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Many teams in the Overwatch League have completely reworked their rosters during the 2019 offseason, but few have made changes as drastic as the Toronto Defiant.
The team began its journey in the league last season as an all-Korean roster. By the middle of the 2019 season, however, Western talent had been added to create a marginally successful mixed roster. In 2020, the Toronto Defiant has leaned fully into the talent of Western, particularly North American, players.
After tying for 17th place last season, any change could be considered good for the Defiant. Success may come in other forms for them. Regardless of their competitive potential, Toronto Defiant staff have arguably built the most marketable team in the entire league. With damage-dealing superstars culled from other teams, they may reign supreme in fan retention.
A minimalist tank line is a bold choice, but the Toronto Defiant is putting its faith in two players. The Defiant picked up former San Francisco Shock off-tank Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson after his team won the 2019 Overwatch League grand finals. Nevix has shown expertise on a variety of off-tank heroes, so he should be a reliable choice for the team.
Adam “Beast” Denton, the team’s only main tank, has been a staple on Overwatch Contenders team Fusion University for several years. He’s been a part of the team’s multiple Contenders championships and a win at the Contenders Atlantic Showdown in 2019. His résumé speaks for itself, but being the sole main tank on a team is a tough job for any player.
Much like the tank line, two support players will be mainly responsible for the Defiant’s healing. Park “KariV” Young-seo was a superstar flex support on the Los Angeles Valiant, showing up with clutch Ana and Zenyatta play even when the rest of his team lacked coordination. He’ll bring this talent to Toronto, who would be wise to protect him in teamfights at all costs.
Main support Kristian “Kellex” Keller, formerly of the Boston Uprising, may finally have the chance to show what he can do with a cohesive team. Park “RoKy” Joo-seong will be on a two-way contract in 2020. He’ll take some time to play for the Defiant’s Contenders team, Montreal Rebellion.
During the offseason, Toronto recruited Overwatch League favorites Brady “Agilities” Girardi, formerly of the Los Angeles Valiant, and Lane “Surefour” Roberts of the Los Angeles Gladiators. Both players bring star power and legions of fans to their home country of Canada. Surefour, in particular, has a deep hero pool that could be invaluable later in the season.
Andreas “Logix” Berghmans was a hero for the Defiant in the latter part of 2019, taking full advantage of role queue to bring back his damage specialties. Liam “Mangachu” Campbell has partially stepped back from the main roster to take a two-way contract with Montreal Rebellion.
If the Toronto Defiant roster was a house, the DPS would be the tricked-out entertainment room next to the bare kitchen of tank and support lines. Toronto has stacked its damage-dealing sector with proven veteran talent that will draw fans but has left too much to chance on the rest of the team. KariV and Nevix can likely carry in any situation, but with no backups on the bench, it’s up to them to pick up additional heroes if the meta changes due to Hero Pools.
Surefour, Logix, and Agilities can go head to head with any top DPS in the league, but their fates rely on the coordination and talent of the rest of their team. The Defiant would highly benefit from early season pickups of promising Western Contenders talent to round out their roster. If the team can keep their roster healthy and thriving, they have a chance to pose a threat to the rest of the Atlantic North Division.
The Toronto Defiant play the first game of the Overwatch League season at 12pm CT against the Paris Eternal on Feb. 8.