A Glimpse of Mastery

Everyone makes fun of me for idolizing Jjonak, but there’s a reason for it – he’s the best.

I first started playing Zenyatta before I tried out for the old NRG Esports lineup. I was in the Tier 1 scene before the Overwatch League. People knew me as a very good Zenyatta player, even before Zen meta was super prominent. I thought I had it all down – I knew the angles; the timings; I had the aim – I thought that mastering this hero was going to be easy.

Then Jjonak came along and showed me a whole new dimension to Zenyatta that I didn’t understand and absolutely had to learn. There’s a lot more I have to learn now.

I knew about Jjonak before Overwatch League. I used to be coached by Agape, who now coaches for the London Spitfire. When he coached me, he told me to watch a streamer…I can’t remember what name he went by then, but it was Jjonak before he came to Overwatch League.

He was 17 years old and he was already a crazy Ana and Zenyatta player that was consistently top 10. He had a pretty big stream and was on Luxury Watch Blue at the time so there was a ton of excitement around him. They never got to play any matches though so he never got to debut.

We did pro-PUGs in pre-season and he played in a few of them, right from then, I knew he was going to be insane. He would do things I’ve never seen any other Zenyatta player do and there was no way to react. You’d just have to stand there and accept your fate.

Jjonak wasn’t even old enough to play pre-season, so NYXL was rotating Libero and Pine in to flex on different supports. I always told my teammates, “The second Jjonak is able to play, give him a month and he’ll be he’ll be the best player in the game.” I got laughed at – they’d say stuff like “This guy’s a bot” or “We’ll kill this guy in scrims” – but after Stage 1, he got settled in and everyone realized just how good he was.

I knew that going into the season that he was going to be extremely impressive, but not even I expected him to reach this level of play.

It’s important to have someone to look up to like that. People who don’t have idols will in time, burn out, or at the very least, stop improving.

The moment you stop being impressed with someone’s play and being aware of your peers, you lose the ability to improve your own play. You have to be able to see what someone is doing if it is beating you and you have to apply it to your own gameplay.

That’s what I do with Jjonak. There’s a meme that all the garbage Zen players have “Jjonak Syndrome”, but when you really look at things, he plays Zenyatta with extreme proficiency and there is a lot to learn from him.

Obviously, you can’t copy exactly what someone does since he’s an insane player and you are your own player; you’re not going to do the same things that someone else does. But there are still a lot of things you can learn from what he does and apply it to your own gameplay.

I was excited when Crusty joined our team as Head Coach in Stage 4. Some people may not know this, but Neko was actually a Lucio player before Crusty taught him Zenyatta. I don’t have the biggest brain, but I knew Crusty could make me a better Zen.

Our coaching staff, however, has been focused on preparing our team strategies and improving our overall team. Since I’m not really the reason we’re losing games, there’s less feedback for me right now, but later on, I’m really looking forward to getting nitpicked for my play.

There’s a lot of things I have to improve on and a lot of things I have to learn if I want to surpass Jjonak and be the best.

It’s my own responsibility to work on things myself, but it would definitely be a lot easier if I had more resources. At the same time, my team always comes first, before my individual wants or needs, and it’s far more important for our team to focus on what’s most important for all of the players, not just for me. I ask for feedback from time to time, but taking up more space or time is not something I want to do right now.

I want the San Francisco Shock to be a top 3 team. I want to compete in those extremely clutch matches for hundreds of thousands of dollars. I want to be a big player on a big team and reach the pinnacle of competition.

As of right now, everyone thinks I’m a super underrated Flex Support and that’s fair, I haven’t done a lot to prove myself. It’s my ambition to prove myself as a top 3 Flex Support player next year.

I want people to think about me when they think about Zenyatta. Being as good or better than Jjonak is going to be a long journey for me, but I want to be in the conversation of the best Zenyatta in the league.

Right now you hear people try and rank the top 3 Zens, most of the time it goes, “Jjonak, Bdosin, and then….the third one could be anybody.”

I want to change the end of that sentence.

Image Credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

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