How is a two time major final MVP and former World Champion so underrated?
Park "Profit" Joon-yeong has one of the most decorated trophy cases in competitive Overwatch history and has the skill to back it up across nearly four years of play. As the ace of the only royal roaders in Overwatch history, a two-time MVP in major finals, and with a litany of strong finishes in the Overwatch League era—why is his claim to the greatest of all time throne all that contested?
It’s strange to see such little value be placed on events that pre-date the Overwatch League. Especially when many of the latter easily rival the Overwatch League in terms of the level of competition in its early iterations. This kind of revisionist history ignores these tournaments or are often discounted outright due to either recency bias or just being covered in the thick dust of time. 2017 was an amazing year of highly competitive Overwatch with OGN’s Overwatch APEX, and if you are extra charitable, 2016 had its fair share of strong showings as well. So the flailing hands' argument of “we don’t have enough time to tell” is just shortsighted.
We’re going on our fifth year of world-class competition, six if you crack out the yoga mat and really reach. By now, if we see someone special who has been doing it for what feels like forever, we can start to field arguments for the greatest of all time.
This all begs the question; what does it mean to be the greatest of all time? To rephrase; who sits as the centre point of career length, success, skill, and flexibility across a number of teams, systems and metagames? Profit easily should check all of those boxes and then some, and his first claim to fame is arguably his best. Profit’s debuting showing at OGN’s Overwatch APEX Season 4 was easily one of the best individual showings in Overwatch history, especially when you look at his grand finals victory over RunAway.
According to Winstonslab.com, Profit scored a massive 134 kills and only suffered 55 deaths. To put this into perspective, Profit’s statistics left him with a +79 kill to death (k/d) spread, the next closest person to him was his teammate Lee "Hooreg" Dong-eun with a +33 spread. He also accounted for 34.67% of his teams kills on Tracer across approximately 53 minutes of use.
We haven’t given up a single set to [the] 1st, 2nd, [or] 3rd teams of last season. All dead. Ah… So boring.
— Profit ahead of APEX Season 4 Grand Final
Profit’s known to this day as an incredibly strong Tracer player, but what is impressive is his flexibility, even on heroes he isn’t known for. Barring the grand finals, Profit used Genji for a rough total of three minutes throughout their incredible run through APEX Season 4 and if you go even further back into his APEX Challenger appearances that number only increases to 30 minutes. To contextualise this, if we measure from May 24, 2017, which was his APEX Challenger debut, up until the semi-final for APEX Season 4 on October 10, 2017, Profit has almost exactly seven hours of playtime recorded on Tracer.
His Genji was not something experts and pundits were counting on, especially not against RunAway. Throughout all seven maps in that grand final, Profit played Genji for around 51 minutes. This means he had played more Genji in this one match then he had in the last five months. It was so rarely used that former RunAway main tank, Park "Bumper” Sang-beom, cited this as a flaw before their final match.
“Honestly, GC Busan’s inability to use Genji is fatal,” Bumper said.
“They don’t have the explosive damage.”
Sitting across from was legendary Genji specialist and Overwatch legend, Kim "Haksal" Hyojong and his long-time, partner in crime, Lee "Stitch" Chung-hee. Throughout seven nail-bitingly close maps, all DPS players in attendance had the opportunity to hold a candle to Profit’s statistical performance. No one did, not only that—no one even came close. However, the dominance doesn’t end there; Profit’s Overwatch League performances don’t detract from the argument.
Many people forget what kind of an all-star Profit continued to be during the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. He was a massive weapon in the London Spitfire’s stage one reverse sweep of the New York Excelsior and cemented his status on a wide variety of heroes.
In the London Spitfire’s first best of five against the Philadelphia Fusion in the 2018 Overwatch League Grand Final, Profit managed a +32 kill to death spread. The only person that came close to him on either side of that match was his then-teammate and world-class main tank, Kim "Fury" Jun-ho, with a +26 spread. This kind of dominance continued in their second and final best of five. Putting up another +21 spread, Profit towered over the crowd, and again the closest person to him was Fury. These are not just exceptions or outliers, Profit, throughout his career has put up astounding statistics alongside incredible play.
What those statistics do not show you is the heroes he’s playing to win the 2018 title. Profit won the inaugural Overwatch League title with heroes like Hanzo, Brigitte, Junkrat, and Genji. His skill set is far from your archetypal Tracer specialist and more akin to a colourless flex DPS ace. No matter what you put in his hands, he shines.
Another fun factoid to share is that right before he went on to win the 2018 Overwatch League title and be crowned grand finals MVP, Profit did not receive a single regular-season MVP vote.
This is just the new meta, and I have to adapt or lose the game. All pros should know this.
— Profit in a 2018 interview with Akshon Esports
Now, if we’re going to be fair, you cannot ignore the 2019 Overwatch League season. The London Spitfire looked like a shell of their former selves and did not perform well in the tank heavy metagame that dominated much of the regular season. However, taking that in stride, his statistics from that season are still respectable. On Mei he finished fourth in terms of final blows per ten minutes, eighth in eliminations per ten minutes and he tied for fourth when it came to solo kills per ten minutes. As for his Zarya, which has been hotly debated, he finished ninth in hero damage per ten minutes, and he tied for sixth in eliminations per ten minutes with none other than Jay "sinatraa" Won. If Profit was just another DPS with a strong pick or two, he wouldn’t measure up this well in his worst season by far.
Overwatch League Season 3 saw Profit join the Seoul Dynasty and have a fairly strong return to form. He and Seoul nearly took the May Melee title and made a shocking run through the Asia playoffs beating the Hangzhou Spark, the Guangzhou Charge, and the New York Excelsior all the while taking the Shanghai Dragons into deep waters.
Across the 2020 postseason, Profit had the third most final blows per ten minutes, and the most solo kills and eliminations per ten minutes on his signature hero of Tracer. However, that isn’t the end of his impressive statistical run. What’s surprising is how the statistics represent his Ashe from the playoffs and the grand finals. According to the Overwatch League Stats Lab, Profit had the second most final blows per ten minutes and had the most eliminations per ten minutes. This same kind of positive results echoes through to heroes like Hanzo and Tracer as well. Whatever Profit touches, he’ll perform on.
Now, this doesn’t mean is that k/d spreads and flimsy statistics per ten minutes are the sole performance indicators of what marks a player as good or great, but when you consistently outperform your peers, and it shows through those numbers, it should be taken as a piece of supporting evidence. If a player consistently graces the highlight reel, wins MVP awards and world championships alike—and that player is supported statistically—you’ve got something special.
The fact of the matter is this; you don’t do that well, on that number of heroes, for that long, across a number of teams and systems, across all the fundamental gameplay changes that Overwatch has seen, and are not viewed as one of the best to ever do it.
Profit is the outlier.
If you want to define the greatest of all time discussion by eras, Profit still leads the pack. During the APEX Era, Profit took the trophy and ran. Legends that played for Lunatic-Hai, KongDoo Panthera, RunAway, they all lost, and he won grand finals MVP. Moving into the Overwatch League, Profit’s argument only furthers in depth. Again, the 2018 world title and the grand finals MVP award speaks for itself. Now, you cannot overlook and cherrypick when it comes to this kind of discussion. Profit did suffer a slight downswing in 2019 as did many of the London Spitfire mainstays; however, he still managed to be competitive. And, last but certainly not least, he returned to the grand finals in 2020 and took the world champions close.
Few players can boast a comparable level of the flexibility, the measurable skill, the career length, and the success that Profit has. There is one candidate leading that pack when it comes to the greatest of all time as it currently stands—and that is Profit. Through role lock, hero pools, the dive meta, the no-main-tank metagame, you name it, he’s done it.
Profit has constantly been a one-of-a-kind threat and should be recognised as such.
Images via Blizzard Entertainment