The British esports team, London Spitfire, announced the departure of six of their Overwatch League players. This marks the third consecutive year that the Spitfire is making significant roster changes to the OWL roster.
Poor Performances In 2021
It’s fair to say that the London Spitfire hasn’t had the most successful run through the 2021 OWL season. The British squad ended the regular season with a single win to their name (1-15), a record that earned them the tag as the league’s third-worst team.
The only two Overwatch esports teams with a worse record were Vancouver Titans and Los Angeles Valliant. The latter entered the offseason without a single win to their name (0-16) and an abysmal 2-46 round differential.
Although a disappointing performance from the 2018 OWL champions, the Overwatch community shouldn’t be too surprised. As stated by Spitfire’s GM Ysabel “Noukky” Müller at the start of the season, the fans shouldn’t expect too much.
That is because the Spitfire entered the 2021 season with a roster that mainly featured former academy players. The Spitfire decided to give their less experienced players a chance to play in the OWL to help them earn valuable experience and build for the future.
Still, ending the season with only one win was a hard pill to swallow. As a result, Spitfire decided to make some drastic roster changes ahead of the 2022 season.
Six Players and Coach Leave Spitfire
In the announcement that surfaced on Wednesday, October 6, Spitfire revealed that they’re parting ways with six of their players. Leaving the team are Daniel “Hadi” Bleinagel, Dom “Hybrid” Grove, Kristian “Kellex” Keller, Mikkel “Molf1g” Djernes, and Jeffrey “blasé” Tsang.
London Spitfire now fields only two active members on their roster in William “SparkR” Andersson and Johannes “Shax” Nielsen. Both are two-way DPS players, who also play for Spitfire’s academy team, the British Hurricane.
In addition to cutting six players from their Overwatch esports roster, Spitfire also cut ties with coach Mads “fischer” Jehg. Fischer was a former OWL player who retired in August 2020 and joined British Hurricane as a coach.
He was promoted to the head coach position at London Spitfire in December 2020 and was since leading the team, albeit without much success. Fischer’s most notable success with the Spitfire was finishing top-four at SteelSeries Invitational in February 2021.
Fischer commented on his departure from London Spitfire on social media, stating he isn’t surprised with the team’s decision. The ex-OWL pro noted that he understands why he was cut from the team, citing Spitfire’s lack of success under his guidance.
“Not surprising considering our results this season. I wanna thank Hurricane, Spitfire, and Cloud9, for giving me the opportunity, they’re an absolute chad of an org, and they treat players and staff as family. I want nothing but the best for them,” said fischer.
“As for what’s next, I’m gonna take some time to think it over but don’t expect me to be gone for long. Thanks for supporting and always having my back.”
What’s Next For the Spitfire?
It remains to be seen what London Spitfire’s plans are for the future. The Cloud9’s Overwatch branch have long been known as a team that helps develop young talent, so it’s not entirely unlikely that they’ll look to build another young roster for the 2022 season.
However, given their lack of success in 2021, it’s likely that the Spitfire will wand to add a few veteran figures. That is to help develop the young talent and provide them with the proper guidance in the Overwatch esports scene.
Out of the two remaining players on the active roster, Shax is the oldest at 22-years of age. Meanwhile, his teammate SparkR is 18, with three years of experience as an Overwatch pro player.
Due to their lack of success over the last two years, Spitfire might want to step away from the idea of developing European talent. However, with the OWL 2022 season transitioning to a new game – Overwatch 2 – the Spitfire might want to take this opportunity to start fresh and run it back with a young core and plan for future success.