As the Overwatch League has announced its nominees for the season MVP I’m left wondering: where’s Bumper? The five picks, Super, Sinatraa, Guxue, Twilight, and Jjanu, have already come under some fire as it is for the exclusion of Mano from the NYXL and the inclusion of Jjanu, but I have a different issue with the selections.
The Vancouver Titan’s main tank was a tyrant in the era of GOATs, playing like a man without a plan and often sneaking behind entire teams for earthshatters or charging in headfirst, and (mostly) managing to escape with the support of his team. As a pro of the game since its inception, Park Sang-beom (Bumper) competed for the Korean team Runaway in December of 2016 and was a member of the team until the roster’s acquisition onto the Vancouver Titans in 2019. Throughout his run he helped the team achieve second place finishes in APEX seasons two and four, and the grand prize in the second season of Korean Contenders in 2018. Not only that, but the team currently sits at a 22-1 match record after a single defeat to the LA Valiant, and have secured a spot in the end of season play-offs, with 5 matches left to play.
Not all of the team’s achievements can be attributed to one player, but in a meta that was heavily influenced by main-tank players its important to recognize the skill of one of the best in the league. This is of course why Super and Guxue are included in the candidates, but to not include the main tank from the team on top of the dominant division in the league seems odd.
Part of Bumper’s exclusion is likely driven by the leagues new Player Impact Ratings, a formula to gin up a number for each player in the league to compare them across roles, and likely implement a fantasy system next year. According to these ratings, Bumper is listed as 23rd for the most impact throughout the season, while Twlight, Sinatraa, Super, and Guxue are 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 16th respectively; however Jjanu is 28th. You could argue that Jjanu was added for representation of a D.VA player, but you’d have been better off picking Void from the Los Angeles Gladiators who ranks 7th in Impact. The player at the top of these rankings, Haksal from Vancouver, could also have been a great selection, but perhaps the league did not want to reward anyone for playing Brigitte; a sound justification.
Previously, Jjonak from the New York Excelsior won this award, and had an in-game skin designed in his honor; specifically, for the tattoo of an octopus he has on his arm. Should Bumper have earned his rightful title, I know what I would’ve liked to have seen as his skin.