It will be a sad day in professional Overwatch when Joona "Fragi" Laine will no longer play on stage. Unfortunately, that may be the case sooner than many fans were hoping for after the Charge announced that Fragi would not be on the roster heading into the 2020 season of the Overwatch League. Maybe it's just wishful thinking by a person, who grew to love the game of Overwatch through the way players like Fragi conducted themselves on and off the stage, grasping at any chance they can see him play again. Maybe it's just naive optimism but I still believe Fragi deserves a roster spot.
It's hard to picture Fragi not being on a team next season - a larger than life icon of the community, the real life embodiment of Reinhardt with a passionate fan base that desperately wishes to see him on stage again. Throughout his professional career, Fragi has been known for his extremely aggressive, fearless and inspiring Reinhardt play as well as his charming, powerful demeanor.
Ever since he was benched by the Philadelphia Fusion halfway through the 2018 season, Fragi has appeared only once on stage after being traded to the Guangzhou Charge. Fans didn't understand why he didn't get a chance to play on stage during 2019, as Fragi is a strong, aggressive Reinhardt player that had the potential to shine in the 3-3 meta that was the dominant meta for the majority of the season. Rumors circulated that it was the result of conflict within the team. It's an unfortunate situation that sidelined a player who never really had a chance to prove himself since.
There are still a handful of teams that could use a player like Fragi on their team. The London Spitfire come to mind as they have only three players announced for the 2020 season without a main tank in sight. After completely dismantling their roster, the Spitfire could use a leader who can gain favor back from a disgruntled fan base. The Toronto Defiant would be a great place for him to land considering they have been actively pursuing fan favorite players heading into next season.
🎵 Hey, we played last night— Guangzhou Charge (@GZCharge) August 9, 2019
And it was craaaaazy
You know how we won?
Fragi roared, baaaaaby 🎵 pic.twitter.com/4FBpZAGK22
It's unclear the direction Fragi's career will head moving forward. He has expressed interest in coaching and was the assistant coach for Team Finland during the 2019 Overwatch World Cup. I'm sure that he can succeed in coaching once his playing days are over but I don't want to admit that may be sooner than later. Fragi deserves a team next year. He deserves a chance to prove himself on stage once again. No matter what happens, though, Fragi will remain an icon of the game and one adored by passionate fans who want nothing more than to see him succeed in whatever he does. Thank you, Fragi. For everything.