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Yang ‘Tobi’ Jinmo: The Hyung of the Overwatch League

APAC Premier 2016 2nd place.

APEX Season 2 1st place.

APEX Season 3 1st place.

Seoul Cup – OGN Super Match 1st Place.

South Korean Overwatch World Cup 2017 1st place.

2020 Overwatch League Season 3 2nd place.

These are just a few of the accomplishments that Yang ‘Tobi’ Jinmo has accumulated so far in his career. He is a giant in the Overwatch community. For those fans who got to know him through the Overwatch League, it may seem like a big feat being in the League for all four seasons. There are only a handful of current players that can say that. But there are even fewer that can bolster the history that he has had before the Overwatch League had even started.

More than that, Tobi has cemented himself as the hyung (a term in Korean which younger males call older males, it is a term of friendship) of the Overwatch League to many of the Korean players. It is not just his legendary plays on support, but his interconnectedness with others that has made his journey to be one of the most respected players in the league.

A Hyung* to his Teammates

During the Lunatic-Hai days Tobi was the middle child in the team. He had Ryu ‘Ryujehong’ Jehong and Kim ‘EscA’ Injae as well as Lee ‘LeeTaeJun’ Taejun as the older voices on the team that he could gather strength from. That all changed going into the Overwatch League. Both LeeTaeJun and EscA stayed behind in Korea to pursue professional PUBG careers. Tobi then became one of the older voices on the Seoul Dynasty. He became the source a reason and support for the younger players who didn’t have as much experience as him.

His leadership in and out of the game is evident. His current teammates as well as past teammates are seemingly always hovering nearby Tobi during his streams or any social media posts. The trash talk section between the Fusion and the Dynasty illustrated the respect they still have for him. Even after Tobi left the team, his teammates still follow his lead, such as not trash talking. The whole ending of the trash talk segment was more of Seoul just speaking to him than any sorts of trash talk. He is that hyung now to the younger players that EscA is to him, as he has grown into that role.

A Wish to Play Together Again

These friendships can turn any regular matches into fan viewed friendly rivalry matches. This can be the case when a player faces against their old team, or a long term friendship of Lee ‘Carpe’ Jaehyuk vs Bae “Diem” Minseong. Just as fans desire to see old teammates reunite or friends be on the same team, the pro players also have those thoughts too.

Courtesy of the Seoul Dynasty

Tobi mentioned that in 2020 he greatly enjoyed playing with Park ‘Profit’ Junyoung, and that the player he “… would like to play with again is Profit” which melts the hearts of the Tiger Nation who enjoyed watching those two play together as well. As for a player he would like to play with but hasn’t yet, he mentioned Lee ‘Lip’ Jaewon from the Shanghai Dragons. They have known each other for a while now and he would enjoy being able to be on a team together. Both iterations would be duos that the community would love to see whether officially in the league or just a duo on Twitch.

The Journey

Every player has a story behind them. A fractured story of their journey. There is a side of the story that is promoted by the league. As well as a side that is seen within the games. When they stream, the more personal side of themselves. And then the side of who they are as a person. Many times these stories separate, which leaves the community with a partial story. The Overwatch League, especially with the APAC region, hasn’t told many of the stories of the players outside of a comm check or a winning interview.

Overwatch League: Seoul Dynasty
Seoul Dynasty
Courtesy of ESPN UK

Tobi’s story had already started the moment that KSV, now Gen.G, signed the Lunatic-Hai roster. The narrative was thrust upon him, and the whole team, of domination after the back-to-back wins of the APEX tournament in Season 2 and 3. The Overwatch League hasn’t been a smooth ride with the first two seasons being rough overall for the team. Tobi has faced his own difficulties with wrist injuries that also hindered him while he was in California with the Dynasty. What wasn’t seen was the hardships that he and the team endured adjusting to this new format and all the expectation that were thrust upon them.

Seoul Dynasty Season 4
Courtesy of Seoul Dynasty Social Media

Season 3 was the closest he had gotten since those APEX days to winning another Grand Finals, but came in second after being defeated by the San Francisco Shock. Tobi mentioned that he “faced a long slump after two consecutive wins from APEX” which he has been recovering from so he can show the best side of himself.

Overwatch League: Philadelphia Fusion

Season 4 brought along another milestone in his career as he left the Seoul Dynasty to join the Philadelphia Fusion. There were many factors that influenced Tobi in joining the Fusion, “The players and staff are really great and I wanted to be a part of that. And I heard of the great benefits which helped me make my decision to join the team.” Tobi was seen in the beginning of the season as a regular who helped the team stack up wins that helped them get into the playoffs at the end of the season. Though he wasn’t seen on stream as much, there is no doubt that behind the scenes he was right there supporting his teammates the best that he could.

Memories

From all the time the Tobi has spent within the Overwatch League there are many memories that go along with it. The Shanghai Dragons is a team that gave the Seoul Dynasty in Season 3 many memorable matches. The loss in the May Melee was one such match that has stuck with Tobi, “when we were playing against Shanghai during the May Melee and because of the reverse sweep, we lost 4:3.” Though the match to become one of the top two teams for the 2020 Grand Finals against the Shanghai Dragons is a victory that won’t fade for a long time.

These two memories that Tobi mentioned shows the dichotomy of the Overwatch League. The high highs and the low lows that all teams and players face. That can bring about a lot of pressure on the shoulders of these players. Tobi credits the amazing staff and players that he has been able to interact and work within helping him.

Mental Health

The end of the season is the hardest, as Tobi mentions that “I usually get burnt out towards the end of the season and I depend on my teammates to have my back.” This time is usually the hardest for many players and staff. Unfortunately, that is also when the most essential matches come up. He not only relies on others to help his mental health, but also throughout the season helps his teammates with their mentals. That fact that he is able to support and be supported by his team shows the mutual levels of trust and respect that he garners from those who work with him.

Tobi Hyung

This isn’t even mentioning all the amazing plays that he has done in match throughout the seasons. But when asked, it isn’t the amazing 4k kills or boops that he wants to be remembered by. It is the out of match, that self that the community doesn’t get to see as it isn’t on camera as much, but Tobi as a teammate. He said that “When I retire, I would like the fans and my teammates to remember me as someone that played his best in every match and as a great hyung to my teammates.”

An Inspiration

He wants to be remembered for what he brought to the team. Doubtless there are many professional and just everyday gamers that have been inspired by his plays and his dedication. He has always worked diligently to do his best and not fall behind. Tobi continues to be an inspiration to many in and out of game. The community can only hope that he will move on to Overwatch 2 so that he can finally clinch that long awaited Grand Final win in the Overwatch League.

*Hyung is a Korean word that males uses to refer to other older males. It is a term of friendship.


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1 comment

The Transition to Coaches in Overwatch October 7, 2021 at 6:01 am

[…] being the coach of GC Busan TDI, previously known as team Diamond. Meanwhile, Tobi has been in the older brother position on the team where he has been supporting the younger players for quite a while. Both know what it […]

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