Raw Skill

For the past two years, I’ve looked at Team Canada and kept thinking: I really want to play for that team someday. I’m glad I finally made it.

This will be my first time ever attending BlizzCon. I’ve never been there live to see the games in person before, it’s all just really exciting.

For the most part, I generally don’t get nervous playing in front of large crowds. However, I always have this moment where I get on stage and, halfway through the first map, I have the realisation that I’m playing in front of thousands of people.

I get a few butterflies in my stomach for maybe a minute, and then I get back into the game and the feeling doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s kind of funny.

It’s going to feel amazing to be playing for Team Canada at the Overwatch World Cup Finals. I’m hoping to represent the country really well.

During the summer, there was an open trial system that Jayne coordinated. All of the Overwatch League and Contenders players that were already established were invited past the open trials to form an 18-man roster – 6 of the players progressing from the open trials and the other 12 being the invited players.

We then did internal scrims between each other. We swapped the teams around and saw who communicated well with who before Jayne decided who he wanted to pick for the top seven. I’m very grateful that he picked me.

When we first started practising together, ahead of the group stage, our team synergy actually came together pretty quickly. It was always more about figuring out how to play in the new meta, especially for the players who haven’t been playing competitively recently.

We all had different ways of approaching the game, coming from different Overwatch League teams, so we had to pull that back and even ourselves out in that way.

Recently, the biggest challenge we’ve faced as a team has just been finding time to practice. Our practice in anticipation of BlizzCon has probably been lighter than most teams.

We’ve got a lot of pretty large personalities in the Overwatch community on the roster, so it’s not always easy to find time to scrim when some people are making their livelihood off of streaming.

Alongside that, we also have to have strategies for all 19 maps in the pool at BlizzCon.

We’ve aimed to scrim around three days per week, but most weeks we’ve only had about two – around six hours per day.

We’re trying to find as much time as we can but there’s a lot of stuff going on at the moment, such as TwitchCon, so we’re trying to find time whenever time we can. With another three or four days of scrims from this week, I think we’re ready now.

I still believe we’re absolutely on the same level as the other teams who have qualified for the finals.

Against France, I’d say we’re about as confident against them as we would be against any other team. They’re a really good team – one to be respected – but we think we can play a better game, so we’re prepared.

It’s still hard to tell for sure – especially since Finland and South Korea played on a different meta to ours – but I think that the top two from each Group Stage are very closely matched. It’s going to be competitive in just about every match-up, but we still have the ability to take the win.

Personally, I feel I’ve improved a lot and I’m playing much better than I ever have previously, especially my Lucio. That’s probably the one thing I am openly willing to admit was really bad in the group stage.

I just haven’t been a Lucio player for the majority of my career. It was tough learning how to play him, but I’m actually way better now. I’m excited to play him on stage at the Finals.

As a coach, Jayne has helped me a lot making those improvements. It’s good to be able to rely on an outside perspective since, a lot of the time, I tend to think of my own performance within a bubble.

Having to deal with some of the negativity and backlash towards my play really sucked for a while.

As a gamer in general, I’ve always looked at the subreddit and other forums to see what’s going on in gaming, whether it’s Overwatch or any another game I’ve played.

Even after I turned pro in Overwatch, I’d still check the subreddit to get a sense of the public opinion and see how people were feeling. It sucked when I saw any backlash against me on Reddit all of a sudden since it’s always felt like a family to me.

I quickly realised that it’s not a big deal – you just have to tough it out. You can use those forums to gauge public opinion, but that’s all that matters. Everything internal is exactly that: internal.

It does make me feel like I have something to prove going into the World Cup Finals though.

It can be hard for me to prove my skill given the support role that I play. I’m the in-game leader, but the audience is never going to hear or see that, so maybe I need to pop off as a bloodthirsty support to show my skill in an outward manner.

I think we’re definitely capable of taking home the World Cup championship – at the very least, I’m expecting that we’ll make it to the Grand Final.

We may not have had quite as much practice as we’d hoped, but I think that just with our raw skill as a team, we can definitely take home the win.

Image Credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

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