Montreal Rebellion, the academy team of the Toronto Defiant in Overwatch Contenders have decided to pull the cord of their Overwatch project due to the economic concerns that come as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement of Montreal Rebellion's disbandment surfaced on Monday when it was revealed all seven members in Park "RoKy" Joo-seong, Lian "Mangachu" Campbell, Lucas "Leaf" Loison, Alban "Shuh" Pfleger, Arthur "dridro" Szanto, Seb "numlocked" Barton and Niclas "sHockWave" Jensen have been let go from the team due to budget cuts, as stated by players themselves.
With that, RoKy and Mangachu both returned back to Toronto Defiant, as they were previously two-way players, meanwhile Leaf and Shuh both announced retirement from competitive Overwatch. The remaining three players in dridro, sHockWave and numlocked have yet to unveil where they will continue their careers, however, all three stated they are not planning on retiring yet and will look for other options.
The British Overwatch pro and ex-Rebellion main tank took on Twitter to shed some light on his plans for the future, stating that he will take a break from competitive Overwatch, not because he does not enjoy the game anymore, but rather because of the second tier of Overwatch (Contenders) is in a bad spot as of now, with many academy teams pulling out, while the COVID-19 pandemic only made the matters worse.
"I've put my heart and soul into this game, and worked especially hard in the last year to get to where I wanted to be, and I didn't make it," said numlocked.
"I don't know if I have it in me to keep grinding in a tier 2 scene without at least academy teams.
"If there were any opportunities still available in Overwatch, either as a player or coach, I would of course jump at them, because I do still love this game, but with how unlucky this last 6 months has felt for me and with it looking like everyone is making cuts rather than signings, I'm just not sure there's a reason to still be here right now."
The disbandment of Montreal Rebellion further deepens the problem Overwatch scene has been dealing with, as many prominent names opted to step away from Blizzard's team-based FPS title and explore their options in other esports titles. With the release of VALORANT on the horizon, many ex-Overwatch players and analysts opted to announce they will dip their toes into Riot Games' tactical FPS title, a decision that split the gaming community in half.
Overwatch analyst Tanishq “Tanizhq” Sabharwal is one of the latest names who announced he will be moving from Overwatch to VALORANT, stating that he believes the second-tier of Overwatch is "fully dead" and that the lack of any serious investment and poor viewership simply "isn't worth any level of investment" from him.
"I am moving to Valorant since OW Tier 2 is fully dead," said Tanizhq in his Twitter post.
"Can't even blame the OAM/Toronto for making this decision, since getting 1k viewers max on the Contenders stream isn't worth any level of investment."
On the other side, the ex-Montreal Rebellion DPS sHockWave has a completely opposite view on the situation. Shortly after announcing his departure from the team, the Danish Overwatch pro stated that he is not ready to quit Overwatch for VALORANT, which he described as a "cheap-looking paladins remake," even though he received the beta key to test the game out.
Montreal Rebellion, however, are not the only Overwatch Contenders team that has decided to end their project and perhaps not the most shocking announcement, given that last month, it was Atlanta Reign's academy team, the Atlanta Academy, who announced their exodus from the league, despite the fact they were widely regarded as one of the most successful North American Contenders team.
Montreal Rebellion were established in February 2019, when they acquired Shayne "Chayne" La Rocque, Anthony "Goliath" Pietro, Joshua "Tensa" Small, Estevao "Hooey" Gama, Nikolai "Naga" Dereli, Andreas "Logix" Berghmans and David "nomy" Lizarraga Ramirez Osmar as their inaugural members. Joining them were Brian "Blizzard" Childers as the team's General Manager, Alex "byZenith" Ames as an assistant coach and Chris "Dream" Myrick as head coach.
Throughout their venture through Overwatch Contenders, Rebellion produced quite a few solid runs, which included top-four placement at Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 1: North America East and top-six placement at Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 2: North America West, to which they added a silver medal from Contenders 2020 NA Season 1 Trials - Week 2 and top-four finish at Contenders 2020 NA Season 1 - Week 2 earlier last month.
The team also fostered some of the biggest talents in the scene, including Paris Eternal tank Eoghan "Smex" O'Neill, as well as DPS Andreas "Logix" Berghmans, Flex player Daniel "Gods" Graeser and tank Normunds "sharyk" Faterins who currently play for Toronto Defiant.