'Overwatch World Cup', a tournament that will decide which country is the strongest has begun. Once the group stage is over, eight of the world's strongest teams that made it out of groups will make an epic clash. And in the end, the two surviving finalists will meet at 'Blizzcon', Blizzard's biggest event.
During the very first 'Overwatch World Cup' tournament, Korea made an astounding record of not dropping a single game. Even for this year, Korea stands strong with various talented players. The national team consists of the following players: 'Saebyeolbi', 'Fl0w3R', 'Ryujehong', 'zunba', 'tobi', and 'Mano'. It would be very difficult to meet these players outside of the 'World Cup' due to their busy schedule. So when we heard the news that these members have gathered for a filming, we immediately took the opportunity to meet them.
In a studio in Goyang Korea, we found the players making various poses for a photo shoot. They were also being filmed for a promotional video of 'Logitech', the company sponsoring the Korean representatives. Although the players seemed rather busy, 'Saebyeolbe', 'Mano', and 'Ryujehong' agreed to do an interview with us. We wanted to hear their opinions on the current meta, their feelings of being selected to represent a country, and much more!
And so we began.
What kind of filming are you guys here for?
Ryujehong: As the representatives of Korea, we are basically here to advertise ourselves.
Unlike last year, the representatives for Korea this year were chosen by the 'World Cup Committee'. Why do you think they chose you?
Saebyeolbe: I have an IM victory under my belt. I also had stellar performance during season 2. I'm just really good at this game.
Mano: I think the committee monitored my streams. They must've rated my in-game knowledge and overall game-sense highly; as I play much better when I am off stage.
Ryujehong: My victory in 'Blizzcon 2016' probably left a big impression on them. I think that affected their choice in picking me.
(To Ryujehong) This is your 2nd time participating in the World Cup tournament. How do you feel?
Ryujehong: Blizzcon is Blizzard's biggest event. I am both honored and happy for being able to attend it twice.
(To Ryujehong) How different is the team this year compared to last year?
Ryujehong: The team this year and the one last year are actually very similar. Just like my previous World Cup teammates, all of the current ones now have a positive attitude. Thanks to them, I am really enjoying my time.
How about you two? How do you guys feel participating for the first time?
Saebyeolbe: How do I feel for being chosen to be a representative for my own country? I danced in joy. In the past, I was actually a candidate to represent Korea for bowling... Well, it didn't really work out. And now, I am extremely happy that I can finally represent my country.
Mano: I was actually very surprised when I was chosen because many fans think of me as a bad player. But despite the fan's opinion, I always had confidence in myself. I will have the bias against me disproven through this tournament by showing top notch performance.
Each and every Overwatch team wear a different color. What is the strength of Korea? What is the team's preferred team comp?
Ryujehong: We'll be able to play every possible comp effectively. All the players have immense hero pool.
So in other words, Korea has not a single specific weakness?
Did you guys watch the group stage that took place in Shanghai? How will you guys utilize Sombra?
Saebyeolbe: We are very confident in 'Fl0w3r' as he is a great Sombra player. But we'll still have to be careful because every team has a plan for playing against her.
Since you guys are from different teams, are you guys open to sharing the different tactics and strategies with each other?
Saebyeolbe: Even if just a little, I think we have to. I don't personally mind sharing.
Ryujehong: We don't really have to. I think we can still win!
How are you guys practicing?
Saebyeolbe: We are beginning to schedule it.
Ryujehong: We will officially start practicing together starting tomorrow. We will also host open scrims tomorrow and on the 22nd.
Do you guys meet up with each other? For say, "tactical" meetings?
Ryujehong: Because of 'APEX', no. But we will soon.
Saebyeolbe: (To Mano) Let's just do it right now! Oh, wait... Hmm...There is only three of us right now.
How different is Korea from the other countries? Is Korea still ahead of the other regions?
Saebyeolbe: Judging by the games I have watched over time, I think Korea is still the strongest region. I'm not trying to be overconfident; I am just basing this off of actual games that have been played and showcased.
Ryujehong: Also, I think China and Taiwan are stronger than the European countries.
Are you guys confident going in?
Mano: We barely had any practice. But yes. We are confident.
China has successfully passed the group stage. What do you think of that?
Mano: I don't think they are that strong. However, If they keep on building up momentum like this, they might become a strong candidate for winning the tournament.
So you guys think China will develop further over the duration of the tournament?
Ryujehong: Yes. But we will still win.
You guys will be going against Netherland, Poland, and Austria in the group stage. Is there a specific team you guys are worried about?
Mano: I can't really say anything because I have little to no knowledge regarding the foreign teams. Same goes for everyone else here.
From the following four teams: Canada, Russia, Singapore, and Finland, which two teams do you think will make it out of groups? Which teams are a threat to Korea?
Ryujehong: Canada and Finland. I'm particularly paying close attention to Canada because I heard they have good players. Especially 'Surefour'.
Saebyeolbe: I have solely set my eyes on China and France.
Ryujehong: France probably has the best team synergy as the players are already very familiar with each other. China, on the other hand, had a ton of practice ever since the representing players were announced.
Mano: I also heard China has a large number of staffs behind the scene. But France will have the biggest advantage going into this tournament due to the reasons explained by Ryu.
Were you guys all familiar with each other?
Saebyeolbe: Of course.
Ryujehong: Actually... I got to know Saebyeolbe a lot better through this event.
Last year, the Korean team utilized many surprise picks including Junkrat, Symmetra, and Bastion. Will Korea pull surprise picks yet again this year?
Ryujehong: If the meta changes during the duration of the tournament, then yes. With the current "diving" meta, it's impossible to play the heroes that you mentioned.
Saebyeolbe: Maybe if we are performing really well, and/or our opposing teams are performing really badly. If that's the case, then we might be able to.
Do you think the meta will shift once Zarya and Reinhardt buffs from the PTR goes live?
Saebyeolbe: The meta will always shift. I think Blizzard definitely has plans to do something about the "diving" heroes that constantly rule the competitive scene. If the said heroes become nerfed, Zarya and Reinhardt will most likely become prevalent again.
Ryujehong: Zarya will most likely receive little to no play until Tracer becomes nerfed.
What do you guys think of 'Doomfist'? What popular hero can he possibly replace? Do you think teams will utilize him?
Saebyeolbe: Although he will most likely receive nerfs before going live, his kit is very attractive. I think he is a great hero.
Ryujehong: He will definitely be used for attack. For defense, not so much.
Mano: Just like how Sombra brought chaos to the scene as many teams had close to no practice against her, Doomfist will most likely have the same effect. He can maybe replace Genji - no -probably any DPS hero.
Ryujehong: Blizzard should release him during the ongoing tournament. I think it will help the event garner more attention from fans. Also, Blizzard should definitely release more heroes to widen the possibility of new metas. There are too many heroes who aren't used at all. We need more heroes!
This is a question meant for each of you. Is there a specific player that you consider as a rival?
Ryujehong: For now, 'uNKOE'. But once I get the chance to play against more players, it will most likely change.
Mano: The player's role doesn't matter, right? If so, mine will be 'aKm'. From what I've seen, this player was very good at tracking and killing tanks. As for a rival in the same position... I can't really say.
Ryujehong: Sorry, we aren't too knowledgeable in the foreign scene. We are only familiar with France.
Saebyeolbe: If I had to choose a player, it would be 'SoOn'. Although I don't think he is that great in mirror matchups, his 'Pulse Bomb' placement is fantastic. And because Tracer is so prevalent and effective in the current meta, 'SoOn' is definitely a player I have to watch out for.
How was the team synergy when you guys first played with each other?
Saebyeolbe: We actually had good synergy.
Mano: Although it was far from perfect, it was still good considering the fact that we had no prior practice together.
Ryujehong: In the current "diving" meta, team cohesion isn't as important as before. So it worked out ok for us.
Since Korea won the tournament last year, do you guys feel burden?
Ryujehong: Most definitely yes. I will most likely receive tons of flak from the fans if I end up losing even a single set.
Saebyeolbe: Although I still think we are the best candidate to win the tournament, If we actually end up losing... It'll affect us.
Mano: For me, I feel a lot of weight on my shoulders because there are so many other tank players in Korea who are fantastic. I was picked out of the many, so I feel the burden. I also have a relatively weak mentality when it comes to receiving rebukes from fans. So I am doing my absolute best in practice in order to show the fans great performance during the tournament.
This is a question that fans probably want to ask you guys. What kind of gaming equipment do you guys use?
Ryujehong: I only use gears from 'Logitech'. I have been using them since I was a kid, and I can't use any other brand because I am so used to Logitech. My mouse is 'G402', My keyboard is 'G Pro Keyboard', and I use 'G433' for my headset.
Mano: I used to use 'G433', 'G Pro Mouse', and 'G Pro Keyboard'.
Saebyeolbe: 'G433' and 'G Pro Keyboard'.
Any words for your sponsor and fans?
Mano: I want to thank 'Logitech' for providing us with so many great pieces of equipment. We are also preparing an event for the fans. Please cheer for us as we will do our absolute best during the tournament. We won't let down the members of the 'Overwatch World Cup Committee' who have chosen us.
Any last words regarding the tournament?
Ryujehong: This year will be much more competitive compared to last year. But we have our eyes set only on victory. Thank you.
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