In an unexpected (perhaps “shocking”) move, San Francisco announced that they were parting ways with Dong-jun “Rascal” Kim on October 26. Coming after another championship season with wins in the Grand Finals, Countdown Cup and May Melee, it seems strange for the team to drop their most versatile DPS player. Rascal even won the “Fleta is meta” challenge during All-Star Weekend, demonstrating his prowess on a global level.
After considering retirement, it seems Rascal is looking to play once more. He is deserving of a starting spot on any team he joins, so here are some speculations of landing spots.
The Glads are not shying away from talent this season. Having already signed MuZe and Shu, plus rumors of signing Grant “Moth” Espe from the Shock, LA does not seem to be on a tight budget. The roster they have built so far is looking championship worthy, and Rascal could further cement that.
However, they already have Kevin “kevster” Persson as the complement to Ji-hyeok “Birdring” Kim. Rascal is likely an upgrade here, but it is hard to say how much. Kevster is already accustomed to coach David “Dpei” Pei’s system, so swapping that out may come with growing pains.
The most appealing part of this to fans is that there would be a reunion of Birdring and Rascal. Lovingly dubbed “Birdscal”, these two incredible DPS players were teammates on KongDoo Panthera in 2017. Nostalgia is big here and if they want to play together, the Glads may find a way. The recent trade of Fearless to Dallas shows that a player’s preferences can influence a lot.
The Gladiators signing Rascal would round out their super-team, and surely make them a fan-favorite across the league.
The Outlaws are in a full rebuilding year. With Matt “coolmatt” Iorio at the helm as General Manager, they are hoping to reshape the team into a successful western franchise. Rascal has shown his prowess on a mixed roster with the Shock, and could fit in well even if the Outlaws choose to go with more western players.
Houston seems to be building around Dante “Danteh” Cruz. With him covering Tracer/Sombra and potentially Echo, Rascal fits in perfectly here on the other projectile heroes. If this goes through, there should be intense debates on who is the better Echo player between the two. Fans should hope she finds a place in the meta to see some fireworks from this duo.
Finally, Rascal would be reuniting with Jae “Junkbuck” Choi. Junkbuck was the assistant coach for the Shock during Rascal’s tenure, and has now become a Co-Head Coach along Harsha “Harsha” Bandi. Junkbuck’s experience should allow him to fully utilize Rascal and have one of the top DPS duos in the league.
Finally, fans should be ecstatic if this happens. If the Outlaws finally have the high-caliber performances they desire, Rascal leading that would be a slap-in-the-face to the Dallas Fuel. The Fuel cut Rascal in Season 1, disparaging his work ethic. This would provide Houston fans a perfect opportunity to stoke the Texas rivalry, adding excitement and higher stakes to each of their matches.
Guangzhou has cleared house this off-season. They released three members of their coaching staff (including Head Coach Hyo-jin “J1N” Cho) as well as seven players. In the meantime, they signed Ji-Won “Arachne” Lee from the San Francisco Shock as their new Head Coach.
With an almost empty roster, the Charge can go in almost any direction as a team. They retained their tank line of Seung-Pyo “Rio” Oh and Ki-Cheol “Cr0ng” Nam, as well as DPS player Yiliang “Eileen” Ou. A DPS line of Rascal-Eileen could be quite scary, especially since they are both incredibly flexible. They should be able to cover each other’s weak spots and be a nightmare for opponents to prepare for.
The addition of Arachne as Head Coach gives another reason for Rascal to sign with Guangzhou. Arachne was Assistant Coach with the Shock for 2020, giving him plenty of experience working with Rascal. Like with Junkbuck, the two could fit together really well which is critical in a rebuilding phase. If Arachne has much say in the recruiting process and the budget allows it, he should definitely look in Rascal’s direction.
Re-Sign With the Shock
This last option is the least likely of the four, but the one most Shock fans would like to see. Rascal has been one of the most consistent players on the team and now leaves a noticeable hole in the DPS lineup. It is hard to let a top-five DPS player walk, especially when doing so leaves the team without a dedicated projectile specialist.
There certainly is the possibility of renegotiating a contract, as teams in the past have thrown a curveball by announcing departures and then re-signing those departed players. However, if Rascal is really looking to be the superstar or face of the franchise, the Shock may not be the team for him. Dae-hee “Crusty” Park’s DPS rotations, while masterful, still have to manage four top players if Rascal re-signs. And if the meta shifts towards double-hitscan, the Shock have specialists in all roles, so Rascal would likely be sidelined once more.
More than just his in-game skills, Rascal is one of the faces of the franchise. His antics on Matthew “Super” DeLisi’s stream have found a way into fans’ hearts. Plus with Moth likely leaving, bringing back a familiar face would levy spirits. While unexpected, this would certainly be a solid move for the team.
What are your thoughts? Do you see Rascal landing somewhere else, perhaps Washington or Vancouver? Let us know in the comments or over on TGH’s social media pages. We’d love to hear from you!
Featured image courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.
You can also follow Matthew @setanta_ow or message him on Discord (setanta#2155).