Recently Chan-Hyung “Fissure” Baek moved from Los Angeles Gladiators to the Seoul Dynasty. The announcement was a surprise to everyone in the Overwatch Community. Fissure is one of the best Main tank players in the Overwatch League. His role in any of his teams, however, is not limited to that of a player. He brings with himself the leadership and the experience necessary to keep the team together and move towards a singular objective.
🐯ANNOUNCEMENT TIME 🐯
— Seoul Dynasty 🐯 (@SeoulDynasty) August 21, 2018
However, for a player of his calibre, it is somewhat surprising to see him change teams so much. After all, shouldn’t teams want to retain him on their roster because of his value as a player and as a mentor? He has been on three teams now, with the latest being Seoul Dynasty. Let’s take a rundown of his journey through Overwatch League till now.
London Spitfire’s original roster was just too good. The team had the core of the Kongdoo Panthera as well as G.C. Busan. These two teams included the ‘rising stars’ in Korea. They had produced surprising results in individual matches as well as big third-party tournaments. The London Spitfire management went forth with a starting roster which did not involve Fissure. They chose Birdring and Profit to be their primary DPS players. These two players had great synergy and a comfort level with Gesture. It was evident in their gameplay right from the first week of Overwatch League. Changing a winning formula does not make sense. Hence, the Jack Etienne owned organisation decided to stay with their starting roster.
But for players of the calibre of Rascal and Fissure, staying on the bench was a big letdown. After all, they were witnessing other, potentially lower skilled players become more successful on other teams. This success was possible only because they got the necessary ‘playing time’. Fissure moved to Los Angeles Gladiators, a team which at the time, did not look a threat to becoming a top tier team.
As soon as he joined the Gladiators Fissure immediately got to work on improving the team mentality. In retrospect, it seemed to be a wrong decision by London Spitfire. Los Angeles Gladiators quickly rose to prominence on the back of some excellent tank play. The aggressive nature of his Winston provided a lot of space for Surefour and Hydration to get crucial frags. Primarily, while the DPS seemed to be taking all the kills, it was possible because of Fissure and his focus on the enemy supports.
Fissure’s movement to Los Angeles Gladiators came at a time when his former team had just won Stage 1. Winning stage 1 essentially put London Spitfire as a strong contender in the first season of Overwatch League. They were not as dominant as New York Excelsior during the regular season matches. However, their strength on the final day essentially brought them in everyone’s attention as the only team which could challenge NYXL. Ofcourse, as we know, later it was not entirely true.
Fissure’s move to Los Angeles Gladiators seemed to be at a time when no one thought of the Gladiators as a potentially strong team. They were unable to defeat their local counterpart, the Los Angeles Valiant in Stage 1. Overall, their playstyle still required a lot of refining. But more importantly, it was the team mentality which was down and out. The addition of Fissure was meant to add the necessary firepower to the team. But being the leader in real life as he is, he was quick to change the team’s outlook. Taking control of the team as a mentor of sorts, Fissure provided the much-required hunger in their play. Their systematically enhanced placements with each Stage was noticeable. They ended Season 4 with a 9-1 scoreline. The team’s performance improved and the initial upswing in performance was due to the addition of Fissure on the roster.
At some point, the language barrier between Koreans and non-Korean speaking players does become a factor. For a team to be successful, it is essential that they have a great synergy and coordination with each other. The communication flow between players helps them not only within the server but also off the server.
The Overwatch League is global in nature. Every team in the Overwatch League has Korean players either on the starting lineup or on the bench. The diversity and distribution of Korean players make the league unquestionably multilingual. Many teams have had to invest in language tutors to teach their players a common language ( English). Having a fast and feasible communication method is essential for quick mid-round decisions and strategy. For a fast-paced game like Overwatch, communication can mean the difference between a well-executed plan and a mistimed one.
Skill and Training do form an essential part of a team’s performance. But there are often several overlooked tiny traits such as the language barrier, interpersonal relationship between players which can severely affect the results. As such Fissure’s desire to play on an all-Korean team is not surprising.
Coming into the Overwatch League, the Seoul Dynasty was considered to be the top team amongst the twelve initial rosters. After all, they dominated the Korean Overwatch scene and were widely considered to be the best team in the world. Ofcourse the fact that they were one of the few ‘complete teams’ to transition into OWL helped shape these opinions. The other ‘complete’ teams [ or a majority of them] that directly transitioned into Overwatch were Florida Mayhem, Dallas Fuel, London Spitfire.
But Seoul Dynasty was unable to make a significant impact in the Overwatch League. Regularly compared to the other ‘full Korean rosters’ Seoul failed to match the results of London Spitfire and New York Excelsior. They needed to change things for Season 2 and Fissure’s, and skill fits the bill.
Seoul has a lot of time to practice with Fissure and polish their gameplay. They already have the necessary talent to win Season 2, but it is a question of confidence and strategy. Having a world-class DPS player such as Fleta on the roster and still not making it to the playoffs is a big letdown. Fissure is an upgrade for the Seoul dynasty, but how far can they take this is a matter for time.
With the addition of Fissure, it puts him squarely in competition with Miro within the Seoul team. Miro has been one of the greatest Overwatch tank players from the Korean region. However, of late his performance is not on par with some of the other tank players in the Overwatch League. Fissure’s addition to the team adds years of experience and a tank player who is comfortable playing his role on the team. Fissure has always played on a team which usually speaks Korean.
Whether they decide to field Fissure regularly or alternate the two tank players is entirely up to the coaches. Having two different playstyles for different sets of maps could be the crucial factor required for Seoul to go back to winning. The Seoul Roster has always found solace in their tanks and their support players.
Fissure’s addition provides them with the right amount of firepower needed to establish their dominance once again. With over 5 months of preparation time, we can be sure that they will be one of the strongest teams in OWL season 2.