Out of two Russian Overwatch League players, only one reached the final. Cybersport.ru sat down with George "ShaDowBurn" Gushcha before the grand final in New York where his Philadelphia Fusion eventually placed second.
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How did your esports career start? Did you decide to give up everything else and commit to it?
It happened roughly after the OW private beta. There were offers from good teams already, and I had good results with other teams.
You spent a year with FaZe before the OWL. Does it feel like a lot of things have changed?
The differences were significant: in terms of schedule, the way matches were held, opportunities, and team growth. [Currently], we have 12 players on the team and it feels absolutely different compared to an ordinary esports team.
Do Blizzard or teams’ management give you any brief instructions on how to act with media? What to say and not to say?
Not really. We have to ask the organization if we can give certain interviews. And they can also tell us that it’d be better to skip some questions.
Since the first season is over already, experience is going to mean a lot now.
What’s the difference between the schedule of a starter and a substitute?
There is no difference at all. We play with each other and have exactly the same timetable. If we watch VODs or analyze maps, we do it all together as 12 people.
Do you have any norms for practice?
We don’t have strict norms. Loosely speaking, it’s four hours of practice [a day] with the team plus watching VODs and analyzing maps.
Shanghai Dragons’ coach said that they practiced a lot, but it didn’t seem to help. What happened to them? There are barely any teams like that even in traditional sports.
In fact, they got unlucky. They had the best players under 18, but they couldn’t participate in the OWL. They had some progress by the end of the season. Some players started performing well.
Cypher said that in his opinion, the selection for the OWL was weird and a lot of worthy players were left behind. Do you think so too?
Yes, for instance, uNFixed stayed top 2 for quite a while, but he didn’t even have tryouts in any team, as far as I know.
Who else from the CIS stands out in your opinion? Who deserves to participate in the second season?
Since the first season is over already, experience is going to mean a lot now. For example, CIS Hope give a good account of themselves.
What is this story about your dance?
It all started at ELEAGUE. Players were asked to show something funny or unusual in front of the camera. Some people didn’t know what to do, so they were asked to do something weird. Some got lucky, some didn’t. And I asked to show something of my own and performed this dance. Both players and fans liked it, so I showed it in the first season of Contenders. I got asked to do it again. That’s how it all started.
How to carry as Pharah?
Most importantly, look out for the enemy’s hitscan and position yourself correctly, occupy the high ground.
You are considered one of the best Genji players. Tell us about him too.
I’m going to give some general advice that helps to understand the game.
First of all, one has to work on their mechanics. If you don’t play well enough mechanically, it’s going to affect your level. Try to understand the composition of your opponents and look after your own team. You have to know when your team’s and enemies’ ultimates are up. You can plan a fight based on this information: what your teammates can do, how you can help them achieve it, and what your opponents have.
Some people get so surprised when a pro Genji deflects a Zarya’s graviton. Because they time enemies’ ultimates well, so they know when she is going to have graviton up and use it. For instance, once opponents had Zarya, I asked the team to group in one place to let her think she had a chance to land it on six players. When she did it, I left Reinhardt’s shield and deflected it.
Here is another example: at some point, there was a meta where people would mostly pick tanks, so everybody got surprised when we played around Genji at MLG. Even D.Va was played differently in the old meta, and, thanks to deflect, Genji could almost do the same things as she and even more. We also had Ana with nano blade.
Do you prefer Genji and Pharah because you have to shoot preventively?
It’s true. I played a lot of duels in TF2 and practised shooting preventively. When I joined OW, I didn’t have to learn to shoot as Pharah or Genji — it was only about ultimates and positioning for me.
Mark out the most interesting OWL players by roles.
The most interesting DPS is Carpe. He plays very aggressively, knows when to show this aggression, and doesn’t screw his team over — and they may die if he doesn’t go aggressive timely.
Out of the tanks, it’s SADO. There are two types of tanks. The first type think a lot about what to do in certain situations. The others can simply feel that they should jump and help their team kill someone. SADO thinks less and does more. He knows all of these situations — he’s got through all of them in his head. He’s probably the best tank, who gives his team a lot of kills and doesn’t die that often himself.
Playing like [JJonak] does is almost impossible.
As for supports, JJoNak from New York Excelsior is the best support in the league. You can’t deny it. But playing like he does is almost impossible: the entire team build a match around him and play passively themselves. So he gets an opportunity to fulfil his potential. If you don’t build a team this way, it’s going to be a disadvantage. You will die often, screw over your teammates, and waste ultimates. NYXL are interesting in terms of teamplay. They never take a risk.
Another support to mention is neptuNo. Many people know that he often gets kills as Mercy. Of course, sometimes he makes mistakes, and he shouldn’t take a pistol. However, it’s noticeable that he feels the situation when he can do more than usual. It’s important to bear in mind that it’s not just a situation when you take a pistol at a lower level and kill someone. It works differently. First, you have to play properly, more passively, master your hero, and then try to do more.
Who would you call the MVP of the event? JJoNak?
I’d choose Carpe. It’s hard to say because you don’t always know what a person acts like in the team. We had some difficulties, and we overcame them. We missed preseason, which affected our practice, so the first stage didn’t go very well. I’d say we relied on clutches. If it wasn’t for Carpe, we’d surely have failed. He made deciding picks many times and carried in problematic situations. It’s the most important thing for a player.
How is the communication between the European and Korean players organized?
Our Korean players had an English teacher who worked with them for half a year. All calls are simple communication-wise. They are easy to learn — that was what they mainly studied. By the fourth stage, when Carpe played with SADO, the communication was good.
If it wasn’t for Carpe, we’d surely have failed [the first stage].
Have you ever thought of why Koreans carry so much in OW? Is it about their mindset?
I wouldn’t say it’s about mindset. It’s more about the way their scene is organized. It was really bad in Europe for a long time. The best Europeans left for American organizations. At the time, they had their own scene in Korea with a lot more teams, more tournaments, and with coaches. It affected the overall [region] development. It seems to me that having a lot of Koreans in one roster isn’t good though. They don’t play with each other the way they do when they’re with Europeans and Americans.
I don’t know, but Koreans themselves mentioned it. Americans and Europeans have a great influence on Koreans in a roster. Maybe the latter feel more free around them.
It seemed to me that London Spitfire chose an easy way, having built Korean rosters.
They built the best rosters in the world, not just in Korea.
If you have to play in the final, what hero will you pick?
It’s mostly Hanzo in this meta. Then Genji, Pharah, Brigitte, and Zarya and D.Va at certain stages.
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Philadelphia Fusion not only recovered from a shaky stage 1, but ended up beating OWL's most successful team, NYXL, in the semifinals of the league to play London Spitfire for the gold. Despite ending second, Philadelphia are in prime position for a strong season 2.
original article by: Stanislav Lomakin