Cloud9 has acquired the Overwatch roster of APEX Season 4 champions GC Busan following disagreements with members of its current South Korean lineup on C9 Kongdoo Panthera, sources close to the teams and the organization told ESPN. It will now build a 12-man roster for the launch of the Overwatch League, which starts regular season play in January.
The organization signed Park "Profit" Joon-Yeong, Lee "Hooreg" Dong-Eun, Hong "Gesture" Jae-Hee, Jo "HaGoPeun" Hyeon-Woo, Sung "WOOHYAL" Seung-Hyun and Jung "Closer" Won-Sik to contracts to participate in the Overwatch League, according to sources. The team has also signed South Korean free agents Kim "Fury" Jun-Ho and Jong-Seok "NUS" Kim, sources said.
The GC Busan roster and the two free agents will merge with four members of its current Cloud9 Kongdoo lineup -- Kim "birdring" Ji-hyuk, Kim "Rascal" Dong-jun, Baek "Fissure" Chan-hyung and Seung "Bdosin" Choi-tae -- and will become a 12-man lineup for the Overwatch League.
The other two members of that lineup, Kang "Void" Jun-woo and An "wakawaka" Jee-ho, will not transfer to the new team due to disagreements with organization management, sources said. Cloud9 declined to comment.
Void repeatedly missed team practice and made relocation demands that the organization will not comply with, sources said. Meanwhile wakawaka was uninterested in transferring to the new squad and is more interested in competing with KSV eSports, the owner of the Seoul Overwatch League slot. Whether an agreement between KSV and wakawaka comes to fruition is currently uncertain.
Cloud9 bought into Overwatch League in August when it signed a reported $20 million agreement, to be paid over time, for the London slot. The longtime esports organization will be mandated, as all league participants have, to create a new brand specific to the league. The name and branding for the new team have not been revealed.
Cloud9 is the third Overwatch team to acquire a South Korean roster from APEX competition that will relocate to the Los Angeles area. KSV was the first when it acquired the roster of former champion Lunatic-Hai in August. Several weeks later, New York-based Sterling.VC reportedly signed the roster of LW Blue.
The Overwatch League is set to launch with its preseason competition beginning on Dec. 6 in the new Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. Season 1 competition, which begins the regular season on Jan. 10, will be hosted solely in that studio until member teams move to their home cities at an unspecified date.