Many of the Overwatch League fans may have forgotten Joonhyuk ‘Zunba’ Kim. He was an integral part of the Seoul Dynasty in Season 1, but then got less play time with the integration of Minhyuk ‘Michelle’ Choi in Season 2. In the off-season, Zunba had an option that he didn’t take and his trial fell through. With that he decided to take a break from the Overwatch professionally unless an Overwatch League offer came through. Where is the off-tank player who would slam his keyboard and screams during mid team fight?
Before Valorant it was APEX that Zunba went into. He played a in a team called ZAR during the Apex Legends Global Series Major 1 the South Korean Qualifier. They came up short landing in 8th place with 1260 points. This was the first hint that Zunba was interested in going into an FPS game that didn’t have him shoe holed into the tank position.
This should have been predicted. Zunba always loved flexing onto DPS in Overwatch. At a time he was Lunatic-Hai’s best Hanzo. Even in the APEX final’s skit in which the team consulted Injae ‘EscA’ Kim about their issues. Zunba mentioned that DPS seemed to be a fun class of heroes, and EscA shooed him away from his role. It was edited to be funny, but if anyone had seen Zunba on McCree they knew it was half a joke.
Zunba was one of the first to start streaming Valorant on Twitch. It was for fun, but slowly the percentage of Overwatch went down and the amount of Valorant went up. Now it is rare to see Zunba stream anything but Valorant.
During this beginning time was aligned with when Jehong ‘Ryujehong’ Ryu was also not a part of the Overwatch League due to leaving the Vancouver Titans. This created a fateful partnership where the two decided for fun to join one of the first Valorant tournaments in Korea that wasn’t just a pure show match.
Not only did the roster that had Ryujehong and Zunba (next to other esport pros) on XSERZ win the whole tournament but Zunba got the MVP award. This was just the start of the Zunba’s rampage through Valorant. He continued on to many other tournaments. The outcomes varied but was always placed in the top 4 teams. As Ryujehong adjusted back into Overwatch focused content while still dappling with Valorant from time to time, but Zunba continued full force into Valorant. Not only with streaming, but also in finding a team that would be the best to succeed Valorant long term career.
Many fans were wondering if or when Zunba was going to make his official announcement over to Valorant. This came in early September.
— zunba (@wg1646) September 3, 2020
He revealed that they had a lot of interest in their team but because of COVID it fell through. The team was still looking for a sponsor to support them through their goal of being the #1 Korean Valorant team. This was what cemented the knowledge that Zunba will not be coming back to Overwatch. He has been wildly successful within this new esport along side many other ex-Overwatch pros. It will be interesting to see how stacks up against the NA talent of Valorant if given that chance.
Zunba did come back to Overwatch for the Lunatic-Hai vs Runaway match. When the announcement first was released, In true Lunatic-Hai style they roped Zunba in to participating. In a Seoul Dynasty video about the event it was seen that the coaches revealed that the amazing plays that Zunba was performing was after over a month of not even touching the game. It is crazy how many his muscle memory of Zarya and other heroes was still intact. It showed how much of a loss it really is for the community that a player like Zunba has decide to leave.
Not all Work and No Play
It hasn’t been all work for Zunba. On top of his pursuit for a pro-Valorant career he has shown on social media that he has been able to hang out with his friends. As mentioned above the this period aligned with the Vancouver Titan issues that related to Ryujehong and Yang1. Both are good friends with Zunba, and when asked to come down where Zunba is living (hours away from Seoul/Incheon) the two went down to visit. With Zunba comes alcohol. He once asked on stream, when did this become my brand? He will do non-gaming streaming usually including chatting while eating and drinking.
Though Zunba does not post that much on social media, when he does it is related to his adventures with his friends. It is good to see that he is enjoying his off time.
The Future of Zunba
Zunba still slams his keyboard and still screams. His identity is still tied to ex-Seoul Dynasty player or ex-Overwatch pro when mentioned in terms of Valorant. It has been a long and rocky journey from his departure from the Seoul Dynasty to now. It is exciting to see Zunba take this step for himself into a new esport. No doubt all of his old teammates are cheering him on, just as he cheers for their success.
Hopefully after COVID-19 dies down, there will be more global Valorant tournaments that will be able to highlight his prowess in the game as well as reset his identity to his own path.
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