“Back in 2016, when I came to Shanghai to play with my teammates, all I remembered about the city was the view of the Bund.”
In 2018, DDing made his return as a member of the Shanghai Dragons.
Among the new signings of the Dragons in 2018, DDing has a unique background, having his debut in China and training in Shanghai. Two years later, he came back to Shanghai as a player in the Overwatch League.
The Road to Glory
DDing began his career in esports in China when he joined wNv, the first professional Chinese esports organization to sign Korean players competing in Overwatch. wNv’s wish was to create a diverse esports environment regardless of national boundaries when they decided to set up a division for Korean players. As a result, they paved the way for DDing and other Korean players who were recruited into the division.
As an esports organization that primarily focused on traditional FPS games, aggressive play was the most distinctive feature of wNv. In that era, there was a lack of resources, compositions, and strategies, so the team used offensive and fierce combat that determined the strength of a team in matches. At the time, the Pharah dive composition grew more popular. Adapting to the meta, DDing’s performance was astonishing, and he became a rising star.
DDing helped lead wNv to victory by defeating all the teams in China, as well as the Korean teams who were invited to challenge them several times. They won the championships of almost all third-party matches in China, becoming the most feared “Great Demon King”.
Due to unexpected circumstances, DDing unfortunately had to leave China. After returning to Korea, he continued to sharpen his skills in the offense role. DDing’s performance in the Pharah dive meta was unforgettable, and his consistent fighting enthusiasm remained unchanged. To this day, he is widely recognized as the “Best Pharah in Korea”. At the same time, he worked diligently to expand his hero pool and has transitioned from a pure DPS player to a flex player, allowing him to adapt to changing metas in the Overwatch League.
Overwatch Contenders Korea provides a stage brimming with numerous talents. Several top Korean Contenders teams, such as DDing’s most recent former team Kongdoo Panthera, have sent a large number of outstanding players to the Overwatch League. Some of them include Birdring and Bdosin, key members of the defending champions London Spitfire, as well as Decay, a gifted player who joined the League along with DDing this season.
DDing is a standout player from Overwatch Contenders, recognized in the scene for his focus on the DPS role. In the Contenders Korea Season 2 Finals, DDing, then considered one of the top five Pharah players in the world, led the team to multiple wins on maps which favor Pharah. Once he has his eyes on his opponents, his rocket barrage will surely break through their defenses.
An Icebreaker’s Mission
As Overwatch evolves, DDing’s role in the team requires him to further improve his mechanical skills and hero damage techniques. He was assigned the mission of being an “icebreaker” to help the team adapt to the triple-tank, triple-support composition (AKA GOATS or 3-3) coming into the second season of the League. Substituting D.Va in the tank line, Sombra has become one of the heroes most used by DDing this season. By using his EMP, he breaks apart the strong defenses of the 3-3 composition and interrupts the opponents' rotations.
“A lot of things have changed coming into this season. For example, I don’t really talk much, but I’ve had to speak up more frequently because the 3-3 composition is all about teamwork,” DDing said in an interview.
What changed DDing was not only his professional experience and the competition of the Overwatch League, but also his training life in the Shanghai Dragons. In the fall of 2018, the Dragons gathered at the Shanghai training base. DDing, who just finished playing in Contenders Korea, did not opt to take a break, and instead immediately began to prepare for the Overwatch League. To him, dedication to training and competing is his job as a professional player. “Sleep, eat, and play. These are the most important things in our lives.”
A Whole New Challenge
The new season arrived as scheduled, and DDing came with the team to Los Angeles.
During the first week of matches, DDing gradually adapted to the rhythm of OWL. “I didn't feel too much pressure. I only thought of victory. But actually, during the first match, I was a little nervous. After all, everyone faces a bit of nervousness in that kind of situation. But after calming down, everything seemed to be moving in the right direction.”
The last new member to join the Dragons was Gamsu, who filled the vacancy after Fearless returned to Korea due to health problems. The complete Shanghai Dragons team then officially began to face the challenges of the new season.
“Actually, after going to the arena, the tension disappeared. We would try to overcome any pressure before the match began.” DDing turned the pressure into motivation, constantly driving himself forward and putting his all into the game.
Does the 3-3 meta have a big impact on DPS players? This is a question that every DPS player thinks about. But DDing responded quickly, “I believe that Overwatch has always been a game that focuses on the tank role. What DPS players have to do is get eliminations faster than the opponents, under the leadership of the tanks. This is still the case with the 3-3 meta. Our job is merely to deal effective damage and make key eliminations whenever the team needs them.”
In stage two, DDing has already showcased a vast hero pool during matches. In addition to playing D.Va in the 3-3 composition, he’s the signature Pharah player in the Pharmercy duo, and has practiced Junkrat and Sombra for the team’s new strategies. DDing averaged 19.23 kills per 10 minutes and ranked 21st in eliminations, securing his place as one of the top players in the League. No matter what hero he plays, he plays them well.
Will the 3-3 composition become the first choice of the Dragons? “No,” DDing replied with a smile, “we still have a lot of room for improvement, and we won’t be fixed into a set composition.”
Stage 2 of the Overwatch League is almost over. With the new patch update, DPS players have more room to play, and DDing’s aggressive style has finally had the opportunity to shine. The Shanghai Dragons, ready to go, waited for DDing’s Pharah to take flight again, leading the team to breakthrough and to greet more victories.