Who needs an army when you have a JinMu.
Overwatch’s Hero Pools, their newest solution to keeping the game fresh, has resulted in an entertaining, chaotic mess, something that the Chengdu Hunters projectile DPS specialist, Yi "JinMu" Hu, has learned to thrive in.
Or was it that he always was playing that game all along?
Perhaps it’s a bit of both at once.
With random heroes exiting the playable pool week by week we’ve seen teams try a myriad of strategies from your standard Dive composition all the way to seeing Torbjorn becoming a go-to pick. Contrast this to the Hunters want and ability to flex their might and play strange, off-meta compositions to squeak out upset wins. One of the biggest reasons they’ve been able to do this is because of JinMu.
With 9 heroes played this season, JinMu has shown to have dodge “Hero Pools” in favour of his own “Hero Ocean.” It doesn’t matter what the developers do, it’s becoming impossible to ban JinMu out.
The thing is; JinMu has been doing this since he started his competitive journey.
Debuting on Legend Young Beyond in the spring of 2017, JinMu stood out as a promising projectile player. It wasn’t until he and the core of Legend Young Beyond transferred to Moss Seven Club -- where JinMu began to separate himself from his peers. You see, Moss Seven Club was what I like to call “role fluid.” Longtime teammate Ding "Ameng" Menghan, formerly known as “Vanessa”, would rotate from playing D.Va to playing Orisa and Roadhog and even was featured on Sombra for a time which carved out a niche for this team as this off-meta team that played the game their way, and JinMu was the binding agent to the whole picture. He was the red wax stamp that sealed the letter.
However, where Ameng started his career as a true flex star, JinMu was much more precise but still found a way to add his own flair to the role.
JinMu acts on every play he can visualize.
Everything is possible in his mind.
“3v1? Eh, winnable.”
“Tank is dead? Time to push.”
Watching him, even to this day, he’s either a hyper-instinctual player or he sees the game in such a way where he knows that if he were to mechanically perform all the correct inputs, he could turn water into wine.
As much as this might seem like a knock on the young Chinese prodigy, JinMu feels like a much more successful version of Jeong "ArHaN" Wonhyeop. Both are hyper-aggressive, sometimes to a fault, but JinMu trumps his stylistic bedmate with diversity and more mechanical prowess.
Now, Moss Seven Club didn’t perform extremely well, but they were entertaining. In a time before role lock, JinMu and Moss Seven Club were a fun team that challenged conventional thoughts about the game. Who says you can’t run triple DPS on this or that map? Why can’t you run quad-DPS? Roles? Who needs them. They did things their way, and sadly it didn’t result in match wins, but it ironically prepared them for the future.
When it was announced that JinMu would be joining the Chengdu Hunters in 2019, it didn’t come off as too much of a surprise. He and Ameng both starred on a fairly mediocre team. That never took away from how impressive some of their wily antics were. JinMu could take a game over if you let him and had a countless number of pocket picks to ruin any form of preparation the enemy team could come up with.
Jump to the induction of Hero Pools.
How is this not JinMu’s time to shine?
Now, I’ll admit, I had my reservations on the young Chinese prospect as we entered role lock. I did peg him as a prospect coming out of Contenders China in late 2018, but as the Hunters advanced through the tank heavy meta, his notoriety reached heights I wasn’t sure were deserved. This was a team that was playing off-meta picks and played a good amount of DPS heroes were other teams were not playing as much DPS. JinMu, at the point, had not been tested against the established top tier of mechanical DPS stars. Yes, we saw him perform well at the World Cup, but the Overwatch League was a different beast entirely. Once we saw the mainstay stars return to their DPS picks JinMu would deflate and settle around “good” but not “great.”
But now with the introduction of Hero Pools, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The Hunters have maintained their style through their coaching staff changes and on the frontlines, JinMu stands as their heart.
Forged in the fires of the Chinese Overwatch circuit, JinMu lives for the chaos that Hero Pools bring and is carving out a place near the top with his high risk, high reward playstyle. He is either the embodiment of aggression or an ignorant optimist and sometimes he lives in both worlds at once. But through the ups and the downs, one thing remains constant, JinMu is easily one of the most captivating players of 2020.
JinMu is the Chengdu Hunters’ spear. He can parley with his enemies up close and in an instant can be used as a ranged weapon. He lies as the soul of the Hunters offence and is easily one of the biggest benefactors of the chaos that Hero Pools bring.
The Chengdu Hunters will always attempt to dance in the fog of war and drag teams down to their level, and that isn’t to say that they’re bad.
They just play in JinMu’s Imaginarium.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.