Pine: “Maybe I could come back to the OWL if I got confidence”

Unfavorable metas were one of the reasons behind his decision.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment
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The Overwatch scene said a heartfelt goodbye to Kim “Pine” Do-hyeon after the pro retired last week. But yesterday, he shared a sincere, personal video on his YouTube channel, detailing the facts and factors that led him to call it quits—at least for now.

The pro-turned-streamer started the video by recounting his reaction to the infamous GOATS composition. “I was shocked when GOATS came out,” he said. “What should I practice on now?”

The meta was soft-locked to a triple support, triple tank composition on both sides of the match. GOATS gave hitscan heroes little playing room. Its key element was the high sustain that was only achievable with no DPS heroes on the allied team. Snipers weren’t a viable counter to GOATS. “But I was still confident at the time,” Pine said.

GOATS’ predominance started affecting Pine. “I started to have negative thoughts,” he confessed. “I felt lost at the time.”

It took a toll on his self-confidence as a player. He admitted to thinking his team “might get in trouble” if he asked to play.

He practiced Doomfist over the course of the Overwatch League’s third stage in an attempt to counter the GOATS composition alongside Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-ryeol’s Sombra. It wasn’t enough to get him a spot in scrims, even though he asked for it.

Pine was expected to go back into popping off during stage four after Blizzard instituted the 2-2-2 role lock and effectively killed GOATS. The new meta, like its predecessor, was unfriendly to snipers, however. A combination of Orisa and Sigma gave way to double shield compositions, which watered down the gameplay value of snipers in favor of heroes like Reaper and Doomfist.

Early in stage four, New York Excelsior staff told Pine he’d be able to play, but they backtracked on their decision, according to Pine. It eroded Pine’s already-shaken self-confidence. Not coincidentally, the player decided to return to Korea during stage four.

“Frankly speaking, I just failed to adjust to the meta,” he said. “I’ve blamed the game, but I shouldn’t.”

The pro didn’t completely abandon his team after retiring, though. He chose to become an affiliated streamer with Andbox, Excelsior’s parent company. There are “a lot of constraints” in professional gaming and streamer life doesn’t have as many, according to Pine.

“Enemies are everywhere for pro gamers,” he said. “Even if it’s the same team, we have to compete for the starting position.” He admitted that the only player he felt comfortable talking to about his troubles was former teammate Hwang “Flow3r” Yeon-oh.

The pro-turned-streamer thanked his fans and teammates and assured that there was no bad blood between him and the NYXL staff. He finished by cheekily saying that he feels sorry for his “fans and anti-fans” because fans lost the player they were rooting for, while anti-fans can’t blame him anymore.

Pine didn’t completely rule out a return to the Overwatch League, however. “I don’t know if I should call it ‘retirement,’” he said. “Maybe I could come back to the OWL if I got confidence.”

Pine’s confidence in his talent plays a significant role in his relationship with Overwatch. His hitscan prowess earned him the nickname Big Boss, but his recognition comes with a few caveats.

“Personally, I feel too much pressure from the name”, he admitted in an old Overwatch League video. “The name itself suggests that I have to be constantly good. It’s actually a huge burden for me.”