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The Chengdu Hunters are on the prowl as they enter the Overwatch League

With an endearing roster, a bold color scheme, and the grumpy panda, what’s not to love?

Chengdu Hunters / Blizzard Entertainment

Quickly stealing the hearts and minds of fans across the globe, the Chengdu Hunters have assembled a roster that looks to showcase the power of the Chinese region ... with a little help from the Pacific. The Hunters are owned by HUYA Inc, a Chinese live streaming platform that primarily focuses on showcasing games, but is operated by the Chinese esports organization, Royal Never Give Up. Royal Never Give Up have established success in the League of Legends scene, and now the organization looks to Overwatch. The nine players that will represent the yellow and gold in the second season of the Overwatch League consists of:

  • Kong “Kyo” Chunting
  • Guan “Garry” Li
  • Li “Yveltal” Xianyao
  • Luo “Elsa” Wenjie
  • Ma “LateYoung” Tianbin
  • Ding “Ameng” Menghan
  • Yi “JinMu” Hu
  • Zhang “YangXiaoLong” Zhihao
  • Lo “Baconjack” Tzu-Heng

Tank player Ameng and DPS ace JinMu have been on the radar of many fans of the Chinese scene for some time now. Both players hail from a team that is not shy about playing unorthodox and creative strategies, and have had a fairly successful run in Overwatch Contenders on Moss Seven Club. Previously going under the handle vanessa, Ameng is an incredibly flexible tank player that has dabbled in playing DPS heroes like Sombra, Tracer, and Pharah. He also has experience in playing D.Va, Zarya, Reinhardt, and Wrecking Ball. Whereas his DPS counterpart JinMu is a consummate projectile DPS player, who can fill the team’s needs anywhere from Genji to Hanzo to Pharah.

Backing Ameng up at the flex tank position is Elsa, who brings an seasoned touch to the teams front line. Previously playing for teams like Black Ananas and more recently LinGan e-Sports, Elsa was a stable member of the LinGan core in their strong performances throughout the many Chinese events that were scattered about in 2018. That said, he is not the only veteran member to be joining the Hunters.

As one half of the legendary Miraculous Youngster DPS duo, YangXiaoLong returns from his stint in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds to his rightful place in the Overwatch League. Known for his tracking accuracy and on heroes like Soldier 76 and Tracer, the veteran Chinese talent brings a very clear skill set to the Chengdu Hunters, but he brings a twist of innovation and clever picks as well. YangXiaoLong played a key role with his pocket Reaper pick in Miraculous Youngster’s anti-dive composition that rose in popularity during the 2017 Overwatch World Cup. After a dominant Summer in 2017, the Autumn and Winter months brought middling results for the young DPS star and his team. And after the Nexus Cup 2017 annual finals, Miraculous Youngsters effectively disbanded.

Redemption is what YangXiaoLong will be hunting in his rookie season in the Overwatch League. After two difficult matches during the Seoul Cup and the APAC Premier 2017, the last event he and Miraculous Youngster participated in ended with a lethargic 13-16th place finish. He’s not the only returning member of the Miraculous Youngster roster that dominated the Chinese scene for nearly a year.

Head coach Xingrui “RUI” Wang has a history with Overwatch and YangXiaoLong, dating back to before the League even began. He previously worked with Miraculous Youngster and helped them devise a creative solution to the metagame constraints at the time.

Seeing the two join forces again should point your attention to how successful their former team has been in the past. Seeing the possibility of a spiritual successor to a team like Miraculous Youngster should be an exciting narrative to follow throughout the season.

Another player that has returned to Overwatch from their short stint in PUBG is the former Flash Wolves DPS player, Lo “Baconjack” Tzu-Heng. Domestically, Flash Wolves were always considered a playoff contender after their strong performances during the two seasons in the Overwatch Pacific Championship. Seldom did we see Baconjack off of his signature pick of Tracer, but Hanzo, Reaper, and Junkrat are also well within his wheelhouse.

Backing the team up on support, the Hunters have signed Zenyatta ace, Kyo, the veteran mind, Garry, and the all-star main support from the 2018 Overwatch World Cup team, Yveltal. Previously playing with the Shanghai Dragons’ academy team, Team CC, Kyo has been a standout domestic flex support for some time. Within his two seasons playing with Team CC in Overwatch Contenders, he’s always been a bright spot during some rough waters. Garry is bringing roughly two years worth of experience of playing the game at the top level in China to the Overwatch League. And last, but certainly not least, we’ve got Yveltal who just has come off a impressive performance during the Overwatch World Cup.

The Hunters support line has also garnered attention from Chinese pundits as well. Commentator for the Chinese broadcast of Overwatch Contenders, Gai “Alan” Yandahan, took to social media and gave very positive nods to both Kyo and Yveltal stating that “Kyo is seen as one of the best Zenyatta players in China, but he certainly needs more outcome than just impression,” and “Yveltal, as [we’ve] all seen on Overwatch World Cup, will be a solid pick in support line.”

Don’t underestimate this team just because you’re unfamiliar with the roster. China as a region has been very creative throughout the life cycle of Overwatch and the Hunters are here to replicate that for the passionate and adoring fans that the Overwatch League houses. The Hunters are equipped with flexibility en masse, and have a possibility for unorthodox play styles that will not only win fans over left and right ... but could cause some massive upsets. With that in mind, it’s understandably hard to gauge exactly where they should be placed coming into the season opener in February.

Undoubtedly the strength of the Pacific Division marks the Hunters as possible underdogs, but don’t let that scare you away. Everyone loves a good dark horse story and the Hunters are looking to put on a show one way or another.