All Overwatch League teams have pressure to perform. There is no team that wants to lose or let down their fans. With the added pressure of localization, the beginning part of the season as teams had their fans right in front of them. The Seoul Dynasty the last two seasons have been middle of the table of the League. Pressure keeps increasing for the team to succeed with expectations coming from their name, the players on their team, and the city that they represent.
With the name that Gen.G picked for their Overwatch League team brings expectations. A dynasty in esports is a big deal. It can define an era or even a game. When fans think of dynasties SKT (T1) from League of Legend or Optic for Call of Duty. For Gen.G (previously KSV esports) picked the name there were big expectations. Their hashtag for Season 1 was even #TheDynastyBegins. In the preseason of Season 1 the Seoul Dynasty went undefeated, and that hyped up the team even more. Everyone was looking at the Dynasty to see how they would continue on after a loss at the hands of GC Busan in Season 4 of APEX.
The pressure of facing old friends and rivals from APEX now in the Overwatch League, but instead of beating them the Dynasty would lose shocking fans and players. Joonhyeok ‘Zunba’ Kim admitted on his Twitch stream that he had starting smoking to relieve the stress that he faced. Fans who were used to a high finishing team of Lunatic-Hai gave critiques on the team, coach, and play style. It became normal to hear apologies said or posted on sns. The Seoul Dynasty didn’t achieve what their ambitious name suggested.
Season 2 the fans saw improvements with additional players added and other players dropped. The harsh criticism continued on. It was so much that the Seoul Dynasty’s captain, Ryujehong, went on stream to tell off fans who were bashing on the younger players. It was all brought to an emotional end when the Dynasty lost to the Hangzhou Spark. Both Jehong ‘Ryujehong’ Ryu and Jinmo ‘tobi’ Yang broke down in tears and apologized multiple times for letting down the fans.
Gen.G picked up a fan favorite team from APEX. Lunatic Hai had won back to back APEX titles in Season 2 and 3. The team had had multiple of their players represent team South Korea in Blizzard Entertainment’s Blizzcon Overwatch World Cup tournament. Players such as Ryujehong and Jinhyuk ‘Miro’ Gong made a name for themselves not only in South Korea but on the international stage.
One issue that Lunatic-Hai had back in the day was inconsistent DPS. They had players such as Injae ‘Esca’ Kim, Gido ‘Gido’ Moon, Taejun ‘Leetaejun’ Lee, and ‘Seungjun ‘Whoru’ Lee as their DPS line up during APEX. Coming into the Overwatch League Gen.G picked up Byungsun ‘Fleta’ Kim who was known as an amazing projectile DPS on a struggling team. Sangbeom ‘Munchkin’ Byeon who previously had tried to join Lunatic-Hai, but was a Tracer specialist which the team was lacking. Seokwoo ‘Wekeed’ Choi and Junhyeok ‘Bunny’ Chae also joined the inaugural team. It seemed as if Gen.G had patched up all the holes in the original roster.
Season two brought more talent into the team. Legendary tank Miro stepped down but then Chanhyung ‘Fissure’ Baek was added. This increased the expectations fans had now that Seoul had a new main tank. It never came together as the community and fans believed it would. With a team of Legends, Ryujehong, tobi, Fissure, Fleta, and Zunba all the components didn’t fit together to create that win that was expected from a team of veterans.
South Korea is a mecca for esports. They have legends such as Sanghyeok ‘Faker’ Lee that represent esports in Korea. With Korea being such a strong epicenter for esports it is expected that the Korean teams will be the strongest in competitions.
The Seoul Dynasty is the only Overwatch League team that is representing South Korea. There are high expectations for South Korea to excel when it comes to esports. The South Korean Overwatch team for the Overwatch World Cup won three times in a row. They have been a dominant force in multiple esports.
The Seoul Dynasty players have a reputation of not being on sns much. It was seen through Ryujehong’s response to Rob ‘Slasher’ Breslau tweet about him being the biggest disappointment shows that the players do check sns. Not only do they have to deal with criticism in English from the NA fans on forums like Reddit, but also from Korean fans on similar websites.
Many South Koreans value perfection or coming in on top. This cultural aspect makes it so if the Dynasty is not #1, many see flaws that they point out. The team even when they won would apologize for not playing the best they could, and then would promise to play better next time.
A weakness to a strength
The name, team, and being the only team to represent South Korea put so much pressure on the team to excel in the Overwatch League. This team shows signs of wear and tear, but it has also lit a fire of desire inside the team. The Seoul Dynasty came into Season 3 with the determination to prove themselves. They are on track to prove those wrong and live up to their name, players within the team, and the expectation of being the team that South Korea deserves.
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