It looks like the Los Angeles Gladiators is moving forward with another fan-favorite for 2019. Byung-ho “Panker” Lee is signing to a two-way contract for the Gladiators and their Contenders team, the Gladiators Legion.
This one isn’t a bait…
Congratulations on ranking up, @Panker_OW! Welcome to our unit.
— Los Angeles Gladiators (@LAGladiators) December 10, 2018
This news comes late into the Overwatch League offseason, after a few months of speculation. Many Gladiators fans were thinking that Panker would join the main roster for the next season. This idea was further strengthened with the loss of Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek to Seoul Dynasty. However, it seems like they will only be using Panker as a backup main tank, but at least the talented player is sticking with the Gladiators for now.
A New-look Roster!
The Los Angeles Gladiators would reshape their roster when the 2018 offseason would roll by. After a pretty disappointing end to their 2018 season, they would immediately look towards the future of the team. The team would part ways with three members of the team, and immediately pick up replacements. Gui-un “Decay” Jang, Riku “Ripa” Toivanen and main tank Chang-hoon “rOar” Gye would all raise their shields for next year.
“We’re happy to welcome Panker to part of the OWL roster. We have at least two players in every position except main tank. He’s done an excellent job as main tank in our Contenders and will be a great back up,” says Charlie Lipsie, the Director of Esports for the Gladiators. Many people are saying that Panker is good enough to take over the starting tank position. Having multiple members of the team from Korea should also be good for communication and team synergy.
Before joining the Gladiators Legion, Panker was a main tank for Toronto Esports and Team KongDoo Uncia. His efforts in the North American Contenders would help push the Legion to a fourth-place finish in their inaugural season. Unfortunately, NRG Esports, the Contenders team of the San Francisco Shock, would eliminate them in the quarterfinals.
Meet the Team
Alongside Decay, rOar, and Panker, the rest of the Los Angeles Gladiator core remains. The team still boasts a strong DPS duo with Canadian star, Lane “Surefour” Roberts and João Pedro “Hydration” Goes Telles. Hyung-seok “Bischu” Kim will also man the frontlines as the team’s trusty flex tank. Meanwhile, the Gladiators added another Ripa to create a Finnish support trio with Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara and Benjamin “BigGoose” Isohanni.
After the loss of a star tank player like Fissure, you would think that the Gladiators would look weaker. However, if we look at this team now, their roster actually looks very strong. It looks like they’ve added enough pieces to create a good team, but we will need to wait on our remarks until the beginning of the season. For now, we can only hope that this team can find the same kind of synergy like their season one roster did.
We wish the best of luck to Panker and the rest of the Los Angeles Gladiators roster on their upcoming year. Hopefully, their season can end a bit better than their last one, and they can push for a season two title.
What are your thoughts on Panker joining the Los Angeles Gladiators? Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you want more Overwatch League coverage, check us out here!