Everyone loves controversy.
Whether it be because it spices up an otherwise dull life, whether it be because life gives you lemons and you don’t feel like making your own lemonade, (desiring tea instead), or because the online persona that you are fascinated with somehow triggers a deep and passionate response that your Twitter fingers can’t help but transcribe.
Baek “Fissure” Chan-hyung of the Seoul Dynasty found himself in such a situation after playing for three teams last year (All-Stars included, because obviously): London Spitfire, Los Angeles Gladiators, and Seoul Dynasty. His somewhat understandable reaction to his trade to the Gladiators from London along with the treatment received after he was benched for the Gladiators’ playoff run, to his not-so-surprising move to Seoul, the debate on how one is supposed to carry themselves despite a young age and having been quickly thrust into such a spotlight is a debate worth having.
I spoke with Fissure after Seoul’s recent win over London, all but knocking them out of the stage one playoffs and helping to secure their place today against the juggernaut New York Excelsior. Fissure’s confidence was on full display–deservedly so given his performance–yet I did not see the extreme cockiness that many people would expect from him after last year. Instead, I saw pride and a determination to help Seoul Dynasty become a real contender this season and his words bore that same sentiment.
So congratulations on your win over London! You put in a great performance against the Spitfire, who unfortunately have fallen short due to their inconsistencies. What are your thoughts after the match?
Instead of focusing on how London has been playing, we have been focusing more on what we can do well, in terms of skill, staying connected, and being comfortable playing with each other. That was our main focus today.
It’s no secret that you found yourself in the center of controversy while transferring from the Los Angeles Gladiators to the Seoul Dynasty, and your passion for staying true to yourself was apparent. However, not a lot of people took it that way and saw you as petty or cocky and you took a lot of heat for it. Have you found yourself trying to hold that back more to avoid that sort of situation again?
I think it’s different because when I transferred from London to Los Angeles, it was a very difficult time for me, especially since I didn’t know I was going to the Gladiators. It was so difficult that it even made me think about retirement. And all that energy and power and anger building up made me think, “If I wasn’t going to retire, I had to revere this energy in a way.” And that passion caused me to actually be open and talk about it. For Gladiators, it was completely different. They were very nice to me and allowed me the choice to go to Seoul or not, so for me, the Gladiators are a great team I was proud to be a part of.
That’s good to hear. Despite this, it seems that a direct result of all this was a reputation that was built that you were petty or too cocky. Was this something that you wanted to eliminate coming into this season or have you accepted it, even embraced it?
There are so many people in the world and they all have their own opinions. Some people are not going to understand, whether I’m right or wrong. Even though I explain things and try to be nice, they are going to think whatever they want regardless. I don’t feel the need to explain anything or do so in order to know myself. That’s the main difference between me last season and now, as I am more focused on me and what I can do for my team rather than what other people think of me.
Following that, having to remind people that players are human and have to deal with the stresses of what is still a job, which deals with a lot of pressure, a lot of changes, and all of them being under the watchful eye of the public, it’s clear you have found a better place here compared to Season One. What are your own personal goals for this season now that we have reached the end of stage one?
I think you saw me perform well in terms of me trying to thrive in Seoul Dynasty. For me in season 2, my goal is to do well, to do my best with my teammates so we can work better as a team this season.
After Nate Nanzer announced localization plans, a lot of wild speculation has been going around as to how this is going to happen in season 3, given the projected logistics required to pull it off. What are your thoughts on this as a player, as this could potentially mean your team returning to South Korea?
I think all of these changes are really good. It’s funny to say, but it’s interesting how both New York and London have full Korean rosters. I think it would be more difficult for those teams because for Seoul, it’s an advantage to stay in a place where we actually grew up. Overwatch League is focused on the city rather than the players, so sometimes the environments may not completely match. For us, it would be nice to stay in Seoul where we grew up.
Which team are you looking forward to play against this stage?
Toronto Defiant. With the current meta, especially with how great they are with it, I can’t be 100% sure that we can defeat Vancouver or New York. But with Toronto, I think we have a better chance going against them.
What teams have surprised you so far this season?
I can probably say this in a bad way, unfortunately, but London won the championship last season, but they didn’t even make it to playoffs, so that was kind of surprising to me.
Last thing, given that you are an OWL veteran and that you have arguably went through many ups and downs of being a professional player, what would you want your fans to expect from you this season, knowing what you know now?
The only thing that I want to show the fans and community is that Seoul can be better. And everyone in Seoul Dynasty is trying their best. That’s because people seem to think that we don’t have the best results, that we aren’t doing our best, but I assure you that we will meet your expectations and do our best to do well. So please don’t give up on us, we won’t let you down.