The recommencement of NGE's $100,000 Winter Premiere was beset by so many high profile team changes last night it came as a pleasant surprise when the casters revealed that Kingdom eSports would now be playing under the Detroit Renegades banner.
After gecks had opened the discussion on the acquisition Nagatron served up a few more scant details:
"The Detroit Renegades - the entire team has flown out to Detroit where they are bootcamping in a house and they've just met each other for the first time"
Although no official announcement had been released by the Renegades organisation they did later drop a few tweets in support of their new roster's solid debut performance - a 2-0 drubbing of the mercurial FaZe Clan in their first official since taking home silver at MLG Vegas.
The roster that Renegades fielded differed notably from the one that had smashed through qualifiers on the first night of Open Play, taking down Team Liquid, FaZe Clan and former teammates Kungarna. Having reportedly decided not to commit to the new roster, former NRG duo GODS and Pookz are gone with manOFsnow and Jer stepping into the fold.
Jer previously played support for Sodipop/Immortals but had been a free agent since his trial contract was not renewed at the start of October. The return of manOFsnow to the roster comes after a period where he, Ajax and ConnorJ were benched by Kingdom to try out other options. Whilst the other two departed to cause a stir with upstart team Kungarna, manOFsnow has been reluctant to commit to a new team and is not actually signing with the Renegades Overwatch roster. He will however will play out the remainder of their Winter Premiere fixtures.
That may come as a disappointment to fans as manOFsnow was seen turning up the heat in his first Winter Premiere performance with a dominant display on D. Va that included a clutch first point defence on Route 66 and a voracious appetite for Gravitons. The new look roster has come with a few hero shuffles; having vacated D. Va, J3sus found himself in the Roadhog slot that had previously been held by GODS and showed us a little of the god-given DPS play he had made his name with, flexing on to Reaper and Tracer as the situation demanded.
Although the dreaded quadra tank composition still featured heavily at points, there was a decent amount of variation on offer. Mangachu in particular was throwing the kitchen sink at FaZe with Pharah, Torbjorn, McCree and his new mainstay, Zarya, all getting play time across Route 66 and Hollywood. As one of the original three trialists injected in to the fractured Kingdom roster he is the only one to sign with Renegades, although it is as yet unknown if he had to be bought out from Tempo Storm. His former team had themselves been conducting roster experiments, but his last tweet on the matter in mid-November left it such that he was still part of the Tempo organisation.
With the team already bootcamping in Motor City it seems like the Detroit Renegades might be jumping the gun on Blizzard's city franchise plans for their upcoming Overwatch League. Not content with just one city affiliation, the organisation was previously known as the LA Renegades before being bought out by Boston Celtics NBA player Jonas Jerebko in the wake of former owners Chris Badawi and Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles controversially being banned from League of Legends competition by Riot. The team's League legacy has since faded with the sale of their LCS roster to EnVyUs and subsequent shift of focus to their CSGO team, but they have reportedly been looking for an Overwatch team as far back as August 2016.
Whilst an official announcement regarding the roster acquisition is expected in the coming days and weeks, it has been confirmed that all parties apart from manOFsnow are signed with Detroit Renegades. No indication has been given as to who may potentially fill that sixth spot. The team are instead giving their full focus to competing in the Winter Premiere where you can catch them live facing off against Citizen7 tonight.
The Detroit Renegades roster for the Winter Premiere is:
- Christopher "J3sus" Pavloff (DPS)
- Jonathon "Sherlockey" Davis (Support)
- Preston "juv3nile" Dornon (Tank)
- Jeremy "Jer" Santacruz (Support)
- Liam "Mangachu" Campbell (Flex)
- Ricky "manOFsnow" Felty (Tank stand-in)
- Morgan "kurjun" Pasilis (Coach)
- Cameron "Shady" McAlees (Manager)