Former Florida Mayhem flex tank Joonas "Zappis" Alakurtti announced his retirement from the Overwatch league earlier this Friday in order to pursue his goal of finishing his Law Master's degree.
A post surfaced on Zappis’ official Twitter page on Friday, where he unveiled he will no longer continue his career as a professional Overwatch player, but instead focus on finishing his education.
In his announcement, Zappis talked about his decision to quit the professional Overwatch scene, where he cited the lack of motivation and time as the biggest reason why he came to a conclusion to hang up his mouse and keyboard.
"I would say the biggest reason would be my personal motivation to keep on playing as I feel I would not be able to give the game 100% anymore," said Zappis.
"Some of you may know that I finished my Bachelor's degree in law last year and I'm looking to finish my Master's degree this year. I'm also doing an internship in early 2020 so I'm having less time for gaming in general."
Zappis will also take a break from the esports industry for the time being as he looks to weight his options for his future. The Finnish ex-pro said, however, he will do his best to continue streaming as soon as he figures out what schedule works best for him, considering he will also have to dedicate his time to studies.
"I've been playing Overwatch since the first closed beta release and I must say I have many fond memories and I've met many wonderful people on this journey. It would be impossible to list all the people here so I'm not even going to try it, there's so many from my teammates, national teams, players, team staff, blizzard employees, event organizers, fans and so on..."
Zappis has been playing Overwatch since before the release of Overwatch and has in December 2015 joined his first professional Overwatch team - SG-1. There he played alongside Joni "Seita" Paavola, who is a former OWL coach and currently an analyst for Philadelphia Fusion.
In August 2016, Zappi left SG-1 and joined Ninjas in Pyjamas where he remained until June 21, 2017, when the team released the entirety of its roster. After NiP disbanded Zappis, Joona "Fragi" Laine, Antti "kyynel" Kinnunen and Aleksi "Zuppeh" Kuntsi created a new team - Rest in Pyjamas, which was later in August 2017 signed by Team Gigantti.
Zappis remained with Team Gigantti until the end of January 2018, when he left for Florida Mayhem which gave him a chance to make his first appearance in the Overwatch League. Unfortunately, the Florida outfit failed to reach any notable success and in September 2018 released their entire roster, leaving Zappis without a team.
On November 13, 2019, Zappis re-joined Gigantti, and helped the Finnish team win Overwatch Contenders 2018 Season 3: Europe, FEL Overwatch Cup and finished in the top three at Overwatch OMEN by HP Assembly Winter 2019, Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 1: Europe and Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season 2: Europe.
Zappis' last achievement came at the end of October 2019, when he represented Finland at Overwatch World Cup preliminaries. Unfortunately, Finland failed to recapture their form from 2016 as they crashed out of the tournament after losing to the Netherlands (0-3) in the Group E finals, thus ending their 2019 World Cup preliminaries venture at the sixth-10th place.
On December 23, 2019, Team Gigantti announced they will be leaving the Overwatch scene, thus disbanding their entire roster. Zappis' former teammates at Team Gigantti Tuomo "Davin" Leppänen, Zuppeh and Lucas "Leaf" Loison are as of today still without a team, while Otto "Milkyman" Saren declared on Thursday, he has been acquired by a new team, yer refused to announce which team that might be.
Despite his decision to leave the scene, Zappis will not be easily forgotten, as he leaves behind a plethora of achievements including several top-three placements in European Overwatch Contenders league and a fourth-place finish at 2016 Overwatch World Cup.
Throughout his four-year-long career as an Overwatch pro, Zappis earned $47,637.96, which is miles from the figures some of the best-paid esports players achieved, yet he still climbed the ladder and is as of January 2020 ranked as the 45th best-paid Finnish esports player in history.
Zappis' announcement of his retirement also comes in the wake of the news unveiling Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles and Chris "Puckett" Puckett are both leaving the Overwatch scene.
While we will no longer have a chance to see Zappis playing professionally, his fans will be happy to know they will still have a chance to see him play on his stream as promised by Zappis himself.
Written by KrajnikT
Tit Krajnik (KrajnikT) is an esports writer for onlineesports.com, where he reports news, features and writes other content related to the players, teams, industry and the esports scene as a whole.
He has previously worked as a news and betting-related articles writer in the "traditional" sports scene but later opted to turn his attention to esports, where he managed to combine his love for video games and the growing esports industry with his work.
Krajnik has started his journey as an esports writer by covering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, which he also played since its launch, but later broaden his skill-set to include other major esports titles including Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Call of Duty.