Who will be the successor of Hyojong
The concept of a rookie in the Overwatch League can’t be understood by the definition traditional sports has taught us. An incredible amount of players who joined the league this year have been huge success stories, standing on equal footing with their veteran counterparts. While the assumption in other esports is that competitors in their first season should be cut some slack as they will need additional time to develop, this is not the case in the Overwatch League. A rookie powered team like the Paris Eternal can win the Summer Showdown on the back of their prodigious talent in Yeong-han "SP9RK1E" Kim who had just arrived less than a month before winning it all.
Kyung-bo "Alarm" Kim chosen by Sebastian "Seb" Romero
The Rookie of the Year award is kind of a blessing in disguise because it holds the same weight as the Regular Season MVP award, but the field has been thankfully shortened down to only the players who debuted this season. It doesn’t mean deciding who wins is easy, but it narrows the scope and when the scope is this narrow, there’s really only one player in my mind who has made the impact expected of a Rookie of the Year - and that’s the Philadelphia Fusion’s Alarm.
The 5x Contenders champion has been the lynchpin, the catalyst, behind the Fusion’s success this season. Leading in multiple statistics on Baptiste and Brigitte (and not far from the top on other healers), Alarm is the healer that everyone wants on their team. A team player and playmaker, consistent in almost every match, and an adaptable player you can structure any type of team around. Alarm is the benchmark that other flex supports are measured by and there is no doubt that he is one of the best flex supports in the League, and the sole rookie that stands above the rest.
Kyung-bo "Alarm" Kim chosen by Joseph "Volamel" Franco
If our metrics are based on things like overall performance, impact, and flexibility, it’s difficult to not give the nod to Kim "Alarm" Kyung-bo. While this season has seen an impressive graduating 2020 rookie class, no one really scores as high a mark, as consistently often, as Alarm does. Not only is he one of the best Zenyatta’s in the world, but he also has a world-class Baptiste, his Ana is phenomenal, and now he’s being moved to Brigitte within the double-shield metagame because his decision making is simply that important.
Not only is he a mechanical monster, but he is also a true star player, someone that takes over games and finds a way to keep his team alive, someone that the Philadelphia Fusion have been keeping as an ace up their sleeves since the start of 2018. A superstar on such a talented team as the Fusion, you could imagine that Alarm would have a hard time standing out. Not only is he impressive just at a glance with the eye test, but he also scores near the top of his class in final blows per ten minutes, eliminations per ten minute and hero damage per ten minutes. Objectively speaking, Alarm has come into a position that was already densely packed with talent and should be considered one of the best flex supports at the moment.
Kyung-bo "Alarm" Kim chosen by Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch
An award that honours a specific time frame needs to look at the most important values within that period and weigh the importance of those factors against each other. For the regular season, the goal is to conquer the leaderboard which is done by consistent performances throughout regular season play and unwavering performances when the stakes are the highest, such as during the May Melee and Summer Showdown where teams were able to fight for additional wins to their season record. Therefore, a rookie of the year should exhibit attributes of consistency and peak potential regardless of the circumstances such as meta, pressure and adversity. This season has been blessed with a tremendous amount of fresh talent entering, hitting the ground running while being almost immediately at eye level with Overwatch League veterans.
While many would be deserving, Kyung-bo "Alarm" Kim has most consistently exhibited the qualities outlined above. Known as a monstrous Zenyatta in Contenders, Alarm seamlessly transitioned to Baptiste and even Brigitte when needed, never skipping a beat and consistently being an S-tier performer throughout any meta. In tournament situations, his performance barely ever fluctuated but rather remained clutch with the shot clock ticking down. He’s every bit as impressive as his Contenders performance promised to be.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment