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Published: November 26, 2021

Written by: David Kent

  • Despite seasoned players taking the majority of the kudos most of the time, there are quite a few talented rookies
  • Dot Esports compiled a list of the best-performing and most-beloved rising stars of the Overwatch League
  • All of them have in one way or the other proven they deserve to be on the list

The 2021 OWL season saw quite a few younger Overwatch players rise to prominence. Here are some of them.

The Best Rookies of 2021

As the next competitive Overwatch season approaches, esports organizations are frantically taking care of their rosters. Some elite players get hired, some are kicked out. Some find a new team, some get their contracts renewed. In the meantime, esports fans fondly remind themselves of the best moments in competitive play and watch compilations of the most exciting tournament happenings in 2021.

This period is when organizations do their best to get their hands on the best players in the game in order to ensure their performance for the next year. It is a time when the names of elite athletes get thrown around all the time.

This tends to give a lot of attention to the seasoned elites – players who have for years done amazing feats of skill that have kept the public at the edge of their seats. Yet, as awesome as the veterans are, every now and then there are also some newer players whose performance is just as breathtaking.

To celebrate fresh esports talent, the news outlet Dot Esports has compiled a list of some of the best rookie players who got the spotlight throughout 2021 – players that even old-time veterans have come to respect. Here are their picks:

Emir “Kaan” Okumus – A Rising Zenyatta Specialist

Kaan is a German player who currently plays for Paris Eternal. A former European Contenders player, Kaan quickly proved his mettle by prevailing at many high-stakes moments. Fans quickly came to love Kaan, especially once he picked Zenyatta and started using the character’s moveset to its utmost limits. Kaan fell numerous opponents with the support hero’s orbs and sniped just as many opponents with professionally-aimed sleep darts.

Kaan’s savvy has earned him a secure spot in the team for the next year as well.

Kim “skewed” Min-seok – An Underdog Rising to Prominence

Skewed is a Korean player who used to play in the region’s Contenders league. He has previously played for OZ Gaming, which isn’t really the most popular Contenders team. Because of this, when the Los Angeles Gladiators announced they would be acquiring skewed, many fans were left bewildered, wondering whether this is a sensible choice.

Skewed quickly proved his doubters wrong by unleashing his talent with spectacular Brigitte play, and quickly rose to prominence. Skewed eventually replaced the team’s main support Grant “moth” Espe and ensured his place among the Gladiators for the next competitive season.

Luka “Aspire” Rolovic – Becoming More Than a Replacement

Aspire wasn’t really a planned acquisition for the Toronto Defiant. In fact, he joined solely because the COVID-19 pandemic had gotten the best of most of the team’s players and the Defiant urgently needed a replacement.

Aspire soon proved to be more than a temporary replacement and outlived his temporary contract, remaining on the roster for the entire season. Aspire’s abilities as a damage dealer really sold him to both the Defiant and the fans.

The team eventually released Aspire once the season ended but the skillful youth quickly landed himself a spot among the Vancouver Titans.

Oh “Pelican” Se-hyun – A Devoted Overwatch Pro

Pelican is arguably one of the best players on this list. He originates from the Korean Contenders league where he played for O2 Blast. Even as a Contender, Pelican was a beloved player with many eyes on him. The esports athlete eventually joined the Atlanta Reign, quickly establishing himself as a power to be reckoned with.

Pelican proved to be a truly loyal player as even after he had undergone surgery following a collapsed lung and as a result, couldn’t fly in a plane, he still took a trip to the West Coast from where he played remotely with his teammates who were in Hawaii at the time.

His amazing skills and unwavering devotion didn’t go unnoticed and he eventually won the 2021 Rookie of the Year award.

Pelican was eventually bought by the Houston Outlaws.

Shin “PIGGY” Min-jun – Savior of the Outlaws

PIGGY joined the Houston Outlaws together with his co-tank mate Cho “JJANGGU” Myung-heum just before the start of the previous season. At that time, the Outlaws were desperate for new talent, following the team’s unimpressive performance in 2020. PIGGY and JJANGGU proved to be an amazing choice and their synergy and professional playstyle quickly helped the team get back on its feet.

PIGGY, in particular, proved to be an amazing Sigma player, smashing his adversaries with the hero’s gravity-related abilities. Beloved by the fans, PIGGY and the team’s DPS Dante “Danteh” Cruz have become cornerstone players for the team’s future lineup. The addition of Pelican is also a power move that is expected to boost the Outlaws’ performance.

Zheng “shy” Yangjie 

Shy is a Chinese DPS player who has played Overwatch for years. At a very young age, he showed a real knack for the game, impressing fans with his performance. He used to play for LGD and Bilibili Gaming.

As shy is merely 19 years old and was barred from the mainline Overwatch League. Once he came of age, shy immediately signed a contract with the Hangzhou Spark. The player quickly managed to establish himself as a skilled sharpshooter and a staple to the team.

Overwatch 2 Will Test the Rookies’ Adaptability

As Activision Blizzard confirmed that the next competitive season will be played on an early build of Overwatch’s second iteration, Overwatch 2, the six rookies will have the opportunity to once again prove themselves and show they can adapt to any scenario.

Although regular players will get the title at a later date, it will be exciting to watch how the players will react to the change of pace.

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