Tuesday, 12 June 2018

OWL Writers MVP Nominations Ft Benchmobdc, TisRobin, WolfofVillainy & Volamel



The inaugural Overwatch League regular season is down to its last week of competition. We’ve had almost six and a half months that’s currently seen six different teams make the playoffs, four different teams make the finals and two different stage winners with the London Spitfire winning stage one and the New York Excelsior win stage two and three. We’ve seen highlight reel plays such as the birth of Pine Time with his 4K as McCree on Illios vs Boston, Fissure’s Winston pummelling LA Valiants Pharmacy on Oasis or Linkzr popping off against the Spitfire on Widowmaker. We’ve had xQc, we've had controversy, we’ve had upsets and we’ve had what looks to be Shanghai going 0-40. The League has had it all!

Today Benchmobdc, TisRobin, WolfofVillainy, Volamel and I have come together and provided the names players who we’ve felt are the leagues Most Valuable. These nominations are our nod of approval to both their performances but also worth to their teams. Each contributor has provided an explanation alongside their pick, so that you get a clear idea of the thought process for who they've chosen. So, without further ado (no he’s not a nomination) let’s see the nominees.

Chang-Hyung “Fissure” Baek 
LA Gladiators

I’m going with Fissure. I don’t think there’s any doubting that Jonak is the best player in the league right now, but the award is for most “valuable” – not most “outstanding.” JJoNak is a superior flex-support player compared to his peers, but he is also heavily enabled by an NYXL roster sporting All-Star-caliber players in every role. The Gladiators on the other hand are the only team that has gotten appreciably better with each stage, beginning with the arrival of Fissure. He’s proven to be both mechanically gifted and capable of making game-changing plays, but Fissure also deserves a ton of credit for completely changing the culture of an entire team and, most importantly, making every one of his teammates around him better.



Byung-Sun "Fleta" Kim
Seoul Dynasty

While the obvious choice for league MVP is JJoNak from the New York Excelsior, to me the MVP isn’t just about being the best player statistically but the player that’s most valuable to their team while they’re in contention. Don’t get me wrong, I think that JJoNak will rightfully win the Rookie of the year award, as he has played to an outstanding level this season. However, I do feel that the talent around him does help him to post the crazy numbers he does, but also that the NYXL would be in the same position if he was on another team. Due to this there are other more deserving candidates for this award that have had a bigger impact on their teams and my vote goes to Seoul Dynasty’s Fleta. 

As much as I wanted to pick Carpe because of his huge contribution to keeping the Fusion in contention, go the homer route with Gesture because of his consistent outstanding play or select Diya for attempting to carry the two versions of Shanghai we’ve seen. I’ve selected Fleta because even though the Flash Lux curse has seemed to have followed him to a hugely underperforming Seoul. A team who’ve not even made a stage playoff appearance, which is something that’s unheard of a favourite coming into the season to do. He’s been the one constant on this team and if they make the end of season playoffs it’s because Fleta has put the Dynasty kicking and screaming on his back. In stages one to three, Fleta has been the standout Projectile DPS player especially when it comes to both Pharah which is the best in the league and his Genji play which has been clinical at times, while in stage four his switch to Widowmaker and when required McCree has proved his ability to play almost any hero and that he has a flexibility that very few others possess. Despite the fact he gets game planned around the most within the Seoul team, he’s still able to make a considerable impact, proving just how bad a position the Dynasty would be without him and that while the Dynasty may crumble, the Machine will still go on.



Jong-Yeol "Saebyeolbe" Park
New York Excelsior


Ever since stage 1 of Overwatch League, Saebyeolbe has always shown a stellar performance in NYXL through his Tracer, saving his team on multiple occasions which led to their countless victories against tough opponents. Not only has he displayed clutch kills when desperately needed, but he has also never failed to be inconsistent in whatever match he was thrown into, which is his most frightening ability that makes him the uncontested MVP of Season 1 for me. In addition, he is competent on all hitscan heroes which allows him to boast his flexibility with comps that require heroes other than Tracer. Finally, his leadership as captain and shot caller within the team proves his experience in Overwatch competitive teamwork of the highest level. As the current strongest team in Overwatch League, Saebyeolbe is the most vital piece which enables NYXL to aim confidently for the Season 1 championship.



Jae-Hyeok "Carpe" Lee
Philadelphia Fusion

What does it mean to be an “MVP?” If you ask 10 people, there will be about 12 different answers. In Wikipedia, it is defined as “an honour typically bestowed upon the best-performing player (or players) in an entire league, for a particular competition, or on a specific team.” But this definition is not particularly useful in this case because on what metric do you determine who is “the best performing player in an entire league?” Are you going based on the player’s impact upon the team’s overall performance? Or is it based on how many plays he has pulled out of his ass to save his team? Or is it the value of the player in comparison to other players in the league?

In my opinion, the choice of MVP for Season 1 of OWL comes down to either Carpe or Fissure. As great as a flex support and Zenyatta player JJoNak is, in my opinion NYXL would play just as well with a worse-quality support with minimal drop off in results due to how stacked the team is in most positions. Meanwhile, in Carpe or Fissure’s case, their presence is vital to their team because without them, Fusion and Gladiators wouldn’t be anywhere near they are now.

Now, that’s not saying that their fellow teammates in Fusion or Gladiators are just dead weight to be carried to victory. However, Carpe and Fissure’s impact in their respective team is undeniable. Between two of them though, I would place my MVP vote to Carpe. He is a very consistent player day in and day out, and a huge reason why Philly has been able to stay afloat in the very competitive Atlantic division. At the same time, the amount of clutch plays coming out of Carpe to bail Fusion out has been nothing but absurd. To compare him to Lebron wouldn’t be too far fetched. Unlike LeBron however, Carpe actually has a very good supporting cast that allows him to be as explosive and impactful in his games. His value to the team is immense, and to me, that’s why he is the Most Valuable Players of OWL. Almost nobody else in the league has provide the same value as him in game and without him, Philadelphia would be closer to the bottom of the table than to the playoff positions.




Hae-Seong “Libero” Kim
New York Excelsior

I'll play Devil's Advocate here and go with something that isn't JjoNak. While I agree that JjoNak is an incredibly commodity, I think there are other candidates that could be highlighted and that have the merit to be crowned MVP

For my money, Libero has got to be my MVP of this season. When I’ve started to build my line of thinking around what it means to be the most “valuable” player the one word that began to repeat like a broken record has been “flexibility”. Now, there is notably one role in the Overwatch League that has been slightly more flexible just based on how the game works. The DPS role obviously has the highest number of heroes to choose from seeing how you can pick from the Offense and Defensive cast, you can see the vast amount of flexibility needed to play this role. Not to mention the fact that each and every Overwatch League stage Blizzard has introduced a new patch which as altered the metagame, even if slightly. In that variation of climate, you need a play to be able to rotate fluidly through a myriad of different heroes.

When we look at “value” Libero could be inserted into any team in the league and on paper, he would be an improvement. That’s incredibly valuable in my book! He has a history of not only playing an ocean of different heroes, but he has experience playing in another role entirety. During APEX Season 2 and Libero had a major stint on the flex tank position which increases his hero pool outside of a normal DPS player. Not only that, but he has consistently been able to pivot from a carry oriented role onto a more supportive position. They do not call him the Korean Swiss Army Knife for nothing. His contribution to NYXL’s dominance has been often overlooked due to the flashy nature of his peers, but the fluidity at which Libero has been able to fill those roles while also having his own strategies crafted around him makes him, in my opinion, the most valuable player in the Overwatch League.

The final week of the regular season begins on Wednesday 13th June and with voting ending on Sunday 17th June, you still have time to tweet #OWLMVP and the battletag of the player you would like to vote as your MVP. The fan vote counts for 25% of the vote along with the 75% of the OWL broadcast team. The first league MVP will announced on the first day of the OWL playoffs, so you still have time to nominate. 
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