the same boat as KnOxXx, in that regard.

All in all, on whichever team the members of Rogue will end up, the experiences they carry are valuable assets. It would definitely have been better if they sticked together and didn’t have to disband, so as the legacy could continue, but that’s no longer possible.