ATL Academy No Longer Participating In Overwatch Contenders
Overwatch Contenders is an important part of the professional Overwatch landscape as Overwatch League teams can scout and develop talent for their future rosters. Some sad news recently came out of the scene, though, as Overwatch Contenders team ATL Academy announced they will be opting out of this season of contenders and instead will be on a hiatus for the time-being.
ATL Academy is the academy team for the Atlanta Reign and have found great success in Overwatch Contenders throughout their history. Last season, ATL Academy was the most dominant team in North American Contenders for the majority of the year and made an incredible run in The Gauntlet – a tournament showcasing the best Contenders teams throughout the entire world. They fell short in The Gauntlet to Element Mystic in the finals.
ATL Academy had trouble finding that same success to kick of 2020, though, as they faced a multitude of problems including some of their top talent leaving to play for the Atlanta Reign (and Philadelphia Fusion) this season along with the recent release of flex-support player Robert “HaKu” Blohm. They aren’t the same team as they were before and this is a possible factor in the decision to step-back for the time being. Though, no actual statement was made to the reason of their new hiatus.
Many have criticized Blizzard and the Overwatch League for not giving enough support to the tier-two scene despite its importance to cultivating strong talent to help the longevity of the league. Out of the 17 OWL teams that once had (or still have) an academy team, only nine of those teams remain active which is a troubling sign for the entire league moving forward. The league has done a better job of highlighting upcoming Contenders matches this season, but something still isn’t working. It’s sad to think we might see more academy teams dropping out in the future.
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