Team South Korea was the first team to make it to the quarterfinals. While they were shaky at first, they showed why they were considered the favorites to win. After their match against Team Russia, Team South Korea held a press conference and talked about their struggles, their improvements and how it felt being back at home.
How does it feel to make it to Blizzcon?
Pan Seung “Fate” Koo: I feel happy that we were able to win all 5 games without a lot of problems. I was a bit concerned at first, but I am glad that we were able to make it in the end.
Jae Hyeok “Carpe” Lee: We are happy to make it to Blizzcon. I believe that we can show more in quarterfinals.
Sung Hyeon “JJoNak” Bang: Honestly, I was a bit nervous up until yestrday because there was a chance that we might not make it but right now I am so relieved and happy that we played well.
Hae Seong “Libero” Kim: I feel happy that we made it, but I am overall happier that our teamwork improved these last few days. I have no doubt that we will do well at Blizzcon.
Tae Hong “Mek0” Kim: Just like what everyone said, I am happy that we made it to Blizzcon. We didn’t perform well on our first and second days, but I am so relieved that we played so well on our last day.
Yeon Joon “Ark” Hong: I am happy that as a Korean, playing in Korea, we made it to Blizzcon. We will show that our team improved at Blizzcon.
To Mek0: the team was a bit shaky in Day 1; however, the team was able to improve steadily and was dominant like you were in Overwatch League. What did you do different to be able to improve throughout the group stages?
Mek0: On our first day, our teamwork wasn’t great and there were some miscommunications, and personally, we weren’t going towards the right directions. However, our whole team played amazingly well today, and I was able to play well.
This meta favors teams with quick meta adjustments, how was the team able to build team coordination so quickly?
Ark: Since most of our team is from the same team (New York Excelsior) except Carpe and Fate, it was actually not that hard to build coordination.
You played against a lot of Contenders players. Which one was memorable?
Fate: I am not sure about Contenders from other regions. But, we scrimmed a lot with Korean Contenders teams. And out of all Korean Contenders team, I feel like the DPS players from Kongdoo Panthera is really good. I think the whole RunAway team is going to get picked up.
JJoNak: There’s only one player that I admit will make it to Overwatch League, and I have been saying this for a long time, but he wasn’t able to because of age; however, I think Fusion University’s Alarm is a really good player.
What was the hardest moment throughout the series?
JJoNak: The hardest moment was the last point on Nepal against Team Finland when we almost lost the game. Carpe said he will run to stall; but, I really thought that he couldn’t. But then, Carpe stalled and then Libero stalled and then I was able to survive because of Fate. From there, we were able to charge our ultimates and we were able to win from there. That was the hardest moment.
Fate: I thought the whole day 1 was hard for me. However, the match against Taipei was our first match, and it was a long time since I played in a big match. I knew the team was looking out for me with heals and Defense Matrix, but I felt so pressured and I overextended myself many times and died. I felt guilty throughout the games and even after games. I realize that I am representing Korea, playing in Korea and I can’t play like this anymore. I felt more pressured than when I was in Overwatch League. I decided to wake up and play well.
What are some of the differences between playing in Korea and in USA?
Libero: When we are playing in America, the audience don’t say “fighting” at the beginning of the match because it’s not in the culture. But, it’s in Korean culture and it definitely gives the players a lot of energy.
I want to ask a question to Ark: You do a lot of interviews with Western media. What do they want to know mostly about Korean teams?
Ark: I believe that they normally ask questions about individual players rather than the whole team itself. But, if they were to ask… hmm… I guess they ask a lot about how Korean teams’ practice, how the esports culture is like?
When you go to Blizzcon, there’s a chance that there will be lineup changes. How do you feel about that?
Ark: I feel a bit pressured and anxious because I have to compete against players that play the same heroes as me in the same team. That’s something that all players have to prepare for and have try really hard to make sure that we can be in the starting lineup.
In the Incheon group stages, the Korean teams have shown strength playing Wrecking ball and weakness with Rialto. How did these two factors influence your plays this week?
Fate: I think that all tanks have weaknesses. We knew that there will be a lot of GOATS composition and quad tanks compositions and we knew Wrecking ball was strong against it, so I practiced a lot after the showcase exhibition against RunAway and even ranked, so I believe that worked in our favor.
Carpe: We didn’t have a lot of experiences playing Rialto in Overwatch League, so it is not a map that we are familiar with and we showed weaknesses with it. As a DPS player, I don’t know the flank routes and timing. However, there is a bit of time until Blizzcon and we will have a lot of time to practice, so I believe we will be ready in the quarterfinals.
We have some time before Blizzcon. What is your schedule like before Blizzcon, will you have a lot of time to practice?
Ark: As far as we know, for now, this is it. As for the schedule, I believe that the Committee will give us enough time to practice before Blizzcon, but we don’t know anything yet.
Finland was a difficult team to play against. Do you have any other teams that you are nervous to face against?
Fate: I don’t think Finland was particularly hard. We just didn’t play very well. We will not have any problems beating them next time. Honestly, I am kind of scared of Team USA, I think we can handle their DPS, but they have a really strong tank line.
Who do you think was the MVP this group stage?
Ark points toward Mek0.
Mek0, JJoNak, Fate point towards Carpe.
Libero and Carpe point at JJoNak.
It seems like most people chose Carpe as the MVP this group stage. Is there a particularly good play that you remember?
Carpe: I remember when I was aggressively flanking as Widowmaker in Dorado against Team Russia. Also, I remember when they were focusing on me, but I was still able to eliminate the Lucio and Mercy.
How confident do you think you will do in Bilzzcon after playing the group stages?
Ark: We have a really strong lineup and I am really confident.
Libero: Our teamwork has been improving steadily and Blizzcon is so far away. I have no doubt that we will win.
What was the most enjoyable part of this weekend?
Fate: I was playing in America for about 7 to 8 months with non-Korean teammates. But, now that I am here, I can speak Korean, play with Koreans and joke around with Koreans and these are some little things I enjoyed while I was here.
For Ark, what happened to the uniform giveaway and donations?
Ark: For security reasons, I was not able to throw it to the audience. So, I’ll have to send it through mail. And, I am still planning of donating 1 million won (about $1,000 USD).
Any final words for Korean fans?
Ark: At first, I was kind of nervous about the Korean team, but I am glad we performed well. I would like to thank our fans for cheering for us until the end.
Mek0: It’s been a long time since I played in Korea, and I could feel the passion of our fans and that felt amazing. I was able to finish the group stages happily while hearing those cheers and I am thankful for that.