With the roster lock on July 7th quickly approaching, we expect at least some teams to make moves and allow for a smooth transition into the reported 2-2-2 roster lock. With limited time left, the pool of players is likely limited to North American Contenders players or Overwatch League talent because of time restrictions due to visa applications. Let’s try to guestimate: Which players could we see traded last minute?
With the Valiant switching to a mostly western roster and off-loading Korean talent such as Pan-seung "Fate" Koo and Joon-hyuk "Bunny" Chae, they might also look to trade Izayaki. The South Korean flex support has shown talent over the first half of the season but never consistently delivered upon it.
While Seong-hyeon "Luffy" Yang had an arguably average season so far, the Shanghai Dragons' high aspirations might require something more. The organization has largely done a tremendous job in their bounce back from last year's 0-40 season, and Izayaki could help the team reach greater heights.
The Atlanta Reign are another team that could perhaps use Izayaki. After demoting Steven "Kodak" Rosenberger to their academy team, and with only Dusttin "Dogman" Bowerman on Ana or Zen, the Reign could be looking for a consistent performer on the role. Dogman’s performances over the season have been largely hit or miss, and if the team wants to make a run for the play-ins and eventually even the season playoffs, they should be looking at an upgrade
Perhaps the Fuel wants to complete their Korean back line and have an alternative to Benjamin "uNKOE" Chevasson. While the Frenchman didn’t have a bad season, the Fuel have always had big rosters and haven’t shied away from building reserves to protect them from the unexpected. Those attempts failed last season at times, though.
Rumors frequently surfaced during the season that connected several organizations with an interest in the former Element Mystic flex support. Let’s call a spade a spade. He’s not going to play over the best performing flex support and the brain of the Vancouver Titans, Juseok "Twilight" Lee. Just about the only reason for keeping Rapel on the Titans is in case of a surprise illness or because he brings intangible qualities to the team in the locker room.
In terms of interested teams, much of what can be said about Izayaki also applies to Rapel. Arguably, Rapel hasn’t shown as much potential as the Valiant flex support though.
Before the season started, rumors circulated that Nevix was going to be a starter for the Shock, despite Hyo-bin "Choihyobin" Choi's impressive talents. The experienced Swede has shown an amazing range of heroes and even roles across the span of his career and rarely disappointed. It is quite possible that Shock has a world-class off-tank player sitting on the bench, waiting for his chance. It could also be in Nevix's interest to switch teams in order to keep his player stock high for the next season.
For possible destinations, a lot of rosters with the ability to integrate an English speaking player into their line-up could use Nevix’s talents. Rumors of a Washington Justice rebuild abound, and they’ve already demonstrated this season that they are willing to pay reasonable buyouts for top tier talent.
While teams like the Uprising, the Eternal, the Defiant and the Outlaws could upgrade too, these teams can't invest the big bucks needed to land Nevix this season. Perhaps the Fusion might be able to swing it and could use his talent.
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British Hurricane main tank Numlocked had an exciting and promising turn-around during 2019. While sitting on the bench for Valiant last season, he could neither hone his skills on stage nor show them off. After leaving the Overwatch League and playing for Spitifire’s academy team, Numlocked continuously impressed with his performances, and was a cornerstone to their qualification for the Atlantic Showdown. He had several carry performances and his experience on stage also helped him perform at LAN. His age at 26 could work against him, but recruiting him on a 1+1 deal could give several teams the much-needed edge to squeeze into the play-ins.
While I personally think many teams would benefit from signing Numlocked, we have to keep the 2-2-2 role lock in mind. It's possible fewer teams are willing to sign a new main tank when their old ones could find new comfort outside of Reinhardt, who will likely be less important next stage. With that in mind, the pool of potential teams shrinks considerably.
Washington Justice once again seems to be the most logical choice, as their main-tank Jun-hwa "Janus" Song has had a lackluster season, but as mentioned before, perhaps the coaching staff sees potential in him in a possible Winston meta.
Another team that could be shopping for an English-speaking Winston is the Los Angeles Valiant. While Russell "FCTFCN" Campbell hasn’t been a liability on Reinhardt, his Winston has historically been unconvincing.
The Fusion University main-tank had an up and down season since he was playing with high ping in Korea. Curiously, FUni also brought Adam "Beasthalo" Denton along to Korea, which may or may not be a safety net in the case that ChangSik was promoted. At the Atlantic Showdown, he put on a powerful performance, proving that main-tanking is better done on low ping rather than from another continent. His LAN experience reaching back to the APEX days might be very valuable if he made it to the big stage, but his price tag would probably be considerable.
As for Korean main tanks, there are several teams with glaring holes. One team that should be looking for an upgrade are the Guangzhou Charge. Seung-pyo "Rio" Oh came into the league as a projected below-average main tank, and he hasn't changed anyone’s mind.
Perhaps the more likely scenario would be for the Fusion main-team to promote ChangSik outright. While it does seem that the organization values keeping their contender's team together in order to build synergy and possibly promote the entire roster next season, perhaps the Fusion sees it necessary to have additional personnel in the event that Su-min "Sado" Kim can’t perform in the next meta. Much like last season, the Fusion are lying in wait for the meta switch to hit, but they could just as easily fall short in the season playoffs once again. Playing it safe and accounting for as many options as possible would be a wise move.
And as always, the Justice are a potential team for the same reasons they'd want Numlocked
The Swedish front-line have been together in competitive Overwatch for a while, but they hit their stride in tandem with the Angry Titans. Already well respected in Europe, they haven’t skipped a beat in their move to Team Envy. The team has not dropped a map in NA West Contenders, and a lot of their success is thanks to these two.
Once again the Washington Justice look like a shoo-in. With Corey "Corey" Nigra and Gihyeon "Ado" Chon back on DPS, the front line is the last glaring weakness of this roster. Getting the Swedish duo in could solve Justice’s roster issues, for now.