Before his incredible game four against Boston Uprising last week, Hong-joon "HOTBA" Choi had less than one minute of gameplay as Tracer recorded on the OWL main stage. The stat flashed across the broadcast at the same time HOTBA was making quick work of Uprising's Striker, the same Striker with the Volskaya Foundry Tracer the entire league feared.
After that match, his teammates were quick to praise HOTBA and his diverse hero pool. Now, with a new legion of Fusion fans clamoring for more sticks and flanks, I sat down with the South Korean native and, with the help of a translator, learned about the new Tracer in town.
Last time I spoke to Carpe, he specifically praised your Tracer play. How does that make you feel?
I got a lot more fans after those games. Now, I feel like a real number one Tracer player.
Did you feel like an imposter before? Like you weren't a top tier Tracer?
After I played Tracer on Volskaya, I felt like I performed so well -- like no one could kill me and I was immortal. I've never felt that before.
A lot of the best DPS players feel that often: they are very confident and sure of themselves. Does that mirror your personality at all?
Yes, I have a lot of confidence. No matter what hero I play, I feel I can outperform and bring more than what a normal player could do in the same role.
"I've met Pine in past games before and I don't feel any fear or pressure because of him."
Is that why you enjoy playing Tracer? Seems like it would give you opportunities to really dominate other players in 1 vs. 1 scenarios.
Yes, my personality meshes well with the hero. Tracer always plays by her self, flanking all alone. Because of this, Tracer players need to be fearless and play bravely. Me personally, I don't have any fear and this helps make my Tracer play better.
By the way, I want to give a tip. Usually Tracer players like a low sensitivity mouse setting. However, I play with my sensitivity over 10,000. This allows me to blink a little bit faster and confuse my opponents more.
You can do 180's so fast and really trip up your opponent with high sensitivity.
Do you ever get a personal satisfaction when you confuse an OWL opponent on stage? What does that feel like?
When I was 1 vs. 1 against Striker, I felt like his bullets couldn't hurt me at all. So I had this idea to really bully him. I chased him 24/7 -- always bullying him. I had the mindset that I wanted to toy with him. That felt great.
In light of how impactful sniper heroes are, what do you think Tracer's role is in the current meta?
In this meta, the Tracer player needs to be sneaky. The most important thing is to never got shot by Widowmaker -- don't lose health for no reason. Always be sneaky and annoy the backline while always surviving.
If you play well like that, you are going to get chances to get free damage. Eventually, you will find an opportunity get a kill.
"I just play Tracer in competitive mode by my self."
So it's mainly about finding safe opportunities to do free damage?
Yes. But, when we play this type of strategy, the main role of the Tracer is to flank the opposite side of their Widowmaker. All the while, the main group is playing aggressively and pressuring the Widowmaker's position.
So, when Widowmaker retreats or tries to escape the primary threat, she runs into me. This is Tracer's best role currently when they are sneaky enough.
Do you have experience playing against the caliber of Widowmaker that a team like NYXL will bring?
I've met Pine in past games before and I don't feel any fear or pressure because of him. I don't have any specific training method to prepare -- I just play Tracer in competitive mode by my self. That is the key to improving.
How long do you play ranked on your own as Tracer? Are you in for some serious grinding?
Just two games a day by my self. I have a lot of faith in my own mechanical skills so two games a day is enough.
Anything you'd like to say to your new fans, especially those who admire your Tracer play?
For all my Fusion fans, thank you so much for the support. For those who especially like my Tracer, I want to continue showing you cool plays and new techniques.
Also, I am going to beat Saebyeolbe in a 1 vs. 1 Tracer duel.
So this is a call out? Are you specifically planning to win a Tracer duel vs. Saebyeolbe?
Warcraft 3 is my one true love and I will challenge anyone to a game of Super Smash Brothers Melee.