It feels amazing to be able to represent Canada at the World Cup for the second time.
Honestly, I was thinking back to the first year of the World Cup, 2016, and how I was so sad that I didn’t get on the team. I thought I would have been one of the selected DPS players because I’d been playing since closed beta; I thought people knew about me.
It wasn’t to be and I had to wait until last year when I was voted in as a committee member and got the chance to compete on the roster. The whole experience blew my mind.
With the whole format changing this season, I wasn’t sure how it was going to work and at first, I was super nervous because I had changed my role from off-tank back to a DPS role, for which my direct competition was Agilities and, obviously, he’s amazing.
I was nervous about making the roster at first, but once I heard about the 7-man roster and knowing that Jayne has always appreciated my style of play, I felt confident in my chances again.
Before Overwatch came along, I played Team Fortress 2 for about six years, four of which were at a competitive level. Then, around the time Overwatch was announced, I was already on my way out of that game so I got invited into the closed beta.
I got in on day two and ever since then, I’ve been trying to be a competitive player. I found myself a team straight away during closed beta where we were playing against Blizzard employees and were getting destroyed.
The first team to sponsor me was Northern Gaming Red, just before the game’s full release. I was on that team for a couple of months, and then I went to Tempo Storm for another couple of months.
Later I joined Renegades and I was there for about a year playing in a couple of seasons of Contenders and some other small tournaments.
I’ve always been a DPS player at heart, but I also like playing off-tanks. With the way it worked out on Renegades, when we signed ZachaREEE, it was during the triple DPS meta and Genji was so good. ZachaREEE was really good at him, so I picked up D.Va and it translated well into Team Canada.
Around the same time as last year’s World Cup was when I left Renegades and I was without a team for about three or four months.
I almost didn’t play in Contenders and I was considering stepping away from the game altogether. Right as I was ready to leave Overwatch for good, I got a message from somebody on NYXL, asking if I wanted to play for their academy team, XL2, and I’ve been here ever since.
After BlizzCon last year, I felt pretty good about my situation. I felt like the heroes that I really wanted to play, the projectile heroes, I had performed well on against every team.
Unfortunately, it was after the signing period for OWL had ended, so for Season 1, it didn’t really matter. I remember talking to a manager of an OWL team and he said he was in the crowd, with other owners, screaming, “Why the hell wasn’t this guy signed?”
So at least some of the higher-ups thought pretty highly of me and I’ve been performing consistently since then, so things are looking good for Season 2.
I’ve been working on Symmetra and Brig, but for Team Canada I’m mostly picking up characters like Hammond and some other tanks.
I’ve been the pickup specialist – if there’s a new hero that Jayne wants the team to be able to play, I’m usually the one who ends up grinding it.
Scrims have been going pretty well and we’re learning a lot. We’ve been spending a lot of time with our coaches.
Jayne’s been doing a lot of great work. He’s very good at delivering criticism; he’s done it on stream and he’s done it in person and I’ve always been a huge fan of how he delivers that type of stuff.
Honestly, things have just been a lot smoother compared to last year. I remember last year, I said everybody was really good at their role and that you can’t really shut down one person on Team Canada. I feel like, if anything, we’re now even stronger.
Surefour was already a very good player, but I think he’s even better now. Agilities has only improved. With xQc, there’s a little bit of rust, from the lack of scrimming because he’s been a streamer for a bit, but when you see him playing at his best, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
NotE’s a god, that man is a legend on D.Va. Our two new supports, Crimzo and Bani, have been performing very well as well.
Coming into the group stage, I think on the teamwork side of things, Overwatch League players are definitely a step ahead. Everybody seems to have a better understanding of the game and the way that they communicate.
In that respect, it’s just different because I’m not used to that standard of play, but I’m learning a lot, which is a great thing. When it comes to mechanics, I honestly feel like we’re kinda close. I don’t really have much difficulty 1v1-ing other players as much as I thought I would.
I’ve had some experience scrimming against Team USA with my Contenders team, and they are good. Everybody on the roster is amazing at their roles and they work very well together. I think Team Canada is right up there as well though, so it should be a good match.
With South Korea, I think we’ve really got to throw stuff at them that they’re not expecting. For example, Finland spawn camping them on Rialto totally threw them off guard. You’ve got to throw all these random strats that they wouldn’t normally expect… like my attack Torb last year on Numbani.
Stuff like that, you don’t really expect, so when it happens for the first time you just think, “What am I looking at?” They seem to crumble when stuff like that happens.
I actually remember how I felt before going up against South Korea in the Grand Final last year very well because I wasn’t nervous at all. I didn’t think I had played very well against Sweden, so for some reason, my mind was still focused on that.
I didn’t even think about the fact that we won, or that fact that we were in the Grand Final, or the fact that we were playing against South Korea, right up until I was walking out for the player intros.
I was walking up the stairs and I turned to the right and I was just thinking, “I’m doing this. This is happening right now.” It just hit me all at once.
It’s going to be nice to see everybody again from last year and it’s going to be even more fun to meet everybody I haven’t met yet. I’m excited to play on the same stage as the Overwatch League players at the Blizzard Arena.
To all the fans of Team Canada, we won’t let you down.
Image Credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment