The Shanghai Dragons completed one of esports’ greatest turnarounds in 2019 when they evolved from a 0-42 doormat to a legitimately good team.
They didn’t come close to winning a championship though, and there are some consequences to that. The Dragons have announced the departures of head coach Seong-hwan “BlueHaS” We and assistant coach Chung-Hyeok “Levi” Jeong.
The Dragons were awful in Season 1, to say the least. They had arguably the most brutal losing streak in esports history, not winning a single game for more than a calendar year. That prolonged stretch of futility frustrated Dragons fans, but also established the team as the lovable losers of the OWL
Things turned around for the Dragons in a big way during the second season, which saw the team become a legitimate contender. This was highlighted by a trip to the stage two playoffs and a stunning upset victory over the San Francisco Shock in the grand finals of the stage three playoffs.
The season ended on a sour note, however. The team failed to qualify for the year-end playoffs, falling to the London Spitfire 4-3 in the play-ins.
Despite that stumble at the end, the departures of BlueHaS and Levi come as a surprise. It’s not unheard of to have players or coaches depart after a stellar season, but it’s still strange to see the Dragons not come to terms with two people they called “instrumental” to their breakout season in their farewell tweet.
Give their role in turning the team around, the pair could be fielding lucrative offers from other franchises.
Either way, Shanghai is set up for success in Season 3. The Dragons have cultivated a diehard Western fanbase thanks to their Cinderella story and their international following is strong as well.
With Overwatch League moving to a global format next season, the team could be positioned to become one of the most popular in the game.