To many people, Lee “Fearless” Eui-seok’s story is one of Overwatch’s best.
He began playing professionally as part of the South Korean team Element Mystic in 2017 before leaving to join the Shanghai Dragons during their dismal 0-40 season. He was demoted to their academy team Team CC when the season ended. After a year of hard work, he was brought back up to the Dragons and led them through a stellar 2020 season, where they won two tournaments and finished third overall.
Now, he’s on the Dallas Fuel, along with many of his teammates from Element Mystic all those years ago. It’s an unusual reunion, especially in the context of the Overwatch League, where old rosters end up being taken apart more often than not. And for Fearless, it’s been surreal.
“These are teammates that I’ve played with since the very beginning of my career,” Fearless said of his current Overwatch team. “It was almost four years of not being with them. Once I finally reunited with them, it was a strange feeling. It was almost unbelievable; felt very strange, but it also felt warm and fluffy. It just brings back really good memories from a long time ago and makes me realize that this is such a once in a lifetime experience.”
The Dallas Fuel is currently in Hawaii, where they’ll be playing during the June Joust tournament weekend. Despite a loss against the Shock during qualifiers, and early struggles to get a foothold on the tournament meta, the Fuel managed to take down the Houston Outlaws and Los Angeles Gladiators during knockouts to book their tickets to Hawaii. It’s not their first time, however. They went there last month as well, during the May Melee, and won it all.
“The hero bans have been pretty disadvantageous for us,” Fearless said. “But, to be honest, even I think the bans are good or not; I just remember how much potential we brought out during the May Melee. It seems like we really know how to show up in playoffs, so with that in mind, I felt like we were going to make it to Hawaii again.”
The Fuel had a rocky start to the season, but they soon found their footing and managed to pull off a spectacular May Melee run. Though the players hadn’t played together in years prior to joining the team, they’ve quickly become a well-oiled machine again. There’s no telling how much higher they can climb. Fearless has trouble thinking of just one person as the team’s key player. But, if he had to pick just one, he stated he would choose damage dealer Kim “Doha” Dong-ha.
“Doha is just a key to our problems,” Fearless said. “Whenever we’re in a really tough spot, I feel like he just makes the play that we need.”
It’s obvious from the way they act around each other that the Fuel are a tight-knit group. With rambunctious personalities like Doha and Kim “SP9RK1E” Yeong-han on the team, the Fuel are enthusiastic, momentum-driven and hard to not like. But every team has to have an anchor of sorts. And for the Fuel, that’s Fearless – though he personally has trouble thinking of himself that way.
“We don’t necessarily have a designated leader,” Fearless mused. “Although, given that I’m the oldest member and tend to make calls that everyone follows, perhaps I am the leader. The rest of team does point to me. Like, whenever there’s an interview that asks who the leader is, they always mention me.”
It’s not just his teammates that think of him as a central figure. Fearless’ journey in the Overwatch League has invited the unofficial title of “protagonist” from fans. It couldn’t have been easy to be part of the Dragons roster that went completely winless, and then get demoted to their Contenders roster for a year. But Fearless remained resilient through it all. Now, he might be on track to the ultimate redemption — winning the whole thing.
When asked about the weighty reputation that he now carries, Fearless struggles to gather his thoughts. (This is partly due to his teammates distractingly holding 1v1s in the same room.) Being held up as such an important figure is a difficult concept to get his head around.
“I want to make sure that I say it right,” he said, flustered. “Hearing that people are making me into the ‘protagonist’… my brain just stopped.”
It’s all just a testament to how much Fearless sees himself as part of a whole, rather than a remarkable individual. He doesn’t think of himself as a leader or a hero. He’s just trying to be the best he can be, and he has been since the start.
“Since Overwatch is a team game, I believe I was successful, more so, thanks to my teammates,” Fearless said. “However, hearing such a compliment still makes me happy. I’m very grateful for anyone who gives me that amazing title. Sometimes I think that this is something I’ll never get to experience again. And in the end, I’m still human. I want to live up to everyone’s expectations. I’ll work even harder.”