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Kim “Pine” Do-hyeon has a reputation as one of the most explosive players in Overwatch League history, and his high-light reel plays earned the nickname “Big Boss” during his inaugural season. However, a mismatched meta and lack of playing time eventually led Pine to move from pro play to streaming. But with a lingering passion for the game, Pine returned to the Overwatch League as a member of the Dallas Fuel.

“During my break, I kept remembering all the times I’d been lazy over my pro career and I wanted to change myself,” Pine said. “For me, leaving something knowing I had more to do or I could do better, that left a void and made me lose my confidence. I decided to return to fill in that void and regain that confidence.”

While Pine was known as a naturally skilled player, he used his free time to develop his skills further after stepping away from professional play. However, this required even more effort than usual with the responsibility of military service looming large overhead.

“Given that I have the obligation to do military service in Korea for two years, I got ready to do that, but I tried to come up with any method to invest my time in the gaming industry,” Pine said. “A lot of studying, like experimenting with aiming, posture and playstyle.”

At first the work didn’t bear fruit. After announcing he was looking for an Overwatch League team in late 2020, time passed and no offers came. While playing Overwatch and practicing, Pine said that watching players like Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok and Lee “ANS” Seonchang play encouraged him during his time away. He even named one of his Overwatch accounts ‘CarpeDiemANS’ when playing ranked.

The pressure of returning

Aside from his peers, Pine also said watching the league as a fan made him miss those moments on stage from the inaugural season.

“The moment you get on stage, doing the walk-in, the fans cheer for me and that always gets me excited,” Pine said. “On NYXL, we heard the crowds going wild as we played well, giving me an adrenaline rush. I feel like there are players that play better on stage, and I am one of them.”

Pine Overwatch League
Pine, walking out on stage during the inaugural season. | Provided by Robert Paul

Despite the boost from playing on stage, Pine is filling big shoes as the hitscan replacement for Jung “Xzi” Ki-hyo. Pine said he knew it would be challenge to carry those expectations, even with the Fuel’s success without Xzi.

“When I was on NYXL, I had teammates like Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-ryeol who could back me up if I got sick or if something happened,” Pine said. “Now that I’m the only hitscan player for the Dallas Fuel, there’s pressure to play well, to stay healthy and ready. The team has won without a hitscan player, though, so there isn’t too much pressure.”

With his return to the league, Pine said he can’t wait to meet all the new people involved in it. From new fans to co-workers, he is excited to return.

“I look forward to meeting new players and new fans the most,” Pine said. “Also, being able to work with a new GM and coaching staff is great.”

Pine is joining Dallas as it becomes one of the best teams in the league, which means Pine might even get his first chance at the Overwatch League Grand Finals — one he was expecting on the New York Excelsior. However, he himself is focused on starting with small victories first.

“There is a good chance that I can win the Grand Finals with Dallas, but my mindset is to get back in the league and play well,” Pine said.