On October 15, the London Spitfire organization announced the release of the majority of their players. This is the second time that the London Spitfire rebuilt their team after the organization traded away their championship roster of 2018 and replaced them with a rookie squad. This announcement was preceded by the release of their coaching staff earlier in the month.
Who stays and who goes?
On Social Media, London announced the departure of seven of their players. Few players had a noteworthy impact on the team. The reasons for which players were released into free agency appears to be internal. Both the experienced Overwatch League player Sung-hyeok “Highly” Lee as well as young and formable rookies like Hyun-wook “ALTHOUGH” Jung had to bid farewell to the organization. Further, the release of the entire coaching staff comes after a disappointing performance by the prestigious coaches with the past roster.
The five players who (for now) remain have an uncertain future as well. While most of them were part of the starting line-up at the end of the season, any new hires or new coaching staff could threaten their position. Among them is Gil-seong “Glister” Lim, London´s best DPS player throughout the season. Despite good performances in isolation, most of these players will have a hard time regaining the trust of the fans.
It appears the London Spitfire management are afraid of another full rebuild. However, the core that they kept is not the strongest foundation to build on. If London wants to perform better next season, they will need a serious upgrade.
How should London Spitfire Rebuild?
London has many paths forward from here. They could try to pick out a few rookies from the Korean Contenders region. This is the most common approach most teams have used to find good additions to their roster. However, London needs a strong core rather than good additions. Unfortunately, with five players still on their roster, a pickup of a complete Korean Contenders roster would likely be too expensive.
Nonetheless, London has an answer right in their own backyard. The extremely successful academy team British Hurricane. The London owned European Contenders team has dominated their region in the past. They won every Contenders event since March with the same six players. This would be both an extremely cheap option for the organization and there would be no chemistry problems with this core. The five remaining players from last season could then round out certain positions. Based on a statement from London´s new General Manager, Ysabel “Noukki” Müller, who previously managed British Hurricane, they intend to utilize European talent.
The Future of London Spitfire
London Spitfire and their parent organization Cloud9 have a difficult future ahead of them. A rebuild in Overwatch can be hugely successful as the Shanghai Dragons have proven. However, without financial investment and long-term commitment, they can turn out catastrophic. Boston Uprising, who is known to trade many of their strong players away, have been stuck in the bottom of the league for two years now. If the London Spitfire rebuild is supposed to work, they need to give it their everything.
Featured image provided courtesy of the Overwatch League
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