Lunatic Hai is far and away one of the best Overwatch teams in the world right now. Despite (or perhaps, because of) that, they’ve recently become a lightning rod for controversy.
Mere days after Lunatic Hai added two new alternate players, DPS Byeon “Munchkin” Sang-Beom and flex Lee “claris” Keon-Ho, both have stepped down due to recently unearthed controversies. This comes in the wake of a February incident in which two other Lunatic Hai alternate players left the team due to relationships with female fans that were deemed inappropriate.
According to Dot Esports, Claris has been accused of, among other things, using cheat software, boosting, and poor sportsmanship. He says those things aren’t true, but he’s felt a lot of pressure in the wake of the controversy, so he’s taking a break from professional Overwatch.
The situation with Munchkin is messier. Shortly after announcing that Munchkin would join the team, Lunatic Hai acknowledged that Munchkin previously had an alternate account he used for the purposes of basically, well, being an asshole. He’d also effectively lied about his identity, as the account was registered under the name of a coach from Munchkin’s previous team, Rhinos Gaming.
Lunatic Hai, however, said they hoped he’d change his ways. “If we didn’t see signs of remorse or realization of his mistake from the player we would have never chosen him,” Lunatic Hai said in a statement (as translated by TISRobin311). “But we wanted to give him a second chance due to the fact that he was still young, and we wanted to devise a program that would make him improve his character.”
For now, however, Lunatic Hai says that Munchkin has decided to stay on the sidelines. Neither he nor Claris will play for Lunatic Hai during APEX season three, which begins on April 28.
Obviously, Lunatic Hai’s been burned quite a bit by their team selection methods, as well as the intense level of scrutiny that comes with being an increasingly huge esports presence in South Korea. They say they plan to change their approach.
“Since this incident, we will change our standards of choosing new players, and try to develop a methodical system of player development,” Lunatic Hai said in their statement. “We will adapt both ways of testing players who are already known to be good from last season, as well as choose players who are relatively unknown but have high potential.”