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Meet the breakout Contenders stars from the Overwatch World Cup

These players aren’t in the Overwatch League but made a splash

Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

The 2018 Overwatch World Cup resulted in the South Korean team pulling off a three-peat, as was expected given the immense talent of players such as Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim and Sung-hyeon “JJoNak” Bang. However, while these players established themselves as household names earlier this year in Season 1 of the Overwatch League, this year’s Overwatch World Cup showcased some brand new talent by allowing stars from the Contenders circuit to strut their stuff on stage at BlizzCon 2018. Meet five of the best Contenders players from this year’s Overwatch World Cup. You may not see them on stage in Los Angeles, but they proved that they’re more than capable of going toe to toe with the most popular players in the world.

#5: Liam “Mangachu” Campbell

Liam “Mangachu” Campbell plays for XL2 Academy, who are the academy team for New York Excelsior. Although some people may be unfamiliar with Mangachu, he is one of the strongest DPS players in Contenders and would do brilliantly in the Overwatch League.

He’s also the person known for the infamous Torbjorn hammer kill in the Overwatch World Cup 2017 Gold Medal Match, in which he used Torbjorn’s hammer to kill a member of Team South Korea on Numbani while attacking. That act alone sums up Mangachu in a nutshell —he’s an incredibly talented player who isn’t afraid to have a bit of fun, even at the highest level of play.

Mangachu is known as a projectile specialist, as demonstrated by his fantastic Pharah play in this year’s Overwatch World Cup. Hae-seong “Libero” Kim is the projectile player for New York Excelsior, which is the only reason as to why Mangachu is playing on the Contenders team for New York at the moment. However, he could see a call up to the top tiers soon, especially given Torbjorn’s rework and his confidence on that hero.

#4: Xu “guxue” Qiulin

Playing for LGD Gaming in China’s Overwatch Contenders, Xu “guxue” Qiulin is a household name among Contenders fans, but was virtually unknown to anyone else until this weekend. After his performance for Team China at the Overwatch World Cup 2018, it’s likely that guxue will be picked up by an Overwatch League team ahead of Season 2, as his Winston play was unparalleled this year. Going toe-to-toe with Pan-seung “Fate” Koo in the Grand Finals, guxue proved just how ready he was to make the leap from Contenders to OWL. His angry monkey Primal Rage technique was simultaneously fun and scary to watch, as guxue looked almost untouchable this weekend. With the Overwatch League expanding heavily into China, expect to see one of those teams pick up this talent.

Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

#3: Finley “Kyb” Adisi

Known for his Genji and Roadhog, both of which he showed off at the Overwatch World Cup, Team UK DPS Finley “Kyb” Adisi showed just how capable he was of competing with the top players over the weekend. Kyb currently plays for British Hurricane, the academy team for London Spitfire, but will likely see a call up soon. He’s just too good to be competing in anything less than the top level of play.

Kyb’s Tracer play on Volskaya Industries this weekend highlighted just how versatile and impactful he can be as a player. His hook on Surefour’s Sombra from downtown on Busan gained a lot of attention, and Roadhog is one of his main heroes. Don’t think he doesn’t have depth, though — he can also pull a 5K out of absolutely nowhere ten seconds after swapping to Tracer to stall out the point against the team who went on to win the whole tournament. Kyb has an incredibly bright future filled with Dragonblades and Chain Hooks and hopefully he’ll be picked up by an OWL team before the transfer window for Season 2 closes.

#2: Huang “leave” Xin

Huang “leave” Xin is a free agent at the moment, but made a name for himself in China’s Overwatch Contenders when he won the Overwatch Premier Series 2017 with Miraculous Youngster.

leave was so good over the weekend that it’s pretty much a guarantee that fans will see him in Season 2 of the Overwatch League, perhaps playing for one of the three new Chinese teams: Chengdu, Hangzhou, or Guangzhou. Showcasing his skills on heroes like Doomfist and McCree, leave was unstoppable in the semi-final match between Team China and Team Canada, to the point that Team Canada Head Coach Justin “Jayne” Conroy tweeted mid-match saying, “okay leave seriously fuck off.

leave was incredibly modest when he was interviewed by Emily Tang after his stellar Doomfist performance against Team Canada on Blizzard World, but modesty doesn’t hide talent. leave performed at the highest of all levels this weekend, coming up against DPS counterparts like Lane “Surefour” Roberts, Jiri “LiNkzr” Masalin, and Jae-hyeok “Carpe” Lee, and he won more than his fair share of duels against all of them. He has more than earned himself a slot in Overwatch League Season 2, and fans all over the world look forward to seeing him in action on a weekly basis come February.

Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

#1: Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth

Cameron “Fusions” Bosworth is number one on this list due to his incredible Reinhardt performances throughout the Overwatch World Cup. Unsurprisingly, the Team UK main tank was picked up earlier this week by Boston Uprising on a two way contract with Toronto Esports.

Fusions played a pivotal role in Team UK’s advancement to the semi-finals of the Overwatch World Cup, despite the fact that they were seen as underdogs and many people expected them to lose to Team USA in the quarter finals. Flexing between Reinhardt, Winston, and Orisa, Fusions led the charge into every engagement over the weekend and made some of the best Earthshatter plays in the tournament. Although Team UK placed 4th after being defeated by Team Canada in the Bronze Medal match, the entire team made names for themselves as serious Overwatch players. Fusions tops the list, though, as the 19-year-old Reinhardt main proved that he was just as good as Pan-seung “Fate” Koo and Austin “Muma” Wilmot.

Although the five players mentioned above stood out as Contenders stars in this year’s Overwatch World Cup, everyone who competed played phenomenal Overwatch. Team Australia’s only OWL player was Scott “Custa” Kennedy, so players like Dario “Akraken” Falcao-Rassokha and Ashley “Trill” Powell really stepped up to the plate. Team Canada’s William “Crimzo” Hernandez and Team UK’s Michael “MikeyA” Adams stood out as OWL-standard players, too, with Crimzo’s Ana being one of the best of the weekend and MikeyA showing that he’s a fantastic Zarya as well as being a monstrous DPS player.

So, it seems that Overwatch League’s Season 2 will likely be seeing some new faces come February, as the Overwatch World Cup highlighted the fact that there are many Contenders players who are more than ready earn their keep in the Blizzard Arena.