The final part of our Overwatch League 2020 previews, this time we look at the Pacific Conference East Division, arguably the overall strongest division in this league. The five Asia-based teams here all put in relatively successful seasons in 2019, all making at least as far as the play-in stages for the playoffs. While all had fine seasons before, how they’ll adjust to having to travel across the Pacific for most of the homestands will be one of the more interesting storylines this season.
Other interesting reads:
- OWL 2020 Previews: Atlantic Conference North Division
- OWL 2020 Previews: Atlantic Conference South Division
- OWL 2020 Previews: Pacific Conference West Division
The Hunters were the surprise fan-favourite team of 2019 for going completely off-meta whenever they felt like it, but their element of surprise continuing into 2020 looks unlikely now that teams have had a year to get adjusted. The core of Kyo, Yveltal, Elsa, Ameng, Jinmu, and Baconjack are back, with new support players Molly and Lengsa having success for Chengdu’s contenders team. And then there’s the addition of Leave, one of the heroes of China’s 2018 world cup team. He hasn’t seen much competitive play since, so he may be rusty. Chengdu’s core has a lot to build on, but given that they are in an already-stacked division, even with these improvements, we believe the Hunters may do no better than mid-table of the Pacific Conference East Division.
Guangzhou always had one of the more weirdly international teams, no doubt leading to communication issues early on in 2019. But the Charge really came alive in the later parts of the season once Nero, Eileen, and Happy finally broke out on DPS. Adding Neptuno was a particularly odd choice to bring in for leadership support, but if he can be the backbone of a mixed-roster in Philadelphia, he can do so here with Guangzhou in the Pacific Conference East Division. Cr0ng and Wya are fine replacements for their departed members, but the Charge only have nine players, so they are going to have to try and form some kind of comprehensible team eventually, or else they’ll do worse off this year.
The Spark did not make many new additions to their roster, adding support players Coldest and Mika from their Contenders team. But they did lead Bilibili Gaming to respectable 3rd-4th place finishes in 2019 Contenders, which is as much as Hangzhou can ask for. Guxue is back from another year of leading China to second place at the Overwatch World Cup, but lately, he has been forced on Orisa and Reinhardt, the two main tanks he is not as good at. Since he is the Spark’s only main tank option, they really need to work to play to his strengths. The rest of their Korean core, with the likes of GodsB, iDK, BeBe, Ria, and Adora, is like Philadelphia or New York in how they can turn in a reliable performance no matter the situation. Keeping an eye on Spark for OW Live Betting might prove worthy.
The Seoul Dynasty made slow progress in its quest to be one of the best teams, going for lesser known Korean talent once its Lunatic-Hai core broke apart. But Seoul look to finally achieve its goals this year with the additions of Profit, Gesture, and Bdosin from London. They had a down year in 2019, but maybe a new environment is what they need to get back to their 2018 form. It’s going to be hard replacing Ryujehong and Fleta as the main driving forces for Korea’s team, but Michelle, Marve1, Illicit, and Fits did perform better in 2019 than most people expected. And standards are higher now with one year of experience in the bag. Seoul might just have what it takes to secure a comfortable spot at top of the Pacific Conference East Division table.
Having long-shed their status as the Overwatch League’s perennial loser, the Dragons made enough acquisitions this offseason to be the best Asia-based team. With the likes of proven talents Fleta and Void, the return of Fearless after a stint in Contenders China, and the promising likes of Stand1, LeeJaeGon, and Lip, the remaining core of the Dragons definitely got more formidable. Unlike the other regions, the four Chinese teams got to play preseason matches in the Overwatch Shanghai Master Invitational, and Shanghai won the tournament without dropping a map. It was the preseason, but that showing could be what we have in store going into the Pacific Conference East Division.