After over 2 years with NYXL, the Big Boss hangs up his mouse.
Two days ago, one of the most recognizable, mesmerizing players and characters who ever graced the Overwatch League announced his retirement. With his team, the New York Excelsior, Do-hyeon "Pine" Kim dominated the first regular season of the Overwatch League, getting into everyone of the four stage finals and winning two of them. While he wasn’t a permanent starter for the team throughout the season and was rather used as a joker especially on Control maps, the games that he did play became a magical spectacle of finely honed mechanics paired with outstanding talent, audacious aggression and a tangible and infectious glee for the game of Overwatch.
Quickly, the mouse magician found his way into the heart of Overwatch League fans across language barriers. Enthralled by an enchanting performance on Illios - Well against the Houston Outlaws in stage 1 of the inaugural season, shout caster Erik “DoA” Lonnquist crowned him “Big Boss Pine” and the nickname stuck immediately. After the map was won on the back of his otherworldly play, the camera caught the then red-haired bundle of joy dabbing towards his monitor. It was the birthplace of a star not just on the server, but outside the game. A competitor and person who enjoyed playing in these moments as much as we loved watching him. Over the season he would impose on his opponents with unpredictable maneuvers like “Spider Pine”, sometimes fail, often succeed, but remained always a spectacle.
Most importantly, Pine remained a multifaceted character that shared his goofy antics with us as much as the moments of defeat and despair. When the New York Excelsior made it to the first stage finals in the inaugural season and subsequently lost to the London Spitfire in a nail biter of a series, he would later give an interview to the Overwatch League in which he expressed the depth of his disappointed about the loss with the quote of his thoughts at the time: “Why do I have to continue living?”. All the same, while hoisting his first major trophy as a professional player, Pine’s knees trembled in excitement which led him to fall of the side of the stage. Pine was never shy to let us participate in what competition meant to him as a human being and took us on his journey.
In season 2, the meta had moved past Pine’s hero pool and he took a step back from the limelight. NYXL continued to be one of the best teams in the regular season on the back of more methodical players such as Nenne, who were able fit into the GOATs meta more seamlessly. The New Yorkers became a more predictable team with defensive and highly strategical interpretations of GOATs that especially in playoff scenarios didn’t bring them the same trophies it had in the first season.
After the curtains closed on season 2 and Pine had not played a single map all season, he explained to his fans on his stream that that “Overwatch and [him had] different goals in game”, perhaps not deaf to the metaphor of talking about this while practicing his aim on a reflex trainer. He promised that he had done his best during season 2 and yet for the first time in his Overwatch League career, we were unable to witness his unleashed greatness as well as his blue struggles. Staying true to his character, he showed signs of regrets, stating that he should’ve tried even harder, like giving more than his best was a possibility.
With his retirement, the Overwatch League loses a colorful firework of a person and player, as he moves into a streaming role with NYXL’s parent company Andbox. Despite having played only 35 matches and most of them only for a map, amounting to approximately 14 hours and 30 minutes of play, Do-hyeon "Pine" Kim retires as one of the most beloved and respected players the Overwatch League has ever known. You will be missed, Big Boss Pine.
Main Image Credit | Blizzard Entertainment