LA Valiant to drop OWL team and move to China

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Overwatch League esports team LA Valiant revealed its official plans today to move to a china-based roster, leaving questions as to what’ll happen with its current players and staff.

The competitive Overwatch team shared the news in a social media post titled, 2021 roster update. Although explicit details aren’t revealed, it’s clear the move entails a change in staff. Putting the blame on COVID-related visa issues, LA Valiant says it plans to prepare to compete in 2020 OWL in China, where the pandemic is improving. Unfortunately, the majority of the staff and players based in Los Angeles will not relocate there.

The brand previously addressed this a few weeks ago too. On January 14, the Overwatch League team revealed that it will join NYXL and Philadelphia Fusion by moving the LA Valiant brand to China. This was in the efforts to participate in live events since the current pandemic situation doesn’t bode well in LA.

Many fans blame Immortals Gaming Club for a poor decision. Rumors also swirled online that IGC sold the OWL team to an unknown Chinese org. LA Valiant quickly denied the rumor online. However, even if the team isn’t sold, it was partially true since the brand was moving. Fans noticed that the company’s social media accounts were inactive for strangely long periods of time.

Though lots of details have yet to be shared, it’s clear that many players and staff will lose careers because of the sudden move. Brady “Agilities” Girardi and Adam “Adam” Soong signed onto the Overwatch esports team just a couple of months ago. Agilities even joined during the offseason and won’t get a chance to play under the LA Valiant banner.

While it’s true that the global pandemic heavily impacts all markets and industries, it’s hard to tell if that’s the case here. COVID-19 certainly plays a part in Immortals Gaming Club’s decision to move LA Valiant to China. But the shift seems unprecedented and lacks details. Only time will tell the fate of one of Los Angeles’ beloved Overwatch esports teams.

Written by Justin Amin

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