If a fan came into the Tiger Nation in Season 1 or later, they might not know about the forgotten tiger who helped mold the Seoul Dynasty to who they were. Injae ‘Esca’ Kim was the older member of Lunatic-Hai. He was the DPS player for the team in all of APEX. Esca was even on the first Overwatch World Cup South Korea team. He was a highly influential member of the team. Esca would pop up in social media feeds or twitch stream when the Seoul Dynasty players were back in Korea for a break. The FPS player is now enlisted in the mandatory military service. Why a forgotten tiger? When the roster first came out Esca was a part of the Seoul Dynasty. He was dropped before the official announcement but has impacted the team more than most know.
Esca’s journey, when it comes to Overwatch, started all the way back during Special Forces 2. He was on a team with Jehong ‘Ryujehong’ Ryu and Taejun ‘LeeTaeJun’ Lee alongside a few others. This created an iconic friendship that would transcend games. Their friendship continued even after Special Force 2 ended and Ryujehong went into the military. Esca decided not to go in like Ryujehong suggested and dabbled in League of Legend. Overwatch came out almost at the same time as Ryujehong left the military. One of the first LAN Overwatch events in South Korea featured many familiar names.
Esca was on one side of the match alongside Jinhyuk ‘Miro’ Gong, and the other side has Ryujehong and LeeTaeJun. This was the first time Esca was seen in the DPS role on an official stage. This was the first time the community saw the inklings of what was to come.
The debut of Lunatic-Hai came a couple of months later. Esca was front and center as the hit scan DPS and Leader. At the beginning of Overwatch Esca was hailed as a DPS legend. His muscle memory of FPS games shined through. As time went by the community viewed Esca as falling off skill-wise. His pure FPS background had to deal with the Overwatch skills and abilities of the different heroes. Tracer and Pharah were never his cup of tea, which was a struggle when the meta for a good portion of his Overwatch career was dive. With Lunatic-Hai Esca achieved many championships, DPS duo-ing with LeeTaeJun, Gido ‘Gido’ Mun, and Seungjun ‘Whoru’ Lee during this time.
When the Overwatch League was announced there was much excitement of the new format, but also what this would do to the beloved APEX teams. Esca had had his rough times during Overwatch. On any forum dedicated to Overwatch, there would be posts about Esca, and those would be mostly negative. The community saw Esca as an essential part of the team. He was the leader of the players. It was easily seen how all the boys were sunflowers towards him.
This even bleeds into the fans of the other players. Ryujehong’s fans are notorious for teasing him on stream. There is a time when Ryujehong’s chat was going crazy complaining about the eating sound into the mic. When Ryuejhong informed chat that the eating sound was coming from Esca chat responded, ‘oh Esca? Then it is okay.’ Fans and pro players had fallen under the Esca charm.
Though Esca was announced unofficially alongside the rest of Lunatic Hai, excluding LeeTaeJun, he decided to go his own way. This was hard on the team, especially Ryujehong as seen in the video above that was the Seoul Dynasty interview with their new players. Esca was a rock that the team had leaned on for so long. It was Ryujehong’s turn to be the rock for them, as Esca moved on to PUBG with LeeTaeJun and Gen.G.
Why is he important?
Esca was more than mechanically skill. Many times professional players are broken down into numbers. The kill to death ratio or the number of eliminations are heralded as kings, as they should be. There are some aspects that can’t be quantified into numbers. A concrete example of this is shot calling. A player’s ability to shot call can enhance a team’s performance even if mechanically they aren’t as skilled as others. There are in-game leadership and game sense that a player can possess. In many APEX videos of behind the scene, Esca can be heard telling the players not to get overconfident and to focus.
Esca is so essential to his teammates’ lives and them to him that they all came his Esca’s sister’s wedding. They were more than teammates. In many ways, they are closer to family than friends. He has provided emotional support to the players and has been a role model for many of them.
During the first and second season of the Overwatch League, it was normal to see the players of Seoul play at all hours Pubg if it meant that they could group up with Esca. Even the cubs who were not on Lunatic-Hai for the majority of the time that Esca was, such as Byungsun ‘Fleta’ Kim, were excited to play with him. The team even showed up for Esca’s Pubg matches when they were back in Korea. Ryujehong, Gido, Jinmo ‘Tobi’ Yang, and Joonhyeok ‘Zunba’ Kim all showed up to cheer on their elder teammate.
A Forgotten Tiger
Injae ‘Esca’ Kim never debuted as a Seoul Dynasty Tiger. He never touched the Burbank arena stage, but his presence was still felt.
Esca went on to win even more awards with Gen.G in Pubg, before changing to OPGG gaming. Esca is now in the military, but still, his name lingers on the lips of his former teammates. When Tobi and Gesture went on the twitch talk show Esca was brought up. In many social media posts by other players, Esca is still seen. This forgotten tiger still lingers in the Overwatch community.
Esca is a highly decorated esport players. He has 5 championships in 5 different FPS titles. They are in Special Forces, Special Forces 2, Black Squad, Overwatch, and PUBG.The community can only ever wonder what it would’ve been like if this almost tiger had joined the Dynasty in Season 1 of the Overwatch League.
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