Could you make a roster better than the Overwatch League teams?

It has now been three weeks since the pre-season signing window officially closed for Overwatch League S1. As news trickled in about player acquisitions and roster buyouts, pundits gave their thoughts on team rankings, strengths and weaknesses, and noted powerful free agents still left in the pool. Many rosters were criticised for their oddball pickups and dismissal of proven talent; though doubtless some teams had good reason to ignore these leftover stars, there lingers a pervading feeling in the community that some key talent, and some whole teams, have been overlooked and underrated.

Some of these teams -- RunAway, Rogue, Ardeont, eUnited, Afreeca Freecs -- have already proven their worth in the past, earning tournament victories and building legacies for their players, occasionally beating Overwatch League teams to get there. It seems very possible that one could concoct rosters, even now with 113 players signed, that have a chance to place highly and potentially win the Overwatch League.

The Challengers

With that goal in mind, I challenged seven other writers within the scene to build elite rosters from the leftovers of OWL. Harsha and Pasch of, Yiska and Barroi of WinstonsLab, Volamel of Esports Heaven, Elbion of Dot Esports, and RadoN of Inven took up the gauntlet. They must build their idea of the best potential OWL roster for season one -- using only leftovers.

Though unconstrained by budget and without any way to test theories, my challengers are burdened by the reduced pool of talent and will operate as if they were signing for an actual team. That means that intangibles such as language barriers, synergy, and desire to play (looking at you Dafran) have to be considered as well as basic rules such as the age limit, where known.

As important as presenting the roster itself is forging the argument for why they are the best roster available. Each writer must put forward a case for why their six to twelve players would work as a unit, have strong individual talent, and could reasonably be expected to place highly in Overwatch League Season 1.

The Tournament

Once our eight writers have selected and pitched their rosters to the world, the fun begins. The teams will be randomly seeded into a fantasy tournament, starting at the quarterfinals in a single-elimination bracket. Head to head fights will be decided by the other writers’ votes, based on which roster they believe is the strongest and which argument persuades them. In the event of a tie, public votes will split the difference and give us the victor. As imaginary rosters are vanquished and cast aside, natural selection should theoretically give us the gold standard leftover OWL team.

There are likely to be many repeated names on these rosters as remaining talent is compressed -- in fact many matches may feature certain star players playing against themselves. Thankfully the imaginary realm allows us to do this where reality would not. Whether writers choose to delve into the Korean Challengers scene, pick up whole rosters, build Western Frankensteins, or create allstar mixed rosters remains to be seen. There are plenty of options all with their own pros and cons, and all are open to hopefully create some excellent potential rosters unmarred by compromise.

Our only limiting rule to spice up The OWL Pellets fantasy tournament is that no member of RunAway can be recruited. As the APEX and APAC semifinalists, RunAway are obviously at the level of potential OWL winners and many top rosters could have been rehashed versions of RunAway with a replacement Genji. For the purpose of this thought experiment, we will assume that Runner and Flowervin’s home has the binding loyalty of a magnetar, preferring to rip the flesh from Stitch and Kox’s bones before parting with them.

The Rosters

The first wave of roster features will be published this week on writers’ corresponding sites, with updates added to the bottom of this article linking you to the piece. In the meantime, feel free to take up the challenge yourselves and go head-to-head with our pundits, creating your own star leftover rosters and voting in the comments for who you think would win each ‘match’.

Volamel: Detroit Defiance

  • Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung Woo (DPS)
  • Cheon “Ado” Ki-hyun (DPS)
  • Jeong “Nenne” Yeon-Kwan (DPS)
  • Kim "GodsB" Kyeong-bo (DPS)
  • Jeong "NoSmite" Da-un (Tank)
  • Yong-ha "Brek" Son (Tank)
  • Choi "ChoiHyoBin" Hyo-bin (Tank)
  • Song “SASIN” Sang-hyeon (Flex)
  • Se-yong "DNCE" Kim (Support)
  • Choi "Kris" Jun Soo (Support)
  • Min "GILY" Joon-ho (Support)
  • Yoon "BeBe" Hui-chang (Support)

Elbion: San Diego Surf

  • Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung Woo (DPS)
  • Kim "GodsB" Kyeong-bo (DPS)
  • Jeong “ArhaN” Weon-hyeop (DPS)
  • Lee "Evo" Yu-seok (Tank)
  • Bang "Shubil" Min-jun (Flex Tank)
  • Song "Brek" Yong-ha (Tank)
  • Choi “Hoon” Jae Hoon (Flex)
  • Park "Bazzi" Jun-Ki (Flex Support)
  • Yoon "BeBe" Hui-chang (Support)
  • Song "Quatermain" Ji-Hoon (Support)

RadoN: Gangnam Magpies

  • Jeong "Recry" Taek-hyun (DPS)
  • Ha "Sayaplayer" Jung Woo (DPS)
  • Kang "Void" Jun-woo (Offtank)
  • Jeong "NoSmite" Da-un (Tank)
  • Lee "Panker" Byung-ho (Tank)
  • Yoo "Lucid" Jun-seo (Flex Support)
  • Choi "Kris" Jun Soo (Support)
  • Jeong “ArhaN” Weon-hyeop (Substitute DPS)
  • Jang “Decay” Gui-un (Substitute DPS)
  • Lee “Twilight” Joo Seok (Substitute Flex Support)
  • Choi “Hoon” Jae Hoon (Substitute Offtank)
  • Se-yong "DNCE" Kim (Substitute Flex)
  • "Gambler" (Coach)
  • "Bubbly" (Coach)

Barroi: Busan Beach Boys

  • Cho “Hyeonu” Hyeon-woo (Support – Mercy/Lucio)
  • Kim “Fuze” Tae Hoon (Support – Lucio/Mercy)
  • Lee “Twilight” Joo Seok (Support – Zen/Sombra/Ana – aggressive)
  • Kim “DNCE” Se-Yong (Flex – Flex-Support/Off-Tank)
  • Bong “Republic” Geun-chan (Tank – Winston/Rein – aggressive)
  • Gye “rOar” Chang-hoon (Tank – Winston/Rein – passive)
  • Song “SASIN” Sang-Hyeon (Flex – Off-Tank/Projectile DPS – aggressive)
  • Cheon “Ado” Ki-Hyun (DPS – Genji/Tracer – passive)
  • Ha “Sayaplayer“ Jung Woo (DPS – Hitscan – aggressive)
  • Jeong “Recry” Taek-Hyun (DPS – Hitscan – passive)
  • Cho “Bubbly” Yoon-ho (Mascot)
  • Cho “yy0shi” Young Tae (Mascot)

Pasch: Amsterdam Blaze

  • Tuomo "Davin" Leppänen (DPS)
  • Dylan "aKm" Bignet (DPS)
  • Mads "fischer" Jehg (Flex DPS)
  • Nicolas "NiCO" Moret (Flex)
  • Joonas "zappis" Alakurtti (Flex Tank)
  • Russell "FCTFCTN" Campbell (Tank)
  • Adam "Adam" Eckel (Support)
  • Randal "Roolf" Stark (Flex Support)
  • Luis "Greyy" Perestrelo (Substitute Flex Support)

Yiska: Beijing Imperials

  • Yan "creed" Xiao (Support)
  • Wei "jiqiren" Yansong (Tank)
  • Ma "Lateyoung" Tianbin (Flex Tank)
  • Zhang "YangX1aoLg" Zhihao (DPS)
  • Huang "leave" Xin (Flex DPS)
  • He "zhufanjun" Junjian (Flex Support)
  • Qiu "Zod" Zengzhi (Tank)
  • Yang "BBcat" Jiawei (Support)
  • Zhou "LanDo" Zilin (Flex Support)
  • Zhou "S1mpfall" Tigao (DPS)
  • Ou "Eileen" Yiliang (DPS)
  • Zheng "Shy" Yangjie (Flex DPS)
  • Jeong "ArHaN" Weon-hyeop (Pet)

Sideshow: Sejong Greats

  • Lee ”Jecse” Seung-Soo (Support)
  • Park ”iDK” Ho-Jin (Support)
  • Park ”Bazzi” Jun-Ki (Flex Support)
  • Kim ”Rapel” Jun-Geun (Flex Support)
  • Lee ”fearless” Eui-Seok (Tank)
  • Bong ”republic” Geung-chan (Tank)
  • Seo ”daco” Dong-Hyung (Offtank)
  • Bae ”diem” Min-Seong (Flex)
  • Cheon ”Ado” Ki-Hyun (Flex DPS)
  • Song ”SASIN” Sang-Hyeon (Flex DPS)
  • Lee ”Guard” Hee-Dong (DPS)
  • Park ”Architect” Min-Ho (Substitute Flex DPS)

Harsha: Toronto Tyrants

  • Ha "Sayaplayer" Jeong-woo (DPS)
  • Dylan "aKm" Bignet (DPS)
  • Robert "Shadder2k" Mocanu (DPS)
  • Kang "Void" Jun-woo (Flex)
  • Joonas "zappis" Alakurtti (Flex)
  • Tiago "Mowzassa" Rodrigues (Tank)
  • Russell "FCTFCTN" Campbell (Tank)
  • Randal "Roolf" Stark (Support)
  • Luis "Greyy" Perestrelo (Support)
  • Adam "Adam" Eckel (Support)