Hi everyone, since some people showed interest in getting a full translation of the FDGod interview by Zaroide after u/Triskan translated the final part of it, and since I showed no interest in maintaining my sleep schedule, I decided to go at it. It's full of interesting tidbits about the Shock and all their players.
All of Zaroide's questions are in italic. I also didn't translate the final part about the other teams, see the other thread by u/Triskan.
PSA: it's not a direct word-for-word translation but I think I translated every sentiment accurately. Also, obligatory 'not a native English speaker' disclaimer.
You’ve been with the Shock for roughly a month now, how’s your integration to the team going so far?
Everyone’s really nice, it’s going well.
There’s quite a lot of things changing for you this year: no more French players on the team, no one to confide in or to lean on, or to cook you food (in reference to Soon)
Actually there’s no need to cook anymore, the manager just orders food for lunch and dinner everyday, also we get varied meals.
Last year you were sharing an apartment with Soon, what’s your situation this year? Do you have your own place?
I’m living with Taiyo and Viol2t, I basically took Moth’s spot in the apartment but Viol2t actually took Moth’s former room. (They joke about that for a bit here as Moth’s room was the biggest, so Viol2t called dibs on it when Moth left, likely due to being on the team longer than Fdgod or Taiyo)
I’m actually really happy with my room, last year it was too big so it felt empty, I just had a bed, a desk and my PC. I like my new room more, it’s cozier.
Were you able to make it a bit more personal with some posters or photos, or the Rolestar support trophy?
No way, I’m too scared of breaking it. I just bought a bedside table and some stuff like that, also I have a view on the pool, so that’s pretty cool.
How come your bed is always so well-made?
I’ve always had this habit for years, it makes your room look tidy, so you can leave some stuff lying around without having it look like a mess.
Are you in San Francisco right now?
No, we’re in LA like last year, a lot of people think we’re in SF but most teams don’t necessarily live in their respective home cities.
I hear you’re living in a big building complex with all the players and staff scattered in different apartments?
Yeah, it’s a bit like last year with Paris, but last year it felt more like a hotel, now it’s more like actual apartments with some leisure facilities (swimming pool, gym, etc.). I’m not sure I’ll go to the gym for now as I’m more focused on the start of the season, I might go later in the season.
Are you practicing in the same building or somewhere else?
No, this year is actually 10 times better than with Paris, we’re practicing in the NRG Castle, there’s like 3 or 4 rooms with gaming PCs. It’s a 10 minute ride from the apartments. Last year we practiced in the same building so we were locked in our rooms due to COVID and then we just had a walk down the hall to get to work, we never went out. Now I really get the feeling that I’m going to work, there’s a nice separation.
Last year the Eternal already put in the means (financially and structurally) to help the players. This year, with the Shock, do you feel like it’s another step above in terms of what the team does for the players?
Yeah, the practice room is actually custom-made for the team, it’s bigger and cosy. Last year was basically in a living room, so it wasn’t ideal. Here there’s quite a lot of space and the rooms are made with a purpose: there’s a coaching room with sofas and a big screen for Crusty to coach us. Last year we also had a big screen but we had to sit on the floor. Even with jerseys, I already received mine, actually I received five of them (2 home, 2 away, and 1 long-sleeve jersey).
Did you also get some sneakers or was that a privilege reserved to the two-timers?
Nah, I’m not a champion yet! It actually motivated me to win when I saw what they got, the suitcase is really expensive, very sturdy and custom-made, so I’m thinking, if that’s what they got this year, what will we get next year (laughs) (Ensuing jokes about wallriding with one of the suitcases and getting a custom one for that purpose when he wins next year)
Did they put anything special in place to facilitate or accelerate your integration to the team? Did they give you a tour, any specific player who showed you how things worked or that you can call anytime if you have a question?
Honestly I can probably call anybody. The manager, Raccoon (I think that’s his nickname), he’s pretty much this team’s Avalla. He made me a tour of the premises and the apartment. I got here about a week before most of the team, the same time as super. My integration is going great, especially with Taiyo as I knew him a bit from before already, we’re pretty close and we live together. We actually met in ranked and started chatting a bit.
I’m feeling as well-integrated to the team right now as I was to the Paris team at the end of last year. We got along well with the Korean guys, but we weren’t best buddies or anything, whereas on Shock everyone is really open and accessible. You can feel that these guys have been together for a long time. Choi actually makes me think of Hanbin, he’s got the same voice and looks a bit like him. I feel like Choi is Hanbin in like 5 years, more confident and evolved, he has a better English as he’s been with Shock a long time, so he’s also more accessible. Last year we had a lot of rookies so it was more difficult.
Everyone is mixed together, there’s no French or Korean ‘clans’, we all speak with each other without barriers. It reminds me of my Contenders experience where in every team everyone speaks English and we chill together, so that’s nice.
You said super was the only other player there when you arrived, how did it go with him?
I actually didn’t see him during that first week, I wanted to wait for the others to get here, and since we hadn’t started scrimming I thought that we’d just meet then.
How about your first meeting with the legendary Crusty?
Crusty already coached me a few months back when I joined Shock, and I was under the impression that he was quite stern and strict. But when I first saw him in real life he seemed really nice, and he’s actually way more chill than NineK when coaching. NineK used to get angry sometimes and he was quite stressed about making good progress, whereas Crusty is way more laid-back with everyone and very rarely gets angry, he makes jokes during VOD reviews, but he knows when to assert himself. There’s a good feel to the team.
Do you feel like you learn quicker that way?
Yeah, NineK used to get angry a lot at the start, he became more chill after. I don’t like when a coach gets angry at me, it doesn’t make me progress as a player, so a chill coach to whom you can speak freely is really enjoyable.
Is your relationship with him only professional?
I think we’re also friends, everybody in the team is friends with each other, we went to the pool and had a barbecue the other day, it was cool. Crusty is very close to his players.
Last year, all the French players on Eternal said they really understood the way Overwatch works and how it’s supposed to be played, do you feel that there’s another step to that with Crusty compared to Rush and Ninek?
I really do, we had a lot of European influences in our playstyle on Paris, like not hesitating to take a fight and set its tempo, just like during World Cup, but this year on the Shock you feel that the team is well-oiled and has its own settled playstyle to which I have to adapt. I discovered other ways of playing the game, just taking a fight and not being scared won’t work against more disciplined teams. There’s a whole, more thought-out approach to the game that I didn’t have on Paris. There were times where I wasn’t really focused on my job in a specific situation, now everyone knows what they need to do and trust each other, no matter what playstyle we’re going for or what rhythm a team fight might have.
You might see me have a more passive gameplay than last year, I’m still going to do my reddit thing but way more disciplined, I’m gonna die less. Now I’m playing for an overall plan that the team has, there’s a job I have to fulfill for any given comp, I’m more thinking about the collective good than about my own plays.
What’s your work rhythm like?
We have 2 scrims a day, with only one day off as we also work on Saturdays. A lot more VOD reviews and coaching sessions than we used to get with Paris (1h, 1h30max /day). We have 40mn of VOD reviews before scrimming, during the break we have 1h of VOD reviewing, and then another 20mn at the end. We work more, but it’s nice, I like it. We try to replay every small mistake we have and fix mistakes one by one to play perfectly in scrims. Even if we destroyed the other team in scrims, we’ll look at why we lost a fight or try to find any inconsistencies. I don’t mind it at all. Everyone voices their opinion, we discuss a lot, it’s not really the coaches saying ‘do this because I told you so’, it’s very open.
Are there any players with a certain status which end up taking up a lot of space in discussions? Who are the brains of the team?
When we’re in-game, super talks quite a bit but everyone shares info and comms, it’s not like in Paris when me and Ben used to do 80% of the comms. During VOD reviewing sessions, Viol2t and Striker always voice their opinions, sometimes they discuss for like 10mn in Korean and in the end we sort it out, they don’t hesitate to contest if they disagree and give their points of view. Everyone talks during the sessions, but especially them. I don’t have problems either when it comes to say what I think, I’m comfortable around the team now.
Do you remember your first training with Shock?
I was stressed and excited, but mostly frustrated as I was playing on KR servers with 320 ping, so I felt very restricted, especially with my usual risky playstyle. I was holding back, which meant I couldn’t play the way I wanted. It’s much better now but I’m still a bit stressed out, I want to prove my worth, it’s been that way since I was in Contenders when everyone said I was a just a ladder Lucio OTP, then for the World Cup and when I joined Paris people said I didn’t have enough experience. Now I’m replacing Moth on the Shock which has already won the last two seasons, so I sometimes feel like I’m not good enough for the team even if I know it’s not true. I talked to Casores about it, as he’s the only other European on the team so we have some stuff in common. He’s been good at reassuring me about this stuff, for now he’s the person I talk to the most.
I don’t think that this feeling will leave anyway, maybe if I win the league this year, but it’s a mindset like any other. Some will say they’re the best and do everything they can to prove it. I’m trying not to disappoint, that’s how I’ve always been. With every new step I feel like I have to prove I belong, now it’s kinda the last step so I’m gonna give it my all to win this season. I’ve also admired Moth for years and now I’m replacing him, so there’s a lot of pressure.
How was your first scrim in LA with the team?
I was more relaxed, I knew the players and I could just play my game without any ping issues. I felt ridiculous when I played on ping, even if it wasn’t my fault and the players knew that. So I felt really excited to show my real level to the team, and I feel that scrims really only started when we all got together. We’re getting better every day.
Also, when I played on KR servers, I had to play at crazy hours. Our scrims were from 5am to 7am for me, so I had to wake up around 4:30 to play. I usually went to bed around 9:30pm. It’s really hard to play that early in the morning.
Compared to last year on Paris, how’s the work rhythm/intensity?
Scrims are definitely a step above, we’re getting in condition for the season, everyone is a bit stressed because they want to win.
You were saying how much you had to change your playstyle, from risky to team-oriented. Do you think that’s the aspect you progressed on the most since you joined Shock?
Yeah, it’s the first time coaches really apply discipline to my playstyle, I’m trying to get max value out of my aggressive plays or my peels. I need to die less, be at the right place at the right time, I have the mechanics now but at the start I had to force myself to rein it in. When it started to click, these mechanics integrated to my gameplay so I’m getting more value than I used to. It feels great, and I think I’ve done a good part of the work in the past month.
Never felt as strong as you are now?
It’s difficult to say, last year our team play was very aggressive so I felt super strong, now I have to get used to this different playstyle but I feel I’m starting to fit the mold more and more, and I prefer my new gameplay, I used to play based on my instincts, now I’m playing in a more cerebral way, I feel more complete as a player.
Now that you’re inside the Shock structure, do you understand how they keep winning so much?
Everyone really wants to win, they want to prove they’re the best. When we scrim, if we lose a map on mirror comps everyone is pissed off. It’s an ego thing, it pushes the team, they’re in the mindset of winning every scrim so that they’re conditioned for winning in actual matches. If you don’t take scrims seriously because it’s a training, you can have some issues when it comes to real matches. We want to win whenever we start the game.
A few words on each teammate:
Taiyo: I really like him, in-game he’ll make crazy moves that no one else would, so it works often. He’s got a very unique playstyle, sometimes he’ll flank on Mccree to stun right-click a Bap. He might not be the best mechanically but he’s not scared of making big plays. He’s also super funny. (Apparently he reduced the size of his crosshair)
Viol2t: best player in the world by far, crazy strong on Bap and on every other pick. Very smart, doesn’t talk a lot in-game but when he sees something he doesn’t like he’ll bring it up in VOD reviews and say what he thinks they should have done. Has a big ego but it’s justified given he’s always right. Also very flexible, when they put him in on other roles on some maps it actually works. Also very fun guy, in-game he wants to win but outside he’s goofy and reminds me of Sp9rk1e.
Twilight: didn’t speak too much with him, he’s reserved and doesn’t talk a lot overall, in-game he comms pretty well but I didn’t play with him too much. When he plays he’s usually paired with Viol2t.
Choi: evolved Hanbin, really funny and speaks very good English, Hanbin’s Sigma is a bit better because the guy is just freaky at it (FD jokes that he’s an OTP) but Choi is more flexible and crazy good on all heroes, even Zarya.
Super: doesn’t goof off in scrims like on his streams, he tries hard and really wants to win. He’s pissed when he loses a scrim or a matchup and will use that to motivate himself and the team. He doesn’t necessarily take the lead for everyone in-game, he lets others talk (contrary to popular belief)
Smurf: didn’t play a lot with him, like Twilight, but he’s extremely nice and friendly and very close to super, they’re best friends. When paired with Choi they’ll talk a lot and lead the team, everyone follows what they say.
Glister: really cute, he’s like the good student doing his work quietly, he’s got a lot to prove like me, so he does his best to be worthy of the team. He’s a bit shy but motivated to help the team, after each scrim he’ll often stay longer than the other to watch his VODs and improve.
Striker: really fun guy, struggles a bit in English, reminds me a bit of Sp9rkle too, like most of the team actually. He screams and laughs a lot, he’ll give his opinions a lot during VOD reviews, doesn’t talk a lot in-game. A bit like Viol2t but funnier.
Nero: nice and accessible guy, pretty much chilling on his own most of the time and doing his thing.
Are there any organized events outside of the game with the team?
The pool and barbecue event was a bit exceptional, as otherwise the team will often refuse to sacrifice scrim blocks to do other things as everyone wants to win and is tryharding.
Is the situation in LA livable with COVID?
I’m not vaccinated, there’s no lockdown, you just gotta be careful and put on your mask but life goes on here. The situation in LA is also better than in New York, for example.
Poko and Soon had visa issues, Poko is still not in Korea, how come you had no similar issues?
They first got their visas during the 1st season of OWL, but it expires every 3 or 4 years. You have to go through the whole process again when that happens, which is much harder compared to my situation, where my visa is still valid and I just have to fill out some papers. Especially with COVID, the full process usually requires to have in-person interviews in the country of destination, so that’s pretty complicated right now.
It’s your second year in OWL, was it harder or easier this time to leave your family and friends in France?
A bit harder, as last year there was the euphoria to join OWL for the first time, play on stage, all of that. Now that the novelty effect has worn off a bit I’m more aware of my family, and I have my girlfriend too. We manage to find some time to talk, but there’s even more time difference now that I’m in LA and not in NY. However we knew how to expect this time around so it’s going pretty well still.
Is this the highest step you’ve taken in your career in terms of pressure and challenges?
Yes, this year is the most important of my life, it’s like the last step, I have to lead the team to victory. Last year it was excusable to not win it all with Paris, but now with Shock who won 2 times already, there’s a lot of pressure, it’s a big challenge for me.
The season starts in 10 days, with a big match against the Gladiators, is it good to start off on such a heated match?
Yeah, it gets you right back into the swing of things, plus there’s some rivalry as a lot of people place us at a similar level, and Moth is on Glads. So it’s gonna be a decisive match to show we’re still at the very top. It’s gonna be a spicy one.
How is it going for you in scrims?
We’re perfecting our last strats, fixing small mistakes here and there but we’re ready to do what we need to do in-game, and we’re practicing on a few adjustments to see if they’re better. It’s the final stretch before the season starts.
(Re-link to the other thread for the final questions here in case you missed it)
- Zaroide is having very soon an English interview with NineK the new Philly Fusion HC! (& I’m doing a recap from what Benbest said on yesterday’s stream)
- Roster Overview and Discussion: San Fransisco Shock
- Translation of Alarm’s interview on RyuJehong’s Nano series
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