The Toronto Defiant made a lot of noise after the decision to release four of their players including fan-favorite Daniel "Gods" Graeser. In an off-season where teams are already parting ways with coaches and players, the Toronto Defiant did the same, gutting a good portion of their roster as they hope to rebuild going into the 2020 season. Gods, along with Jin-ui "im37" Hong, Jaeyoon "Aid" Go and Normunds "sharyk" Faterins are officially free agents and are currently looking for another team to call home for the 2020 season of the Overwatch League.
Thank you Gods for your time with us during our inaugural season in #OWL2019 - Your leadership, humor and hard work meant so much to us, your teammates and your fans and we wish you nothing but the best in your future! pic.twitter.com/TtmD4i7C1Z— Toronto Defiant (@TorontoDefiant) October 7, 2019
The biggest surprise from the releases has to be Gods. A fan favorite, Gods was a solid off-tank for the Toronto Defiant after getting picked up in the middle of the season. Toronto made a handful of changes throughout 2019 by picking up some players including Liam "Mangachu" Campbell and Andreas "Logix" Berghmans. Unfortunately, those roster additions didn't pan out the way the Defiant had hoped and Toronto finished the season with an abysmal 8-20 season and tied for 17th place out of 20 teams.
Toronto needed a shake-up and a clear direction for the team going forward. That ultimately didn't include Gods, who announced he was looking for a new team even before Toronto cut him. Before the official announcement, Toronto nonchalantly retweeted his post with a somewhat unaffected quote to go with it. This caused fan backlash as it seemed to show a lack of respect and professionalism that should come from these sort of announcements.
Fortunately, the Toronto Defiant helped alleviate some of the backlash by posting an official announcement for all four players released soon after. The release of four players from their team shows a new direction the Toronto Defiant are going in. Keeping Mangachu and Logix at least for the moment is a solid step as the DPS duo are fan favorites and a strong core for a league that relies heavily on some outstanding damage play to truly excel. If Toronto can build around some of their key players by adding a strong off-tank and other roles, they have a chance to turn around their franchise heading into the 2020 season.