Monday, 22 July 2019

Why The Philadelphia Fusion & The Guangzhou Charge Trades Makes Sense


LANimals assemble and let Fragi frag, these are the two slogans to come from the recent trade where the Philadelphia Fusion traded Main Tank Joona "Fragi" Laine to Guangzhou Charge for Flex DPS Findly "Kyb" Adisi last week. The Charge also on the same day brought the contract of Off-Tank Bischu to complete their stage 4 roster. While a lot of people are confused by the trade, haloofthoughts will look to break the trade down that was reported here first.

Ion's Into Lions 

The Fusion are slowly transforming into the 7Lions with the signing of Kyb takes their total of British representatives to four, alongside Flex Support Isaac “Boombox” Charles, assistant coach Christopher “ChrisTfer” Graham and joint Head Coach Elliot “Hayes” Hayes. Outside of reuniting the 2018 Overwatch World Cup 7Lions, many people have wondered about the need for the Fusion to pick up Kyb for stage 4.

Kyb struggled in the first three stages to lock down a place in Guangzhou's starting line up and eventually lost the spot permanently when Charlie “Nero” Zwarg turned 18, showing that he clicked better with Happy. While Kyb hasn't shown the ability to clutch as he did during the OWWC so far this year, the Fusion trading for him is actually a step in the right direction for both parties.

After finishing the 2018 season as overall runners up, losing to the London Spitfire in the Grand Finals. Many people expected Philadelphia to come into 2019 and produce more of the same and outside of a strong 5-2 in stage 1, this hasn't been the case with the Fusion getting unceremoniously dumped from the stage 1 playoffs by the San Francisco Shock, they have finished 3-4 and 4-3 in the following 2 stages. With poor results and rumours that Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee didn't want to play alongside Fragi (whether this was related to issues surrounding communication or something else is still not known) but it gave the Fusion a fan favourite bargaining chip to deal for the right player, that player being Kyb.

With the confirmation of the 2-2-2 Role Lock coming in during stage four and Goats shelf live finally ending, teams had to plan and scout for the next potential meta. Clockwork Vendetta's variation of Bunker started to take notice, with a key focus on the Orisa/Roadhog combination. When the Fusion played this in the later part of stage 3, it highlighted two things; the first was that the chances of Bunker becoming the meta were high and the second that their roster probably was not 100% suited to it when they had to move Boombox off Flex Support on to Roadhog. 

This is where Kyb will come into play for the Fusion, as he built a reputation during the World Cup that he was one of the best Roadhog's in the scene currently. While Philadelphia have one of the best and most flexible DPS pairings in Carpe and Josue “Eqo” Corona, Gael “Poko” Gouzerch's ability on Roadhog does not live up to the standard of his D.Va play from last year and he has generally looked worse on her this year. Kyb will likely move into the Off Tank role into the Fusion's starting lineup to play Hog in Bunker compositions and he has the added bonus of being able to play D.Va to the level required in the Overwatch League. Finally, he may also have an opportunity to play more Hanzo with Double Sniper returning to the meta as well.

He will also be a valuable 3rd DPS to the Fusion as they become the team with the deepest hero pool at DPS. Kyb played no less than 7 heroes in last years OWWC and while Snillo is in Korea with Fusion University in Contenders Korea, the team needed another DPS in case either Carpe or Eqo was out with illness or injury. Hayes has managed to get a player who not only fits what the Fusion will be looking to do this stage but a player he seems to get the best out of.

Charging Into Stage 4


The trades that confused Overwatch League fans the most was why Guangzhou needed to pick up the tank pairing of Hyung-Seok “Bischu” “Aaron” Kim and Fragi. As many feel that Hong-Jun “Hotba” Choi and Seung-Pyo “Rio” Oh have performed well enough this season.

The first reason is simple, the Guangzhou Charge are the youngest team in the league and while they have shown flashes of their talents throughout the season, they have also been inconsistent and shown their youth/inexperience also. In both Bischu and Fragi they have picked up the one thing they needed to allow them to step up. Veteran leadership. Both players come to the Charge as highly respected members of their former fanbases and organisations. They have both been in the scene long enough to gain the respect of their teammates and will come to Guangzhou to lead by example both on and off the stage. 

In terms of how they fit into the Charge's compositions, they both should fill the holes Guangzhou had. While Goats may be dead with the introduction of Role Lock, stage 4 still has numerous maps where Reinhardt will be a foundation of every team's composition. Yes, Rio has improved as the season has gone on but with the more aggressive style the Charge have started to move towards, Fragi will be the better and more comfortable choice on Reinhardt. 

That doesn't mean that Rio will be benched permanently moving forward, as Rio's has the better Winston of the two and then it's a toss-up between who plays Orisa and Wrecking Ball. I fully expect that both Fragi and Rio will see considerable playtime this stage, so it will be interesting to see how they rotate the two, especially considering that Fragi hasn't seen any game time in 9 months.


Out of all three players who were involved in these trades, Bischu is probably the most intriguing. Hotba has probably been the most consistent player on the Charge's roster this season, so to see them bring in Bischu raised questions. However, this trade makes sense on a number of levels.

Prior to moving to Off-Tank, Hotba was a DPS player and with the introduction of the Role Lock and the return of DPS heroes, there was one thing that the Charge was missing at the position. A Tracer. With Nero's emergence in stage 4 after becoming age eligible and he and Happy quickly showing they are a DPS combination to contend with, the one hero that neither of them plays to a high level is Tracer. Hotba is likely to return to that role that he filled for the Fusion in the latter part of last season in 2018.

With no back up in either Tank position, they had to make a move to allow Hotba that freedom and it's why Bischu is a perfect replacement. Many believe that Bischu is the superior out of the too on DVa and was meant to be having a very impressive preseason prior to illness ruling him out for a large part of the season, resulting in him moving to a 2-way contract. He also becomes a secondary shot-caller in the rare occasions with his ability to speak both English and Korean. While the Guangzhou players all have decent proficiency in English, He will be able to relay keywords into Korean and vice versa to help keep everyone on the same page. However, if the Charge does decide to play more Roadhog based compositions expect to see Hotba in at Off-Tank over Bischu.

With stage 4 starting in a few days and the Philadelphia Fusion playing against the Guangzhou Charge in their first game of the stage, we will get to see how both teams fare with the new Role Lock, but on paper, these are trades that benefit both teams, should make them even more competitive and hopefully creates a bit of a spicy rivalry between the two teams.

(You can find more Overwatch League related content on Twitter @haloofthoughts)
(Picture Credit: Askhon Esports, Guangzhou Charge, Overwatch League & Philadelphia Fusion)
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