An unceremonious exit leads to speculation on Decay’s next home.
The Overwatch League community is still reeling from the bombshell roster change made by the Dallas Fuel, who released their star player Decay on August 3, in a frankly unnecessarily stiff tweet on the team’s Twitter page.
Decay, who had spent a year with the L.A Gladiators in 2019 before transferring over to the Dallas Fuel for 2020, was a hotly desired player coming into his debut season. His time on Kongdoo Panthera as the team’s Zarya in the GOATS meta made him one of the select few DPS players capable of performing on the hero at a top-level, and his performance in the grand finals of his final Contenders season showed that he was a star in the making.
His time on the Gladiators was a little quieter than many would have liked, but it was 2020 where Decay would find his superstardom on the Dallas Fuel. Paired with Doha, the Dallas DPS line was at a franchise peak, and with other pickups to bolster the roster, this was Dallas’s most promising chance at a great season, and Decay was a big part of it. But now that Decay has been removed from the Dallas Fuel past the signing window, the OWL community has to wait until 2021 to see if Decay will find a new home in the league.
The question now is - where does he go from here? What team would help Decay reach his fullest potential?
MOVING BACK INTO CONTENDERS
A viable option for Decay would be to head back to Contenders, to find a new home to compete in to keep his skills up to scratch. We’ve seen many players drop from the Overwatch League into Contenders and do reasonably well for themselves while they were there. In fact, the most recent Contenders Korea champions, O2 Blast, included three former OWL players: Kalios, Yakpung, and Neko. Many teams would probably be incredibly receptive to having a player like Decay compete on their roster, especially teams like T1 or Gen.G, who have some up and coming DPS players of their own, but Decay could provide enough versatility that they could become entirely new threats.
HANGING IN HANGZHOU
Any team would be lucky to have Decay on their roster, but the Hangzhou Spark sticks out in my mind as the team that is begging for a superstar DPS player. They signed Architect from the San Francisco Shock, bringing in a consistent starter from the flex DPS position, but I still believe Decay is the player that could completely change the way the team plays from the hitscan role.
The Spark have always had a weird rotation to their DPS players. Frankly, GodsB has not looked all too good overall, especially when you see that he’s ranking in the relative bottom of the statistics on Ashe and Widowmaker, and noticeably further from the top on Tracer. Decay could add a complete revitalisation to the role for the Spark and could kick them back into that upper echelon of the Asia teams.
A REVOLUTION HAPPENING IN NEW YORK
The New York Excelsior do not have that monster hitscan player I’m sure many would like to think they have. We haven’t really seen a hard carry performance from a hitscan player on the XL, against good teams anyway, since Pine or Saebyeolbe in 2018. SBB has certainly had his moments, but I don’t think he’s as reliable on other heroes that aren’t Tracer or McCree. Nenne looked like that player at the start of 2019, but I don’t think he’s reached the same heights as his other hitscan counterparts in the league.
Decay could be another x-factor that makes New York as formidable as they once were. When New York were at their peak, their DPS players were some of the scariest in the league. I’m sure everyone remembers the days of Saebyeolbe’s Tracer and Pine’s Widowmaker and McCree highlights. We’ve seen Decay have absolutely monstrous carry performances with his time on the Fuel, and now that he’s a free agent, I definitely feel as though Decay could be a huge pickup for New York.
The entire situation involving Decay is for lack of a better word - messy. At the very least, it’s a very talented player losing his chance to play with another team in the league that he could possibly be more successful with. Many fans and community figures were calling Decay an MVP candidate because of his performances this season, and while I don’t necessarily agree, losing that type of talent for nothing more than what appears to be personal differences is tragic. Especially since Decay’s former coach on the LA Gladiators, JohnGalt, has come out in support of his former player, and the former Korean players on Dallas have reacted negatively to the team's move.
Whatever the truth behind the situation, it’s tough to lose a player that so many were hoping to see debut in the Overwatch League, and who never really found the footing he was expected to. This year he was so close to being that player we've all wanted him to be, and many have come to love him from some of the monstrous performances he's had while on Dallas. Hopefully, this is just another bump in the road, and not a complete career derailment for Decay, because he truly is a talent that the Overwatch League would be lucky to have.
Images via OWL