Here is a thought experiment; Shock got a Titan, but was it the right Titan?
Let’s not kid ourselves, someone like Lee "Twilight" Jooseok moving to the 2019 championship team, the San Francisco Shock, is incredibly exciting and it undoubtedly makes a great team even more potent. And at no point should you come away from this article and think Twilight isn’t one of the best players in the world, let alone at his role, or that Shock shouldn’t be allowed to pick up such a good player. Now that we have the caveats out of the way, there are some interesting thought experiments to have about the move and there are some arguments to be made against seeing San Francisco Shock sign Twilight.
The Wrong Titan
First, we have the premise that perhaps the Shock slightly missed the mark when pulling from the fallen Vancouver Titans roster. With two of the most stacked rosters in Overwatch’s competitive history, it’s hard to argue that you could miss. However, circumstances have made it clear that the Shock are hurting, in terms of depth, at the flex DPS position. After the departure of 2019 Regular Season MVP Jay "sinatraa" Won there is a gaping hole left in the roster.
Yes, the roster is well equipped to do well for itself and there are other talented flex DPS players who currently are rising to the occasion, but it’s the depth, in hero pool and in specialization, that is lost here. That said, would it not be poetic to see the star who sinatraa snuffed out in the finals bend the knee and join the Shock? Would it not be one of the biggest moves in Overwatch history to see 2019 Rookie of the Year Kim "Haksal" Hyojong take his talents to San Francisco?
Where the Shock are not hurting is at flex support. Park "Viol2t" Minki isn’t the best in the world, but he is undoubtedly within the world’s best. One could argue we saw the four horsemen of the support apocalypse last season and if that was the case then Viol2t would be among them. There is an argument to be made that this isn’t the position that needed upgrading, rather it was adapting the recent retirement and departures that they faced and signing a flex DPS.
One of the most obvious difficulties in signing someone like Haksal is that not is he going to be highly sought out after by nearly every other team in the league but, tied with that, his contract is going to be astronomical by nature of that interest.
Value Judgements and the Future
There are so many strong flex supports playing the game at the moment that spending the lion’s share of a team’s budget on this particular position doesn’t make much sense. The depth of talent at flex support is as deep as Custa’s love for Jerry. Now, when we compare this to other roles like main tank and a true flex DPS, the talent pool starts to thin out. If we agree that Twilight, as a player, will probably fetch a pretty penny, then perhaps Shock could have shifted the budget away from flex support and to one of these other talent shallow roles.
Another thing the Shock has been known for in the past is the teams planning for the future. Going into the inaugural season the San Francisco Shock’s biggest narrative was their roster planning around the young western duo, sinatraa and Matthew "super" DeLisi. I’d argue that something similar to this could have moved the needle for the San Francisco Shock in 2021.
What if the San Francisco Shock continued that trend and went two-steps ahead and signed talented rookie talent like Lee "Na1st" Ho-sung or Kim "Mag" Tae-sung? Not only is this an investment in your own team, but you ideally could secure two sought after free agents before the market opens for 2021.
Again, the Shock are going to be looking for a flex DPS to either sit beside or behind Kim "Rascal" Dong-jun now that Park "Architect" Minho has moved to the Hangzhou Spark, and someone like a Na1st would be a perfect fit. A young, promising rookie signed to a championship-calibre team with the best coaching money can by. How does that not dominate the headlines?
The same concept can be applied to someone like Mag as well. Twilight is a fantastic player, don’t get me wrong, and it would be a shame to see someone of his talent go to waste away on a below-average team, but a Shock that returns to their roots and invests into rookie talent also is very enticing.
In reality, this move from San Francisco is a letter of intent that they not only want to win the league, but they want to repeat their dominance from 2019. There is a difference between a top 10 bubble team signing such a talented player and a team that has the talent--already signed--like the Shock. The many-faced god was bound to land on his feet and will undoubtedly have a thriving career even after his playing days are over. Twilight is that world-class. Now he finds himself on a world-class roster with arguably the best Overwatch coach in the world at the moment.
Images via Blizzard Entertainment