The XL2 Academy team announced that they were looking for new players with local representation for their Contenders Team. The announcement on the 12th of January did not really garner much attention. Many Overwatch Contenders team make such announcements, they are seen more of a marketing gimmick. After all, why would any team want to add amateurs to their Contenders team. However, it seems that XL2 was very serious about their tweet.
📣 CALLING NYC 📣
Do you have what it takes?
We're looking for NYers to represent XL2 next season. We'll provide opportunity and mentorship so we can make it big together! 🙌
Candidates will be invited to an online tournament.
— XL2 Academy (@XL2) January 11, 2019
According to community tweets, it seems that XL2 has released two of its players from their roster. The reason was their intention to add local representation for the team. The players leaving the roster would be James “Cloneman16” D’Arcangelo & Liam “Mangachu” Campbell. While CloneMan was the tank player for XL2, Mangachu donned the role of a DPS character.
Post their loss to Atlanta Academy in the Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season 3: North America; the roster changes were initiated. The XL2 Academy team has not had the best of results and this is just another problem with the Contenders Scene.
The Overwatch Tier 2 scene: A mess.
While Overwatch league is a success by most standards, the lower tiers of Overwatch has not seen much action. The lack of viewership numbers, incentives and prize money has hampered the growth of the Tier two scene.
XL2 Academy was one of the more well-known Academy teams. They fielded Fl0wer in the last year and had a decent fan following. New York has one of the larger fanbases in the Overwatch scene [ at least for the Contenders Scene].
The two players are now looking for new opportunities.
Given that XL2 is looking to have New York representation on their roster, I am now currently LFT OWL/Academy/Contenders. Please reach out to me via twitter, discord, or email.
— Mangachu (@Mangachu_) January 12, 2019
Since New York Is looking for new Yorkers for their team, I will be LFT. If you a need a main tank that can keep people cheered up and always ready to help, then look no further. You can message me on discord, twitter or email. :heart:
— James D'Arcangelo (@Cloneman16) January 13, 2019
It was a shocking decision for many as they did not expect to see these professional players get the boot. It was a decision with a lot of thought process. The Contenders is in dire shape and there is little incentive for teams to invest so much money in salary and player benefits. They would rather use it as a brand awareness campaign, which will help connect their main OWL teams to their local fanbase. This is exactly what the NYXL seems to be doing with this decision.
OWL needs real 2 way contracts. Teams should want to keep great talent around. Never mind. As long as some player plays the game that is good enough for marketing reasons. We are esports boys.
— Jason Baker (@Alchemister5) January 13, 2019
Pretty disappointing to see such a cynical move from New York. Imagine a world where every academy team did this—Path to Pro would lose all meaning.
— Harsha Bandi [하샤] (@ggHarsha) January 13, 2019
If you artificially limit even half of your roster to local talent, the most likely outcome is poor practice and development all around. NA Contenders is -really- hard, and this amount of hubris serves nobody – not fans, not aspiring players, and not NYXL's marketing either.
— Brad Rajani (sephy) (@Selfless_Brad) January 13, 2019
We do hope that Blizzard provides more structure and exposure to the Tier two scene. Without a robust tier two scene, the OWL will collapse and it will be a huge setback to esports in general.