While most Overwatch League fans are salivating over the raw potential of rosters in the Pacific Division, the Atlantic Division has fallen by the wayside a bit in preseason discussion. There are a lot of teams in the Atlantic Division that we simply have no idea how they will pan out or play as a unit and if or when they'll be able to take on existing Atlantic Division powerhouses.
Above all else, the Atlantic Division will likely have less parity with teams like reigning champions London Spitfire, runners-up Philadelphia Fusion, and the New York Excelsior, all of which kept their winning lineups.
DPS: Park "Profit" Junyoung
DPS: Kim "Birdring" Jihyeok
DPS: Lee "Guard" Heedong
Flex: Kim "Fury" Junho
Tank: Hong "Gesture" Jaehui
Support: Choi "Bdosin" Seungtae
Support: Kim "NUS" Jongseok
Support: Jeong "Krillin" Yeonghoon
It's always a bit of a cop-out to give a high grade to a team that simply managed to hold on to a championship lineup, but that's exactly what's about to happen here because that's exactly what London did this past offseason. Support Jeong "Closer" Wonsik left for the Dallas Fuel but London acquired open division player Krillin and former Element Mystic DPS player Guard.
Krillin is an unknown, although Gesture was quick to talk him up at the OWL media day saying that Krillin will be one of the rookies to watch in the upcoming Stage 1. Even if Krillin doesn't burst onto the scene, London still has the flexibility of Bdosin and the reliability of NUS, which will come in handy for triple tank-triple support compositions.
Last year, even during their worst performances, there was no doubt that London had the talent to win the entire league. It was always a matter of whether they could come together as a team. Since they found that synergy and went on to win the inaugural season grand finals, there's no reason for this team not to contend for the 2019 title.
DPS: Daniel "dafran" Francesca
DPS: Jeong "Erster" Joon
DPS: Ilya "NLaaeR" Koppalov
Flex: Seo "DACO" Dong-hyeong
Tank: Blake "Gator" Scott
Tank: Park "Pokpo" Hyun-jun
Support: Steven "Kodak" Rosenberger
Support: Petja "Masaa" Kantanen
"The Atlanta Reign could be really good" is something you've likely heard mentioned by one or several analysts this offseason. This will also apply to other expansion teams later in these offseason report cards. Yet, like many thoughts that contain "could be" or "may be" it really means that none of us actually know how well this lineup will do. They could be good. On paper, which is more or less what roster report cards are about, this lineup should turn heads, especially with the Element Mystic tank line of DACO and Pokpo and former Team Gigantti support Masaa.
Dafran is still the headlining name here, not only for his Overwatch prowess but offseason missteps that saw him leaving the team. If he is able to get through the mentally and physically demanding grind of this upcoming season, Atlanta should be an easy playoff contender, especially given how strong of a backline they have acquired.
DPS: Jeffrey "blasé" Tsang
DPS: Kelsey "Colourhex" Birse
Flex: Lucas "NotE" Meissner
Tank: Noh "Gamsu" Young-jin
Tank: Park "Axxiom" Min-seob
Tank: Cameron "Fusions" Bosworth
Support: Kwon "AimGod" Min-seok
Support: Renan "alemao" Moretto
Support: Kristian "Kellex" Keller
The unlikely darlings of the inaugural season's third stage, the Boston Uprising won fans' hearts by making the Stage 3 finals with an undefeated record in the Stage 3 regular season. This happened not only against the odds of initial preseason predictions for Boston's on-paper lineup, but internal issues that resulted in DPS substitute Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov rising to the occasion as a starter on heroes that he was less familiar with. This allowed Tracer phenom Kwon "Striker" Nam-joo to take over games.
This year many of the players that made Boston such a dangerous team to play, particularly Striker, are gone. It's a test for Chris "HuK" Loranger and company, who were often credited for scouting Striker and others, as to whether they can make lightning strike twice with a fairly underwhelming lineup on paper. Boston promoted two of their organization's academy players, Colourhex and Axxiom, the latter of whom, along with Fusions, could push Gamsu out of the starting main tank spot (or Gamsu will start when the team wants to play Winston and flex between the other two for Reinhardt and Orisa). This line will likely be repeated for many teams, but it isn't that Boston has a bad roster as much as it is that there are others with better rosters.
DPS: Kevyn "TivQ" Lindström
DPS: Ha "Sayaplayer" Jeong-woo
DPS: Damon "Apply" Conti
DPS: Lee "BQB" Sang-beom
Flex: Koo "xepheR" Jae-mo
Tank: Kim "SNT" Sung-hoon
Tank: Yoon "Swon" Sang-won
Support: Jo "HaGoPeun" Hyeon-woo
Support: Choi "Kris" Jun-soo
Of all teams in the Atlantic Division, the Florida Mayhem have one of the most underwhelming on-paper lineups. Florida kept two players from last year's 7 win season: hitscan DPS player Sayaplayer and main tank SNT (previously known as AwesomeGuy). Similar to lineups like the Washington Justice, Florida's lineup has already been outdone by the variety of strong signings across most other Overwatch League organizations. The success of the Florida Mayhem lineup depends not only on developing coordination as a team, but also on players like HaGoPeun, xepheR, and Kris to outperform their own best performances through the years.
DPS: Jiri "LiNkzer" Masalin
DPS: Jacob "JAKE" Lyon
DPS: Jeong "ArHaN" Won-hyeop
DPS: Dante "Danteh" Cruz
Flex: Matt "coolmatt" Iorio
Flex: Alexandre "SPREE" Vanhomwegen
Flex/Support: Shane "Rawkus" Flaherty
Tank: Austin "Muma" Wilmot
Support: Daniel "Boink" Pence
Support: Christopher "Bani" Benell
It's difficult to see the Houston Outlaws doing particularly poorly, especially in Stage 1. Yet, it's also difficult to see them towards the top at the end of the season. Houston continue to lean on their pre-existing synergy with this lineup, but that same lineup did have hero pool issues across a few metas last year. They ultimately landed in seventh place overall, just outside season playoff contention behind eventual runners-up Philadelphia Fusion with more points but two fewer match victories than Philly.
This year that competition for playoffs will only be stronger with the influx of talent coming into Season 2 on existing or expansion lineups. Danteh specifically is a strong pickup who should bring more flexibility to their DPS line. Houston won't be bad with this lineup, and they may even start hot based on how coordinated they can be.
New York Excelsior
DPS: Park "Saebyeolbe" Jong-ryeol
DPS: Hwang "Fl0w3r" Yeon-oh
DPS: Jong "Nenne" Yeon-kwan
DPS: Kim "Pine" Do-hyeon
DPS: Kim "Libero" Hae-seong
Flex: Kim "MekO" Tae-hong
Tank: Kim "Mano" Dong-kyu
Support: Bang "JJoNak" Seong-hyeon
Support: Hong "ArK" Yeon-jun
Support: Jung "Anamo" Tae-sung
This past offseason, the New York Excelsior only lost two members: substitute main tank Song "Janus" Joon-hwa, who didn't see much playing time outside of a few specialty situations like King's Row, and coach Kim "WizardHyeong" Hyeong-seok. WizardHyeong could be the larger loss between the two, but the NYXL also retained Yoo "Pavane" Hyeon-sang who not only has coached the South Korean world cup team, but has also been with this group for longer in their LW days.
Nenne and Fl0w3r were both promoted from XL2 Academy, giving the NYXL five viable DPS options on top of retaining the stacked lineup that went to all four stage finals in the inaugural season, winning two of them. Look for the NYXL to take full advantage of this throughout the 2019 season, especially to stay ahead of meta changes like the ones that tripped them up in last year's season playoffs. Given the talent on this lineup and their pre-existing synergy, much like the London Spitfire, it's difficult to see the NYXL anywhere but fighting for first place in the Atlantic Division.
DPS: Terence "SoOn" Tarlier
DPS: George "ShaDowBurn" Gushcha
DPS: Karol "Danye" Szcześniak
DPS: Nicolas "NiCOgdh" Moret
Flex: Finnbjörn "Finnsi" Jónasson
Tank: Roni "LhCloudy" Tiihonen
Tank: Benjamin "BenBest" Dieulafait
Support: Damien "HyP" Souville
Support: Harrison "Kruise" Pond
Support: Luís "Greyy" Perestrelo
The roster of Paris Eternal occupy a similar spot as that of the Boston Uprising. SoOn was a standout performer on the Los Angeles Valiant last year, but the test will be to see how well he does without the strength of the Valiant starting frontline. This will be a test for flex player Finnsi who also came over from the Valiant for a starting spot on Paris after spending time behind Indy "Space" Halpern. Starting alongside SoOn will likely be Danye, who recently performed well individually for Team Poland. Paris also have flex options with former Eagle Gaming and Rogue DPS player NiCOgdh, or even Kruise, who has played both DPS and support.
Paris have a lot of DPS options, but the test for this team will be in how well its support and tank lines open up opportunities. Many of these players are veterans in terms of how long they've been playing Overwatch, but relatively untested in the Overwatch League. It's not the most impressive lineup on paper, but if they can use their flexibility to their advantage, Paris will be a dangerous team.
DPS: Lee "Carpe" Jae-hyeok
DPS: Josue/Josh "Eqo" Corona
DPS: Simon "snillo" Ekström
Flex: Gael "Poko" Gouzerch
Tank: Joona "Fragi" Laine
Tank: Kim "SADO" Su-min
Support: Isaac "Boombox" Charles
Support: lberto "neptuNo" González
Support: Elijah Hudson "Elk" Gallagher
Another team that managed to hold onto their inaugural season starting lineup, with good reason, was the Philadelphia Fusion. The Fusion cut ShaDowBurn, Joe "Joemeister" Gramano, and Park "DayFly" Jeong-hwan and traded Choi "HOTBA" Hong-joon to the Guangzhou Charge. None of these players were instrumental to the Fusion's starting lineup -- most of them saw very little playing time -- and the roster that the Fusion retained is the explosive, DPS-focused team that made it to the grand finals last year.
It will be interesting to see the DPS-heavy Fusion in a meta that favors some a triple-tank, triple-support composition as a baseline, and should offer a good chance for Poko, Fragi, and SADO to show off their skills. An interesting pickup for the Fusion is Elk, who has moved up as a two-way player option from Fusion University. Elk is near-universally praised by teammates and adversaries in Contenders: North America and it will be interesting to see him on the Overwatch League stage should Philly choose to start him.
DPS: Lee "Ivy" Seung-hyeon
DPS: Lee "Stellar" Do-hyeong
DPS: Choi "Asher" Joon-seong
Flex: Lee "envy" Kang-jae
Tank: Jo "Yakpung" Gyeong-mu
Support: Park "Neko" Se-hyeon
Support: Go "Aid" Jae-yoon
Support: Park "RoKy" Joo-seong
Of all Atlantic Division expansion teams, the Toronto Defiant have the most unknowns on their lineup, making them particularly difficult to place or predict. The three known quantities on Toronto are former Boston Uprising support Neko, former Los Angeles Gladiators DPS player Asher and former Los Angeles Valiant and Meta Bellum flex player envy, the latter of whom is also team captain. Ivy, Stellar, and Yakpung will hopefully have strong coordination together from their time in the O2 organization over in South Korea, and Ivy in particular is a strong DPS talent who was likely on a lot of scouting radars. This is an all South Korean lineup, which should hopefully bypass communication issues that hybrid rosters with perceived stronger talent will face. Their success will depend heavily on if their players will be able to stand up to talent from both the OWL and Contenders.
DPS: Corey "Corey" Nigra
DPS: Cheon "Ado" Gi-hyeon
DPS: Ethan "Stratus" Yankel
Flex: Kim "SamSam" Hyang-ki
Tank: Song "Janus" Joon-hwa
Support: Moon "Gido" Gi-do
Support: Cho "Hyeonu" Hyeon-woo
Support: Riley "Fahzix" Taylor
Thinking back to the start of the 2018-19 offseason, the Washington Justice were actually one of the first expansion teams to publicly announce roster moves with the pickup of former NYXL coach WizardHyeong and main tank Janus. While Janus didn't start much over Kim "Mano" Dong-kyu, he is talented if overly-focused on trying to get a bit too cute with flanks or being ahead of the rest of his team. The Justice then took some time filling in the rest of their lineup amidst rumors of budget issues, which led to a few surprising pickups, including former Lunatic Hai/Seoul Dynasty DPS-turned-flex-support Moon "Gido" Gi-do and former Shanghai Dragons DPS Cheon "Ado" Gi-hyeon.
The problem with the Washington Justice isn't necessarily that their talent is bad, but it's not nearly as strong as the other expansion teams in the Atlantic Division, nevermind Atlantic stalwarts like the NYXL, Fusion, and OWL inaugural season champions London Spitfire. Within their own division, it's difficult to see them fighting for a top spot, especially since the Atlantic Division is already considered significantly weaker overall than its Pacific counterpart.