The Chinese Overwatch League team, Hangzhou Spark, announced a massive roster overhaul on Monday, October 4.
As revealed, the Spark have parted ways with four of their players, including DPS Seo “SeoMinSoo” Min-soo, and supports Tong “ColdEst” Xiaodong, Liu “M1ka” Jiming, and Park “iDK” Ho-jin.
Major Roster Overhaul
Hangzhou Spark have decided to rebuild their roster ahead of the 2022 season. The roster rebuild process began on Monday when the Chinese Overwatch esports team announced the departure of four of their players.
The list includes DPS SeoMinSoo, flex support ColdEst, and flex supports in M1ka and iDK. Joining the quartet is also Spark’s assistant coach Chen “U4” Congshan.
“As we are bidding farewell to IDK, M1KA, COLDEST, and SEOMINSOO, we’d like to say thank you to them for all their hard works,” read the announcement.
With that, Spark are now left with only five active members on their roster. That includes two DPS players in Minho “Architect” Park and Zheng “Shy” Yanhjie, and three tanks in Xu “guxue” Qiulin, Jia “LiGe” Chengjie, and Se-won “BERNAR” Shin.
The Chinese esports organization have yet to unveil their plans for the future. However, seeing how the team has no support players on the roster, it’s more than fair to say that Hangzhou Spark will spend most of the offseason looking for support players to fill in the gaps.
SeoMinSoo, ColdEst, M1ka, and iDK Enter Free Agency
Even though M1ka and ColdEst have been cut from the team, they likely won’t have a hard time finding a new home. The Chinese support duo has been playing together for multiple years and have created a strong synergy.
Their most notable joint venture came at Flag Gaming in the Overwatch Contenders China, which they played for in 2018-2019. With Flag Gaming, M1ka and ColdEst reached the finals of LanStory Cup 2018 – Hangzhou and placed top-four at the Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season 2: China.
The duo played together at Huangzhou Spark’s academy team, Bilibili Gaming. They helped BIlibili win LanStory Cup 2019 – Summer and placed top-four in both seasons of Overwatch Contenders.
Thanks to their solid performances in Bilibili Gaming, M1ka and ColdEst got picked up by Spark before the 2020 season. But, unfortunately, success was hard to come by.
The Chinese Overwatch esports duo have not won a single tournament during their two-year-long sting with Spark. Their most notable accomplishment was a runner-up finish at Overwatch League 2020 – Countdown Cup.
Sparks’ former DPS player, SeoMinSoo, enters free agency as a hot commodity thanks to his flexibility and long and impressive resume. As a former member of RunAway and Vancouver Titans, SeoMinSoo has achieved a lot during his career, albeit his success was mostly limited to the 2019 season.
In 2019, SeoMinSoo helped Vancouver Titans win Overwatch League – 2019 Stage 1 Playoffs, win the regular season, and make it to the grand finals. But, unfortunately, the Titans lost their shot at the title when they lost to San Francisco Shock.
Changes Were Needed
While roster changes were expected, the Overwatch esports community was left in awe following the announcement of iDK’s departure. The 22-year-old is one of the longest-serving members of the Huangzhou Spark, who he joined as one of the inaugural members in late 2018.
However, changes were inevitable for Spark, who failed to find any traction throughout 2021 despite fielding a stacked roster. But it’s fair to say that most of their struggles were due to constant roster changes.
Throughout the year, Huangzhsou Spark have signed and parted ways with five coaches and assistant coaches. This led to inconsistent performances and, consequently, defeats.
Huangzhou Spark ended the season with the fifth-best record in the East (7-9), albeit the eighth-worst record in the league. While the Spark have made it into the Play-in stage, they couldn’t make it further than the first round, where they lost against Philadelphia Fusion.
How the Spark will look like in the 2022 season is anyone’s guess. However, with many players entering the free agency, it’s fair to say that Huangzshou Spark will have plenty of options to rebuild their Overwatch esports roster.