Something unexpected happened in the Overwatch League this week: the Seoul Dynasty fell from the top of the standings and are now looking up at multiple teams (London Spitfire and New York Excelsior). For whatever reason, Je-hong "ryujehong" Ryu did not play in what appeared to be a key game for the team's Stage 1 standings against London.
Dynasty suffered a 0-4 loss to the Spitfire and failed to capture the first points of Numbani and Temple of Anubis, the first time an opponent was able to full hold them this stage. This week, we take a closer look at what happens to Seoul when ryujehong is absent.
Fleta was not able to Fleta
One of the key things resulting from ryujehong's absence was that Byung-sun "Fleta" Kim was not able to deal as much damage with his ultimates during key team fights.
Winston's Lab keeps "ultimate effectiveness", which measures the difference between the percent of fights won using an ultimate ability and those won without. In Fleta's first five matches, he averaged a 22.1 ultimate effectiveness. Against London, it was minus-22.2.
Fleta's kill-to-death ratio was 1.75 entering Seoul's last match, 11th in the Overwatch League and fourth among players with at least four hours of game time. Against London, that number dropped to 1.03, and Fleta managed 38 kills, his fewest in any match this season. Without arguably the world's best support player behind him, Fleta's offense was less effective.
Gido provides a different Zenyatta
The most direct comparison to make from ryujehong's absence was the play of Gi-do "Gido" Mun, who subbed in on support -- primarily Zenyatta.
The support role is still relatively new to Gido, who primarily played the DPS role when the Dynasty was known as Lunatic Hai before the Overwatch League. According to Winston's Lab, 78 percent of his playtime was as Tracer -- only five percent on Zenyatta -- as a member of Lunatic Hai. Since the start of the Overwatch League, Gido has played 79 percent of his playtime on Zenyatta and no time on Tracer.
Typically, ryjehong plays an offense-minded Zenyatta, as he averages 4.97 kills per 10 minutes on him, fourth in the Overwatch League among players to play at least three hours on the character according to Winston's Lab. He also has the second-highest rated Zenyatta in the Overwatch League.
One of ryujehong's best skills is being able to avoid deaths. Among players to play Zenyatta at least 10 minutes this season, he averages the fewest deaths per 10 minutes (5.1). Gido could not replicate that, as he averaged 8.1 deaths per 10 minutes against London, which would be the highest average among qualified players on the character this season.
Tobi dropped off significantly
Without his main support partner, Jin-mo "tobi" Yang had one of the worst matches of the season by a top-flight player in the Overwatch League. According to Winston's Lab, he posted a season-worst 647 player rating and season-worst ultimate effectiveness.
The main difference for Seoul was how tobi was forced to use his Mercy ultimates, often drawn into using them early in the fight. The Dynasty has relied heavily on tobi's Mercy ultimate thus far, according to Winston's Lab, Seoul has won 71.8 percent of its team fights when tobi uses Mercy ultimates; highest among Mercy players with at least one hour playtime. Against Spitfire, Dynasty won only 42.9 percent of their team fights when tobi used his Mercy ultimate.
With all of the talk of Fleta for league MVP in Stage 1, the case could be made that he is not in that conversation without ryujehong. It became evident this week that if ryujehong does not play, Seoul might not be a top contender in the Overwatch League.
The week ahead
While they got off to a rough start through two weeks and are still two games behind the top-two teams for first place, the Boston Uprising are a team to watch. Having won four matches in a row, Boston faces Philadelphia and Houston this week. The Uprising is tied with both teams at 5-3.