At the end of week 1 we spoke to one of New York Excelsior’s Supports, Hong ArK Yeon-joon, who previously played for Luxury Watch Red. The main-support player gave his interview in english. At that point NYE won 3-1 against Boston and 3-1 against Houston, the interview was conducted directly after their Houston match on January, 13th.
Barroi: Starting off, how is Overwatch League?
ArK: It is great, because we can end this week with two victories.
Why do you think are you specifically in OWL, what are your strengths?
ArK: I think shot-calling maybe. Yeah, that’s definitely what I am best at and lately my mechanics are also getting a bit better.
If you had to describe yourself, are you more of an aggressive or a passive player, how do you see yourself?
ArK: I think I am rather passive. I tend to play to counter the enemies, I don’t like to dive head-first into the action. Yeah, overall I think I’m more passive than aggressive.
So far every team the Korean teams have won every match in OWL, do you think that Koreans are just better players?
ArK: There are so many players that are from outside of Korea that are great. But there are also many Koreans players that are great and there are indeed a lot of them, that’s why they are here. But I think in general all the players from Europe and America are equally good.
Some teams didn’t make any player switches during the match, your team does regularly swap players in and out though, especially Pine. Do you think it is simply easier to play with the same 6 or is there an advantage of swapping players?
ArK: In my opinion, there is definitely an advantage of regular swaps. Overwatch League is much longer than any other tournaments or leagues before, so there are some potential problems with your health. Additionally, you have access to more strategies by bringing different players in.
In both week 1 matches you swapped in Pine during Control, is there a specific reason for that?
ArK: He is kind of a joker, so we don’t want to show him too much. That’s probably the main reason he only plays one map each game.
If you play Seoul or London will Pine see more playtime?
ArK: Ahh, maybe, maybe not. (laughs)
You lost two maps in the opening week, but other than on those maps you looked extremely confident, very good actually. What’s the reason for those losses?
ArK: I think there was a mistake on Junkertown [against Houston], actually. We attempted to do something, but it failed and we just got rolled over. And for Horizon [against Boston], we lost it, because I think our strategy wasn’t that great. So we are trying to change that in the future.
Are you creating a lot of the strategies or is that more of a coaches thing?
ArK: We all create them together.
And in-game, are you the one who mainly shot-calls, mainly talks?
ArK: I am the main shot-caller, but everyone tends to have some input. I usually am responsible for things like checking the enemy ultimates and how we should use our ultimates for the next fight. Also things like “our positioning is really bad right now, so we should move here” or “X you are really far forward, you should come back” stuff like that.
In the west people recently got this mentality of DPS players being not that impactful compared to Tanks/Supports. Do you agree with that?
ArK: All the positions are really important right now. Because like, usually your Tanks are trying to create space, so that your DPS can move into positions where they can “do their work” so to speak. Same for supports, everybody has a specific job to do basically.
In New York, what do you try to focus on more: Being a cohesive unit or are you rather trying to set up a specific player, like Pine, to make individual plays?
ArK: I try to change our approach to the game all the time. Because sometimes Pine can be really bad. So first of all we try to get our coordination right and if someone is really popping off and only then we allocate a lot of resources to him, so he can do his job.
Ok let’s go a bit deeper: If you are about to start a teamfight, one person dies out of position and you have the possibility to back off, how do you coordinate a successful retreat?
ArK: Oh, all the teammates normally know when it is time to back off.
Did you ever think about switching roles, playing Flex-Support or even DPS?
ArK: I never really considered that, because I’m a really bad DPS. Maybe Tanks if I really get into it, but I played Support for one and a half years, so I never really think about changing that. I don’t think I’m good at any other role.
Featured Image Credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment