As new talent floods the Overwatch League, many former superstars have found themselves searching for a new home. While many free agents have joined new teams, others have left professional competition or transitioned to coaching roles. The offseason can be chaotic and ruthless, even for players who have proven their mettle.
All teams must have at least seven players signed by Jan. 4, 2021—and spots are quickly filling up on the most competitive rosters in the league. While the end of the trade window for the 2021 Overwatch League season isn’t yet known, this looming deadline doesn’t bode well for the remaining free agents.
Some players objectively underperformed in the 2020 season, but for others, it’s an absolute mystery why they haven’t been picked up yet. Here are several players who deserve a home, even if it isn’t necessarily in the heart of competition.
For three years, Kim “Libero” Hae-seong served as the New York Excelsior’s flex DPS specialist, diving deep into his hero pool to fill the roles necessary for his team to succeed. He was more of a mainstay on the team during his first two years in the league, often teaming up with Tracer expert Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong Ryeol to destroy dreams in enemy backlines.
That famous NYXL squad disintegrated during the 2020 offseason. While Saebyeolbe and main support Jung “Anamo” Tae-sung headed to the Seoul Dynasty, Libero has yet to find a new team. Libero was mostly overshadowed by rookie upstarts last season, but his ability to learn new heroes and make clutch plays for his team still remains.
Certain fans like to make the argument that Libero is “washed” or unable to play at his previous level of excellence. Within the parameters of a supportive team, Libero could easily reach into that well of talent and take back some of the flex DPS dominance he was known for.
Newer Overwatch League fans might recognize Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun only as the San Francisco Shock’s former flex DPS extraordinaire, flying into the air as Echo or jumping to a support role to help his team. Rascal was a key component of the team’s two Grand Finals wins but parted ways with the Shock early in the offseason.
Fans who have been around for a while have witnessed the “Rascal redemption arc” evolve throughout his years in the Overwatch League. Rascal was initially picked up by the London Spitfire, then made his way to the Dallas Fuel. He was dropped from the Fuel after management said he was unwilling to communicate during practices.
After grinding in the Overwatch Contenders scene as a part of the Shock’s academy team, NRG Esports, he was brought back to the big leagues. The rest is history. But Rascal’s reputation of being one of the most talented players in the league, especially in picking up new heroes, apparently hasn’t helped him find a team.
Rumors of retirement have swirled, but as of November, Rascal was still a free agent actively looking for a team. Winning two championships might be a fitting end to a redemption arc, but if Rascal wants to continue his adventure, any team would be lucky to have him.
The 2020 Overwatch League season was a relatively successful one for the Los Angeles Valiant after the team decided to field a team of mostly-rookie players. Off-tank Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey, one of the only players with extensive league playing time on the Valiant roster, was at the core of that team.
Despite a drop in playing time by the end of the season, he was considered one of the most reliable Western off-tanks in the league. Beyond that, McGravy earned the 2020 Dennis Hawelka Award for his positive leadership and commitment to charity work. He had become the “face” of the Los Angeles Valiant, taking regular interviews and representing the team.
But he was released from the team in October and ended up in the Overwatch Contenders circuit, playing for Revival alongside other former league players. The competition for off-tank roles is fierce in the Overwatch League, but McGravy’s reliability could be an asset to some teams.
Even if he’s not able to compete at the level of off-tank some teams require, McGravy should be actively considered for a content creator or talent role within a team or the league itself. He falls in the same category of charisma and self-deprecation that other former players, like analysts Scott “Custa” Kennedy and Jonathan “Reinforce” Larsson, have made into long-lasting careers.
There are current players in the Overwatch League that list main support Yang “Tobi” Jin-mo as their inspiration to begin playing the support role. The former Seoul Dynasty mainstay is that important of an iconic veteran in the scene. Despite this, he was dropped from the team in late November.
During his Overwatch League career, Tobi has always been regarded as a “safe” main support player, especially on Lúcio. As the meta shifted and team playstyles evolved, many squads began relying on more active, risk-taking main supports to make big moves during teamfights. Tobi doesn’t fit into that population, but for some teams, a more reliable player can provide a level of calm amid the chaos of showy, overextending DPS players.
If Tobi no longer decides to pursue competition, he’d also be one of the most valuable support coaches in the entire league thanks to his years of experience and calm demeanor.
By the latter part of the 2019 season, uttering Yang “DDing” Jin-hyeok’s name used to strike fear in the hearts of many teams. As the Shanghai Dragon’s flex DPS master, he took to the skies as Pharah and snuck into backlines as Sombra. Shanghai was primarily responsible for revolutionizing the late-season 2019 meta and continued that journey in 2020. DDing was often at the helm of these big changes, too.
The 2020 season brought former Seoul Dynasty DPS and future MVP Kim “Fleta” Byung-sun to the Shanghai Dragons as well as rookie phenom Lee “LIP” Jae-won. With all this new talent, DDing was overlooked for most of the season. He was dropped during the offseason when the Shanghai Dragons cleared house.
As his heroes come back into the forefront, however, DDing should be seriously considered for a starting roster spot. Pharah and Sombra have snuck their way back into the meta and there’s always a need for a clutch Mei expert. Considering his previous performances, DDing may simply be the victim of the overwhelming amount of talent in the Overwatch League right now.