Overwatch League side London Spitfire has brought two new coaches on board: UK assistant coach Xavier ‘CommanderX’ Hardy, and US head coach Justin ‘reprize’ Hand.
Peter Wellman examines the new signings as the Spitfire keeps to its word about a change in team philosophy.
Most Overwatch League teams have made massive changes in the Overwatch League offseason.
The London spitfire have released most of their 2020 season team, keeping most notably Lim ‘Sanguinar’ Kyu-min and Lim ‘Glister’ Gil-seong.
On a livestream on November 12th, the Spitfire announced the first of their signings: Xavier ‘CommanderX’ Hardy and Justin ‘reprize’ Hand as coaches.
Adding CommanderX to the team is a logical step for the Spitfire after it announced that it’s trying to incorporate their Contenders team British Hurricane more.
Even though on a undefeated hot streak since December 2019, Hurricane has been somewhat distanced from its Overwatch League team.
In season one, Spitfire owners Cloud9 decided to sign a full Korean roster from Kongdu Panthera, which worked out really well for them considering Spitfire won the inaugural season playoffs.
The signing of CommanderX holds to general manager Noukky’s announcement that they are trying to incorporate their European players into the team.
CommanderX is a proven coach and over the 2021 season will have to prove himself at working with a mixed roster of Europeans and Korean players. However, considering his team at the moment is multinational, this might not prove a challenge for him.
The signing of reprize may seem odd, however after he became team owner of the Revival North American Contenders team, there was a notable increase in their performance.
Revival went from a bottom-of-the-pack Contenders team to regularly coming second or third within tournaments, so reprize seems to have a positive effect on team culture. His wider CV includes coaching the LA Valiant and before that the Mayhem Academy.
These pickups confirm that the London Spitfire is sticking to its team philosophy of making its Contenders team a pipeline to the Overwatch League.
Mixed teams appear to have the most success in the Overwatch League, for instance the San Francisco Shock and Philadelphia Fusion.
However as I write this, GM Noukky is asking Spitfire fans how they want to see the roster revealed.
The team is still missing a main tank and a second DPS. However, there is a trend of signing a team directly from Contenders, such as the Vancouver Titans signing the Korean Contenders team runaway. This keeps that team synergy and culture in place.
However, as the team has retained its stronger pieces, it is either looking to sell them or integrate them in the team next year.
Hopefully we can see London Spitfire perform better than its 17th-place finish next year.
Can they see the heights of Season One? Whilst this was down to being in a very hard region, this sort of puts them in a position where the only way is up.