Interview with Philadelphia Fusion’s Carpe on What Makes Korean Players so Powerful and More

Overwatch League now only has the last stage, Stage 4, left until the playoffs!

Overwatch League was launched surrounded by a mix of excitement and anxiety, but has been gaining more and more attention from fans as all teams improve. Some especially notable teams would be Boston, which won every match in Stage 3, the LA Gladiators, the LA Valiant, and the Philadelphia Fusion; they have all shown great technique, rivaling even teams centered around Korean players. It will be quite difficult to predict what the later stage will be like.

Of course, the teams named also have excellent Korean players. Carpe, for instance, is a DPS for the Philadelphia Fusion who played a critical role in helping his team climb to the top of the ladder, showing everyone what a true ‘DPS carry’ is. Anyone who doubts his competence needs only to take note of how he was selected as MVP 12 times leading up to Stage 3.

We had the chance to interview Carpe about several subjects, including his thoughts on the new Brigitte meta, what makes Korean players so strong, and the top 5 DPS he picked! The following is our interview with him.


▲ Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee from the Philadelphia Fusion
(Image from Carpe’s official Twitter)


Nice to meet you! Please say hello to your fans!

Hello, I am Jae-Hyeok “Carpe” Lee from Philadelphia Fusion. It is a great pleasure to meet you all.

The whole league went into a short resting period after Stage 3; what have you been doing since then?

Actually, I didn’t go out to play since the last week of the stage; so I rested a lot and nowadays I’ve been preparing to go to Philadelphia.

I heard that everyone on the team will be visiting together on your visit to Philadelphia. What number is this visit to Philadelphia? Also, what will you be doing in Philadelphia?

Yes, that’s right. Everyone in the team will be going. Actually, this is the first time I’m going to Philadelphia (Laughs). So I don’t really know what the organization will be doing. Maybe meet fans in Philadelphia or do some kind of event, I guess.

Is there anything you know about Philadelphia?

Uh…. I’ve never been there, so the only thing I know is that… Philadelphia Cream Cheese is popular? (Laughs) I’m kidding; I heard that it’s a very beautiful city from people around me. That’s why I’m looking forward to it.


▲Philadelphia, a city well-known for its beautiful scenery, along with… its cheese.
(Image from


To be honest, the news that you joined the Fusion during the early period of announcing OWL entries seemed quite unusual. At the time, Fusion wasn’t a team with many Korean players and you were almost alone; how did you end up deciding to go to Philadelphia?

The coach’s influence was huge back when I was still in Selfless. After the season ended, I wasn’t sure whether to go back to Korea when my coach asked me to stay in U.S. for the next season, so I did, and moved to FaZe Clan. It seemed like what I showed in FaZe was impressive because I started to getting a lot of offers when the OWL started. I think I got recruitment offers from almost 8~9 teams.

So I was trying to make up my mind on which team when Joemeister and ShaDowBurn, my old teammates in Faze told me everyone was going to Philadelphia so here I am, with my teammates.

You must be friends with many players now that you’ve had a chance to work on team synergy and there are players you’ve been playing with since FaZe. Is there anyone you are particularly close with besides the Korean players?

I’m friends with people like Joemeister and ShaDowBurn whom I transferred teams with. Especially ShaDowBurn… Honestly, I did too at first and I think other fans might think that ShaDowBurn is really quiet but he’s actually really exceptional, like eccentric? He is really funny (Laughs).

In the case of the Philadelphia Fusion, your daily life, like meals, have been well-recognized by fans through Twitter, etc. However, the way only 3 Korean players gathered to eat cup noodles during meal time recently became an issue in the Korean Overwatch community; many are saying ‘you aren’t actually friends with other foreign players’; did you by any chance see that?

Ah, I saw that. But that’s not because we aren’t friends (Laughs). Our team gets really delicious meals so we all eat well but sometimes we really miss Korean food. That’s why we come together once in a while to eat, but that doesn't mean we aren’t friends with other players or anything.


▲ The amazing cuisine provided to the Philadelphia Fusion has already become an issue among many fans.
(Video from Naeri’s YouTube Channel)


As far as we know, you’ve been placed 1st in the MVP rank which is selected after the OWL matches end (12 times). Actually, DPS don’t always get to be selected as MVP because they are winning, and players with other positions get evenly selected in most other teams; is there any secret to getting selected as MVP as many times as you have?

Um… Just trying hard? I don’t think there is any special reason or secret to it. My team is all about trying hard with good teamwork… I don’t really know the reason (Laughs).

Now you’ve gone through over half of the whole OWL Season 1. You must have plenty of experience playing against other teams; Could you pick the top 5 DPS from OWL, including yourself?

Um… That’s a fairly difficult question. It’s really hard to pick…

(If it’s hard, then how about you pick based on ‘performance they’ve shown in the stages so far’?)

Then maybe… Me, Saebyeolbe, and players like Eqo would make the list. STRIKER had a huge impact, and I think Pine and Libero should definitely be picked.

If so, where do you think you’ll be placed based on your performance in OWL?

As for me… at least about 2~3rd place?

(Then who’s in 1st place?)

It obviously would be Saebyeolbe so far. He won the title match twice already, and he has played amazingly well now and then.


▲ Saebyeolbe from NYXL, whom Carpe picked as the best DPS in OWL.
(Image from official OWL video)


In fact, the list you picked just now seems to be close to player selection for Team South Korea; how likely do you think it is that you will be selected for South Korea based on your performance so far?

I don’t know yet. To be honest, there are too many talented South Korean players. The 5 DPS I picked are so good that it feels like I can’t compete well enough… I don’t know if I will get selected. In order to be, I think I’ll have to play really well in the rest of Stage 4 and the playoffs.

Recently, several OWL-related figures including MonteCristo, HuK, and Thorin came together to discuss ‘Why Korean players are powerful’, which became a big issue in both Reddit and the Korean Overwatch community. Notably, HuK and Monte talked about Korean players’ ‘military service problem’; what are your thoughts on this as a Korean pro player?

I looked up that video, too. Since there were many interesting parts… I think what they said about the military service problem is right in some parts.

Actually, I had a chance to talk about that topic (Why Korean players are so good at Overwatch) with my teammates, and I think the biggest reason is the ‘desperation’ or ‘mentality’. Foreign players certainly seem to have mental leisure or freedom; as in they can find other work if their pro gaming career doesn’t work out, but Korean players are a little more desperate than other foreign players. There’s the idea that they have to survive in this intense competition, and there’s this sort of pressure on them to have an impressive experience in their career.


The video where there was the discussion on ‘Why Korean players are so powerful’. 
(Video from InsightOnEsports)


Other than the military service problem, MonteCristo mentioned something like ‘Repetitive training is the best answer when there is no systematic answer; that is why Korean players [who have the most training] have been showing competence’. Actually, teams like the Philadelphia Fusion, Boston Uprising, and LA Gladiators have been performing better and better as they play further on; do you agree on this part as a player of the Philadelphia Fusion?

Yeah, it seems quite right, but one thing is certain: any player can get better if they repeatedly practice. So, from my perspective, repetitive training is a fundamental aspect any pro gamers should have.

What’s important here would be how you training repetitively; I think the ‘systematic aspect’ previously mentioned is referring to this. Since I play for Philadelphia, I’ll talk about only Philadelphia - there is that training aspect for my team performing better continually after the Stage 1, but how we gave each other feedback as we watch the matches together is really big. I guess you can say we found Philadelphia’s own style now through all those adjustments?

There recently has been a lot of talk surrounding Korean coaches too, not just Korean players. There is a widespread belief that the base of the Korean players’ and teams’ power comes from the Korean coaches’ excellence; what are your thoughts on this?

First, there is quite a difference in elements like coaching methods or the perspective of Korean coaches and other coaches, and I think this is really important as well. Most Korean coaches were pro players themselves or are as talented as pro players, so there is a difference in their insight, perspective, or knowledge about the game. That is why I think there are Korean coaches in most of the teams doing well in OWL.

In that aspect, Fissure from LA Gladiators had a comment saying, “Now even the Shock will become scary,” when Crusty, who was a coach for Boston, recently transferred to the San Francisco Sock.

That’s right. I’ve heard that Crusty was really great since I was in Korea, and thought that the Shock will become quite powerful now that he moved to their team.


▲ The San Francisco Shock recently recruited a Korean coach following Architect, a Korean player.
(Image from the official San Francisco Shock website)


I think Brigitte, the new hero, will become the biggest issue in the upcoming Stage 4. How did the Fusion react to Brigitte?

Everyone was like, she’s strong. At this point, Brigitte is too OP. One of the things we tried experimenting was picking Brigitte and Rheinhardt with 3 supports, and it was hard to counter it with the dive comp since we could push slowly just like a tank.

There are many discussions on the change of the whole meta. What DPS do you think goes well with the Brigitte meta?

I think it’s important to move forward slowly as both DPS and healers peel for each other when someone from the team picks Brigitte. Like, so that you can melt anyone with Brigitte’s CC? That’s why it’s better to pick McCree, Junkrat, or the remade Hanzo, rather than Genji or Tracer, both heroes that have been played most of the time. I think it will be quite similar as well when you have to play against Brigitte.


▲ Brigitte, the hottest hero of latest meta, will be available in Stage 4!


Philadelphia must be practicing for the Brigitte meta, but there must be times when your team comp isn’t the best against Brigitte. For example, in a situation where you must play Tracer but there’s a Briggitte on opponent team, how would you macro?

Tracer can die in just one skill combo when Brigitte uses her CC. So playing safe would be better, and in that case, I think I would first poke at the opponent tank line with my team then try to do something with my Flash Bomb. Either by going around their backs or right at the front.

Have you tried playing in the new map, Rialto? Which DPS do you think will be best in that map?

Actually, I didn’t get to play in Rialto yet, though I’ve seen the Philadelphia Contenders team having an open scrim with X6-Gaming recently, and it seems like a fun map. I think it will be great to pick Reinhardt and Hanzo. Like Hanzo stays in the higher ground, and now that he has a mobility skill after the patch, he’s better than McCree.

Hanzo became quite good after the remake, so I think we might pick him during the season; since I have played Hanzo once in awhile during Stage 1 and 2, if we do get to pick Hanzo, it’d probably be me playing him. I’ve been practicing him lately, too.


▲Hanzo’s usage has become higher with his new movement ability.


The change of ryujehong’s position became an issue near the end of Stage 3. If you could change your position in the Fusion, to what would you change with what hero? Also, if you were to pick a hero you think you can’t play at all, who would that be?

If I do get to play another position, then I think I would play flex supports like Zenyatta or Ana. As for the hero I can’t play… I think I would never play D.Va. I’m not that good at playing D.Va, it’s quite distracting to play her since she needs to take care of both the front and back line, and keep track on how the game flows (Laughs).

Then who is good at playing other roles in the Fusion?

Um… I don’t know since I haven’t seen my teammates play other heroes. If I were to pick one, I guess Eqo? One thing special about Eqo is that he is good at playing D.Va even though he is a DPS. There aren’t many cases where DPS players can play D.Va well.


▲ Carpe picked D.Va as the hero he is the worst at.


Any goals in the upcoming Stage 4? And which team do you think will become the biggest threat?

Well, obviously getting good results in the upcoming stage, and all teams must be looking forward to the playoffs now. We are putting more weight on the playoffs as well, and think getting to play in the playoffs by getting good results in Stage 4 is the most important.

New York would definitely be the biggest threat. We were so close to winning last time, they are really hard to win against. In fact, it feels like we can win against any other team if we can win against New York, so I’d really like to win against them this time.

Do you have any personal goal this year?

Getting onto Team South Korea we just mentioned earlier. (Laughs) I would like to get picked at least once. I should try really hard in the upcoming Stage and the playoffs.

Any last words for your fans?

Actually, this is my first interview with a Korean game media, and I hope I get more opportunities to give interviews in the future. Thank you all for reading this interview, and I will try harder to come up with even better plays.

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