The San Francisco Shock continues to be an unstoppable force in Stage 2. A part of that success is credited to the Shock’s DPS player, Dong-jun "Rascal" Kim. After the Shock defeated the Hangzhou Spark to continue their map win streak to 19, Rascal spoke with Inven Global about bouncing back to the Overwatch League after playing with the Spitfire and Fuel last season, how he meshed well with his teammates, and what Marvel heroes does he associate his teammates with.
First, let's talk about last season. What things did you learn playing for the London Spitfire and Dallas Fuel?
With the Spitfire, it felt more like a family because even if the coach wasn't there or if we didn't have any feedback sessions, the players supported each other by giving feedback often. That's how they improved their gameplay.
With Dallas Fuel, it's more of a structured system. The coach has his role, while the players have their roles.
Since you were in those two teams, you have to adapt to different team philosophies. Did you face any struggles bouncing with those teams?
With the Spitfire, they were players I knew beforehand. I felt I didn't struggle too much with them. When I went to Dallas, it was my first exposure to a foreign team. It was the first time I had to speak English and people I'm not comfortable playing with. I definitely thought it was a little intimidating and nervous, also a little in the air of ambiguity.
Do you still feel that way playing with Shock where you have players like sinatraa, moth, and super?
I don't have any of those difficulties because we're one big family. The coaching and management staff does a really good job of making the team feel like family. It's a group effort trying to have everyone feel like family and keep that competitive edge going.
Since being dropped from the Fuel last season, what are things did you work on so you can get back to the Overwatch League by this season?
After being with the Fuel, it was kind of devastating to be dropped by them and then not being picked up by another team. When I went to Contenders with NRG, instead of improving my mechanical skill, I would find ways to improve mentally — whether it is confidence or speaking English. It is finding improvements outside of the game.
Was there anyone that help you improve mentally?
I would have to say my current general manager, Chris "Thugnasty" Chung.
Note: The Shock's translator and general manager, Chris Chung, commented:
I worked for the Shock's Contenders team and the Shock themselves. I oversaw Rascal's process through the whole way. I usually don't like to take credit for anything because it was all on Rascal.
Since being dropped from the Fuel, how motivated were you to come back to the Overwatch League?
I had a huge motivation — it was like a chip on my shoulder where I feel like I didn't show everyone what I am capable of. I was very determined to come back and prove I can still be the best. Also, reassure my fans that I am still a good player.
Now that you're in the Shock, what things do you bring to the team's dynamic?
I feel like I brought what Korean players usually do, which is like shot call or have a broad understanding of the game. Also, since I can communicate in Korean and English, I can be the bridge in a way.
How were you able to mesh well with the team since there are Korean and Western players?
I think it's not that I see them as Korean and Western players, it's more like I see them as individually talented players. We just all came together, easily got along with each other, and we just meshed well.
In a previous question, you mentioned that you can communicate in English. How long have you been learning English?
It feels like it's been a year now.
How do you feel about your English now?
I feel like it's still not that good. At the same time, it's not that bad. It's good enough that I wouldn't go starving.
What kind of tools did you use to learn English?
I forced myself to talk to the players with as much conversation as possible. If there's stuff I don't know, I will look it up on Google translate and it would come into my mind.
Is there anyone that you consider a great friend on the Shock?
Obviously, moth because he's so nice. I only said this on the Watchpoint Q&A but every time I ask him to duo with me, he would. Outside of the game, we would hang out here and there. We would eat ramen, go to the arcades, and go shopping.
A random question before we end the interview. Since the new Avengers movie is out soon, if you have to label who is Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, etc. in your team, who would it be?
For me, I would say I am Spider-Man. As for Iron Man, I don't think no one in our team can be because no one's that smart. Our general manager, Chris, would be Captain America. Hulk would be NineK, our assistant coach. If I had to pick a player, super would be Hulk. I think sinatraa would be Thor and Loki would be Architect.
Thanks for the fun interview! Are there any shoutouts that you would like to give?
I'm very thankful for my fans who supported me all the way. I've gone through a lot and I know I put you all through a lot of things too. Now that I'm here and what my future is to come, I wish my fans continue to support me. I hope I will be able to communicate with my fans in the near future and I'll do my best on the stage.
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