The First Trade of the Off Season
On August 20th, the Los Angeles Gladiators officially announced that All Star and Main Tank player Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek would be transferred to the Seoul Dynasty. After Brandon “Seagull” Larned’s retirement, this is the off season’s second major player move for the league. Although Seagull will not be playing in this weekend’s All-Star Game, Fissure will continue to play as a starter for the Pacific All-Star team as a member of the Dynasty.
Charlie Lipsie, Director of Esports for the Gladiators, stated that Fissure “brought a lot to the team and we are thankful for what he has accomplished here. We have acquiesced to his wishes to be part of a fully Korean roster, which he can find with the Dynasty”.
The Seoul Dynasty provides Fissure his desired environment to help the team dominate in Season 2 of the Overwatch League. The main tank position, typically played by Jin-Hyuk “Miro” Gong and Dae-Kuk “Kuki” Kim, was tumultuous in the Inaugural Season. One of the best support players in history, Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu, began playing main tank for Seoul, debuting his impressive Winston in May. Fissure will ideally add a consistent presence for the Dynasty, who ultimately placed 8th in Season One and did not qualify for the playoffs.
A Tale of Two Cities
Fissure’s unique career in the Overwatch League has been characterized by his transfer from the champion London Spitfire to the Los Angeles Gladiators. In the press release announcing the main tank’s first roster change, the London Spitfire explained that although Stage One was highly successful, due to the difficulties of managing a 12 player roster, overall structure had to be considered.
Fissure could not be guaranteed his request for more playing time, and as former Spitfire coach Bishop explained, “Fissure is one of the smartest main tanks in the league, but we’ve struggled to fit him into the team in terms of synergy and while we didn’t want to lose him, he is very competitive and seeks the playing time befitting a player of his caliber.”
The Los Angeles Gladiators thrived once the main tank was welcomed into the starting lineup, partly in thanks to Fissure’s play and leadership. Fissure was an integral piece of the Gladiators’ transition from an 8th place team in Stage One, to a 1st place finish in Stage 4. Los Angeles finished the season with the 4th best record, an impressive 25-15.
Although Fissure greatly contributed to the Gladiators’ success, with him playing the team went 21-9, he was controversially absent during the season playoffs. Stating that “the most effective practice and preparation is necessary in order to perform well in playoffs,” Luis “iRemiix” Galarza Figeuora replaced Fissure in the starting lineup. The Gladiators fell 2-1 in the series to Fissure’s former team, the Spitfire.
There’s Glory to be Won
Fissure has expressed his satisfaction with his new team freely, as quoted in the Gladiators’ official press release, “I’m excited to be a part of Seoul Dynasty and can’t wait to get started. Our goal is to win and give our fans memorable moments in the season ahead”. The runner up for the Overwatch League’s MVP trophy went into greater detail on his stream on August 20th, as translated by @gatamchun, Ana’s Tal Mask, on Twitter. You can find a summary of his discussion here.
Fissure revealed that he was hoping to join the Dynasty, stating that there was no bad blood between him and the Gladiators throughout the process. He said that the “Gladiators told me about all the offers that came for me, and declined the ones I didn’t want, since they knew I wanted Dynasty. Los Angeles Gladiators are a great team, I recommend them to all players who are looking at OWL”.
The main tank ensured fans he would try hard to assist the Dynasty. “I’m confident I can improve on Seoul’s season 1 record. Let’s go to playoffs! Early in the season we might still be finding our footing, we have to coordinate, so please go easy on us in Stage 1. We can definitely do well starting Stage 2. It’s always hard with new members.”
The main tank ensured fans he would try hard to assist the Dynasty. “I’m confident I can improve on Seoul’s season 1 record. Let’s go to playoffs! Early in the season we might still be finding our footing, we have to coordinate, so please go easy on us in Stage 1. We can definitely do well starting Stage 2. It’s always hard with new members.” While it remains to be seen whether or not Fissure will be the change the Dynasty needs to become playoff contenders, this transfer opens the door to an exciting Season 2.