As of March 11, 2019, Los Angeles Valiant head coach Byungchul “Moon” Moon has been released from the team. In a statement published by the Valiant, they said “We want to thank Coach Moon for his contributions to the [Overwatch League] Pacific Division and Stage 4 Championships achieved by the team in 2018. We wish him the best in the next stage of his career.” The statement added that assistant coach Mike “Packing10” Szklanny will act as interim head coach until they find a new candidate.
While the Valiant’s showing in 2018 was respectable, they began Stage 1 of this year with a score of 0-7, the worst in the Overwatch League. At first glance, it’s no surprise that Valiant chose to remove their coach. Being one of only two teams to end the first stage with zero wins, Valiant clearly need to change things up. On closer inspection, however, the 0-7 finish doesn’t tell the whole story.
Did they need to fire their coach?
Being the head coach of a team requires a lot more than general success in the game. There are many factors that could have gone into the removal of Moon, some of which we’ll never know. That said, a recap of Valiant’s Season 2 performance shows a less dire situation than what appears on the surface.
The team was competitive throughout the entire stage (particularly at the beginning). They won at least a single match in every series they participated in. New York Excelsior, the tournament favorites, were brought to the edge in a tie-breaking fifth match in the second series of the season.
We think the Valiant have proven that as a whole, they can perform under pressure. Time will tell if Moon’s release will have an impact on the team in Stage 2 of the Overwatch League. Hopefully, the team can come together to figure out what’s missing from the equation. Coming so close, so many times, must be disheartening. It’ll be up to them to find the secret sauce that propels them to their first season win.