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Path to Pro Player Highlight: Korea

Path to Pro Highlight: Korea

Most of the current Overwatch League teams are in the process of rebuilding, many looking towards Contenders for their pickups. The T2 system is a good showcase of regional talent for any viewer that gains interest in international competition.

The country of South Korea has dominated the Overwatch esports scene for most of its lifespan. A culture of esports, the Korean region specializes in churning out seemingly endless new talent. One of the best-viewed aspects of the scene is its stability in terms of organizations, a quality that is really only mirrored by China. The many organizations participating have both maintained older talent, as well as found diamonds in the rough.

See also: Creating an OWL Team of Unsigned Players

The Apex of Contenders

Path to Pro Player Highlight: Korea
Kaiser – Image Courtesy of OGN Global

If asked about the top tournaments in Overwatch, most people would have three answers. The Overwatch League, the Overwatch World Cup, and OGN’s APEX. This last one was the premiere competition in the scene before it came to and end with its fourth season. Featuring the best of the best, as well as newcomers and unknowns, the excitement and talent it provided was unparalleled. Most players went on to the Overwatch League, others to Contenders, however, a fair amount of these have unfortunately stayed in the Path to Pro. Among the best, we can find Park “Oparochi” Hyun-Joon, Ryu “Kaiser” Sang-Hoon and Yu “QoQ” Sung-Jun.

There is not much conversation around WGS main support player Oparochi. He is one of few players from the APEX era that has not moved up from Contenders, despite his skill and consistency. This is a common theme with the rest of the players in this article, however Oparochi has apparently been under the public radar since his days on Conbox.

Then, two of the best tank players in Contenders. Kaiser and QoQ had different paths in the APEX tournament, one rising to the top and fizzling out, one not really making a name for himself. Kaiser is best known for his time on Runaway, yet Stormquake and O2 Team have given him a window to prove himself once more. QoQ, meanwhile, was a participant for MVP Space in APEX S4, yet really only saw the spotlight while on Runaway in Contenders.

고수 Players

Many people have been wondering what the situation with Kim “MAG” Tae-Sung is currently. The 17 year old was the best Contenders main tank and kept that status for nearly a year. Impressing on Reinhardt and managing to look good on Orisa, he led Runaway to success for most of the past year. Unfortunately, he would miss out on the majority of the League, turning 18 halfway into the schedule. This undoubtedly has lowered his perceived value for most teams.

The release of fan favorite Lunatic-Hai players by the Seoul Dynasty hit Kim “Zunba” Joon-Hyuk hard. In fact, overall his time on the team has been a disaster in comparison to his South Korea and Lunatic-Hai days. For two years he was among the best off tank players, and for nearly a year this included being the best. In the Overwatch League he saw a lot of time on the bench, trading time with other players. Even a return to the meta of the hero he helped define did not help.

Another tank player that has struggled finding a team to call his home is Gen.G main tank Ham “Oberon” Eun-Sang. Of the prospects, he is the most consistent across all tank heroes, though not quite reaching the peaks or popularity of Mag and Kaiser. With the limited roster spots in the League, it becomes increasingly difficult for any player to fill a niche, so it is likely that Oberon should have to bide his time in Contenders.

Mystic, Fighting!

Lee “MCD” Jeong-Ho has been linked to a large amount of teams this off season, however he has not seen the fruits of his Element Mystic labour. He demonstrated a lot of skill with the team, and their miracle year would definitely not have been possible without him in the back line. It is curious to see the lack of movement he has seen, especially considering his success in T2.

Path to Pro Player Highlight: Korea
Jecse – Image Courtesy of Gen.G Esports

Two players from the original iteration of Element Mystic, Seo “Daco” Dong-Hyeong, Lee “Jecse” Seung-Soo, they joined the League in the second season with separate teams (the Atlanta Reign and the Seoul Dynasty, respectively). Both were some of the most hyped up players coming into 2019, a large number of teams bidding for Jecse. They had a tumultuous year, with teams opting to rotate their role for various reasons. The replacements were arguably the optimal choice over Daco and Jecse, as the teams ended the season decently.

Wherever they end up or opt to go to, it will definitely be interesting to follow their career path. All three players are perfectly capable of maintaining a spot in the Overwatch League, yet the competitiveness has limited their options.

Creating a Dynasty

Path to Pro Player Highlight: Korea
Stalk3r – Image Courtesy of Gen.G Esports

Gen.G arrived into the scene swinging big, with the signing of fan favorite APEX team Lunatic-Hai. With the Seoul Dynasty they included some lesser known players, and they adopted a scouting mentality, with undervalued or unknown players. Their Academy team, with the name of the parent org, maintained that mentality. In addition, the team established three additional scouting/developement teams, Gen.A, Gen.B and Gen.S.

So far, two Gen.G (Lim “Glister” Gil-Seong and Kim “Creative” Young-Wan) and one Gen.B player (Lim “SanGuiNar” Kyu-Min) have moved on to the League. A majority of the Gen.G Academy system is underage or inexperienced, however. Their scouting has been majorly successful and it is a great format for future development and success.

Three players to highlight are Kim “Bliss” So-Myung, Jong “Stalk3r” Hag-yong and “Haeim”. All currently underage, the latter is currently on Gen.A, participating mainly in the T3 tournament LVLUP Korea Cup.

Probably the most common role to find exceptional new talent in, Stalk3r and Haeim are amazing DPS players that are both also 16 years old. They tend towards projectile and hitscan heroes, respectively, however both can also play well in the opposite role.

Not many people are as familiar with either player, most paying attention to Stalk3r’s DPS pairing, Glister. On the other hand, Haeim has not had much time in the mainstream spotlight. Excelling on snipers and Sombra, he definitely has the potential to become one of the premiere hitscans of the org.

Bliss is a great main support player on Gen.G, known for his great Lúcio play. The soon to be 15 year old was promoted from Gen.A back in June. Him and Stalk3r have been an integral part in the moderate success for the org in T2 competition.

Future Stars

A large part of the Korean scene is composed of non eligible players due to their age. Largely due to legal reasons, only people over the age of 18 can be signed on to a League contract. Among these, a lot are DPS players, including O2 Blast’s Kim Proper” Dong-Hyun and Oh “Pelican” Se-Hyun and Fusion University’s Lee “Na1st” Ho-Sung.

The O2 Blast duo was one of the more impressive duos in the region, joining the team back in the triple tank, triple support meta. They have, of course, shown skill outside of tank and support heroes, though you might recognize them from other teams, Stormquake and WGS Armament, respectively. Proper is possibly the more noticed of the two, with his ample hero pool and skill on snipers, yet Pelican can definitely hold his own.

Na1st might not have had the best time on Fusion University, yet at such a young age he has a lot of potential. His performance for Meta Bellum was impressive, showing off a large hero pool, but it took a dip later on. With more experience under his belt, however, the next two years should see a return back to form for him.

 

The Europe Highlight can be found here. A showcase for other regions will be releasing soon.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Esports

Find me on Twitter (@Thoth_OW) on Reddit (u/Jcbarona23), or on Discord (Thoth#7858) for any questions or discussion regarding my posts (or any topic in general).

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