As the Overwatch League is flooded by new talent, many former superstars have found themselves looking for a new home. Although many free agents joined new teams, others left professional competition or switched to coaching positions. Even for players that have proven their mettle, the offseason can be chaotic and ruthless.
By Jan. 4, 2021, all teams must have at least seven players signed, and spots are rapidly filling up on the league’s most competitive rosters. Whereas the end of the trade window for the 2021 Overwatch League season isn’t yet known, this fast approaching deadline doesn’t bode well for the remaining free agents.
A few other players objectively under performed in the 2020 season, but for others, it’s an absolute mystery why they haven’t been picked up yet. There are a few players who deserve a home, even though it’s not necessarily at the core of the competition.
In the latter part of the 2019 season, uttering the name of Yang “DDing” Jin-hyeok used to put fear in many teams’ hearts. He took to the skies like Pharah and snuck into backlines like Sombra as the Shanghai Dragon’s flex DPS master. In 2020, Shanghai was primarily responsible for revolutionizing the 2019 late-season goal and continued that journey. Often, DDing was also at the helm of these great changes.
The 2020 season brought the Shanghai Dragons as well as rookie phenomenon Lee “LIP” Jae-won to the former Seoul Dynasty DPS and future MVP Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun. DDing was overlooked for the majority of the season with all this new talent. In the offseason, when the Shanghai Dragons cleared hou hou, he was also dropped.
However, DDing should be seriously considered for a starting roster spot as his heroes return to the forefront. Pharah and Sombra have snuck their way back into the goal and a clutch Mei expert is always needed. DDing may simply be the victim of the overwhelming amount of talent in the Overwatch League right presently, considering his previous performances.
Libero – Free agents
Kim ‘Libero’ Hae-seong served as the flex DPS specialist of the New York Excelsior for three years, diving deep into his hero pool to fill the roles necessary for his team to succeed. During his first two years in the league, he was more of a pillar of the team, often teaming up with Tracer expert Park ‘Saebyeolbe’ Jong Ryeol to destroy ambitions in enemy backlines.
During the offseason of 2020, that famous NYXL squad disintegrated. While Saebyeolbe and Jung ‘Anamo’ Tae-main sung’s support went to the Seoul Dynasty, a new team has yet to be found for Libero. Last season, Libero was mostly overshadowed by rookie upstarts, but his ability to learn new heroes and make clutch plays still remains for his team.
Some fans like to argue that Libero is “washed” at his previous level of excellence or unable to play. Libero could easily reach into that well of talent within the parameters of a supportive team and take back some of the flex DPS dominance for which he was known.
There are current players in the Overwatch League who list Yang “Tobi” Jin-primary mo’s support as their motivation to start to play the support role. The former mainstay of the Seoul Dynasty is so important to the scene as an iconic veteran. Despite this, in late November, he was dropped from the team.
Tobi has always been regarded as a “safe” primary support player during his Overwatch League career, especially for Lúcio. As the meta shifted and team play styles evolved, many squads started to rely on more active, risk-taking main supports during teamfights to make big moves.
Tobi does not fit into that population, but in the chaos of showy, overextending DPS players, for some teams, a more reliable player can provide a level of calm. If Tobi no longer decides to pursue competition, thanks to his years of experience and calm conduct, he would also be one of the most valuable support coaches in the entire league.
Rascal – Free agents
Newer fans of the Overwatch League might recognize Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun only as the former flex DPS extraordinaire of the San Francisco Shock, flying into the air as Echo or jumping to a support role to assist his team. Rascal was a key component of the team’s two Grand Finals victories, but early in the offseason, he parted ways with the Shock.
Throughout his years in the Overwatch League, fans who have been around for a while have witnessed the Rascal redemption arc evolve. The London Spitfire initially picked up Rascal, then made his way to Dallas Fuel. After management said he was unwilling to communicate during procedures, he was dropped from the fuel.
After grinding into the Overwatch Contenders scene as part of the Shock’s academy team, NRG Esports, he was brought back into the big leagues. The remaining is history. But, apparently, Rascal’s reputation as one of the most talented players in the league, especially when picking up new heroes, did not help him find a team.
Retirement rumors have swirled, but Rascal was still a free agent actively searching for a team as of November. Winning two championships might be a great ending to a redemption arc, but any team would be lucky to have him if Rascal wants to continue his journey.
McGravy – Free agents
After the team decided to field a team of mostly-rookie players, the 2020 Overwatch League season was a pretty successful one for the Los Angeles Valiant. Off-tank Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey was at the core of that team, one of the very few players on the Valiant roster with extensive league playing time.
He was considered one of the league’s most reliable Western off-tanks, despite a drop in playing time by the end of the season. Moreover, for his positive leadership and dedication to charity work, McGravy received the 2020 Dennis Hawelka Award.
He became the Los Angeles Valiant’s “face,” regularly taking interviews and representing the team.But he was released from the team in October and ended up playing for Revival alongside other former league players on the Overwatch Contenders circuit.
In the Overwatch League, the competition for off-tank roles is fierce, but the reliability of McGravy could be an asset to some teams.Even if he is not able to compete at the off-tank level required by some teams, McGravy should be actively considered within a team or the league itself for a content creator or talent role.
He falls into the same category of charisma and self-deprecation that other former players have turned into long-lasting careers, such as analysts Scott “Custa” Kennedy and Jonathan “Reinforce” Larsson.