Harrison "Kruise" Pond broke into the Overwatch League for Season 2. The English Support has played the game at a competitive level since its inception, and he has put together an impressive rookie campaign as a member of the Paris Eternal. Kruise has shined in his role despite Paris Eternal's struggles and earned himself a spot on the Atlantic Division All-Star team as his team's sole representative.
Kruise joined Inven Global during the 2019 Overwatch League All-Star event to shed some light on Paris Eternal's struggles and share his perspective on what it means to be a professional.
I'm here with Kruise at 2019 Overwatch League All Stars. How are you doing and how have you been enjoying the event so far?
I'm doing well. I've been enjoying watching the Widowmaker 1v1s. It's very fun to see different players and how they match up.
I was rooting for my old teammate Kim "Shu" Jin-seo from Guanzhou Charge; he just lost to Seoul Dynasty's Kim "Fleta" Byung-sun. I'm not upset, but I was hoping he would do better you know? He had the lead early on, he just lost it.
Shu's a good Widowmaker and a good player, so I was hoping he would show up. The casters didn't seem to know about his Widowmaker background. He played it when we were on Toronto Esports together, and he always used to pop off. I was excited to see him do well.
The casters thought Shu's Ana experience might help, but they didn't mention his experience with Widowmaker.
When Toronto Esports would play Junkertown, we would put Shu on Widowmaker and he would destroy all of these other actual Widowmaker players consistently. He was really good at her back then.
It's definitely been an exciting time so far. As far as your selection, what does it mean to you to be on participating in the All-Star game and representing your team and division in your first Overwatch League season?
It's an honor to be selected. There are many people on my team, and only I got selected, so it's nice that I'm here. It's going to be a lot of fun because this is very different from normal Overwatch games. It's always nice to have a few changes, so it should be enjoyable.
All-Stars aside, how have you felt about your performance in the Overwatch League thus far?
Overall, I'm not too pleased with how our team is doing. At the very beginning of Stage 1, there was a lot of pressure on us. Coming into the season, everyone thought we were terrible, but then we showed we were actually good and beat London Spitfire. After that, people rated us very highly amongst the top teams like Vancouver Titans, even though it was very early on in the season.
I don't know where it went wrong. We started to lose ourselves in a way and began overthinking. We started doing things differently and weren't really on the same page, especially in this last stage. The team is divided in a way. It's not a personal division — no one hates each other or anything like that — but divided in a sense that people see the game differently. Because of this, they call the game differently, so we aren't a unit.
We're not thinking about the game the same way, so that's something I really hope that we're going to fix soon. I know we can fix it, it's just about sitting down and going hard in VoD review and discussing the game a lot. That's our biggest issue at the moment, and it's not good to be like that.
The best teams right now are like transformers; they all do the same thing and it's truly nice to see.
I'm not happy with our results right now, and I definitely believe we can do better. It makes me sad to see our results because I know we can are better than this, and I hope we can show that soon.
Did you feel that the initial win against Spitfire raised your expectations and put pressure on the team?
I can't speak for everyone, but I honestly don't mind pressure too much. I kind of like it because it gives you that extra gear...I can't explain it. It almost gives you fuel in a way because you feel like, "Okay. I HAVE to win this. There's all these expectations that we have to do this."
There's no one amongst our team thinking that we can't win, but I kind of feel that the acclaim surrounding our initial performance went to our heads a bit. We were doing well, and our scrim results were really good. Scrims are scrims, but still, we were doing really well on all fronts. I don't want to say we got complacent, but maybe we could have gone harder at some points to not slip. It's hard, but it's in the past now, so we're focusing on what's next and getting on the same page again.
It's a long season, so you guys have a lot of games to make up. Have your veteran OWL teammates in Terence "SoOn" Tarlier and George "ShaDowBurn" Gushcha been able to help the rookies on your team adjust to the schedule?
Honestly, I don't think so because I have never felt like the season is too long. I feel like everyone is just happy to be here and everyone has the same drive. They want to be a competitive player and play against the very best to become the best. You don't really think about those kinds of things or complain about that kind of stuff. You have to just be professional and stay focused on what you have to do day-by-day. You don't really think about how long the season actually is.
Something you said to me in Dallas about being professional stuck with me along the lines of not complaining about player burnout, extensive travel, and doing what's expected.
From your perspective, what makes a professional Overwatch League player?
I guess some people would have different definitions than me. My Strategic Coach Joni "Seita" Paavola is very big on professionalism. We always have to be early for scrims, and if we're not, he's a bit angry and will say things like, "C'mon guys, this is ridiculous. You've got to be professional and be early to scrims and set a standard."
I guess I kind of carry his view on professionalism forward: showing up every day with the attitude that you want to be here and not complaining about stuff that doesn't need to be complained about. Focus on what you have to do, and at the end of the day, you're here playing video games for a living. You're one of the select few who gets to do something that many people want to do, so you have to understand that and keep going and do what's required of you.
That's what I want to do, I don't want to look at things like the grass is always greener elsewhere. I don't want to give myself any reason to complain and just stick to what's required of me.
That's a great perspective to have for a professional player at the highest level. Thank you for talking with me, Kruise. Is there anything you want to say to your fans or the Paris Eternal fans?
Thank you so much for all the continued support, it really means a lot and I feel it. I said it before, but our results have been poor honestly and we are as upset as anyone about them. We are trying as hard as we can to fix our problems, and in Stage 3 we're going to harness that emotion and try super hard. We won't stop until we fix it. We really want to do you guys proud.