Despite having a successful 2020 Overwatch League season, the Shanghai Dragons has started its offseason with a dramatic roster shake-up.
The team announced today that five of its players won’t have their contracts renewed for 2021. These players include Lu “Diya” Weida, Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon, Bae “Diem” Min-seong, Yang “Luffy” Seong-hyeon, and Yang “DDing” Jin-hyeok.
This announcement comes as a bit of a surprise to many fans since the Dragons were perhaps the single most dominant Overwatch team throughout most of 2020. Shanghai won two out of the three monthly side tournaments, finished with a winning 27-2 record in regular-season games to cruise to an almost uncontested regular-season title, and capped it all off by qualifying as the region’s first seed going into the OWL playoffs.
But these players who are being let go haven’t been up to snuff, according to the team’s coaching staff, and as a result, they didn’t see much playing time throughout the last season. With such a large roster, despite their regular-season success, perhaps the culling of this unused talent can make way for a more fresh and hungry group of players who can actually challenge for those starting spots.
In the statement that accompanied the announcement of these players being released, the Dragons’ general manager Van Yang said he “fully understands and respects their desire for more opportunities in matches” and is quite sure they “will be able to have great performances in OWL.”
Diya, despite playing primarily for the academy team rather than the first string squad, was the only remaining Chinese representation on the roster. They now have just seven players contracted, all of them being Korean.
After cutting five players, Shanghai has plenty of space to sign new talent in the coming weeks and months before the 2021 Overwatch League season commences.