The Vancouver Titans have released their entire Overwatch League roster, according to a letter released by the team. The Titans cited troubles with the COVID-19 outbreak as a reason for the falling out of the team.
The 2019 OWL runner-ups have faced struggles with the COVID-19 outbreak that forced the team to send it’s players back to South Korea in March. They were expected to compete in the Asia division of the league online.
“Our initial plan was for the team to join the Asian division and continue to play the new schedule from the comfort of players’ homes, but it was quickly apparent that this created a whole new set of challenges,” Aquilini Entertainment esports director Tim Holloway said in a statement. “The time difference made it difficult for management and the home fanbase to connect with the team and technical challenges for the players playing from home further exacerbated the situation.”
Players HyoJong “HakSal” Kim, Minsoo “Seominsoo” Seo, Seongjun “Slime” Kim, Chunghee “Stitch” Lee, Juseok “Twilight” Lee, JeHong “RyuJeHong” Yu, and coaches Yangwon “Yang1” Kweon and Jae Hong “Andante” Hwang all agreed to part ways with the team. The letter also notes that Chan Hyeong “Fissure” Baek was released from the team, separate from the mutual departures.
The team had only played a league-low four matches before this news came out. At the start of the season, all of the team and management were located in Vancouver, Canada while playing out of Adamas Esports Training + Performance. The league homestands were canceled, and players went back to South Korea to be with their families.
The Titans players were all forced to play and practice from their own homes, separate from each other. The time difference between players and management made it difficult to operate.
“With the organization unable to meet the players’ expectations in Korea, and after much deliberation and conversation with the players, the difficult decision was made to move the team back to the North American division and both the players and management agreed that finding a new home for the players would be in everyone’s best interest,” Holloway said.
The Vancouver Titans lead the 2019 regular season with a 23-3 overall record before falling to the San Francisco Shock in the Grand Finals at the Wells Fargo Center in September.
According to Jacob Wolf and Emily Rand of ESPN, the Titans will sign five players from the contender team Second Wind. Abtin “ShRedLock” Shirvani, Dalton “Dalton” Bennyhoff, Colin “Higan” Arai, William “Caden” Lolland and Randal “Roolf” Stark will join the Titans’ roster. All of these five players are over the age of 18 and eligible for the Overwatch League this season. Remaining Second Wind players Zachary “iced” Hughes, Benjamin “UltraViolet” David and Nicholas “Speedily” Zou are under the age of 18 and can’t sign OWL contracts yet.
The Titans are supposed to return to OWL action this Saturday against the Washington Justice at 4 p.m. central time.