A look at the most underappreciated members of the esports community

The Real MVPs: Underappreciated Esports Teams and Players

Shanghai Dragons - underappreciated esports team

Shanghai Dragons – an underappreciated esports team. (Image credit: Dallas Fuel)

Almost every esport out there celebrates MVPs – be it the player with the most kills, the most assists, the most points or something else entirely… but there are other metrics by which we can determine the exceptional, and it isn’t always game performance either. Here are some of the most underappreciated esports teams and players in the world!

Shanghai Dragons in the First OWL Season

During the inaugural Overwatch League season, many fans had difficulty picking their favorite team. Several were performing well, and it seemed like no one clear favorite would emerge. What everyone could agree on, however, was that Shanghai Dragons "weren't it".

The team set a record – they didn’t win a single one of their first 40 OWL matches. Now, it would be easy to dismiss them as just bad, but that wasn’t the case – they started with one of the smallest rosters in the league, saw multiple players and coaches leave, had to face language barrier problems, and so on. Despite this, their players showed themselves to be true esports MVPs.

The Dragons easily took maps from top teams like Seoul Dynasty or New York Excelsior – just never enough. Their insane losing streak didn’t turn away fans, though – quite the opposite. The Shanghai Dragons found unwavering support and cheers from crowds wherever they went. People were rooting for them. They were definitely one of the most underappreciated esports teams during the first OWL season.

Shanghai Dragons are one of the underappreciated esports teams on the OWL.

Shanghai Dragons are one of the underappreciated esports teams on the OWL.

Kim "Geguri" Seyeon

Geguri was and still is the first and only female player on any Overwatch League team. She’s one of many Korean players in the league and definitely falls in the category of "underappreciated esports MVPs".

Like many women in esports, she's faced an incredible amount of backlash and hate for joining – and even before that. In fact, she was involved in a scandal – several other players, in the belief that women couldn’t play as well as she did, staked their reputation on her being a cheater.

She readily proved them wrong, causing a few to quit esports entirely – a truly humbling moment for sexists everywhere. Despite this, though, she is an incredibly humble tank player and even managed to win a spot on the Pacific Division All-Star team, out of dozens of players vying for those spots.

Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn

The highest-earning female esports pro for years running, StarCraft II player Scarlett is one of the most talented players out there. While StarCraft as an esport isn’t all that popular compared to games like Dota 2 or LoL, it still has a huge international following – and Scarlett is by far the most notable female player.

In addition to holding the record for being the highest-paid female esports pro in the world, she is also the highest-paid trans person in any esports pro league – and she openly states that her gender identity has nothing to do with her success and talent. A true esports MVP!

Team TyLoo in CS:GO

TyLoo is a Chinese organization – and one of their lineups features a CS:GO team. While it’s easy to miss them in between teams like G2, FaZe, fnatic and Natus Vincere, TyLoo are a surprisingly strong force with an interesting history. The team all but pioneered CS:GO as an esport in China and saw a fair amount of success even in dire circumstances.

An example: At IEM Sydney 2018, the team came in third. Shortly after, team captain Ke "captainMo" Liu had a Segway accident and was forced to sit a few matches out – despite this, his team managed to come in third at the CS:GO Asia Championships. Who has Segway accidents?

TyLoo Gaming as an org has been around since 2007, and has had CS and CS:GO teams since 2010 and 2013 respectively – truly an underappreciated esports team, especially given their success of popularizing CS:GO in the Chinese region.

And we're sure there are more hidden gems out there – as esports is often about fame and glory, take time to pay attention to those who do not relish in it.

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Melanie Hawthorne