Dallas Fuel player Félix ‘xQc’ Lengyel has commented on the player substitution rules for the Overwatch League.
During a recent stream xQc, one of Dallas Fuel’s main tank players and one of Overwatch’s most popular streamers, revealed that decisions for player substitutions between maps in the league have to be made in advance.
xQc didn’t clarify exactly how much in advance, stating only that decisions needed to be made “way before” the team actually played the map for which a change might be made.
The key point, however, is that teams do not appear able to make such decisions on the spot following the final result of the preceding game. As a result, certain changes might not perhaps entirely reflect the performances of the previous map.
xQc referenced his own team’s roster decisions during a tough match against the formidable Seoul Dynasty on day one of the league. Having won the opening map, Junkertown, the team chose to swap out two players, but subsequently lost the following game in narrow fashion.
Ahead of game three, however, the team did not make any move back towards the successful game one line-up. Sticking with the same roster for the rest of the match, the Dallas Fuel ultimately lost 1-3.
A more explicit example perhaps presented itself on day two. During the match between Boston Uprising and New York Excelsior, the latter brought on DPS player Kim ‘Pine’ Do-hyun for the third map, Ilios, at which point the series was somewhat surprisingly tied at 1-1.
The presence of Pine’s McCree absolutely dominated the map, a walking highlight reel putting on arguably the performance of the league so far. So aggressive and so deadly was Pine that Uprising, who until then had been putting up a decent resistance against the favored Excelsior, were completely dismantled.
Come game four, however, Pine was once again absent from the line-up. New York Excelsior won the final map regardless, but Pine’s impact in his solitary outing was so great that many fans will have been surprised not to see him remain to close out the series himself.
Of course, substitution rules aren’t the only explanation for such roster decisions. With teams knowing their opponents and map-set in advance, they will of course prepare strategies for each game, and enter the series with at least a core idea of what the roster needs to look like in order to execute them.
In many cases, then, a player having a good run of form may not be enough to justify their inclusion if the team’s broader plans might be adversely affected. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to keep an eye on how player substitutions are utilized throughout the season.