The information hit two weeks ago, on January 14. A rumor originally spread by Arran Spike, Overwatch reporter, is now a reality. Los Angeles VALIANT are moving to China for 2021, and maybe more.
Fans had begun to have doubts when Overwatch presented the lineup of the two divisions for the season, and the Los Angeles team appeared as the eastern region team for the first time.
This news, coupled with VALIANT's more than cryptic message about their decision to relocate to China for the 2021 season, raises many questions as to the reason for these sudden changes.
Arran Spake, aka Halo, a freelance reporter who has been closely involved with the Overwatch League for several years, started the rumor.
According to him, corroborating sources say that Los Angeles VALIANT were bought by a Chinese firm, under the condition that the players as well as the coaching staff are changed.
Edit: Nearly two weeks after this first announcement, we still don't know much about the mysterious firm or the terms of a potential buyout. VALIANT have, however, confirmed the layoff of their entire roster this weekend — less than a month away from the probable launch date of the Overwatch League.
One of the reasons for the move was the health crisis, which would have caused visa problems — and we know that, while this was the case for many professional players this year, it never affected a whole roster.
Fans are therefore questioning VALIANT's motives for moving to China, in addition to reaching the Chinese market — already coveted by many teams, such as the Shanghai Dragons, Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge and Hangzhou Spark.
What are the prospects for players?
If this news turns out to be true, all isn't lost for the players and the coaching staff. Recruitment of free agents effectively ended on January 4, but players already recruited can benefit from transfer windows, especially before the beginning of the season.
The rosters of the other franchises already respect the minimum of seven players; that being said, there are some individuals that might be of interest.
Los Angeles VALIANTs had a pretty good season in 2020, finishing 5th in the North American Playoffs.
Original content by Chloé.