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Veteran Tracer player Kwon “Striker” Nam-joo has retired from the San Francisco Shock and competitive Overwatch. After playing in his fourth season this year, his time has come to leave the scene. He remains one of the best Tracer and Widowmaker players ever, as he was key in their last two championships.
Today we say goodbye to @STRIKER_OW. Since joining us in 2018, Striker has been absolutely indispensable to the team. Our back-to-back championships would not have been possible without his hard work.
Thank you for making history with us, Namjoo. We wish you all the best. pic.twitter.com/vUkl9rNkLI
— San Francisco Shock (@SFShock) June 23, 2021
Striker’s path to glory
Striker, like many top talents in the league, started his journey in Korean Contenders. Playing for ROX Orcas, his team finished fourth in APEX Challengers Season 4. Later, in APEX Season 4, he finished towards the bottom of the league.
With the Overwatch League starting up soon, Striker tried his best to make a starting team. Despite being on a relatively poor team in Contenders, Striker got signed to the Boston Uprising. One of the main strategies that Boston used in their first season was to find diamonds in the rough; great players on poor teams to make a cheap but very effective roster. This was clear with how well Boston played in their first season, with Striker leading the charge. They finished third overall and, notably, finished the third stage of the season undefeated before losing in the finals.
Striker was one of the key reasons that the roster did so well, as Tracer and Widowmaker were key to the meta. Those two heroes were his bread and butter, and his Tracer plays were also key to the Map 5 wins that led to the Uprising’s perfect stage.
However, as the first season ended, the Uprising saw an opportunity to sell high on Striker. They traded him to the San Francisco Shock, with their goals of winning a championship, following their former head coach Park “Crusty” Dae-hee. After that, alongside the immense depth that the Shock had in both Seasons 2 and 3, Striker proved his worth. He focused his skills on his best heroes and dominated when he was substituted in. Striker was crucial on their championship wins, which is what makes this departure even more surprising.
Many fans are asking “what now?” The staff around the Shock confirmed that this was the end of competitive Overwatch for Striker’s foreseeable future. There are rumors circulating his retirement; saying that they’re due to South Korea’s forced military service, or that he might be switching games to play VALORANT — as many other former Overwatch League players have done. The available facts simply suggest a needed break.
Even after the success that Striker’s had over his career playing in every Overwatch League season, this may have been the best possible time for him to step away. His team, while not the best team right now, is still competing for a championship. Striker retires now as a two-time champion.
As one of the best Tracer and Widowmaker players in the world, wherever he ends up, Striker can hold his head high after his time with the San Francisco Shock.
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.