The signing of Seyeon "Geguri" Kim by the Shanghai Dragons was met with plenty of controversy back in February. It followed a misunderstood social issue that dominated conversations at the time: why weren't there any female players in Overwatch League? Now there suddenly was one, and she was playing for the worst team in the league. To many, this move felt like it was imposed by Overwatch League to pacify the gathering mob. Despite an acceptable performance by Geguri and her Korean teammates, plenty of people are still suggesting that she never belonged on Overwatch's biggest stage. https://twitter.com/Thooorin/status/1008136970688577537 Take this tweet by esports analyst and journalist Duncan "Thorin" Shields, for example. I'm not sure who was saying she was one of the best off-tanks in the league, but it's the second line that's most problematic. To say that there are better off-tanks outside of Overwatch League who are better than her is just as flawed as saying she is one of the best, yet this line of thinking has been widely accepted as truth for months. Simply put, making a direct comparison to anyone not in Overwatch League assumes certain variables don't exist. The developing player might post good numbers, but what does any of that mean without the stresses that come with playing in a professional environment? Players who aren't in the OWL don't have to worry about Geguri's schedule, and not all of them have to be far from home for so long. They don't have to deal with communication issues while playing in front of a live audience and 80-120,000 Twitch viewers twice a week, not to mention the stress of living up to ownership's expectations. Mismanagement of the whole damn team probably isn't as salient a problem for them, either. Until you're in "the show," you're not as good as those who are. https://twitter.com/Slasher/status/1008410702531440640 Not that any single game is definitive proof of someone's worth, but an examination of Geguri's performance in the Dragons' last meeting with the Los Angeles Valiant is telling. Indy "SPACE" Halpern is actually known as one of the best off-tanks in the league. His ability to peel and bully is often unmatched, but Geguri was just as good as he was that day - at least on paper. She came out with an 18-17 KDR, charged 6 ults, and had a +3 kill differential (first kill minus first death in team fights). Space was 18-14, charged 7 ults, and had a -1 kill differential. The bigger picture is that Overwatch is unlike other shooters. A player might shine in certain instances, but in the end, they cannot make up for the shortcomings of their teammates. Geguri is a good off-tank, and both Gihyeon "Ado" Chon and Weida "Diya" Lu are good DPS. Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do when your main tank and supports struggle with positioning and making good decisions under pressure. So I'd have to ask at this point - would these "better players" (off-tanks, at that) outside of OWL be more successful than Geguri if the Dragons signed them? Considering they would have the same players and management to work with, I'd find that impossible to believe. [caption id="attachment_104734" align="alignnone" width="600"] Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment[/caption] Irrespective of the moving parts with this situation, one thing is obvious: Geguri is a satisfactory off-tank who plays at the same level as most other D.Vas in the league. Her precision with ultimates is great, her aggression is fine, and she can fill as Zarya when needed, giving the team some breathing room in that area. She isn't the best at protecting her backline, but her peel game has improved.The only reason anyone would want to single her out as being suboptimal even by amateur standards is because she's a woman. So here we are at the end of the season, and the perceived inferiority of the league's only female player is being touted as fact. Even ignoring what she's done for progress and how loved she is by fans, this is not true. There has never been any "gaslighting" when it comes to Geguri's skills. She belongs in Overwatch League and, given the opportunity to play on another team, I would say that her true value would be much more visible.
Geguri is a solid off-tank, despite what critics say
Published on June 25th, 2018
Photo courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.