LVUP had an event this last weekend that not only highlighted new players but also gave fans a wave of nostalgia. The LVUP event was centered around the two legendary players of Injae ‘Esca’ Kim and Jehong ‘Ryujehong’ Ryu. The majority of the event was of two teams that had been coached by the two players. Team Esca was Sukbra Online, while Team Ryujehong was TenTen.
There were a lot of great plays by these two teams. It was nice to see that there was a good number of female players on these teams, as right now there is a lack of that in the Overwatch League. The match went to a fifth map and on Eichenwalde was where Team Ryujehong won the match.
It was the second part of the LVUP event that most were watching for, which was the throwback match that was composed of old Overwatch League pros. Both Esca and Ryujehong made teams with many familiar names.
The players that were going to be participating were released before the event on social media and made quite a stir because of who would be participating. On Team Ryujehong the DPS was Daemin ‘Daemin’ Lee and Dohyeon ‘Dohyeon’ Kim. The Tank duo was Jinhyuk ‘Miro’ Gong and Hyeonwoo ‘Jjanu’ Choi. Alongside Ryujehong was Jongseok ‘NUS’ Kim. Though there are some original members like Ryujehong and Miro, this was more a second-generation Overwatch team.
On the other side was Team Esca who are more OG members of the scene. In DPS with Esca is Jungmin ‘Mirage’ Bae. Then the tank lineup was Sangbeom ‘Bumper’ Park and Joonhyuk ‘Zunba‘ Kim. In the support role Gido ‘Gido’ Moon and Taeyeong ‘Tairong’ Kim.
What was fun was that the original duos were split up during this match. The Runaway tank duo that then became the Vancouver Titans, JJanu and Bumper were split between the two teams. The Ryujehong line of Ryujehong, Esca, and Gido was split up as well with Ryujehong on one side and Esca with Gido on the other. Zunba and Miro the Lunatic-Hai turned Seoul Dynasty tank duo was also split between the two separate teams. This made it enjoyable to see them all playing together but in a new arrangement.
A part of what made many of these past players beloved was their personality both in and out of the game that matched with their highly skilled gameplay. Right off the bat with the team roster picture the personalities pop out. Though Ryujehong’s team was more serious in comparison to the utter chaotic team Esca, Jjanu and Dohyeon flash a peace sign or two.
Team Esca is made up of entertainers. Mirage and Esca are both regular streamers on Twitch. Bumper was a beloved personality of the Overwatch League where his sass gained him many fans. Gido was known to fans of the Seoul Dynasty and Lunatic-Hai as the chaotic maknae (youngest member), where his lip would get him in trouble with the other members from time to time. Zunba has had his iconic drinking and cooking streams as well as the ever-present in-game BM of D.Va bombing sleeping targets. Tairong might be seen as an odd edition, but he was on the team with Esca and Zunba for the OWWC the first year. His strategic mind helped the team to victory and is a big personality and contributor to the Overwatch community still.
The game was only a 3 map match comprised of Control, Hybrid, and Escort. Each team played in the 2/2/2 format. The teams did not play some of the newer heroes such as Sigma, Ashe, Echo, or even Doomfist.
Control: Lijiang Tower
A nice surprise for the viewers was that the control map was the old format of the best of five. That meant there was more content for the fans to watch. It started out on Control Center. Some iconic picks were seen right away with Ryujehong on Ana, Zunba on Zarya, Bumper on Rein, and Esca on Mei. The chat was spicy as the pros were bantering back and forth while playing. This round as well as the next on Night Market was also taken by Team Ryujehong. Though on Night Market Miro’s old form appeared by eliminating Tairong on Mercy who was mid guardian angel with a fire strike. Mirage also popped off on Genji and Pharah, reminding fans that he was a pro player in the past and not just a streamer.
Gardens was when Team Esca showed they were warmed up. Not only did Gido on Zen showed off his headshotting abilities, but Esca on Tracer, who in the past had gotten a lot of criticism from fans about, got a 3k off of his pulse bomb by sticking the enemy Tracer. They won Gardens as well as the revisiting of Control Center. Here was where the fun aspect appeared, as Mirage ran right past Daemin on Mei to fan the hammer to kill Ryujehong’s Ana. Bumper showed that he is still the ever-present super aggressive tank player.
In the end, it was Team Ryujehong who took away the last map which was Gardens. It was Jjanu who was the MVP of this set for all of his work peeling for his supports and offensive pressure on Team Esca.
Hybrid: Kings Row
Team Esca’s Attack
Kings Row is always a favorite map for the pros and fans. This was a rough attack for Team Esca, but a great defense for Team Ryujehong. The synergy between the members of Ryujehong stuck out. When Mirage was dragon blading, he went after Ryuejhong on Ana, but NUS Zen trans right in front ensuring the flex support’s safety. Daemin was flanking quite a bit and was able to sandwich Team Esca in bad positioning once they got to the street’s phase. Jjanu’s eat on Zunba’s grav was a big moment, and that helped stop the cart right before the last bend to point B.
Team Esca’s Defense
Team Esca went a little meme-y when they were defending. Gido went tank, Mirage support, Zunba went on Soldier. This was a throwback to when Zunba and Gido would flex onto these roles when 2/2/2 hadn’t been implicated in Overwatch yet. Dohyeon right away on widow headshot Mirage who was on Ana and everything unraveled from there. Zunba’s time in Valorant (which has been quite successful since his departure from the Overwatch community) helped highlight his DPS dream as his tracking on point.
Team Ryujehong won this map in an easy fashion as Team Esca couldn’t even contest at the end as they were too far away. Dohyeon for his consistent DPS, flanks, and headshots was awarded MVP of this set.
The last map was on Escort. Dohyeon again pulled out the Widow and got two back-to-back headshots. Though Team Esca was able to stop Team Ryujehong mid-way through point C, they were unable to win this map being stopped before B. This gave the overall win to Team Ryujehong. Though during Team Esca’s attack, Gido slept Miro who Winston ulting. This was a throwback to Season One, the Seoul Dynasty versus Dallas Fuel on Numbani that went viral of Zunba D.Va bombing the slept Félix ‘XQC’ Lengyel. Of course, Zunba could not help himself and had to D.Va ult right on top of Miro, which was a small victory as they lost the map overall.
An interesting part of this map was that the two teams were playing the Roadhog comps that the Seoul Dynasty was running. Roadhog, Zarya, Mercy, Ana, McCree with the other DPS fluctuating depending on the team. These teams are not Overwatch League teams, but many of the players were a part of the Overwatch League or the Overwatch League community before the Overwatch League was created. They made the composition work, which might be because they didn’t have a Reaper that needed all the resources. It was interesting to see how these old pro players put a twist on this new composition that the Overwatch League teams are running currently.
The Ultimate Takeaways
What this ultimately showed was how much talent these players still have. This was a walk down memory lane, but the realization that all of these players still have the skills and abilities to compete in the Overwatch League. The fact that many decided to step away from the scene is a worrying sign for the game and community health.
One of the most notable aspects of this showmatch was that this was at LAN. APEX always had the teams in separate plexiglass boxes to play in. All the players had masks on and their mics were on the outside of them. This should give the community hope for LAN events to slowly be coming back.
It took the Overwatch League a whole mini-tournament to get in-game player cams, which was done for this small event. The quality of the stream was good. It was easy to see that the players were having fun. Though, no doubt, each team wanted to win they were cracking smiles and reacting to losses in an animated way. It is an easy bet that afterward, both teams went out for dinner together and maybe even karaoke after that.
Importance of Teammates
This goes back to what was said by some of the pros at the end of last season. The reason they played was for the teammates around them, and without them, they didn’t have a reason to play. Even when the pressure or the game wasn’t fun they had each other. It did feel odd to not have Jinmo ‘Tobi’ Yang with them all. There were 5 of the member of Lunatic-Hai and many of the other players are good friends with the Lunatic-Hai team. This, of course, is because Tobi is the remaining member that is still active in the Overwatch League with the Philadelphia Fusion.
A Blast from the Past
These events are so much fun for the fans. Hopefully, they will do another one of these matches and other beloved players can jump in such as Stitch, Haksal, and Fissure. This was only in Korea with no English companion stream. But if you want to watch the matches here on Esca’s Twitch as well as on Ryujehong’s Twitch. The showmatch with the old pros starts at 2:58:00 with the beginning half being the newer player teams that were coached by Ryujehong and Esca.
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