After years of bragging and bravado, the Atlanta Reign roster may finally be ready to match their talent to their egos.
Despite big promises and much-appreciated trash talk, Atlanta has never managed to deliver real results in the Overwatch League. The team’s 2020 roster was bloated with unnecessary substitutes and a revolving door of players. As a result, Reign management cleaned house and kept only the bare minimum of players necessary for success.
This renewed focus, along with the talents of several hyped-up rookies, might breathe new life into an organization that’s been repeatedly met with struggle and strife.
Atlanta’s steadfast tank duo, main tank Blake “Gator” Scott and off-tank Xander “Hawk” Domecq, will return for more shenanigans in 2021. Thanks to years of playing side by side, the two bring a level of cohesion and comfort that’s rarely seen in the league. They specialize in tough North American compositions, like the heavy-hitting rush comp or anything requiring aggressive pushes. This focus may come back to bite them when nuance is required.
The Reign pared down its formerly extensive support line and kept only the most integral players. Flex support Kim “Ir1s” Seunghyun was hugely impressive as soon as he joined the team in 2020, dinking heads as Zenyatta when it really mattered. Alongside Petja “Masaa” Kantanen, one of the best Western main supports, the two could be one of the most formidable support duos in the league. Future dual flex support metas may hinder their success, however.
New addition Oh “Pelican” Se-hyun, formerly of O2 Blast from Overwatch Contenders Korea, has been hailed as the flex DPS savior of the Atlanta Reign. He’s already shown incredible skill on heroes like Echo and is living up to his reputation. Jin “Edison” Tae-hoon, the original Atlanta Reign carry, is also returning this year to ruin dreams on Tracer.
The Reign’s secret weapon comes in the form of Kai Collins, former star hitscan DPS for the Los Angeles Valiant. While Edison and Pelican could likely cover McCree or Ashe duties, Kai’s aim is almost unmatched and will help demolish any sneaky opponents over the next year.
Atlanta’s dedication to a smaller, more focused roster is a step in the right direction. The team may eventually suffer from a lack of flexibility, but considering constant substitutions hurt them in the past, a smaller squad is the way to go.
Despite the talents of DPS carries like Kai and Pelican, Atlanta will encounter problems if metas evolve into anything requiring patience or nuance. Tanks like Gator and Hawk excel in aggressive, confident compositions like rush but flounder when they have to flex to less durable heroes. This has already been an issue in Atlanta’s 2021 games where they’ve been unable to match the dive-heavy tendencies of other teams.
For Atlanta to succeed, the roster will have to focus heavily on their strengths and try to force aggression on their enemies. If they can’t figure out a way to keep up with the speed of the rest of the league, problems could be just around the corner.
The Atlanta Reign’s next game is against the Paris Eternal on Thursday, April 29 at 2pm CT.