With a long season ahead of them, The Game Haus sat down with three of the Bay Area’s brightest – San Francisco Shock Head Coach Da-Hee “Crusty” Park, and two of his star DPS players, Jay “Sinatraa” Won, and Nam-Joo “Striker” Kwon. With an extensive roster of experienced talent, we had a lot of questions for how the Shock approached the off-season, and how they’re planning for OWL 2019. Enjoy!
So how did everyone’s off-seasons go?
Crusty: We needed to prepare for the Cali Cup, and we needed to revamp the roster to add some depth before we prepped for the season. With all that going on, I stayed pretty busy. After the GOATS meta came around, we struggled a bit in scrims – our comms structure needed to change, and our team cohesion needed to change. We often played very disparate styles, but that obviously doesn’t work in this meta. So we got a team house while we were prepping for the Cali Cup. We wanted to grow as a team – and a team house obviously helps a lot with that. Living together, eating together, giving feedback together… it was really important to me that we learned to live as a team this off-season.
Sinatraa: I wanted to take a break from Overwatch this off-season, so I wouldn’t burn out too hard. I went back home and hung out with friends every day, and with my family through the holidays. That really refreshed me, for sure.
What’d you get for Christmas? What do people even get you for Christmas at this point?
Sinatraa: Clothes, special ornaments to put on the tree… little things.
STRIKER, you had quite the off-season, obviously – how’s it been getting together with the Shock? Was it difficult?
Striker: It wasn’t that hard to adjust, really. All the players were welcoming, and the coaches helped with the process a lot. There weren’t any hardships, which was great!
We’ve talked about the $150k storyline for ages, Sinatraa. We’ve kinda reached critical mass at this point. What do you want to be known for this season, instead of that?
Sinatraa: I think I was pretty inexperienced last season – like a pug star, almost. This season, I’ve become way smarter. I want to be known for being a really good player – I don’t think anyone back then considered me a good player at all. Definitely more mediocre. This season, I want to be truly good.
When I interviewed you at the World Cup, you talked about increasing your vocalization and shot calling capability. Is that where you’ve grown the most? How have you improved?
Sinatraa: I’ve definitely become a better leader, I’d say, yeah. Crusty taught me a lot of things about the game, and how to play in general. I can communicate way more easily, and plan better for the team. That’s definitely a thing.
What’s it been like integrating Striker?
Sinatraa: I mean, it’s a shame he’s stuck on Brig. If he could play Tracer every game, we’d be owning. He’s been good, though. He brings a lot of ideas to the team – his opinion on strategies, feedback, things like that.
San Francisco are looking pretty scary, but they’re once again stacked to the gills with DPS players. How are you guys making this work?
Crusty: I know that other teams have the same problem you’ve described, in determining their starting roster – London is an example, for instance. For us, we’ve met with and assessed each player individually. I know that they’re all really great players, right? If they went to any other team, they could land a starting role. But these players want to be in the best team. That’s why they’ve stayed.
Some players we’re holding onto for another meta. Some players are preferred for certain strategies. There are twenty teams in OWL, and each has a different color. We plan to have a different color for every team. With this many players, we can change our color easily. Each can be a good weapon in their own time.
How long do you think this meta will last before we get a major shift? And who would you want to play once that shift happens?
Sinatraa: I think GOATS won’t last too long. One stage at most, then it’ll die and DPS will be everywhere. [My chosen hero] depends on what the meta really evolves into. I think if I could choose, I’d play Soldier. I’d normally say Tracer, but… [gestures to Striker] that’s never gonna happen now! [laughs]
And for you, Striker? If you could play any Hero for the rest of the season and still win…
Striker: It wouldn’t be Tracer, actually! It would be Widow!
So you might actually get a chance to play Tracer, Sinatraa! You never know…
Short of winning it all, what’s a goal you guys have for the team this season? At what point this season will you be content with the Shock’s performance?
Sinatraa: Aside from winning, I want other teams to be scared of the Shock this season. Everyone has a certain respect for New York, right? I want that for Shock.
Crusty: I want to make this team a team that the players will like being on.
Striker: Mine is kind of similar to Sinatraa’s. I want teams to respect us and to fear us.
If that starts happening, do we see some Shock trash talk?
Sinatraa: I can’t trash talk anymore, dude. I can’t do it!
Crusty: What do you mean? Just check his Twitter!
Is that because people on Twitter give you so much flak for trash talking?
Sinatraa: Exactly. I can’t do it anymore, I gotta stay down low. I will teabag, for sure. I’ll teabag everybody, because they all cry about it so much. You’ll see that for sure.
But Striker’s about to light it up too, right?
[Striker consults with the translator for some time, carefully determining his response.]
Striker: I’m not used to trash talking, really, but I’ll definitely follow Sinatraa’s lead this season. Let’s put it that way.
[Thanks to Striker, Sinatraa, and Crusty for sitting down with us! Good luck this season!]
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment