With all the news occurring involving the new teams in the Overwatch League, these organizations are starting to build their foundations. While we already know a lot about the Toronto team from social media, Washington D.C.’s new team has kept fairly quiet. Until last night, that is. According to the team’s social media, they have officially announced the signings of head coach Hyeong-seok “WizardHyeong” Kim and player Joon-hwa “Janus” Song.
— Washington Justice (@washjustice) September 12, 2018
Who are they?
Both of these figures were prominent in the first season of Overwatch League. Both of them were on the dominant New York Excelsior. WizardHyeong was one of the key members that contributed to NYXL’s regular season dominance. Janus was a great backup main tank for NYXL’s Mano. But, as the season ended with a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Fusion, changes had to be made. Out of all the great players and staff throughout the NYXL team, something didn’t work. As the season ended, they announced the release of both WizardHyeong and Janus just after the All-Star Weekend.
Why did WizardHyeong get released in the first place?
WizardHyeong, while a great manager, seemed focused on the ‘moneyball’ tactics in the game. He wanted to find the best strategies and tactics with pure analytics. While this idea did get New York to the number one spot in the league, it also led them to an early season playoff knockout. Now I don’t know for sure if that was the reason why they released him, but it was clear that he just didn’t fit with the organization anymore. He seemed to leave with respect and class, getting some nice words from the organization with his departure.
Today we say goodbye to coach @WizardHyeong. We could not be more thankful for all his hard work and leadership throughout the team's inaugural season. This was a mutual decision and simply put, @WizardHyeong you will be missed! pic.twitter.com/VsqjXqfxIV
— NYXL (@NYXL) August 31, 2018
And what about Janus’ release?
Janus was someone in a similar situation. While he was a significant player in the NYXL roster, he seemed to be played on certain maps only. The fan base seemed to disagree with his inclusion almost all the time, as he just didn’t work as well with Meko as Mano did. Janus was not a bad player at all though, but his aggressive play style wasn’t as coordinated as Mano’s. While this could’ve been worked out throughout the season, it was clear that he wasn’t a great fit for the team. When the team announced his departure, I knew there was no ill intent and that he would work well with any team in the market for a main tank.
Today we have parted ways with Joon-hwa "Janus" Song. It was an incredible year, and we couldn't have done it without you, @januspy_. You've always been a wonderful player and teammate. We wish you the absolute best in your career! pic.twitter.com/HlF8hG7XFN
— NYXL (@NYXL) August 31, 2018
What does this mean for the Washington team?
Most importantly, they get two very experienced players from a great team. Yes, they both left with their own problems, but both are easily fixed with a team that subscribes to their play style. Janus’ main issue was his play style not fitting the other players on his team, and WizardHyeong’s was his coaching having a similar problem. But, if this new Washington D.C. team manages to get a team that works with Janus’ aggressive play and WizardHyeong’s analytic coaching, they could be a dark horse next year.