As the Atlanta Reign announced today, Dafran will not be returning to the roster again for stage 2. Already before the season, Dafran had shown doubts towards the commitment of being an OWL player. When he announced that he intended to cancel his contract with the Reign before the season even started. The decision was eventually taken back as the team convinced Dafran to give it another shot.
Throughout his pro play career, Dafran has been as notorious as he was unique in his play. Graced with arguably some of the best tracking Overwatch has ever seen, he would often impose his aggressive playstyle onto an opponent and suffocate them under the pressure of his nigh unnatural-looking accuracy. From spawn camping most of his North American competitors during the Selfless era under Brad “Sephy” Rajani, the only head coach he had every played for, to playing a mere stage for the Atlanta Reign in Overwatch League, his career was unfortunately short, yet occupies an integral part of Overwatch history.
In him, Atlanta Reign lose a star player who had been a focal point in their strategy during the GOATS meta and who brought impeccable mechanics and creative strategy to the team, culminating in his boosted graviton play. In most of the other multiverses, he will be their franchise star player and perhaps even super star. We are not living in one of those realities.
Through his uncommon antics from (at times) preferring to work at McDonalds over a pro player career to dancing to anime songs on stream in his pro player jersey, it never felt like anything but his honest self. In this, the Overwatch League will miss a charmingly weird individual. Someone who struggled publically, but never to the point of no return. Someone who fought to improve himself – sometimes failed, often succeeded – yet remained genuine in his efforts. Someone who named the price and when it was no longer worth it, knew when to say goodbye.
A character with development, multidimensional with quirks and flaws in an environment that demands slick personalities with no edges and eats those with any negative connotations towards their name alive or tries to brush them under the carpet. Not so with Dafran, who had his heart on his sleeve and incorporated, not brushed over, his struggles. By giving us the good with the bad, perhaps he’s the only complete package we will ever get to sympathise with in a franchised league such as OWL and that in itself is a tragedy.
Make no mistake, the Overwatch League is losing a real one.
Featured image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment