Overwatch League 2019 Team Preview: Chengdu Hunters
By Blizzard Entertainment
Joined Overwatch League: September 2018
Meet the Hunters
We asked general manager Baolong Wang to tell us more about the team:
What makes your team stand out from other sports/esports teams in your market?
All of our team members are ethnic Chinese, from both Taiwan and mainland China. Two of our players—Tianbin “Lateyoung” Ma and Xianyao “Yveltal” Li—played for Team China in the 2018 Overwatch World Cup, and our coach, Xingrui “Rui” Wang, served as the head coach of Team China. I think all these factors make our team stand out from other teams in our market.
What will your team do that’s special or original in order to connect with and reach fans in your home market?
We hosted a fan meetup event in Chengdu on Dec. 23. We are looking forward to interacting with fans in different ways. Our mascot is a panda and we love using our own panda emoji—Chengduese people love the panda! I think the best way to connect with fans is to go eat hot pot together with them (especially really authentic Sichuan hot pot)!
What was the philosophy in constructing the team’s roster?
For the team roster, we selected great players in every position from China. Players on our team are not only well-trained, but also have really a good attitude towards professional esports.
What are the specific expectations and goals for the team in the 2019 season?
We are looking forward to playing on the world stage. We want to show off the skill and attitude that our players have. Also, we want to contribute more to the growth of Overwatch in China.
Find out what our team thinks about the Hunters’ lineup.
More: 2019 Roster
Keys to Success
Overwatch League analyst Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson offers his thoughts on what Chengdu needs to focus on this season:
- Chengdu have taken a risk by committing to a full Chinese squad in 2019. Though the Overwatch World Cup proved that China has star players, those players are now spread out across the expansion teams. To compensate, the Hunters resurrected some names from the past to play DPS for them: Tzu-Heng “Baconjack” Lo and Zhihao “YangXiaoLong” Zhang. Neither of these former hitscan talents played a single match in 2018. They will be out of practice and may prove to be out of their depth, but Chengdu needs at least one of these investments to pay off.
- The Hunters’ main-tank situation was an enigma until recently. They had signed one, Menghan “Ameng” Ding: a highly flexible jack of all trades, but with a mastery of perhaps only Hammond. Vastly inexperienced on Winston, Ameng seemed to be a clear weakness for the team, and Chengdu tried to solve this issue by acquiring Yansong “Jiqiren” Wei from Team CC in Contenders. Though Jiqiren has a lot of experience alongside his former teammates Lateyoung, Chunting “Kyo” Kong, and YangXiaoLong, he is prone to over-extending to the point of being a liability, and that must still be ironed out for the team’s tank line to be solid.
- Another player prone to hyper-aggression is flex DPS Hu “JinMu” Yi. He has the mechanics to be a competent and flashy Genji player for Chengdu, but he needs to either be reined in or have the entire team built around him. There is a fine line between decisive and reckless play; the Hunters need JinMu to stay alive if they are to reap the rewards from his skill.
- It’s important that Chengdu continues the Chinese trend of playing fast, hyper-aggressive, and sometimes strange compositions. Throwing cheese strategies and unique tactics at their opponents, backed up by strong mechanics from their DPS, can definitely snag Chengdu some wins against unprepared teams.
- Head coach Rui also has to tighten up their discipline and coordination. This point isn’t in direct conflict with the previous one, but it is a challenge for Rui. If he tries to play the meta, this team may not prevail. If they rely on pure mechanics and stay as chaotic as the Chinese Contenders teams, they will get picked apart as individuals. Rui must create a unique, aggressive, chaotic style where every player is on the same page.
Catch the Chengdu Hunters in action in their season opener against the Guangzhou Charge on Friday, February 15, at 8:30 p.m. PST. All 2019 season matches will be available live and on demand on overwatchleague.com, the Overwatch League app, our Twitch channel, MLG.com, and the MLG app.