After years of disappointment, high expectations, and premature exits in the Overwatch World Cup, Team USA finally did it. They took the championship to the US for the first time in the World Cup. They nearly had a perfect World Cup, as the only blemish being South Korea taking a map in their series. After the championship win against Team China, Team USA took time to talk to their press about their performance.
(To Rawkus) You've been with Team USA for all these years since the World Cup started. How does it feel to finally win the championship for the home team?
Rawkus: I missed the first year actually. When I first started playing the World Cup was with him (sinatraa). We lost to Korea in the first year. We played together and lost against UK in the quarterfinals. It was super upsetting. This year, it was a different mentality and the third time's the charm. Everyone worked super hard. It felt so good to finally be here. I don't really have words to explain how I feel right now but it was something I wanted to do no matter what. I wanted that for the last two years. I think this win means so much, especially for the country.
In talking to super and sinatraa in the weeks leading up to this, it's kind of fascinating about the Shock is the environment and how lively the Shock are and how that sort of contributed to in-game performance. Can you walk me through what it's been like playing with each other in the last couple days and what it's been like behind the scenes between all of you?
sinatraa: For the past few days, we've been having intense scrims. Not that much fun. We're trying our hardest to learn because the tournament was coming up. Before that, when we were doing our bootcamps, we were all having fun. It felt like Shock to me. I can communicate to them better because everyone speaks English. We have a good environment since we started.
moth: Everyone gets along very well. It's similar to the environment we have in Shock. The synergy and trust is there and that's what made Shock really strong. It's the same thing here.
(To Shock players) I'm curious going before, during, and after the match with South Korea, what was your interaction with the other Shock players from the other side?
super: We didn't see them too much cause we were busy practicing and doing our own thing. There was no ill-will between any of the players. We're still really good friends, we all love each other, we're still a team. But at this time, we're on different teams. We had to play to win. There's no bad blood between us at all. Everything's going to go back to normal after this.
sinatraa: Every time we saw them in the waiting room, we gave each other hugs and said "Good luck!" before our match. After the match, Crusty walked up to me and gave me a hug. Then Architect and Choi also.
Rawkus: I wasn't part of the Shock but Carpe was my old teammate. Right before we played China, he walked up to me and said, "I hope you lose. I'm just kidding. Go win!" It was so funny to hear.
(To Aero) Since you are the coach of the Dallas Fuel and here with Team USA, what's the difference between coaching the two teams?
Aero: The environment of coaching USA is different. At the end of the day, these guys are all friends and trust each other. There's this level of trust between teams. Everyone adds something to the team that someone else doesn't have. There's players from Shock, Valiant, Outlaws, and Justice. It makes this cool environment.
I learned a lot this year. We also have Junkbuck and Harsha helping a lot with strategy and coaching. It was a really cool thing.
super: I want to give a huge shoutout to Junkbuck and Harsha. They helped us a lot this year. Without them, I don't know if we would be able to make it this far.
Space: I want to give a shoutout to Analynn because she set up a lot of our bootcamps and scrims, basically took care of us since we're needy. She did all that for us so thank you!
sinatraa: She also got me all the coffee. Okay, maybe someone else did it.
After you guys won, Space, you said it was expected for the team to win. In the course of preparing for this tournament, where did the self-confidence kick in?
Space: For the players who aren't on Shock, being able to play in grand finals, we look up to them. They bring that mentality that they're confident and they want to dominate everybody, so it picks everybody else up. We had such a good coaching staff this year and we prepared for every team. I feel like if we didn't prepare for South Korea and China, then we would've lost. All it comes down to is playing. The preparation made it expected for us.
moth: The confidence we had today felt the same as the confidence we had with Shock in the grand finals. We knew we were the best, we knew we were going to win, we had the best players, and trust everyone.
sinatraa: We actually thought we were going to 3-0 everyone but we dropped a map to Korea.
You guys came from a multitude of Overwatch teams over the years. What was it like to come together and win for the US?
sinatraa: I think Rawkus answered this a bit and I'm probably to say the same thing. I've been on this team for 3 years. We didn't get out of the first round and each time hurts a lot because I thought we are going to win every time. It's definitely very special to me and him since we try so hard every year. Winning it now after two tries feels really good for us.
super: Getting on Team USA took a while. I've tried out the past two years. Like the first two years Rawkus and sinatraa were on Team USA I was trying out and didn't make it. I finally got it in my third try. Being able to show that I deserve this spot and bring home the gold, it builds my confidence further and know that I'm one of the best.
Corey: As someone who's new to the team, we were playing certain teams in group stages. I could definitely feel the want to beat specific teams - kind of like a rivalry. I felt that specifically against UK. You can tell how hype and aggressive everyone was playstyle-wise. We had to keep our confidence up.
In the past few years, BlizzCon's been the reminder that South Korea has better players than Americans in Overwatch. What do you think the state of American talent in Overwatch is compared to the rest of the world?
super: We did scrim some Contenders teams leading up to BlizzCon. I feel like we had good scrims overall. I feel like probably as a whole, South Korea is the superior region. We saw that in Gauntlet too. ATL Academy is starting to close that gap with going all the way to the finals and losing to Element Mystic. I think the gap is closing but still apparent.
Rawkus: As a region, South Korea has better structure and coaches. It's more accessible for them. It's hard to explain. We were definitely the better players in this tournament so far.
What was different about this year in your guy's minds for the veterans in the World Cup that set you apart from the rest of the teams?
sinatraa: It's the amount of preparation we put into this World Cup. Last year, we just thought as players, we only had to review South Korea. This year, we reviewed every possible team we could play, every map, and every comp. We were really prepared this year.
super: It is my first year in Team USA so I can't really compare but the coaching seemed like a step up compared to previous years.
sinatraa: I just answered that.
moth: I feel like compared when we played UK last year, we had a better understanding of the meta. We reviewed a ton of strategy and have a way better understanding of the game.
(To Corey) What things can you take away from this World Cup with this all-star roster that you can bring to the Washington Justice next year?
Corey: Definitely, the aggression of the team. It's a playstyle I truly enjoy and got to fully experience it with this team. I took a lot from sinatraa - his leadership is insane. It's something I want to adapt into my own playstyle in the future. In general, communication is key.
(To previous Team USA members) How much of a sense of urgency or chip on your shoulder did you have coming into the World Cup compared to previous years?
sinatraa: I actually like being the underdogs. Last year, we were not the underdogs because people said we were the best. I guess people said we were going to be the best this year actually. I mean losing three years in a row, we are probably the underdogs at that point. We didn't worry about the other years, we want to focus ahead. We didn't want comments to get to us. We just reset after each match and took every match one-by-one.
Rawkus: The last few years I've played was demoralizing for US fans. We were not cocky but overconfident in what we were doing. Then, we disappointed everyone. Sinatraa and I got a lot of heat. I had a lot to prove and still do moving forward. I feel like I was able to prove what I can do on a really good team with really good players who want to play hard. I can trust all of them. It was super exciting. I'm happy to have them as my teammates.
(To super, sinatraa, and moth) Among the Overwatch League players, Fury is the first player to win both the Overwatch League and Overwatch World Cup trophies in the same year. What's your future moving forward after this achievement?
sinatraa: Keep focusing on winning. Being the best we can be. Never be complacent. Practicing hard no matter what. Even if we won Overwatch League and World Cup, it doesn't matter. We have to keep looking ahead and resetting after each match. We can't think about past matches.
moth: Season 3 Overwatch League is going to be new challenge for us but we're going to keep working hard. We'll never get complacent.
super: Shock as a team made a lot of different changes from Season 1 to 2. Season 3 is the biggest change in Overwatch League. We're prepared to tackle those changes as a team and stay on top of the game.
(To super and Space) An anonymous source has told me you guys have a secret handshake. Is that true? If so, can you show it to us?
On a serious note, are there any players in this tournament that you can see in Overwatch League one day?
super: Fischer and Shax.
sinatraa: Shax is on Valiant, bro.
super: That duo, they were pretty good, especially if Fischer gets picked up.
Rawkus: Someone who impressed was France's off-tank, Tek36. That guy is pretty good and solid.
sinatraa: I think Saudi Arabia's, KssarPlayz, that guy is nasty at Doom. I'm not kidding.
Rawkus: Same with Leaf. That guy is good.
How does it feel to play off-meta picks at times and how does it feel to go against them and do the same thing?
super: It was what we practiced. It was any other strategy. We didn't think much of it. We just trusted it and it worked.
sinatraa: For me, it was a bit more special because I played Genji. We had Genji, Rein, and Symmetra and we were winning. It was special.
Space: I think two or three teams tried to steal that strat but nobody could execute it. They weren't going as aggressive as we were. After we beat everybody with that strat, they tried to copy it in this meta. People tried to do it in scrims against us and we roll them every time.
sinatraa: Worthless. *laughs*
Follow me on Twitter @itsjustchris for more coverage on Overwatch League and various games.
Writer @InvenGlobal | Freelanced at @overwatchscore @vpesports @GinxTV @Upcomer | Former CLICKON Media and Echo Fox.