Can this unlucky hero take the season one champions to greener pastures?
Dead albatrosses, black cats, and ladders are just a few of the haunting images from the dreams of young South Korean DPS prodigy, Lim "Glister" Gil-seong. And after you recount his epic journey into the Overwatch League, you can see that he and lady luck do not have a good working relationship.
Glister made his debut with X6-Gaming’s Overwatch Contenders during Season 1 of their 2018 title run. However, he ultimately played second fiddle to X6-Gaming teammate, Lee "BQB" Sang-bum, due to Sombra’s entrance into the metagame. The following season was set to be his stage, but, sadly, nothing changed.
Would Glister's Luck Change in Season 2?
Season 2 would feature more of the same. Glister was featured on certain maps, while others took the majority of playtime. It was within these two seasons that the community really saw what kind of raw skill the young prodigy possessed.
While X6-Gaming ultimately failed in their title defence and exited Season 2 with a 5-8th place finish, the team was a solid coalition of veteran players and talented young prospects. However, the winter of 2018 would be a watershed moment in Glister’s career, and the beginning of this ironic comedy.
X6-Gaming and fellow South Korean Contenders team, Seven, were both losing their fair share of players to the Hangzhou Spark. As both teams had close organizational ties to one another, X6-Gaming sent what remained of their roster, including Glister, to fill out Seven late 2018 for Contenders Season 3. However, there was one problem; Seven didn’t have a Contenders seed.
As Season 2 of 2018 began to finish, Seven conceded in a shocking upset by Foxes, a team that, throughout the regular season, never managed to win a single map. With this loss, Glister found himself both on a brand-new team and left without a direct seed into Overwatch Contenders Season 3. What followed would be enough to retire those with questionable resolve. Seven massively underperformed in Contenders Trials and missed requalifying for Overwatch Contenders.
What started as a glowing rookie career with Overwatch League prospects suddenly turned into playing from the open bracket.
In a strange turn of events, Glister’s team, Seven, adopted the moniker of his previous team, X6-Gaming. With this fresh coat of paint, Glister and his team were obvious favourites for the first season of Overwatch’s Open Division for 2019.
Nevertheless, somehow with Glister, things always seem to get worse.
The new-look X6-Gaming roster finished just outside the needed top-two finish in Open Division after being bested in the losers’ bracket finals to White Whale Incheon E-Sports, 0-3.
“At this point in his career, Glister belongs on a top Tier-2 team and not sitting out a pair of the scene’s biggest competitions in the first half of 2019,” wrote former esports journalist Dave “benchmob” Cecconi. His detailed look at the prodigy’s run through 2018, leading into the 2019 Contenders season, would be the impetus and the body of this tragedy. “It would be incredibly disappointing if [Glister] ends up being left on the outside looking in.”
And to benchmob’s delight, Glister wouldn’t be long for the bitter chill of Open Division. That February, Seoul Dynasty’s academy team, Gen.G Esports, welcomed Glister with a warm embrace. This not only set the young ace up with newfound resources but gave him the chance to show his skill to the ever-present eye of the main roster’s coaching staff. While he still was ineligible to play within the Overwatch League, due to his age, Glister undoubtedly looked at the opportunity as a pitch to, not only the Seoul Dynasty but to others who kept their ears to the ground.
Would Glister turn things around in 2019?
2019 saw some much-needed respite for Glister. He and Gen.G finished as the second seed during Season 1, but fell to Element Mystic in the playoffs, putting the team right outside of a ticket to the Pacific Showdown. Mirroring the previous season’s success, Gen.G repeated their second-place finish in Season 2. However, they would again fall in the semi-final to Element Mystic. This time, they placed high enough to qualify for a seed at the international final for all of the amateur regions, Glister would be centre stage at Overwatch Contenders: The Gauntlet.
As the third seed from South Korea, Gen.G Esports found themselves as obvious favourites to advance. However, a narrow victory over North America’s Team Envy raised a lot of eyebrows as the team headed into the playoffs. After being dispatched by RunAway in the upper bracket, Glister and Gen.G, again, narrowly defeated the sole Asia-Pacific’s Talon Esports. It was clear Gen.G were on the ropes, and unfortunately, North America’s ATL Academy dealt the final blow, sending Glister and Gen.G home with a respectable 4th-place finish.
Following the 2019 Contenders season, everything was in place to see Glister promoted from the Dynasty’s academy team to the main roster. The past year was a resounding success, and, as the Dynasty prepared for the upcoming 2020 season, they could easily utilize the added depth at DPS.
Then famed DPS duo, Park "Profit" Joon-yeong and Hong "Gesture" Jae-hee arrived in Seoul.
Like that pit in your stomach right before you stand up to give a half-baked presentation, worry suddenly set in. This wheel of pain couldn’t start spinning again, could it? Was Glister about to be left in the cold once again? Then came the news that Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun was also set to leave, which suddenly opened up the position once more. Things for Glister were back on track. However, the torture rack of his painful epic continued to turn. Glister was then shipped upstate to the newly built maximum-security prison, code-named, the London Spitfire.
What Does the Future Hold?
Now, Glister stands proudly as one of the few notable players who shoulders the lion’s share of the burden in forging a new path for the London Spitfire in 2020. In what should be a glowing debut, a debut that many were excited to debate and discuss come time for Rookie of the Year considerations, Glister’s freshman performance in the Overwatch League is being placed alongside a refurbished Spitfire roster, completely devoid of its former glory.
These last few years for Glister have been near Kafkaesque and his sole consolation prize is a starting position in the Overwatch League, something that should be celebrated. But it’s how he got here that is so bewildering. Instead of a normal career build-up, Glister was put through a rigmarole of confusing changes and circumstantial events that nearly left him sidelined for most of 2019.
With some of the most unfortunate luck in the game, Glister’s talent has been slowly bleeding together like a plastic cup trapped inside a hot car. While the damage isn’t permanent, what kind of performance can we expect to see from Glister this season on a roster that leaves many pundits and analysts wanting? Can Glister really live up to the hype and lead the Spitfire to greener pastures? Or will he be shrouded by his circumstances once again?
If the London Spitfire wants to have a chance at crossing into play-in territory, let alone aiming for a direct berth into the playoffs, Glister will have to drag these fresh-faced rookies, kicking and screaming. But if there is anyone up to the task, it’s someone like Glister.
Take it to the house, kid. This is the season to change your fate forever.
Images provided by Blizzard Entertainment