With the deadline for the Overwatch League Team signings over, Peter Wellman takes a look at the recently announced 2021 London Spitfire roster.
With the new year coming in and 2020 being confined to a flaming skip, the UK’s Overwatch League team London Spitfire announced their full roster.
They kept with their team philosophy of promoting most of the British Hurricane roster from Overwatch Contenders.
In case you didn’t follow British Hurricane’s historic 42-map win streak through 2020, here’s a little who’s who of who’s been signed to this revamped London Spitfire roster.
Flex DPS – Blasé
This was the first roster announcement and amongst my friends the collective response was: ‘What?’
Jeffery ‘Blasé’ Tsang is an American Flex DPS who played for the underwhelming Houston Outlaws.
Early in the season his Doomfist looked very impressive, arguably carrying his team against the 2020 London Spitfire towards the start of the season. Then he was left out of the team in favour of other DPS on the Houston Outlaws.
He has a decent history in the league, playing for Boston Uprising and then Houston Outlaws. His signing rustled a few engineers in the Hangar9 Discord, mainly as they didn’t sign Daniel ‘Dannedd’ Rosdah; who played flex DPS with the Hurricane through the year.
He’s an unproven flex DPS player. We haven’t seen much else from his aside from a Doomfist and his underwhelming Mcree, so this season we are going to see if he can match his Doomfist performance on other heroes.
Hitscan DPS – Sparkr
William ‘SparkR’ Andersson is the Swedish star DPS of this line-up. A very solid Tracer player with impressive hitscan capabilities, this young talent is sure to be just as good as he has been in the 2020 season.
He was a key part to the success of Hurricane in European Contenders however he is underage until June 10th.
For the first few months of the league (this is assuming the league begins in the spring as Overwatch esports VP Jon Spector has stated), he will not be in the starting line-up.
He’s definitely a player to watch out for in-game, as his coordination with his tank line is excellent.
We’ll have to see how he matches up against the other more experienced DPS players in the league, but others have done very well and this rookie looks like a definite highlight.
Hitscan DPS – Hybrid
The first British player to ever be signed to London Spitfire, Dominic ‘Hybrid’ Grove has been playing in the American region on various teams since early 2019 and most recently Team Doge.
A very capable hitscan, his hero pool does seem to overlap with Sparkr. How he will be coached and specialised and fit into the team is only up to speculation at this point.
He is a very capable player and he’ll be a starter whilst Sparkr cannot play. After that it depends where his hero pool is better suited for certain meta’s, for instance if there is a double sniper DPS meta or Widowmaker/Tracer, or Tracer/Ashe meta.
He is a solid pickup, however most of the doubt around him seems to stem from him not playing for the 2020 British Hurricane team.
Main Tank – Hadi
The British Hurricane tank line is honestly the gold that’s been promoted to the Overwatch League.
German player Daniel ‘Hadi’ Bleinagel is a main tank that’s been playing on various teams since early 2018. He was originally a stand in for British Hurricane until they signed him full time.
Watching him, he’s in the right place at the right time on Wrecking Ball and well positioned on Reinhardt and the other main tank roles. Regularly he’s coordinating with Sparkr or Dannedd to finish off supports when his team have lost players in a teamfight.
He’s a very capable main tank who has great communication with his team, being a pillar of the Hurricane team which led to their almost unbeaten 2020 contenders season. There are high expectations for him going into the league, but he’s certainly another star player to be looking out for.
Off Tank – Molf1g
Danish player Mikkel “Molf1g” Djernes is a veteran tank partner that played for Team Denmark in the 2019 World cup, alongside Kellex. He’s the other half of the British Hurricane pedigree tank line that have dominated European contenders for the past year.
He’s been a staple in the scene for years and now it’s time for him to face up to the tougher competition in the league.
For the last year he’s been playing predominantly Sigma as part of double shield, but recently he’s being pulling out the Winston in some odd double main tank comps.
Going into the new year, where flexibility is the key under hero pools, Molf1g seems to have great flexibility on all off tanks and even some main tanks.
Hero pools, for those not in the know, is where the league will periodically ban some heroes, however they have stated they are changing the system from last year’s.
This tank line looks very solid for the league and this is where my confidence in the team really begins to grow. Tanks decide the tempo of fights and with a good tank line allows the rest of the team to utilise their abilities better.
Main Support – Kellex
Kristian ‘Kellex’ Keller is another former member of the Boston Uprising and Danish player in this new roster. A solid Lucio, Brigette and Mercy player, Kellex seems to have been the least talked about member of this team.
It’s easy to forget that he played for the Toronto Defiant at the beginning of the year, before leaving the team in favour of going on a tear with the Hurricane.
I would love to talk about his stats, however none of his stats are currently on the Overwatch Stats Lab. He’s a stealth player. He is a good friend of the new coach Mad’s ‘fischer’ Jehg, and has played with Blasé before on Boston, so he does form a core to this team.
Kellex appears to be the lynch pin of this team, where all the pieces are connected to him, so hopefully he can have a good season with a team he’s been playing with for a long time.
Flex Support – Ripa
And to round off the roster is Finland’s Riku ‘Ripa’ Toivanen. Riku is another part of the veteran backline of the new London Spitfire, playing an impressive Zenyatta and Moira.
On the roster for the Los Angeles Gladiators for most of 2019, he was mainly in the background due to BigG00se and Shaz being the chosen support duo for the team.
In the recent Contenders meta, he was starting on Zenyatta and he always looked pretty good. The London Spitfire backline are veterans that have never really gotten a shot at the top spot or much of a show in the league.
London Spitfire: ‘Every game is winnable’
Will this team be the best in the league? The short answer is no. Will they have a better season than last year? Almost certainly yes.
Hadi and Molf1g are a strong tank line and are capable of having a better performance than some of the midtable teams in the NA region.
However, as lots of teams have really strengthened their rosters, especially the teams deemed “bottom tier” in 2020, they will be facing off against very strong competition.
They have a veteran support line and a solid tank line, however their DPS line is what is unproven. Blasé and Hybrid have huge question marks about their performance with the team, but Blasé has played with Kellex and adding one new player won’t annihilate a team culture.
Their coordination might be able to win them some early games against teams that have not really figured things out. They have a strong core which is important in a game where pure teamwork can win championships.
If their transition to wherever they are playing is smooth, that will of course help. They hopefully they can be a solid and respected mid-table team.
And considering this year the Paris Eternal have gone full European (again), Paris versus London will be the great European show match.
All London Spitfire fans are of course hoping for a great performance this year. Head coach CommanderX has stated in the Hangar9 Discord, when asked if they are going for a top 4 finish but they are going to try being ‘the best team they can be and trying to win the next game’.
As the core of this roster has conquered Europe, let’s see how they fair in the big league. They are clearly looking to be a better team for the fans and to have a better performance than 2020; London Spitfire are showing the best Europe has to offer in 2021.