Overwatch League Role Stars 2022 kicks off with the team leaders, and front-line mountains, the Tanks.
There may only be one per team, but they force you to keep your eyes on them.
The first round of Role Stars for the 2022 season certainly isn’t causing waves in the Overwatch community. The four recipients were all very deserving of the title of “Tank Role Star” for very different reasons across the board. While that may be the case, that isn’t to say that there aren’t some other Tanks that may also deserve that title. Following the rundown of the four Role Stars, there will be an “ESTNN Honorable Mentions” section as well.
FOR THE CRUSADERS 🛡️
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) October 31, 2022
2022 Role Star Tanks
For the second year in a row, Hanbeen “Hanbin” Choi is selected as the fan-favorite Tank Role Star. Not only has he kept his performance consistent from 2021 to 2022, but he actually stepped up even more. Something that viewers don’t get to see is that as the sole Tank player on the team in any given game, Hanbin has had to become the in-game leader (IGL). That used to be a primarily Main Tank role, but without Fearless, Hanbin has had to become responsible for the play calls in matches. To think that a player who was already a star in everybody’s eyes has stepped up, even more, this season to lead his team to a 1st Place regular season finish is beyond impressive. In terms of individual gameplay, Hanbin ended the season 1st in both Eliminations (20.9) and Hero Damage (8,647) per 10 minutes for all Tanks this season. Based on stats alone, Hanbin was undeniably the best Tank player in the Overwatch League 2022 season.
Myeong-hwan “Smurf” Yoo is the only East Division Tank Role Star for the 2022 season. While others are deserving in that division, none are more deserving than Smurf. It takes an experienced team leader to reign in two of the most talented DPS players in the league and makes them work well with two rookie supports for most of the season. Just like Hanbin, Smurf was that team leader that was able to rally a new combination of teammates and land them in a 1st Place position in their division. Smurf will go down as one of the best Tanks in Overwatch League history, so this Role Star award has been coming long and only cemented what the fans already knew. Smurf finished the regular season with the 2nd most Eliminations (2,714) for all Tanks this season, as well as 3rd in Final Blows (6.4) and 2nd in Primal Rage, Kills (2.7) per 10 minutes as Winston, cementing himself on one of the best on that hero in 2022.
Haii “Hadi” Bleinagel wasn’t a case of statistical prowess. Hadi’s Role Star award comes from his team leadership and ability to force his strengths into any meta he chooses. Even when Reinhardt isn’t part of the meta, you can bet Hadi will still be forcing him into maps, and still keeping the team competitive. He’s a strong and confident in-game leader, which is why the London Spitfire plays so well in aggressive, in-your-face compositions. From meta-breaking Earthshatters to on-stage push-ups, all can be assured that Hadi will make his presence known. He embodies a piece of what it means to be a Tank player in Overwatch, which is why he is, in fact, a star of the role.
When the Overwatch League saw that Indy “SPACE” Halpern, maybe the best Tank player in Overwatch League history, would be benched for most of the season to let Corey “Reiner” Scoda take the reigns, nerves ran cold. Fans didn’t know what to think. Yes, Reiner is a highly successful Tier 2 player, but SPACE is SPACE. He’s the best ever to do it. With big shoes to fill, Reiner stepped forth and broke the mold. He was everything the team needed and more. He was a fresh face to the league on the release of Overwatch 2. He had the renewed energy of a rookie on a starting roster. Most of all, he had experience. He proved that he had been playing at an Overwatch League level all this time; he’d never been in the league. He put himself forward as the best Doomfist player for the hero’s first season as a Tank, picking up 1st in Final Blows (7.5) and 1st in Meteor Strike Kills (1.7) per 10 minutes on the hero. Then, picking up yet another hero not known to be part of his arsenal, he finished the regular season 2nd in Final Blows (8.1) per 10 minutes as Zarya over many other league veterans. Reiner embodied almost all of what it means to be a Tank in the Overwatch League, and will be a star for years to come.
With there being so many Tank players in the league, there will always be a few who we’ll say “could’ve” or “should’ve” had a Role Star award. With the Tank role being dwindled down to only one Tank per team in each map, it becomes even harder to really see who the best of the best were.
Staring in the East, we have Se-won “BERNAR” Shin. The Hangzhou Spark Off-Tank specialist is another who was roped into a leadership role from the Off-Tank position. He went through strenuous ups and downs with the team as they rode both the bottom and top of the standings this season. Through it all, he stood as the pillar through wins and losses. Through tournaments and roster changes. Hangzhou Spark had plenty of instability this year, yet none of that instability ever shook BERNAR.
In the West, there was a legendary player. One who has seen multiple teams, and multiple rosters within those teams. He has been in the league since its inception, and he’s had one of the most interesting careers yet in the Overwatch League. Dante “Danteh” Cruz of the Houston Outlaws. A four-year-long career as a DPS player culminated in the fifth year as the sole Tank player of the 2022 Outlaws. At first, it seemed right. Doomfist took the Tank position slot in the early league meta. Danteh, being known for his Doomfist play, must have just been filling that slot. No. Danteh would continue to serve as the team’s sole Tank player, either Off-Tank or Main Tank, for the entire season. To make a transition like that when your team needs somebody to step up is not just Role Star material, but MVP material.