Overwatch League’s official site has been up and running, and all rosters have been revealed for the upcoming first season of the League. Amidst the chaos of the roster announcements last week, only one stood out the most for the sole reason that it had the minimum numbers of players listed in there.
Compared to the other rosters that started with 6-7 players and then climbed all the way up to 9 or 10 players -even 12 players for London Spitfire, or other rosters that immediately revealed a 10-man roster, Florida Mayhem’s team will field only 6 players, the previous Misfits lineup, till the middle of the season -at least- when they will be given another chance to add more players.
Initially, most people (including me) thought that Mayhem announced only the core of their team and that they would expand down the line till OWL’s first season started. A response to a question on twitter (see below) indicated that probably more players were to be added at a later date, but after more info made public, it seems that that response was actually referring to the mid-season signing window that C9 Jack told us about rather than player announcements during the period between Blizzcon and the start of the pre-season.
Everyone who has followed the scene closely in the past months knows the limits of the Misfits roster. With that roster they participated in Contenders S1, where they had a dominant performance during the online round-robin phase, but then struggled a lot in the playoffs that were played on LAN. Not only against Team Gigantti that beat them and took the trophy, but also against the mediocre till that time Cloud9 roster, who hadn’t impress anyone much in the group stage and barely secured the fourth spot.
What one should pay attention to, however, is not only their results but the roster’s building process. The Misfits roster never managed to find success after the three-way trade back in December of 2016 and they have changed a lot of pieces thus far. Zebbosai played a lot of Lucio in the first iterations of the roster, but with Zave on board he moved on to the off-tank role. This didn’t change when Mineral replaced Zave on the roster, although the plan at the beginning was for Mineral to join as the coach. After the disappointing results in Contenders S0, they made more changes. The loss to Bazooka Puppiez in the quarterfinals was no joke. Logix from the disbanded Movistar Riders team, one of the best Tracers in the world, joined alongside his teammate, Cwoosh, while the team also got Zuppehw (who has dropped the “w” now), long standing member of the Ninjas in Pyjamas roster before them parting ways. Reinforce and Nevix were out, while Mineral took on the coach’s role, as intended. The notion of the “core” does not apply to this team.
At this point I would like to make a contrast between the Misfits roster and the Team EnvyUs one. Both had players come in as coaches, but in the former’s case, Mineral doesn’t seem to exercise full control over the roster in the same way KyKy does. Will it happen now in the league? Remains to be seen. Both teams also have no analysts, as well, from what we know so far, which means that coaches have a lot on their plate. A big differentiating factor is that KyKy accompanying NV in Korea for two APEX seasons has been exposed to harder opponents and another culture of coaching, where he picked up a thing or two. The latest player additions to Dallas Fuel confirm this. Mineral’s biggest test, on the other hand, will be the first season of the League. Opponents like Seoul Dynasty, New York Excelsior and London Spitfire will break down every single aspect of Mayhem’s play and this is probably some pressure that he hasn’t experienced yet.
Therefore, the big question is: Is it wise to move forward with this set of players without any additions? I would say no. Even one more player added is enough to make the opponents worry about mind-games and secret strategies. To me, it makes no sense that they wouldn’t take advantage of it and there are players available whose potential won’t drop off for at least 2 years and they are safe choices, given their performance thus far. It’s very risky to sign a 10-man roster, for it to be deemed ineffective and problematic one year down the line, but signing one more player is firmly advised.
Hope I am proven wrong and Florida Mayhem manages to exceed expectations but the game is changing and the League has many aspects different than the tournaments held in the West so far. The most prepared will emerge victorious.