After winning the 2021 Overwatch League championship and ushering the franchise into a new era, the Shanghai Dragons maintained success into the 2022 season. It wasn’t enough, however, to topple West Region dynamos like the Dallas Fuel or San Francisco Shock. As the team’s players age up, the roster may start looking different over the next few seasons.
Shanghai released a full list of its players’ contract statuses late on Nov. 11, which is a rare show of transparency for an Overwatch League team.
Damage dealer Lee “LIP” Jae-won and supports Lee “LeeJaeGon” Jae-gon and Kim “IZaYaKI” Minchul have either had their contracts renewed or their options accepted, meaning they’ll be a part of the Shanghai roster in 2023. Everyone else, including some legendary veterans, will be heading in a different direction.
Tank Koo “Fate” Panseung and support Yoon “BeBe” Huichang both declined the Shanghai Dragon’s team option, meaning they wanted to seek other teams or hear other offers. Kang “Void” Jun-woo, Lee “WhoRU” Seung-jun, and 2020 Most Valuable Player Kim “Fleta” Byungsun all saw their contracts expire. While this doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t return to the Dragons, they now have full freedom to explore other options.
When the league switched to Overwatch 2’s five-vs-five setup this season, Fate and Void traded solo tank time as the season went on. The team favored Fate’s steady pace by the end of the season, but Void still remained the team captain.
Of all the players leaving the Dragons, Void is the only one that’s been brutally clear about his intentions: he won’t be returning to the Overwatch League and will likely complete his two-year military service in his homeland of South Korea.
Though LIP has been Shanghai’s DPS darling as of late, the team will certainly feel the loss of flex WhoRU and veteran damage dealer Fleta. Throughout the past few years, Fleta has been able to keep up with his rookie counterparts and still strike fear into the hearts of East Region support players.
Shanghai made it to the 2022 Overwatch League playoff bracket, but they were eliminated extremely early on in the postseason by the San Francisco Shock.