Veteran Overwatch League DPS birdring retires

For nearly five years he’s been a critical part of the competitive Overwatch community.

Photo by Overwatch League

After years of gaming, hundreds of clutch plays, and one championship trophy, one of the pillars of competitive Overwatch is taking his final bow in the professional scene. 

Kim “birdring” Ji-hyeok, DPS for the Los Angeles Gladiators, announced his retirement from the Overwatch League today. He was a critical part of the Gladiators roster, but he’s also one of the most important players in Overwatch esports history. 

Birdring began his journey in competitive Overwatch in 2016 and was a part of KongDoo Uncia, which later merged into Team KongDoo Panthera. The team, along with its Cloud9 KongDoo variation, was one of the original powerhouse rosters in professional Overwatch. Many players built their names on the KDP roster, especially Birdring and flex DPS Kim “Rascal” Dong-jun.    

In 2017, birdring was picked up by the London Spitfire as the Overwatch League began its inaugural season. The Spitfire took a while to find sure footing, but by the end of the 2018 season, their dominance was apparent. As one of the league’s most impressive hitscan players, birdring was a star on the squad. 

The London Spitfire won the inaugural Overwatch League championship and birdring solidified his status as one of the most dangerous DPS players in the scene.

After a rough sophomore season, birdring transferred to the Los Angeles Gladiators in late 2019. Through numerous meta changes and roster switches, birdring remained one of the most consistent parts of the Gladiators roster. The team’s 2021 iteration recently won the Countdown Cup tournament and made significant strides in the postseason. 

“I’ve kept moving forward these past few years but I’ve decided to slow down and rest,” birdring said in a post about his retirement. “I wanted to say my goodbyes to you all for the last time as the Overwatch [one] professional gamer, Birdring.” 

While he doesn’t completely dismiss the idea of competing again in the future, birdring stated in his post that he’s looking forward to streaming and getting some rest.