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Special to VPEsports

by Joseph “Volamel” Franco

The San Francisco Shock entered the off-season with a plan: to build a team, no matter the cost, that could compete for a title. They’ve done an amazing job building that team and it seems like they’re doing very well for themselves. But with how the metagame could be filling out there is a chance that one of the most impactful players on the Shock during Overwatch League Season 2 might be a player they’ve always had. It might be a player that, in a strange way, has always been around, but never really gets noticed or included.

 

That player might be Nevix.

 

Before we fully explore my theory, let’s do some historical housekeeping. Reaching all the way back in 2015, Nevix actually came in second place in one of the earliest Overwatch tournaments for Europe, the GosuGamers Overwatch Weekly EU #1. From there he would continue to play at a top-level on teams like Graviton Surge, Misfits, and Cloud 9. He’s graced stages like the Overwatch Open, OGN’s APEX, and TakeOver 2, so to say he’s a veteran talent is almost an understatement.

 

The strange part though was that throughout his career he managed to swap roles a number of times. Nevix has now played flex DPS, main support, and now has landed as a flex tank primarily playing D.Va. With a hero pool that spans anywhere from Mei to Ana, Nevix is, in the truest sense, a flex player. With that out of the way, let’s discuss the upcoming metagame and how this could impact Nevix and the Shock.

 

Stage 1 will be played on patch 1.32.1.1 and this is important because of the wholesale D.Va nerfs. Now, this is important because D.Va does a lot in the way of protecting her team and making her Defense Matrix more punishable, this opens the floor up to new DPS picks, namely ones that are projectile based and that love to spam. If the metagame strays away from tanks, this is great for the Shock seeing how stacked their DPS lineup is and they have Nevix who is incredibly versatile. This opens up teams up for more experimentation and could even allow for some counter-play possibilities even if GOATs is cemented as a staple come Stage 1.

 

Does this mean D.Va will make a swift exit out of the metagame? It’s hard to say and we won’t really know until week three or four into Stage 1, but there is a chance that D.Va may see a large dip in playtime. This also opens up a decent chance that three DPS might make a return in some form or another.

 

Another key-note to remember is that tank players are so vitally important. Take a look at all of your favorite flex tank players that played a majority of season one, now look at their teams rankings at the end of the season and in the playoffs. There is a loose correlation to the strength of your flex players — in tank and support — and where your team finishes. These two roles tend to hold both a lot of importance.

 

Both roles tend to be incredibly impactful when it comes to setting the pace for the game as well as setting up teamfights. Specifically for the flex tank in the current metagame, both D.Va and Zarya serve a very important role as the latter is a major source of damage with amazing defensive cooldowns and former being a damage threat on off angles as well as a primary win condition among other things. Just using this as an example, you can start to see how important it is having a strong flex tank for your team. What’s incredible about Nevix is that he’s versatile enough to play flex tank staples like D.Va well and in the next round move to Genji and do just fine.

 

Not many teams can say they can flex their D.Va onto a wide number of DPS heroes. Players like Envy on the Toronto Defiant, previously Libero for the NYXL, and rCk for the Dallas Fuel jump to mind, but the role has been primarily D.Va centric for a long time, if they asked to flex, will they be able to or will DPS players be asked to pick up D.Va? The Shock doesn’t have to ask themselves this hypothetical because they know Nevix can and will be successful when moved to another role.

 

It’s easy to gloss over his season one performance with how lackluster the Shock performed in season one and with their crazy off-season moves, but there are some incredibly talented players that we are moving to the wayside, Nevix being one of them, but with that said, that could be something the drives him.

 

Seeing ChoiHyoBin added to the team and see play time could have struck a chord with Nevix and he may have taken the off-season to upgrade his play. It wouldn’t be the first time teams use inter-team competition to force innovation. The South Koreans are on recording doing as early as APEX Season 2 in Overwatch and, without going on too much of a tangent, they’ve been doing something similar within their Starcraft and League of Legends teams for years. Even being surrounded by so many talented players can motivate you to new heights.

 

Striker is an amazing DPS player that has shown that he can pick up new heroes quickly if needed. Architect has been wowing me since APEX Season 3 and he hasn’t stopped surprising me with how talented he is. Rascal has a knack for the game and is another talented member of the Shock. The team overall has some of the best talent around, but if the metagame goes sideways, they can always count of Nevix to be their ace in the hole.

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