Continuing on our team previews, let’s move on with the expansion teams. Three of the eight new teams added to the league are based in China, so let’s focus on the first alphabetically: the Chengdu Hunters. The panda logo and colours referencing their organization are a nice touch (if a bit confusing), but who is on their team?
Up until February 14th, I’m going to go over each team and what’s changed since the inaugural season. Each team will have it’s own article, going over which players and coaches left, and who has replaced them. After going over the changes and my opinions on them, I’m going to rate them much like I did in my weekly series last season. This rating will be a little more in depth, considering I have more time than a week to look over the teams, especially the new ones.
Out of all the new Chinese teams, this is the only one with no Koreans on the roster. Let’s see if they’re a new Shanghai Dragons or something entirely different.
Let’s start with the DPS players.
Damage players (DPS)
The DPS players on the Chengdu Hunters are Zhang “YangXiaoLong” Zhihao, Yi “JinMu” Hu, and Lo “Baconjack” Tzu-Heng.
To start, lets focus on the biggest question marks in the roster, both YangXiaoLong and Baconjack. Baconjack is now the only Taiwanese player in the league, on a fitting Chinese team. Their Overwatch history itself isn’t a problem, but the fact that they don’t have any for about a year. Both of these DPS players stopped playing Overwatch competitively when season one of the Overwatch League started, switching over to PUBG. Both these players’ last Overwatch competition was in December of 2017, with Baconjack having better results. In terms of hero pools, YangXiaoLong is more of a Soldier: 76 player while Baconjack can play Hanzo and D.Va. Both of them are comfortable on Tracer, but both of them can’t play her at the same time. This duo doesn’t seem bad, just worrying.
Lastly, there is JinMu. He last played for Big Time Regal Gaming in China, a team that obtained the entire team of Moss Seven Club. Moss Seven Club was a team in Chinese Contenders, and they performed well in the regular season, before losing a close game in the quarterfinals. He is known for his Genji and Junkrat play, also being able to flex onto Brigitte.
The DPS pool of this team seems mediocre, but has potential to be really bad if Baconjack and YangXiaoLong need time to readjust to Overwatch play. JinMu seems like a good underrated Chinese pickup, but one of his fellow DPS could be rusty.
The tank players on the Chengdu Hunters are Ding “Ameng” Menghan, Ma “LateYoung” Tianbin and Luo “Elsa” Wenjie.
Ameng is their only person truly listed under tank, filling in the main tank role. He played alongside JinMu in Chinese Contenders, playing under his old tag ‘vannessa’. Being able to play all four main tanks is always nice, and much like JinMu, he was a underrated player. The only problem with Ameng is that he will now have to face amazing tanks from around the league and keep on their level. It is possible, but he’ll have to step up and prove his worth. Stepping up from Chinese Contenders to the Overwatch League isn’t easy.
Now for the two flex off-tanks: LateYoung and Elsa. Most people who watched the Overwatch World Cup should remember LateYoung. He was the starting off-tank who helped China reached a surprising second place finish. His tank duo with new superstar Xu “Guxue” Qiulin was dominant until they reached South Korea, losing the finals but still performing well. Elsa is less known however, playing for LinGan e-Sports in Chinese Contenders. His team also played well in the regular season and lost prematurely in the quarterfinals, much like Moss Seven Club. Both LateYoung and Else play D.Va and Zarya, but LateYoung seems the more experienced and coach-able player.
I see the tank duo here being Ameng and LateYoung, Elsa being a substitute. With the coach Xingrui “RUI” Wang being the same one that led China to the silver medal in the World Cup, he must like LateYoung’s play. Their tank line is better than their DPS, but still a bit risky, taking three tanks from good teams that didn’t make it in the playoffs.
The support players for the Chengdu Hunters are Kong “Kyo” Chunting, Guan “Garry” Li and Li “Yveltal” Xianyao.
Much like the Toronto Defiant, they decided to get three players from three different teams; with their place being teams in Chinese Contenders. Lets start with the well known player: Yveltal. He played support for team China in the World Cup, helping them reach the finals. His performances were given much appraise, his Lucio standing out. He was also flexible, knowing to play Mercy and Zenyatta.
Next is a curious one, Garry. He was another great flexible support player, but his history is interesting. Originally playing for Lucky Future Zenith and helping them win the first season of Chinese Contenders, he was moved to Lucky Future (a different team) and his team didn’t do well. Lucky Future Zenith was originally a mostly Chinese team, but changed to a fully Korean squad for season two. The team then dominated, forcing the former Chinese players to go to the Lucky Future team, and they didn’t play as well as they used to. One good thing about this whole ordeal is that Garry was always playing well, and was key to their season one title win. He was known for his Ana, Zenyatta and his ability to flex onto Sombra.
Lastly is Kyo, who played on Team CC along with teammate LateYoung. While Kyo didn’t play for team China, he has experience playing with LateYoung, and surely won’t have language troubles with this team either. He can also play Ana and Zenyatta like Garry can, which makes me think he is more of a substitute.
Starting Team and Prediction
The Chengdu Hunters lineup should be YangXiaoLong and JinMu on DPS, Ameng and LateYoung on tank, and Garry and Yveltal on support.
With Rui’s coaching, I can’t see LateYoung and Yvetal not starting. I assume he wants to continue being seen as the underdog and get the most out of these underrated players. The only issue is the lack of recent experience in their DPS, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a trade or two in the future. But how will this team fare in the Overwatch League?
Continuing with my rating system, I’m using the classic ‘out of 10’ like I used to in my weekly reviews. Here’s a link if you want to read it, but it’s a bit different now that I’m grading teams based on how their team was built without any game experience.
I’m giving this team a 5.5/10. They have a decent amount of underrated picks with Yvetal, LateYoung and Garry, and a great coach as we saw in the World Cup. What they don’t have is a star DPS. Even worse, two of their three DPS have been playing an entirely different game competitively for the past year. And as much as Rui redeemed China in the community’s eyes, he still was a coach on the win-less Shanghai Dragons. He need to prove himself in this league, and doing so with this team won’t be easy. This team will either be a possible playoff team or bottom of the league, and I’m betting on the latter.
Agree with my opinion? Think I’m completely wrong? Leave a comment with your ideas.
About the Author
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.