The November 15th deadline for Overwatch League teams to have an 8 man roster came and went with a whimper. While Uprising fans waited on baited breath to hear who the last recruit would be, nothing materialized. Instead, fans were left scratching their heads who the final piece of Huk’s 2020 roster puzzle would be. That all changed today with the announcement of the final player – the Munchkin!
With an 8 man roster complete, it’s time to give a quick look at who the Uprising are for next year. Here’s an overview of each player, where they come from, and what they bring to their table. Of course, keep an eye out for future moves – no one knows if Huk is done except him. And maybe Head Coach Mineral. It’s going to be a long off season.
A new addition to the roster going into 2019, the New Zealand born DPS player was stuck on Zarya for most of the season during the GOATs meta. Once stage 4 and the 2-2-2 role lock hit, he was free. And boy, did he make the most of the opportunity. His Widowmaker was a weekly highlight making machine, popping heads both consistently and often in midair. There’s a reason he was one of the three players retained for the 2020 team. Namely, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Still, questions linger of how he can play alongside two Korean DPS players. Time will also tell what heroes each will be chosen to play.
British main tank Fusions made a name for himself in the 2018 Overwatch World Cup and was quickly signed to a 2-way contract to the Uprising Academy. Clearly making an impression with the staff, he shot up the depth chart past former captain and fan favorite Gamsu, forcing his trade to Shanghai. Through the first few stages of the 2019 season, Fusions proved an elite level Reinhardt player. He became the first player from Boston to make the starting roster of the All-Star team. As the season progressed, teams realized focusing on him was key to defeating the Uprising, and the team suffered. While his Orissa was not top tier as the league shifted past the GOATs meta, his work ethic, tactical knowledge, and leadership skills made him an easy player for Huk and company to keep going into the 2020 season.
Korean main-tank Park “Axxiom” Min-seob didn’t see much play time in 2019. Originally, Axxiom played on Boston’s former farm team Toronto Esports. His limited play time on the Overwatch League stage makes him a mystery. Could he move to a more off-tank role in 2020? It’s hard to see him getting played over Fusions. He’ll either need to adapt to new heroes or improve his play if he wants more playtime.
The first move by the Uprising this offseason was the signing of Korean flex-support Sang-min “Myunbong” Seo. Formerly of Korean Contenders team O2 Blast, Myunbong sticks out as a highly capable hitscan specialist in a support role. What’s interesting to me is his signing is symbolic of Huk’s scouting method. While most OWL teams scout in Korea, it seems players are only plucked from a small pool of teams. Runaway, GenG, Lunatic Hei, Element Mystic, and other ‘top tier’ teams. Here we have Huk finding a great player in a ‘lesser known’ team. Notice that once Myunbong was signed, his teammate Crong was picked up by the Charge. His other former teammates are now being scouted too. Once again, Huk is ahead of the curve.
It will be interesting to see how the support role develops for 2020. As there are no returning players on support, Huk and Mineral will have their work cut out for them. But signing a player of Myunbong’s caliber is as good a start as can be expected.
Also announced during Huk’s first AMA this offseason alongside Myunbong’s signing was DPS specialist Jerry. Similar to his new Korean teammate, Jerry hails from a lesser known Korean Contenders team, Meta Athena. Though they didn’t find major success this past year, Jerry’s Widowmaker and Sombra were well known to be exceptional. Will he be splitting time on Widow with Hex? Can he deepen his hero pool? How will he coordinate with the other members of the team? Time will tell. Until the season starts, though, all we have is this adorable memeable picture of him.
Popular Twitch streamer (14k followers) and Canadian off-tank Mouffin was announced during Huk’s 2nd off-season AMA. He joins the Uprising, notably, on a 2-way contract. What is strange about that is he’s the only clear off-tank of the three tank players. No way Fusions gets booped off of main tank. Does that mean Axxiom moves to a DVa/Roadhog/Zarya role? Will Mouffin get a big push during a meta that favors those characters? Boston has used 2-way players prominently before (see Fusions, 2019) so it’s not surprising they’d do it again. Hopefully he’ll make the most of the opportunity.
American support Gabriel “Swimmer” Levy has been promoted after over a year in the Uprising’s farm team. Boston recently posted a great introduction to him. He’s a fan favorite streamer and player that has put in the time grinding his way through Contenders. As he and Myunbong are taking over a vacated support role, it will be critical for these two to learn how to work together. It could be a make or break situation for the Uprising this season.
Today’s announcement signaled the signing of free agent DPS player Sang-beom “Munchkin” Byeon. Formerly of Seoul Dynasty, the veteran hitscan specialist brings a veteran presence to a young team. While regarded as a competent DPS player in his time with the Dynasty, he hasn’t exactly popped off. Will a change in scenery help? Could he pair well with fellow Korean DPS Jerry? What’s a bit head-scratching is he, Jerry, and Colourhex all appear to be hitscan specialists. Who will make the starting roster? Will someone move to a projectile specialist? Time will tell, but Mineral will need to work hard to figure out what each DPS’ role on the team will be.
Another year, another major roster turnover for the Boston Uprising. In some ways, it’s not surprising. While Boston made it to year end playoffs in 2018, they just missed out this past year. Sadly, most of the players were dumped in a major roster overhaul that set the stage for today’s news. In a continuation of his usual MO, Huk has assembled a seemingly random cast of characters. Diverse in nationality and origin, these players will have to come together if Boston has any chance in 2020. Will their individual talent coalesce around new head coach Mineral? If so, that could lead to a stand out performance like we saw in the Inaugural Season. But, if personalities clash and toxicity seeps in like in 2019, the competition will bury them quickly.
Given Huk’s track record of finding talent and the resumes of the new individual players, there’s no reason for Uprising fans to be skeptical. These players now have an opportunity in front of them. They’ve all clearly worked hard to get this chance. With the inevitable skepticism and hate that comes from outside the Uprising bubble, the pressure will be on them. Fortunately, Boston has a ready made and oft-used attitude to rally around. Uprising fans know it well.
Prove. Them. Wrong.
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