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What OWL Teams Still Have Players From the Inaugural Season: Part 3

Original Players

With the craziness of this Overwatch League offseason, it is worth a look back at how teams have changed since the league’s inception. Looking at retention of the original players for each team, there appear three distinct categories. The first is teams that have had a complete overhaul, with none of the original players still with the organization. On the other end of the spectrum, there are stronghold teams that have retained a larger number of their players. The last category is teams with 1-3 ‘surviving’ players who provide the foundation for a new strategy for their teams.

Part 1 looked at the at the ‘overhauled’ teams – those that have parted ways with every single player that was with the team as the 2018 season started.

Part 2 looked at the ‘stronghold’ teams – those that have retained over half of their original players.

Today is a look at the teams with ‘surviving’ players – those that have 1-3 of their original players. The five teams that fit this criterion are the Shanghai Dragons, Seoul Dynasty, San Francisco Shock, Los Angeles Gladiators and Dallas Fuel. This will take a look at which players have stuck around and how the teams have formed around them.

Shanghai Dragons – 1 Original Player

Pre-2018 Roster:

Weida “Diya” Lu

Chao “uNdeAD” Fang

Wenhao “Roshan” Jing

Junjie “Xushu” Liu

Peixuan “Feelfree” Xu

Zhaoyu “Fiveking” Chen

Yage “Altering” Cheng

Dongjian “MG” Wu

It is no exaggeration to say that the 2018 Shanghai Dragons had the worst season in all of professional sports history. An entire season without a win necessitates some change, which they tried to do throughout the season. After Stage 1 they signed Gi-hyeon “Ado” Chon, Se-yeon “Geguri” Kim, Eui-seok “Fearless” Lee and Junjuan “Sky” He. Still seeing no success, after Stage 2 the team parted ways with Undead and signed Dae-min “Daemin” Kim. Frustrated with lack of playtime, MG left the team in a mutual decision and has been playing for several Chinese Contenders teams. Nevertheless the Dragons could not garner even one win and went 0-40.

In the ensuing offseason the team released all but three of their players. The three they kept were Diya, Geguri and Fearless. To fill out the roster they announced six signings, picking up Young-jin “YOUNGJIN” Jin, Jin-hyeok “DDing” Yang, Sung-hyeon “Luffy” Yang, Kyung-woo “CoMa” Son, Jun-hwan “GuardiaN” Jo, and their all-star Sung-bae “diem” Min. Then two days before the start of the season they added Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh as their main tank. In the third match of the season, they finally found a win and ended their overall winless streak at 42 matches. The team saw four more roster moves throughout the season, moving Fearless to their academy team (Team CC) and releasing GuardiaN. In the second half of the season they acquired Kang-jae “envy” Lee from the Toronto Defiant and Min-chul “Izayaki” Kim from the Los Angeles Valiant. The Dragons had an up-and-down performance throughout the season as a whole, peaking as Stage 3 Champions but following it up with their low of a 1-6 Stage 4.

Heading into the 2020 Season, Shanghai kept seven of their players. They saw the retirement of YOUNGJIN and the release of Gamsu and CoMa. A big-name acquisition for the team was Byung-Sun “Fleta” Kim from the Seoul Dynasty. Additional late-November pick-ups include Jae-won “LIP” Lee, Jae-gon “Leejaegon” Lee from Team Runaway, Ji-won “Stand1” Seo from Gladiators Legion, and Jun-woo “Void” Kang from the Los Angeles Gladiators. While Diya is the only 2018 player that remains, he will be playing the 2020 season as a two-way player between the Shanghai Dragons and their Contenders team, Team CC.

Remaining Original Player: Diya

Original Players
Image Courtesy of Stewart Volland for the Overwatch League

Seoul Dynasty – 1 Original Player

Pre-2018 Roster:

In-jae “EscA” Kim

Je-hong “ryujehong” Ryu

Jin-mo “tobi” Yang

Joon-hyeok “zunba” Kim

Gi-do “gido” Moon

Jin-hyuk “Miro” Gong

The Dynasty started as the six players of Lunatic-Hai, but EscA retired before the season started. The team picked up six more players before the start of the Inaugural Season. These additions were Byung-sun “Fleta” Kim, Sang-beom “Munchkin” Byeon, Jae-mo “xepheR” Koo, Seok-woo “Wekeed” Choi, Jun-hyeok “Bunny” Chae and Dae-kuk “KuKi” Kim. Throughout their disappointing first season they signed Jin-woo “Gambler” Heo and traded Bunny to the Los Angeles Valiant. However, they still ended up finishing eighth and did not qualify for a single-stage playoff.

Leading into 2019 they signed Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek from the Los Angeles Gladiators and released Miro, gido and Wekeed. Gambler also retired as a professional and went to become a full-time streamer for Gen.G Esports. When free agency started, they traded xepheR to the Florida Mayhem and KuKi to the Los Angeles Valiant. In their place, the team signed Min-hyuk “Michelle” Choi, Min-seo “Marve1” Hwang, Seung-soo “Jecse” Lee and Dong-eun “FITS” Kim in hopes that the second season would fare better than the first. Amidst the first half of the season, the team signed Sung-hyeok “Highly” Lee and Jae-min “ILLICIT” Park; in the second half, Fissure retired and they released Munchkin. These changes set them up to make the Stage 1 and 3 Playoffs as well as the Season Playoffs as they beat the Guangzhou Charge in the Play-in matches.

In preparation for 2020, Seoul has made massive changes to their coaching staff in addition to the stunning acquisition of Jae-hee “Gesture” Hong and Joon-yeong “Profit” Park from the London Spitfire. The other pick-up was the promotion of Young-wan “Creative” Kim from their academy team Gen.G Esports. But all things come at a cost, and this time the cost was the transfer of Fleta to the Shanghai Dragons, the transfer of Highly to the London Spitfire and the release of Jecse. In free agency, zunba’s contract has not been renewed and negotiations with two teams fell through, so he is currently a Free Agent looking for a team to join. The most recent move has been ryujehong’s parting with the team to sign with the Vancouver Titans, to the chagrin of many fans.Seoul’s journey has been a volatile one, but tobi has been their lone survivor from the beginning.

Remaining Original Players: tobi

Original Players
Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

San Francisco Shock – 2 Original Players

Pre-2018 Roster:

Daniel “dhaK” Martinez Paz

Dante “Danteh” Cruz

André “iddqd” Dahlström

Matthew “super” DeLisi

Andrej “babybay” Francisty

Nikola “sleepy” Andrews

David “Nomy” Lizarraga Ramirez Osmar

Jay “sinatraa” Won

Andreas “Nevix” Karlsson

The San Francisco Shock experienced a disappointing Inaugural Season but built the team for long-term rewards. The team did not qualify for a single stage playoff but signed Min-ho “Architect” Park, Hyo-bin “ChoiHyoBin” Choi and Grant “Moth” Espe, who would all become key parts of their Season 2 success. In the 2018 season the team never found its groove, finishing 17-23 and 9th out of 12 teams.

The Shock moved into the 2019 season with a large number of moves to change things up. They released iddqd, Nomy and dhaK, then traded Danteh to the Houston Outlaws for Myeong-hwan “Smurf” Yoo. To get back to the maximum roster capacity of twelve players, they signed Min-ki “Viol2t” Park, Dong-jun “Rascal” Kim from their academy team NRG Esports, and Nam-joo “STRIKER” Kwon from the Boston Uprising. The season got off to a solid start before the team transferred Babybay to the Atlanta Reign after Stage 1 and sent Sleepy to the Washington Justice in the middle of Stage 2. But this mid-stage transfer did not throw them off at all, as they finished Stage 2 with no losses and no maps lost, completing the ‘golden stage.’ Having found what worked for them, they kept the roster set for the rest of the season, winning the Stage 2 Playoffs and the Grand Finals.

It is hard to improve on a championship, so the Shock have kept their lineup mostly intact heading into the 2020 season. The only change was the release of Nevix, who went on to sign with the Toronto Defiant. This leaves only Super and Sinatraa as the lasting 2018 players, which is ironic considering that they were both underage at the beginning of that season and only got to start playing in Stage 2.

Remaining Original Players: Super, Sinatraa

Original Players
Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Los Angeles Gladiators – 3* Original Players

Pre-2018 Roster:

Lane “Surefour” Roberts

João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles

Kim “Bischu” Hyung-seok

Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara

Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni

Choi “Asher” Jun-sung

Luis “iRemiix” Galarza Figueroa

One of the major storylines throughout the Inaugural Season for the Gladiators would be the dance of main-tanks. They added Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek after Stage 1 and he would start for them for the rest of the season, even coming in runner-up for the season MVP race. However after the first match of the Season Playoffs, the team benched him in favor of iRemiix and lost the subsequent two matches. Also along the way in Season One, the Gladiators acquired Ted “silkthread” Wang from the Los Angeles Valiant as well as signing Jun-woo “Void” Kang.

Unsurprising after the fallout in 2018, the team transferred Fissure to the Seoul Dynasty in the offseason. Additional releases in the offseason included Asher and iRemiix, as well as the retirement of silkthread. To counteract this, they gained Gui-un “Decay” Jang and Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye from Kongdoo Panthera, plus signing Riku “Ripa” Toivanen from Team Gigantti. They additionally placed Byong-ho “Panker” Lee on a two-way contract with their academy team, Gladiators Legion. The one mid-season move they made was transferring Bischu to the Guangzhou Charge after Stage 3. The team finished with a 17-11 record, reaching the quarterfinals of the Stage Two playoffs and being eliminated after one win in the Season Playoffs.

The Gladiators have made several roster changes headed into 2020. They traded Decay to the Dallas Fuel in exchange for Min-seok “OGE” Son, sent rOar to the Washington Justice, Hydration to the Houston Outlaws, and Surefour to the Toronto Defiant. Void was not re-signed as a free agent and was thus signed by the Shanghai Dragons. They have also had some big-name players join the team, including Indy “SPACE” Halpern from the Los Angeles Valiant and Ji-hyeok “birdring” Kim from the London Spitfire. In November they announced the signings of Chris “MirroR” Trinh and Nolan “Paintbrush” Edwards, as well as the return of fan-favorite Bischu who had spent just four months with the Guangzhou Charge. While he has not technically been with the team the whole time, he still makes this list with an asterisk.

Remaining Original Players: BigG00se, Shaz, Bischu*

Original Players
Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Dallas Fuel – 3 Original Players

Pre-2018 Roster:

Timo “Taimou” Kettunen

Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor Rua

Sebastian “Chipshajen” Widlund

Christian “cocco” Jonsson

Hyeon “EFFECT” Hwang

Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod

Brandon “Seagull” Larned

Scott “Custa” Kennedy

Félix “xQc” Lengyel

The Inaugural Season saw Dallas begin with the players of Team EnVyUs. Along the way they picked up Dylan “aKm” Bignet and Min-seok “OGE” Son and released the ever-controversial xQc. The team got Dong-jun “Rascal” Kim from the London Spitfire but released him after two months. After Stage 2 they traded Custa to the Los Angeles Valiant and got Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson in his stead.

Seagull retired after the 2018 season and the team released Chipshajen and cocco. The Fuel added Zachary “ZachaREEE” Lombardo, Won-sik “Closer” Jung from the London Spitfire, and Richard “rCk” Kanerva. But the team dwindled as the season wore on, culminating just one win in the final two stages. They traded rCk to Boston for Lucas “NotE” Meissner, coinciding with the retirement of EFFECT. A month later, in need of a tank they brought up Ashley “Trill” Powell from Team Envy.

With the localization of the 2020 season, the Fuel have since signed Young-jin “Gamsu Noh from the Shanghai Dragons and Dong-ha “Doha” Kim from Element Mystic Gaming. In a blockbuster trade, they received Gui-un “Decay” Jang from the Los Angeles Gladiators and gave them OGE in return. They are hoping that these additions to their remaining core will make 2020 their season.

Remaining Original Players: Taimou, HarryHook, Mickie

 

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This is the last of a three-part series. Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 can be found here.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on the next two parts, and for more sports and esports articles from other TGH writers along with Matthew. 

You can also follow Matthew @setanta_ow or message him on Discord (setanta#2155).

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