The Hangzhou Spark hold the key to a budding legacy in their hands. Their core was formed from X6 Gaming – Contenders champions from the most competitive region in the world. While their history is not as storied as the likes of LW Blue, Lunatic Hai, KongDoo Panthera or RunAway, this roster has the chance to once again prove that Korean Overwatch remains a dominant force on the world stage.
One of the most important pieces to that puzzle is Song-Wook “Ria” Park. Ria joined X6 in March of 2018, and helped steer his team to the aforementioned championship over O2 Ardeont – a prototype Toronto Defiant roster, it turns out. The Spark have struggled to replicate their winning ways as often in the Overwatch League, but it hasn’t been for lack of trying, especially on Ria’s part. His D.Va play has been some of the flashiest in the League, and that piqued our interest. We sat down with the Spark’s star off-tank to get a feel for his experience in OWL, and his plans for the future.
You’ve had a little time to get used to being in America, and the Overwatch League itself. What is your favorite thing to do here outside of playing Overwatch?
My favorite thing to do is to just be here! If there was no Overwatch League, I would have never come here in the first place. I would never have gotten the chance to see other cities and travel the world like I am now. Being outside of South Korea gives you such a different view of the world.
Is there anywhere specific you want to go, now that you’re living here in the States?
The two places I want to go to most right now are the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. During our last break we visited Las Vegas really briefly, so I think during this stage break I might try and go again.
What goes into the team’s preparation for a game against a difficult opponent? What does the team focus on most when they know they’ll be up against stiff competition?
The most important thing is mental control. Every day, we practice and practice and practice – we usually have three scrim blocks a day – so the most important thing is to stay in control and let your training do the work for you.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I do my best to pre-watch the match in my head. I think about the strategies we have planned and how we want them to pan out when we start playing, and I think about what can go wrong, and how to fix it. I go map by map and just try to think of where I’m going to be, and what I’m going to do to help my team win.
A lot of your former teammates from X6 Gaming have joined you in Hangzhou, or elsewhere in the Overwatch League. Is there anything you miss about your time with that roster, or from living in Korea in general?
I definitely miss the feeling I got in our finals match in Contenders Season 1 last year [vs O2 Ardeont]. Winning that championship was an amazing experience that I want to feel again.
What are some fun facts about yourself that you want people to know?
I’m really good at soccer! When I was young, I played soccer a lot. I spent way more time playing that than gaming, and I was on my way to being really good at it. Now, though, there’s not much time to go out and play.
Have you been watching any shows or movies lately? What are some of your favorites?
I recently started watching The Walking Dead… there are a lot of seasons to binge through, so I’m working on that right now!
Ah… Mine is a bit obscure. It’s a traditional Korean dish that my mom would always make at home… I don’t know its name. It’s a really spicy steamed chicken, and it’s delicious.
Finally – any messages you want to send to friends, family, or fans?
I just want to say – to everyone watching me – that I know I’m not good enough right now, but I will be soon. It’s a long season, and I’m going to practice and do my best to give you the wins you deserve. Thank you!
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment