In the 2020 Overwatch League season, the two biggest award races of the year look much different. The talent pool for Rookie of the Year is wild and overcrowded, with multiple possible candidates from most teams. The Most Valuable Player category seems barren in comparison, a small group of players with leadership and a proven ability to perform for their team on a consistent basis.
While mechanical skill is necessary, it’s not everything in the MVP race. In 2018, Bang “JJoNak” Sung-hyeon was awarded the inaugural season MVP award for both his skill as a flex support and his ability to set the pace of the New York Excelsior’s attacks. Jay “Sinatraa” Won nabbed the 2019 MVP trophy for his ability to play multiple heroes to perfection, but his growth as a person and player was also important.
The 2020 MVP will get a $100,000 bonus, awarded by T-Mobile, as well as an MVP trophy and a jersey patch for the 2021 season. The official list of candidates will be released by the Overwatch League on Aug. 7, but here are a few players we think could take home the big prize.
Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun (San Francisco Shock)
Rascal is widely considered the most flexible player in the Overwatch League. After his performance this year, he should be at the top of the list for MVP as well.
In 2019, Rascal served the San Francisco Shock as its flex DPS god, picking up any hero required of him with incredible skill and speed. In 2020, he managed that same feat with Echo, quickly becoming one of the most talented players on the hero as soon as she debuted in the league.
Last year, Sinatraa was awarded the MVP for his ability to flex between roles as well as heroes. Rascal has that same talent within him, transitioning seamlessly from support play as Brigitte and Baptiste to a hero like Echo, often within the same game. Few players can swap heroes with the fluidity that Rascal has, nonetheless entire roles.
Awarding Rascal the 2020 MVP award also thematically completes a “redemption arc” he’s been on since his start in the Overwatch League. After transferring from the London Spitfire to the Dallas Fuel in 2018, Rascal was given the unfortunate reputation of being hard to work with. “His unwillingness to communicate with the team while playing in recent matches became a large distraction,” Dallas Fuel owner Mike Rufail said when Rascal was released from the team midseason.
Rascal dipped down into the Overwatch Contenders circuit, playing for NRG Esports, the academy team of the San Francisco Shock. Before season two began, the Shock bumped him up to the main roster and he developed into the star player he is today. When supported by competitive, professional staff and players, Rascal has the ability to maximize his potential for the greater good.
Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok (Philadelphia Fusion)
For his entire career in the Overwatch League, Carpe has been the king of clutching lost fights, bringing maps and matches back from the dead. Some map wins are explained by analysts as simply, “Carpe doing Carpe things.” This year, Carpe’s contributions have been more obvious than ever.
After a lackluster 2019 season where he was forced on Zarya during the GOATS meta, many fans questioned why the Philadelphia Fusion extended his contract for another three years. But the return to DPS-centric metas in 2020 immediately proved why he’s worth every penny for the Fusion.
One look at the Overwatch League Stats Lab proves Carpe’s domination across multiple heroes. As of July 28, Carpe has the top eliminations per 10 minutes as Ashe at 21.9, meaning he gets over two kills per minute on the hero. On his signature Widowmaker, Carpe leads the league in final blows per 10 minutes with 9.4 and solo kills per 10 minutes at 4.3, an entire kill above his nearest competition.
Carpe’s ability to clutch fights has only made Philadelphia stronger in 2020, pushing the team to keep up with this star damage dealer. Like JJoNak in his prime on the NYXL, Carpe sets the tone for the team and motivates them to do better.
Choi “Hanbin” Hanbeen (Paris Eternal)
Off-tank Hanbin has been a top choice for the Rookie of the Year race. And while it’s rare for a newcomer to take the MVP title, this talented rookie might be the one to do it. The former Element Mystic player was brought on to the Paris Eternal to overhaul the team from a mid-level, all-Western team to a mixed roster powerhouse. Considering the Eternal recently won the Summer Showdown, it seems to have worked.
In an ever-changing starting roster on the Paris Eternal, Hanbin is one of the few players who shows up and performs outstandingly in every single match. As Sigma, Hanbin leads the Overwatch League in final blows, eliminations, and hero damage per 10 minutes. He was even the first player in 2020 to cross the 2,000 elimination mark.
Hanbin’s skill as an off-tank is enormous, but he spends most of his time setting up his team for success. As D.Va, he zips around the map, eliminating targets alongside his DPS. On any hero, he watches the backline, making space for his supports to survive. Even with players subbing in and out on different maps, Hanbin is always there, consistent and stable.
- Grant “Moth” Espe (San Francisco Shock)
- Kang “Void” Jun-woo (Shanghai Dragons)
- Nam “Cr0ng” Ki-cheol (Guangzhou Charge)
- Jang “Decay” Gui-un (Dallas Fuel)
- Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun (Shanghai Dragons)
- Kwon “Striker” Nam-joo (San Francisco Shock)
After the full list of candidates is revealed by the Overwatch League on Aug. 7, fans can vote for their 2020 MVP until Aug. 28. Fan votes count for 25 percent of the total MVP voting process, with the remaining 75 percent coming from league staff and media.