The Korean team showed their stubbornness more than ever for the 3-win streak of the Overwatch World Cup 2018.
On August 10th, a media day took place at the Blizzard Entertainment Korea a week before the Overwatch World Cup begins. 7 players who will be participating in preliminaries and 3 Overwatch World Cup committees showed their determination. In particular, the preliminaries of the World Cup this year is held in Incheon, South Korea, and they now have an opportunity to show their performances in front of Korean fans in a long time.
The event was emceed by Sorim Jung, a caster who has been watching players from the Overwatch APEX to the Overwatch League.
Q. Please introduce yourself before we start off.
Panseung “FaTe” Koo: My name is Panseung “FaTe” Koo from LA Valiant. I am the main tank for the team.
Yeonjun “Ark” Hong: Yeonjun “Ark” Hong, the main support from both New York Excelsior and the Korean national team.
Taehong “MekO” Kim: MekO, the sub tank from both New York Excelsior and the Korean team.
Sunghyun “JJoNak” Bang: JJoNak, the sub support from both New York Excelsior and the Korean team.
Jongryul “Saebyeolbe” Park: Jongryul “Saebyeolbe” Park, a DPS for the Korean team from the years of 2017 and 2018.
Haesung “Libero” Kim: Haesung “Libero” Kim, a DPS from New York Excelsior.
Jaehyuk “Carpe” Lee: Jaehyuk “Carpe” Lee, a DPS for both Philadelphia Fusion and the Korean team.
Hyunah “Flowervin” Lee: I am Hyunah “Flowervin” Lee, a PR ambassador for the Overwatch World Cup Korean team.
Hyunsang “Pavane” Yoo: Hyunsang “Pavane” Yoo, the head coach for both New York Excelsior and the Korean team.
Gyuhyung “YongBongTang” Hwang: YongBongTang, an Overwatch caster in Korea and now the head of the Korean team.
Q. How did you feel about being selected for one of 7 representatives for the Overwatch World Cup?
Saebyeolbe: I felt really great after being selected twice in a row. I personally think that it’s because I showed a good performance in Stage 3. The meta was beginning to shift from Tracer, the hero I am good at, to Windowmaker. I believe that I can still be here as I got selected before that happened.
Carpe: I didn’t think I was going to be one of the representatives, and I feel really great about it.
JJoNak: I was able to fall asleep really well after checking my name on the list at 2:00 AM. Of course, I expected it to happen.
MekO: I checked it together with JJoNak. I was 50% sure as there were too many tank candidates. I thought that Fury from London Spitfire would surely make it.
FaTe: I was worried because I am not that popular, but I still feel good after being selected because of good performances I showed in Stage 4. I personally thought of myself as A rank, but many people called me B and I was a little depressed. I think that I am now A as a representative.
Libero: My goal last year was to become a representative. I felt good after checking out the list. I still feel under the pressure as I won nonstop until last year. I also think that I showed good moments until Stage 3 just like Saebyeolbe, and it was quite lucky I got selected at that time.
Q. What are the aspects you consider the most important for preparing for the World Cup this year?
Libero: Teamwork is one of them. Our performances and teamwork are enhancing as we practice together. I believe that it will be perfect at the finals. Even though it’s not perfect for now, it will surely be two times better if we have a better teamwork later. We are also adjusting ourselves to the new meta.
Q. Who’s the life of the party in the team?
Saebyeolbe: I didn’t think of myself that way, but I thank my team members for that.
Carpe: Saebyeolbe tries to lead us and make a practice atmosphere. He makes a comfortable mood normally, and he then makes us focus thoroughly when we practice.
Q. How are you getting along with newcomers in the team?
Carpe: We had profile and filming sessions with Logitech on the first day, and we’ve been getting along with one another ever since.
FaTe: There wasn’t anyone who I personally knew of at first, but we are close to each other as we stay together. Saebyeolbe and Ark are doing very good to me. Though Carpe and I are still not getting along as well as with the others, and I think that we need to try a bit harder for teamwork.
Q. Which team do you think is the biggest threat for this Overwatch World Cup?
JJoNak: USA. Everyone’s aware of them.
Ark: Each team had that one player who is less competitive than other players in last year. This year, many good teams have been formed thanks to the League, and I also believe that the USA is the best among them.
Q. What do you think is a strength of the Korean team from a committee perspective?
YongBongTang: Their skills are topnotch. London Spitfire with Korean players won the Overwatch League, and I was astonished by how great the Korean language is once again. They showed a really good teamwork by having the simplest communication during the game.
Q. Many changes are expected including Wrecking Ball during preliminaries. Will you use the new hero as actively as possible?
Pavane: We are still getting to know what type of hero he is. I believe that we will use him sometimes, but we’ll surely have to do some more research for the remaining practice time.
Q. We were told that FaTe is playing Wrecking Ball quite often, how would you rate him?
FaTe: He seems to be the type that makes a dramatic dive into the enemy team. He’s specialized in destroying the enemy line. In comparison with Winston, the new hero’s ultimate is better. His survivability is also good enough to receive support from team members. I think that the enemy Winston would feel nothing to be done when he encounters a good Wrecking Ball player.
Q. How would you rate FaTe’s Wrecking Ball?
Pavane: 5 out of 10 so far, but I could see him enhancing quite fast. I think that he will show more than 8 plays with Wrecking Ball in the preliminaries.
Q. Can we also see reworked Symmetra in the preliminaries?
Pavane: I think that having a good teamwork is prior to using Symmetra. We’ll see how it goes after practices next week.
Q. Flowervin has recently joined the Overwatch World Cup Committee. What are your responsibilities in the committee?
Flowervin: There are a lot of people who do not know Overwatch. I want to introduce Overwatch to them, and promote the Overwatch World Cup via my streaming channel.
Q. We’ve heard that you guys are having closed practices with the Overwatch Contenders teams. How are the practices going?
YongBongTang: The practices are helping us a lot. The teams are as good as low to mid rank teams in the Overwatch League. Next week the national team will have an open scrim against the winner of the Overwatch Contenders Korea. The opponent will be determined this Saturday at the grand final of the Contenders Korea. The scrim will be streamed via my streaming channel on the 12th. I hope the national team wins.
Q. Saebyeolbe, how was the first pitch at New York Mets game?
Saebyeolbe: It was the most nervous moment of my life. I almost fell down when running to the ground because my legs were shaking. I don’t even remember how I threw the first pitch.
Q. Saebyeolbe, this is your second time playing in the Overwatch World Cup. Do you have any advice for the others, as an experienced player?
Saebyeolbe: Let’s show others what strategies we have, and let’s do this for our nation.
Q. Carpe, you will be playing against your teammates in Finland and Russia in the preliminaries.
Carpe: We’ve played together in the same team before. I look forward to playing against them. I think it will be interesting. But I am confident that I will win.
Q. A lot of players in the national team are from the New York Excelsior. Do you think the team might face some hardships, depending on the meta? What were the factors that were considered when creating the roster?
YongBongTang: The pros in team Korea has been practicing together for only three days so far. They will be staying in the team house starting next week. The practice environment isn’t the best right now, and they still need to work on team play. I would give 3 or 4 out of 10 as of now, but I’m sure they will start improving very soon. All of them are very enthusiastic and eager to give opinions. I believe they will play as good as they did in 2016.
Q. Some of you have to play at the All-Star Match and the World Cup right after the preliminaries. Isn’t the schedule too tight for you?
Saebyeolbe: It’s true that we don’t have enough time to rest. But we practice a lot, so I’m sure we can always perform well. Also, I’m grateful that I got the opportunity to represent my country.
MekO: A vacation would be nice, but I like playing games in front of my fans better.
Q. Last year’s Overwatch World Cup was held in the U.S. and there was some audience who did not cheer for you. This year’s preliminaries will be held in Korea. Do you have any expectations for this?
Libero: A lot of players have experience playing in Korea before they joined the Overwatch League. I know Korean fans are very enthusiastic when cheering. The way Korean fans cheer for us is a bit different from the way that American fans cheer for us. I’m looking forward to playing in Korea.
Saebyeolbe: There were some people who went “boo” at me in America. I would feel a lot more comfortable if I play in Korea. It would feel like I’m home.
Q. How are playing in the Overwatch League Team and playing in the national team different?
Saebyeolbe: Team Korea has won the Overwatch World Cup twice in a row. We’ve been doing so well, but I feel like we have to show something even bigger.
JJoNak: I personally enjoy being the center of the attention and feeling pressure.
Ark: I feel a lot of pressure for every match I have. But I’m more excited about being able to represent my country.
Q. Team Korea has been nearly perfect in the past preliminaries. Will it be the same for this year’s preliminaries as well?
Saebyeolbe: The other countries are improving every year. There are a lot of players who play in the Overwatch League in team Finland, and Japan won’t be an easy opponent. The preliminaries will be more challenging compared to last year’s preliminaries.
Q. The players picked Carpe as the one who will play the biggest role in this year’s Overwatch World Cup.
Carpe: I think they picked me because I’m a DPS player, and because of the way I play.
Saebyeolbe: I’m a DPS player too, so I know when I see him. He is always ready to show something impressive. Also, he’s good at shot-calling in Korean even though he has been playing with non-Korean players for a long time.
Q. It’s not easy for the fans to visit the venue for the preliminaries. Would you like to say anything to your fans?
Carpe: It must be a big work for you to come and cheer for us in a weather like this. I really appreciate that you came, and thank you so much for cheering for us.
MekO: The cheering helps us a lot and means a lot to us.