The Los Angeles Valiant have announced a brand new, all-Chinese roster and coaching staff for the 2021 Overwatch League season.
This roster consists of DPS players Cai “Krystal” Shilong and Liao “MoLanran” Yang, tank players Han “Silver3” Haibo, Yelin “NvM” Wen and Cheng “ShowCheng” Yu and support players Zhang “Highbee” Zening and Qi “Wya” Haomiao. The new coaching staff consists of Zhang “JpCat” Peng as head coach and Zhang “Hiko” Junhao as the assistant coach. After the team’s surprise announcement of their previous roster’s release, this one was all announced via Weibo.
Krystal and MoLanran’s path to the Valiant
Let’s start out with how Krystal got here. The player grew popular before the league by playing for Chinese contenders team The One Winner, helping them reach the top four in two consecutive seasons. After that, his stellar play to help China reach the 2018 World Cup finals made him a hot commodity for expansion teams in 2019. With the new Chinese teams entering the league, he joined the Hangzhou Spark.
As a flex DPS, his skills on heroes such as Genji and McCree helped the Spark start the season strong. However, as the season went along, Krystal was benched and eventually marked as inactive. As the season ended, Krystal left the Spark and joined a different Chinese Overwatch League team in form of the Guangzhou Charge. His time there only lasted three months, before being released alongside teammate Wya. He didn’t give up though, playing for Flag Gaming in the Asia Gauntlet in December 2020. His clear skill and talent are what the Valiant are hoping to bring to the fore in 2021.
MoLanran is also formerly of The One Winner, playing with most of his new Valiant teammates in the past. Since the start of 2018, MoLanran has stuck with this Chinese contenders team through everything. The One Winner were always a top tier team in the Chinese Contenders. This includes winning a LAN tournament in late 2018 and the last 2018 Chinese contenders season. As a DPS who aims to fill in the heroes Krystal doesn’t play, MoLanran’s previous experience with him and his new teammates will surely help.
Silver3, NvM and ShowCheng’s path to the Valiant
These three tank players are interesting in their own right. With a core of former The One Winner players already established, only one of these tanks played in that team too. Silver3 is the main tank and was also part of the team that won the Chinese contenders in 2018’s Season 3. However, NvM is also a main tank, formerly of the team The One Winner beat in that very same tournament. That team being LinGan esports. The issue with NvM is that he’s been retired for a while, and is coming out of retirement to play for the Valiant.
Lastly, ShowCheng is the off-tank for the team, despite being the main tank originally, before moving to DPS in recent seasons. We’ve seen ShowCheng play Zarya and Sigma before, but the role trajectory is interesting. This won’t be the only time here that we’ll see players change roles to play for the Valiant.
Highbee and Wya’s path to the Valiant
As mentioned earlier, Wya plays flex support, formerly of The One Winner and the Guangzhou Charge. After joining the Charge, Wya struggled to make the roster and was released alongside Krystal. Unlike Krystal, Wya didn’t play competitively between that release and this signing.
However, the signing of Highbee as the main support is even more baffling. Highbee was the off-tank player for The One Winner, a significant force on D.Va, Zarya and Sigma. We haven’t seen Highbee play main support at this level yet, but he is listed as a support player.
New coaching staff joins the Valiant
To start, new head coach JpCat was formerly the head coach of The One Winner. He also shortly coached the Guangzhou Charge’s contenders team when they were partnered with The One Winner. His assistant coach is Hiko, also known as DMO. This Chinese coach was a former DPS for Flag Gaming, now moving into a coaching role for the Los Angeles Valiant. This move for Hiko marks his first professional coaching role.
We’ll see how all of these Los Angeles Valiant roster changes play out during the 2021 Overwatch League season.