Life in the competitive Overwatch scene before the arrival of the Overwatch League (OWL) might have been a bit scattered and disorganized, but was a thrilling landscape where clever and talented players experimented with new strategies and created an identity for the young esport. Unfortunately, it seems not all of these pioneers will be making it to the big leagues.
Players xQc, Danteh, and Super—all of whom have deep insider knowledge of the OWL—went on DogmanOW’s “Ultimate Advantage” podcast and revealed that FaZe Clan and Rogue, two storied Overwatch teams, will be disbanding, and their players will be joining other franchises individually.
FaZe was founded soon after the May 2016 release of Overwatch, but their core identity was established in August of last year when the high-profile and highly-talented ShaDowBurn and FCTFCTN (pronounced “fact-fiction”) joined the squad. After some top five finishes at major tournaments—thanks in part to the signing of South Korean DPS player Carpe—and is now on the cusp of winning the entirety of Overwatch Contenders Season One. This victory would come over teams like EnVyUs and Immortals, who will be representing San Francisco and Los Angeles in league play, respectively.
However, the team will not be making the full leap to the OWL itself, and sections of FaZe will have to move on independently. “I think chunks of their players will be on the same team,” Danteh noted. “I think three max, three of the players will be on the same team.” xQc corroborated this, predicting that there may be as many as four on one squad. It’s unclear who this core would consist of, but many seem to believe the support core of FCTFCTN and Rawkus will continue to play together, potentially with teammates Joemeister or SPREE along for the ride.
Rogue is a mirror of FaZe currently: a top tier team that has fallen on some hard times. Through the end of 2016 and the first half of 2017, there was no team more terrifying than Rogue in the western world. They were the first to popularize and terrorize opponents with “dive” compositions—highly coordinated and mobile six-man formations that use quick guerrilla strikes to dismantle teams—and have fielded some of the most talented players in the game’s history (aKm, SoOn, uNKOE, etc.).
However, since the rest of the community adapted to their strategies, Rogue has found it difficult to stand out from the pack again. They missed the top eight of Overwatch APEX Season 3, and were recently upset in Overwatch Contenders Season One by Envision, a team with no major victories that had no business beating them. According to the insiders, they may not have many attempts to improve as one anymore.
When asked if Rogue would have to disband, Super, playing it close to the vest, said it depended on “what Blizzard does with the tier-2 scene,” implying the squad would not be signed on as a major franchise and would have to stay in the Contenders league. However, after some prodding, he let slip the crucial info.
“I think it’s safe to say Rogue players are trying out [for other teams], right?” xQc asked, to which Super begrudgingly agreed. “Yeah, they’re trying out. Most of them,” xQc seemed to confirm after.
FaZe is a great underdog story, and Rogue will always be remembered as the pioneers of dive comp. However, by the time the Overwatch League begins in January, these teams may end up as just that: memories.