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Los Angeles Gladiators Release Four in Offseason

Bradley Long  | 
Bischu

The Overwatch League Grand Finals haven’t even begun, but offseason moves are already starting. (Photo courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment.)

The Los Angeles Gladiators announced on Tuesday the release of four players, Aaron “Bischu” Kim and Jason “Jaru” White, Benjamin “BigG00se” Isohanni, and Jonas “Shaz” Suovaara, from the team’s roster. Just ahead of this week’s OWL Grand Finals, the Gladiators kicked off what is sure to be a busy offseason as the league moves into its fourth season in 2021.

The moves came on the heels of a disappointing season for the Gladiators, who failed to achieve the same level of success they had become accustomed to. After back to back top-5 finishes, Los Angeles took a step back in 2020, finishing ninth overall. They followed the season with a swift playoff exit from the double-elimination bracket in North America.

The Gladiators have begun their attempts at retooling by parting ways with two players, Jaru and Bischu, who saw little in the way of meaningful play time this season. Jaru joined the team as a rookie this year and was rarely able to find a place in the Gladiators DPS line. Players like Ji Hyeok “Birdring” Kim, Gia Huy “MirroR” Trịnh, and Kevin “kevster” Persson made it difficult for Jarus to find a niche.

As for Bischu, he returned to Los Angeles this year following a brief stint with the Guangzhou Charge in 2019. Last year, he dealt with a bout of ulcerative colitis that limited his availability before being traded from LA to Guangzhou late in the season. He had been a key piece for the Gladiators during the league’s inaugural season, when they shrugged off a slow start to finish fourth overall.

This year, however, Bischu was relegated to the bench after the Gladiators acquired superstar flex-tank Indy “SPACE” Halpern. Bisch played just one map all year after rejoining the team ,and the Gladiators decided to part ways with the veteran player. During his time with the Gladiators, Bischu became a fan favorite due to his affable personality and integral role in the team’s communication.

The organization also said goodbye to the two longest-standing Gladiators in Shaz and BigG00se. The Finnish support duo had been with the team since 2018, when they joined together from Team Gigantti. During their time in Los Angeles, they were among the league’s most consistently productive support lines.

Historically, they had maintained steady performances through all manners of Overwatch metas. Both faced challenges this year as Hero Pools forced them to play new picks, and the quarantine took its toll mentally. Still, the move comes as a big surprise given the level we’ve come to expect from both players and their immense popularity among fans. Shortly following the announcement, BigG00se announced his retirement from professional Overwatch.

The Gladiators now turn their attention towards free agency, where they will look to bolster a roster that just barely couldn’t get over the hump in 2020. In the past, Los Angeles has been in play for big-name free agents from all corners of the globe. With head coach and GM David “dpei” Pei at the helm, the Gladiators have built an international roster that can attract further superstar talent.

Bradley Long
Bradley Long
Bradley is a freelance writer who started his esports journey with Overwatch’s launch in 2016. Since then, he’s thrown himself headfirst into the competitive scene at all levels. When he’s not writing about the Overwatch League, he’s probably casting Tier 3 tournaments or playing with his cats.