The San Francisco Shock are off to a great start to Stage 2 staying undefeated after making it to Stage 1 finals. The Shock are playing better than ever before in franchise history.
In Week 2 of the Overwatch League, Grant "moth" Espe spoke with Inven Global after their victory against the Guangzhou Charge about what the Shock learned from the Stage 1 finals, what part of their game they improved on, and got to know more about moth as a person and player.
Congrats on the team’s success so far in this stage. First, let’s play some word association. Let me know the first thing that comes to mind.
I don't know, to be honest with you.
Let's talk about what happened after the Stage 1 finals. When you guys went into the press conference after the game, you all looked more hungry to come back and win it next time. What did you work on before Stage 2 to improve from the Stage 1 finals?
Mainly consistency, making sure we keep improving our style and focus on being more of a clutch team. We need to make sure we can finish out maps. For us, it was the first time we have ever gone to a final and best-of-seven match on the stage. It was quite an experience. I think we'll be able to punch it out. We are going to be a clutch team next time around.
What are things that the team learned from the Stage 1 finals heading into Stage 2?
I think it showed us a lot about how much experience matters. A team like the Titans has been in that situation many times before. I think we're such a new team but we can get to that position. We're going to keep working hard and keep grinding. We want to be that team with a lot of experience that can always make the finals and always clutch it out.
As soon as the Stage 1 finals ended, how soon did the team go back to practicing and working harder than before?
We had a three-day break before we started scrims again.
For yourself, how did you improve yourself in the game?
I focused on consistency and being able to keep identifying when to make plays, when to play aggressive, and my mechanics. Also, I want to be sure my shot calling stays sharp. I'll evaluate every aspect of my game and fine tune it more. All the coaches are really helpful, especially Crusty, Junkbuck, and NineK. They all like giving tips and pointing out a position where I can change my style.
During matches, no one really tells me where to position myself. They put their trust in me to know where I need to be at.
Switching topics, I don't know much about you. What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
Before Overwatch, I attended college in Western Massachusetts studying for a Computer Science degree. I was 3 years into the program, but this opportunity came up so I moved to California and quit college.
How long did you grind on the ladder to get to this point?
I started playing Overwatch at the end of Season 1. I hit top 500 with Lucio on Season 2, then I joined a tier 3 team in December 2016. I played for a year, then made Contenders with Toronto Esports. Before Contenders started, I got picked up. It was like a year and a half ago.
All of this was something I never thought I could reach. I was studying and playing Overwatch in my free time. Basically, go to class, do my homework, scrim for 4 hours, then go to sleep. I did that for a while and it worked out! I played on my collegiate team and with my roommates. When I got into the tier 3 scene, I started jumping from team to team playing online.
Was stopping your degree for Overwatch something that was difficult to decide?
Since I got into Contenders before Overwatch League Season 1 started, my plan then was to do online classes and play Contenders at the same time. At that point, it wasn't a guaranteed career path. I could still go for my degree while making money on the side. Once Overwatch League came up, I decided to drop everything and focus on the game.
When you made that decision, was it hard for your parents to accept it?
They were actually really supportive. I explained the league to them like the benefits. Since then, they were always supportive.
That's great to hear. So what games were you into before Overwatch?
Nothing like this high of level, but I played CS:GO for two years in high school and college. I was Global Elite but I never joined a team or anything. I was playing casually. Before CS:GO, I played MMOs like Guild Wars 2. I also put a lot of hours into Skyrim. But CS:GO was my introduction into PC shooters. As soon as Overwatch came out, I wanted to pick it up since it looked fun.
Since you were into CS:GO, did you pick up the esports scene?
When I played, I was into it, but that was forever ago. I remember following when olofmeister was the best player. Actually, now that you mention it, our CS:GO team is here watching our match. tarik, Brehze, and CeRq were just in the practice room.
Were there any esports players you looked up to before committing to Overwatch?
Not really. I didn't really have a player that I idolized or anything. My favorite team when I followed CS:GO was Titan because I did a lot of AWPing and kennyS was sick.
Moving forward, what is your mission for your Overwatch League career?
I just want to play the best that I can. I want to make the most of the time I am a professional esports player and try to win as much as I can. I know it's not going to last forever and I'll probably have to go back to college eventually. As long as I play my best throughout, I'll be happy.
How will you help your team get to the Stage 2 finals?
If we keep playing like we have been doing, we will get there again.
Good luck with everything in Stage 2. Hope to see you back in the finals. Is there anything you want to say to the fans?
Thank you so much for coming out and supporting us. It's always a huge boost to our confidence when we see you all around. Thank you so much.
Writer @InvenGlobal | Freelanced at @overwatchscore @vpesports @GinxTV @Upcomer | Former CLICKON Media and Echo Fox.