Mission Already Accomplished

It’s super exciting to be heading to BlizzCon for the World Cup Finals.

It’s not that we didn’t expect to get to BlizzCon, but obviously, there was always a chance that we wouldn’t make it. The Thailand Group Stage was so competitive and there were so many unknowns. How good would Thailand be? How good would Sweden be? How good would Denmark be?

No one could be certain about anyone, especially China. No one knew if China would be the worst team in the group of if they would stomp everyone.

Before Thailand, I already had a lot of experience of performing in front of large crowds – not so much with LANs, but I’ve done a lot of public speaking and debating. Playing on stage in front of large crowds doesn’t bother much as it can do for other people.

I was kind of nervous to represent Australia at the start of the stage, but once I was up on stage it didn’t really bother me anymore. I was just focused on the game.

Looking back at our performance as a team, it was different depending on the match-up. In our first game against Spain, we played pretty badly, especially on the first map. We weren’t really working well together and some of us were still adapting to the environment on stage.

Backstage, after the first half of our last game of the stage against China, we weren’t happy. We were down two maps knowing we only needed to win one to advance to BlizzCon.

We didn’t have enormous expectations to win Control – because China has very mechanically skilled players – but we pretty much threw King’s Row. We had that in the palm of our hand but made a lot of individual mistakes.

Gunba reminded us that we were really good at Junkertown and not to stress so much. He reassured us that we were going to get that fourth map, but to still try really hard going into map three. He was just trying to make sure we weren’t feeling too down and to remind us that we could still do what we came to do.

In the end, we did manage to get through and qualifying on stage was really something.

I think I played well for the most part, but I’m also the type of person who won’t often be very happy with my own performance.

Compared to my Contenders team, Sydney Drop Bears, we’re really pressed for time during the Overwatch World Cup.

That said, Team Australia has a lot more experience. The feedback is featured more prominently and is more structured, largely because Gunba has so much experience being an Overwatch League-level coach and has been coaching professionally. That’s something we’re now trying to filter back to Drop Bears.

The ultimate goal for every Overwatch player in Australia is just to play for a team in America, and the World Cup has definitely given me more opportunities than other players in that regard.

For any Australian, getting to play in the World Cup is very, very valuable. Not only do you gain connections through people like Gunba and Custa, but you also get the ability to play on a national stage.

People don’t ignore that – they notice it.

If you’re trying to get a North American trial, despite how hard they are to get, the World Cup will really help you out.

I had just woken up for school when my I learned I would be going up against South Korea for Blizzcon. My mother walked up to me and was like, “Oh so you’re versing South Korea,” and I was like “Crap!”.

At first, I thought it was pretty unfortunate, but the more I’ve thought about it – South Korea hasn’t been looking the strongest this year. If there’s any year to beat them, it’s this year. Finland almost beat them already, so I don’t think it’s an unwinnable match-up.

When the team found out that we were going up against South Korea, we were just joking that we can’t get a break.

In the practice leading up to Thailand, the Japan Sea Cable went down, so we lost our ability to play on Japan servers with 150 ping, and we had to play on the Korean servers with 200 ping instead.

That was pretty devastating, but then when we got to Thailand, I had food poisoning and there was a bunch of other issues… we’ve had a pretty unlucky run of it.

Historically, South Korea has been the best World Cup team, but I still think we can still do it. Realistically, I don’t think our chances are spectacular, but I can see a timeline where we beat them.

You have to be confident heading into any match-up. If you go into thinking you’re going to lose, that you can’t win, you’re never going to get anywhere. You just want to play your best and try your hardest.

Overall, I thought we played okay in Thailand – pretty good compared to scrim results – but I think if we tighten up some of our coordination issues, we can improve a lot.

As a squad, we definitely still have more to give.

I feel we’ve definitely improved in our scrims lately. Before Thailand, it was just non-stop practice; everyone on the team was aiming towards BlizzCon. Now, it’s kind of mission accomplished already – we’ve got some extra time and, as Gunba and others have said, we’ve pretty much already achieved our goal.

If we can manage to do anything more than what we’ve already achieved, it would be pretty insane.

Image Credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

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