Popping Off

I’ve loved video games my whole life. I used to be a hockey player, I’ve played real sports… I still chose video games.

I don’t know what it is about video games specifically but I think it’s the fact that I can do something that I think is fun but is, at the same time, competitive – the competitive aspect is what drives esports. I don’t know what it is about it, it’s just addicting.

I like to play hitscan heroes, like McCree and Widowmaker. The aiming aspect of those kinds of heroes appeals to me; I like being a clutch player and having to hit headshots and stuff like that.

For all the games that I watched growing up, like Counter-Strike, I had idols like shox and ScreaM who both have amazing aim, one tapping everybody. I always appreciated that aspect of raw mechanics and I think now, I also share that really aggressive playstyle. I like to duel other players a lot. I don’t know why – I think it’s just who I am.

At the beginning of the Overwatch League season, I was like the star player on our team, but on the whole, we were kind of lost. We didn’t really know how to play the game, we just relied on me to pop off and that was our way of winning.

It’s really easy to counter one person in this game, though. It’s a team game and you need every member of your team.

The early losses definitely took a huge toll on me. I had a lot of weight on my shoulders at the time, since I felt like they were relying on me for everything. It really stressed me out and eventually caught up to me around halfway through the second stage.

It was a big mental toll and I felt like I should have been doing more. On reflection, it’s not all just on me, but at the time, I took it all on myself: “I should be better, I should be able to carry these games”.

Now, it’s very different, because we have Crusty who’s trying to make it so that we’re an actual team. Within our team, I’m not always going to be the one that we’re feeding all the resources into, and that’s fine with me. I just want the best team and Crusty has a very successful track record, after an undefeated stage with Boston.

He’s been helping me a lot with overall game knowledge. I think Western players, in general, are really good mechanically, but the reason the Koreans players are often the best is that, though they’re perhaps not as good mechanically, their mechanics are still solid and their brains are 900 IQ. Crusty is trying to help me become a better leader and to understand the game at a higher level than I already do.

My aim on Widowmaker is fine, now it just comes down to outplaying your opponent. I have my coaching staff helping me with how to outplay Widows with timings and things like that. It’s the little things that matter because the skill gap is so close in terms of just mechanics. It’s a bunch of other things – when to peek, how to use your teammates to help you in the 1v1, stuff like that.

Before, I had the approach of wanting to carry my team all the time and wanting to destroy everybody, whereas now, I just want to be the best team.

I understand that there’s going to be times when I’m not going to get all the resources that I had before. There will be times when my other teammates are going to pop off and I need to take a step back and respect that.

I think that’s the main difference. Before I would have just kept trying to go in and clutch everything, but now I can take a step back and understand that if my teammate is popping off, I just need to do my role. If I do my job, he’ll pop off and then we’ll win that way.

For Season 2, as a team, we’re definitely going to be a lot more structured. We just started getting a really solid infrastructure with Crusty and our new management’s help.

Going into the next season, we’re not going to mess around this time, we’re going to be prepared. I feel like we didn’t prepare well enough heading into this season – yeah, we didn’t have the best players but we didn’t have terrible players either, Boston certainly didn’t have any of the best players, but they became the best players because they became a good team.

With Crusty’s foundation and how he sees the game, we’re going to grind and have more time and experience. It depends on who stays with Shock, myself included, but with whoever stays, that’s how it will be and I’m sure we’ll be good for next season.

I’ve always wanted to go down as one of the best Western hitscan players, or even just flex DPS players and I would hope to be remembered as a leader.

Eventually, with the knowledge I’ll gain over my career, I’d like to get into coaching or something, but for now, I still want to compete and learn new heroes. I still have a lot of time left and a lot to learn.

Image Credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

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