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A lot of big names are returning to the stage during the 2020 Overwatch League season, but some of next year’s best players may be new to much of the audience. Many of the league’s 20 teams are taking chances by signing players from the Overwatch Contenders scene. These players have worked their way up to the biggest stage through their dedication to competition, sometimes over multiple years. Here are a few of the newest Overwatch League players that will make a splash next season.
Kim “SP9RK1E” Young-han (Paris Eternal)
As soon as the Overwatch League offseason began, the community began buzzing about who would pick up SP9RK1E. In Overwatch Contenders Korea, the Element Mystic DPS quickly built up a reputation as one of the most terrifying damage-dealers in the scene. Thanks to his consistently impressive performances, most fans believed him to be an instant pickup for the Overwatch League.
No one expected the Doomfist specialist to opt for the Paris Eternal. As the most high-profile signing of the Eternal’s rebrand to a multinational mixed roster, SP9RK1E followed his coach, Yun “Rush” Hee-won, and multiple Element Mystic teammates to Paris. SP9RK1E has built up this hype despite the fact that he won’t be able to play on the Overwatch League stage until May, when he turns 18 and is eligible for competition.
Kim “Doha” Dong-ha (Dallas Fuel)
The other half of Element Mystic’s championship-winning DPS lineup will head to the Lone Star State for the 2020 Overwatch League season. Dallas has struggled on the damage-dealing front with players who have adapted slowly to changing metas. This year, the Fuel is trying to change their luck by relying on new talent. Zachary “ZachaREEE” Lombardo and veteran player Dylan “aKm” Bignet remain in the lineup in addition to Jang “Decay” Gui-un from the Los Angeles Gladiators.
That said, Doha may be their star player, riding off the high of Element Mystic’s Contenders Korea championship win. If Doomfist remains in the meta for 2020, look forward to his expertise on the hero.
Kim “Alarm” Kyeong-bo (Philadelphia Fusion)
The monster has finally be unleashed on the Overwatch League. For years, Alarm has impressed fans and analysts on the Philadelphia Fusion’s Overwatch Contenders team, Fusion University. The flex support has been a part of four of Fusion University’s Contenders championship wins as well as their victory at the Atlantic Showdown. He was widely regarded as the best Zenyatta and Ana in the tier two competitive scene.
Now that he’s turned 18, he’s finally eligible for the Overwatch League, and Philadelphia wasted no time moving him up to their starting roster. With proper support from his team, Alarm could compete with major players like Bang “JJoNak” Sung-hyeon and Lee “Twilight” Joo-seok for title of the best Overwatch League flex support.
Lee “Whoru” Seung-joon (New York Excelsior)
While the 2020 season will be Whoru’s first appearance in the Overwatch League, the DPS specialist is far from a rookie. Whoru has been participating in the competitive Overwatch scene since early 2017, where he competed in APEX as a part of Lunatic Hai. He was then picked up by Fusion University, who loaned him out to a variety of Overwatch Contenders teams over the past few seasons. Widely regarded as one of the best DPS in the game’s history, he’ll likely benefit from the supportive and competitive environment of the New York Excelsior.
Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy (Boston Uprising)
In the past few years, the lower tiers of Overwatch competition have adopted the title of “Path to Pro.” The idea is that talented players can work their way up from beginner competitions to the Overwatch League. Swimmer could be their success story. A relative newcomer to the scene in comparison to the other rookies, Swimmer began competing in tournaments in 2018 and was signed to the Boston Uprising’s Contenders team, Uprising Academy.
Uprising Academy hasn’t had the most successful run in Contenders, slipping down into Contenders Trials for brief period before earning their place back. Despite these setbacks, Swimmer became known for his positive attitude and ability to grind the competitive ladder as a main support. Due to this competitive drive, the Boston Uprising brought him up to the starting roster for the 2020 season.
Chris “MirroR” Trinh (Los Angeles Gladiators)
If Swimmer is the example of dedication in the Path to Pro scene, MirroR is the example of perseverance. A mainstay in the Overwatch Contenders scene, the DPS player has been a part of six Contenders teams across multiple regions in the past two years. He was a member of Second Wind’s run through Overwatch Contenders and moved on to Uprising Academy in 2019. With the loss of the entire 2019 Los Angeles Gladiator DPS lineup during the offseason, it’ll be on MirroR to fill the damage role alongside Kim “birdring” Ji-hyuk.
Kim “Edison” Tae-hoon (Atlanta Reign)
The Atlanta Reign was already raking in the success from their investment in DPS Jeong “Erster” Joon, who repeatedly ran through entire teams on Tracer and Reaper. Edison, who comes from Korean Contenders team GC Busan Wave, will only make that damage lineup more terrifying. In the latest season of Contenders, GC Busan Wave fell to future champions Element Mystic, but not before Edison could build up a hitscan DPS highlight reel. Whether he plays alongside Erster or one of the Reign’s other DPS picks, support players everywhere better start hiding their heads now.
Lee “LIP” Jae-won (Shanghai Dragons)
Of all the players on this list, LIP is the only one who has given Shanghai Dragons fans a preview of his skills. All four Chinese Overwatch League teams participated in the Shanghai Masters Invitational last month, and the Shanghai Dragons took home a win from the showmatch tournament. That win is largely due to LIP’s absolute demolition in the DPS role. He rolled through teams like the Chengdu Hunters on Reaper.
As a former member of Korean Contenders team BlossoM, he was a relatively unknown player added to the Shanghai Dragons in comparison to their other high-profile damage additions, like Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun. The Shanghai Masters Invitational made fans pay attention to LIP’s potential, and he’s likely to carry this confidence straight into the first few games of 2020.