Hibiki "XQQ" Motoyama is the coach for CYCLOPS athlete gaming which recently qualified for Overwatch Contenders Pacific, which OWC Caster “AVRL” has called “the strongest team in Japan”. XQQ was also voted to represent Team Japan for the Overwatch World Cup 2018 as Coach. With so much happening, I was able to squeeze a few questions into his busy schedule and get his thoughts on CAG, the last patch changes and also Team Japan.
Last year, 3/6 members of Team Japan were part of CAG. (Yoz, CLAIRE, Ta1yo) Will we see them play again this year? Or do they have to try out for the team again?
We're going to hold tryouts this year. Yoz, CLAIRE, and Ta1yo have been playing very hard after last year’s World Cup. I think they will pass through the tryout.
As for CAG, is there any information on who is replacing Ynnnnnnn and Roku 6935? Or are you still doing player tryouts?
We announced the participation of "AmeKen". He is a new, great Sub-DPS. We are also testing Dep (Tracer main) and Sabage(さばげー, Support) as new members. We’ll be okay regarding Roku6935’s retirement since we have SamuraiD as main tank.
Sabage used to play for Naturals Hokkaido, but there's no information on Dep. Where did he come from?
Dep is a rising star like Ta1yo. He played on USG (Unsold Stuff Gaming) before as D3PPU. He doesn’t have much experience in the competition scene, but his aiming and game sense is really good. I'm sure he can be great dps player like Ta1yo.
CAG is the only Japanese team in Contenders Season 2. Do you think there Blizzard needs to do more to support Overwatch in Japan? Or is it because there's not enough skilled Japanese players to have more than one team?
For Season 2, Blizzard changed Contenders Pacific from offline to online. Most Japanese players are students or workers so they can't take much time to practice for tournaments like Contenders. But this change gives motivation to many Japanese players who want to keep playing Overwatch as competitively.
Blizzard has also been supporting the Japanese scene by showing community tournament information on the Battle.net launcher.
So instead of playing LAN in Taiwan, is it now played online on a Southeast Asia server? Will there be issues with ping? Won't Southeast Asian teams have an advantage if playing on servers closer to them?
Yes, It will definitely happen. I’m not sure which country the server will be in, but if it’s played in Taiwan or Korea our ping will be around 50~120. It’s not good… but playable.
Do Japanese anti-gambling laws that make esports difficult in Japan?
Tournament prizes are important for pro gamers, but the Japanese Overwatch scene is not yet big enough to regulate prize money. It may be more difficult for bigger titles like League of Legends or Rainbow Six Siege.
Some Contenders players in NA and EU say they have not been paid for Contenders Trials Prize Money. Is Blizzard slow to pay OW PAC? Is CAG also seeing slow payment problems from Blizzard?
Yes, but I got used to it. Haha…
DetonatorKR was the winner of Season 1 and they have disbanded. CAG has beaten DetonatorKR on the Group Stage before. Do you feel CAG can win Season 2 because of this?
I believe we can win. But I think DetonatorKR wasn’t in a good condition when we faced them on the Group Stage. They became much stronger afterwards. We must do our best as well.
With DetonatorKR gone, which teams do you feel will be the most challenging for Season 2?
It's definitely Blank Esports, but the four teams who came from the tryouts are very strong this time. I think Contenders Pacific Season 2 will be very interesting to watch!
Do you know if Patch 1.24 is locked in for Contenders? Or is there a chance Blizzard will update again and bring the new Symmetra to Contenders?
If they bring the new Symmetra for Contenders, all teams will go into chaos. New Symmetra would definitely change the game to "Overwatch 2". I think Blizzard will nerf her skill anyway.
Is Hanzo still strong? His storm bow damage was nerfed from 80 to 70, do you feel this was enough?
Yes, Hanzo is still overpowered. His Ultimate and Storm Bow is strong, but his mobility is what’s most important. If Blizzard doesn’t nerf his dash and climb (mostly the dash skill), we’ll continue to use him for a long time.
In that same patch, Brigitte's maximum armor per player was reduced from 150 to 100 and her Shield Bash cooldown was increased from 5 to 6 seconds. Will she still be strong?
Yes, Brigitte is still strong. She is the only one who can protect supports and hard counter against Winston, D.Va and flankers (Tracer, Genji) at the same time. Of course, we’re still paying attention to maps and enemy compositions. We don’t use her when the enemy team can take long range from us. The Asian scene believes Doomfist is the counter to Brigitte.
How about Ana's Biotic Rifle buffs?
Ana players feel uncomfortable with the last patch. Increased ammo is very good, but I think "Projectiles pass through allies with full health" is unnecessary. That change needs a toggle option like Lucio’s wall-ride.
How do you feel about the 3 tank/3 support composition?
It's good. 3 tank/3 support used to have a problem with low damage and was unable to finish kills, but Brigitte alone solves all of that.
Can you tell us more about your relationship with Team Japan's General Manager Jae-pil “Jerophilip” Ha and Community Lead Masumi “mizuiro” Fukuda? Have you worked with them before the World Cup?
Mizuiro helped Japanese Overwatch by forming an academy team named LIFT OFF, which is disbanded now. I didn’t work with Jerophilip before the World Cup, but we’re together now for tryouts. He works with Akihabara Encount and he’s a great Korean man who can speak 3 different languages!
For the Group Stage in the 2018 World Cup, Team Japan is facing South Korea, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Russia, and Finland. How do you feel about Team Japan's chances of making top two?
I think it's 50-50 on making top two. We have the confidence to beat Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, and Russia, but Finland and South Korea... it will be a difficult.
South Korea has so many talented players and coaching staff. If they pick the best players from six different teams, they'll make an OWL-class team easily.
Like South Korea, Finland will become a difficult team. Finland players who are already in OWL have grown extremely well, such as LiNkzr, Shaz, Fragi, and Taimou.
Is there anything else you want to let our Western readers know about Team Japan?
We’re going to BlizzCon through this painful group stage. Please support us! If you want to know any information about Team Japan 2018, please follow @owwcjp2018 on Twitter!