Team China GM TuTu: 64 Little Things about OWWC 2018
I wanted to write down some little things that happened during the World Cup. I hope everyone can share my fond memories of OWWC 2018.
1. Leave tried to speak English with the airport customs guy. The guy probably thought Leave’s English was terrible, so he quickly began to speak Chinese.
2. We had in-flight wi-fi, which cost $7 per hour or $21 for the entire duration of the flight. Krystal paid $21 as soon as he came onboard, but he fell asleep in less than an hour and slept all the way to Los Angeles. Shy bought wi-fi when there were 4 hours left, and he forced himself to stay awake so he could make the most use of it.
6. Guxue lost $700 the day after we arrived. He searched the entire hotel room for a long timem, and we were all worried that he would be tilted before playing on stage. Xiaogui and I even decided that if he couldn’t get his money back, each of us would give him $350 to calm him down.
Luckily (and unluckily), Guxue found the money but lost his phone in the meantime… so Xiaogui told him to go to the training room while Xiaogui himself would continue to look for Guxue’s phone. Finally, Xiaogui found his phone and ¥400 in the bed interlayer.
7. During his pre-training warmup, Krystal found out that the left button of his SteelSeries Kinzu V3 was broken. He had a spare mouse but it was not comfortable to use. SteelSeries Kinzu V3 is an old mouse that’s hard to buy now.
I initially tried to ask for help from a fan who bought Sky a mousepad in LA downtown, but there was no SteelSeries store in LA.
In the end, a fan bought a new Kinzu from a second-hand online store. He drove to the seller’s home to pick it up and then drove back to Anaheim to give it to Krystal. It was a 3-hour drive so we sincerely thanked him for it.
8. Guxue’s mouse was also broken, though luckily Shy brought an extra one for him. I think it’s because he put his mouse and keyboard into a checked baggage.
11. On the first day, Leave’s nose started bleeding during training. It was bleeding so hard we were super scared. We asked him what happened and he said he was picking his nose.
12. None of us fully adjusted to the jetlag. We woke up at 5-6am in the morning everyday, and got really sleepy in the afternoon.
13. During pre-match interview, Reinforce asked Leave what it felt like to return to Overwatch. Leave replied that some players have gotten so much better.
15. Yveltal and Sky said that Leave never talked in scrims but when it came to actual matches, he started to chatter and shot-call a lot.
16. Team China players began to play games at an average age of 4.
18. Leave wanted to buy the PC and the monitor in the Blizzcon training facilities, but he had no American dollars.
19. Krystal told me his Pharah is not strong because he’s not good at controlling the map on Pharah. Jiuduo, who is a close friend of Krystal and never misses any of his games, joked that: “why do you always play useless heroes (like Brigitte and Sombra)?”
And Krystal replied: “because I’m a support DPS.”
Back when Krystal was on T1W, he was undoubtedly the core DPS player. But he changed his playstyle and practiced new heroes for Team China.
21. Team China players didn’t get used to the food at Blizzcon. Two fans bought us food from outside restaurants on two match days. We were really grateful.
22. During interview, we were asked “what are the strengths of Team China?” RUI said: “we are young. We have the youngest players among all teams, and our reaction time is faster by a few tenths of a second. This is really crucial.”
Yes, you are so young. You have bright futures.
23. Guxue was ranked no.5 in final blows per 10 minutes. He was the only main tank player to appear on the leaderboard.
24. Leave said that now that first-person VODs are available, his fans are going to make funny GIFs of moments when he used his ult but got nobody.
25. After the first match day, Yveltal opened his first-person VOD as soon as he return to the backstage told everyone to gather around and watch his clutch plays together.
27. We ran into LiNkzr and Stephanie after our match against Finland. She hugged me and we said it was a great match.
28. When we knew we would play against Team Canada the next day, RUI stayed up all night to review all the VODs of Team Canada.
29. Chinese fans organized watch parties in more than thirty cities. I was worried that if we don’t do well, we will disappoint those fans who stayed up late to cheer for us, and those organizers who put in so much effort into organizing the watch parties. Luckily we did well.
When we arrived back in China, some fans organized a welcome-back event at the airport, and many fans travelled a long way to Pudong Airport just to support us. We are really grateful thankful to all of them.
30. The last page in this year’s Blizzcon Book is a picture of Leave’s first-person POV from OWWC 2017. I showed it to him, and he smiled and said: I’ve made my name, haven’t I?
31. After the Thailand group stage was over, a journalist wrote an article about us and it got published on the next day. This article helped us pass our visa interviews.
32. Blizzard China and Zhanqi.tv provided us with computers and housing for our bootcamp. Zhanqi.tv even advertised us on a big screen at the airport. Thank you everyone!
35. Guxue ate instant noodles that he bought from a convenience at the hotel, and he said he really enjoyed them.
36. Before our first game against Team Finland, Leave asked me to get him coffee and said: “we promise you a victory today.” Then we 3-0’ed Team Finland.
On the next day, I bought him coffee and asked him to say “I promise you a win”, and we 3-0’d again.
But we didn’t do this before the final. Ah, my weird superstitions.
38. When RUI and I were watching the matches in the backstage, he kept complaining: “why don’t you guys run DVA/Winston?” “I told you guys to go to the room with the 250 health pack, why are you doing it wrong?” “Why have you waited so long to change heroes?”
But when we won our first team fight against Team Finland, he yelled: “Nice!”
40. On the second match day, the backstage makeup artist spent a long time making Leave’s hair. We thought it looked really nice at first until someone compared it with Jehong’s hair…
42. Shy sat with us on the backstage watching every player’s first-person POV. He commented that Bani charges his ult very quickly, and then added “when I play Zen I always get four golds.”
43. Lateyoung spoke too much and lost his voice. A fan bought us some cough drops, and we were really grateful.
44. Before our match against Team Canada, I told our players that the crowd might be supporting Canada because Team USA had already lost. I also reminded them to keep calm because the cheering for Team Canada could get really loud, and that Chinese fans will try their best to cheer for them.
47. Before the match, Coach Rui told Yveltal and Leave not to eat too much so they can perform well on stage. He only permitted Leave to eat one piece of meat.
49. A player said hi to Krystal but Krystal didn’t respond. I asked him why and he said umm I did smile at him.
53. After our match against Finland, a fan offered to treat us dinner. He asked me to take a photo of the bill and he will transfer the money to me. Thank you!
54. On the first match day, OGE got in touch with me and said he’s been following Lateyoung’s matches and really wanted to meet Lateyoung. When I told Lateyoung about it, he felt very nervous about their first meet-up: "OGE was my first friend on the NA server but we never met each other IRL. What should I say when I see him?"
And I said: "Hey, it's not a date."
On the last day, they gave each other a big hug and chatted freely, as if they’ve known each other for a long time.
55. Before the BO7 final, Shy said: “I played a lot of BO7 finals. Got a lot of runner-ups, too. "
56. After the final, at dusk in Anaheim, Krystal stared at the crimson clouds and said: "we lost to Korea again."
57. We played many scrims with Team South Korea when we were in Shanghai because we were in different brackets. Even after we arrived at the US, we still scrimmed with them.
So I could say South Korea knew us really well.
58. Before Shy went on the stage to play the last map against Team South Korea, he said firmly: “I’m gonna play widow, I’m confident to go up against Carpe, I’m gonna go sniper.”
And he did pop off on Widowmaker.
59. After the finals, fans waited for a few hours at the gate to take pictures with us and get player autographs. At the end, when we said goodbye to them, a fan yelled “Team China!” And everyone instinctively and simultaneously yelled “Awesome!”
We said goodbye to them, amid the chants of “Team China Awesome”. Thanks to all the fans for their support.
60. Except for the hotel, training room and the stage, the players of Team China have not had a chance to go anywhere else.
Even though Blizzcon Arena was next to our training room, they never went to any booths except for the bathroom. They spent all their time on training, meetings, and playing on stage.
Even at the very end, they got no merch, because there was no time and merch got sold out. Guxue is a huge fan of Blizzard. He brought US dollars just to buy his favorite merch, but he couldn’t do it because he had no time.
Guxue is a huge fan of Blizzard. He went out of his way to exchange dollars for purchasing his favorite merchs but he didn't make it since he had no time. Leave wanted to get a new phone, but had no time for it.
A few players really wanted to visit the Universal Studios. But I couldn’t take them because of our flight.
I feel really, really sorry.
They achieved outstanding results this year, and fought so many amazing battles. They put in so much time and effort into preparing for Blizzcon, but they couldn’t get a chance to visit anywhere in the US.
After we go back to Shanghai, Xiaogui and I will take them to Disneyland or anywhere they want to go. Blizzard staff are also working on helping them to get their favorite merch.
You guys played so many incredible matches for us. We want to do something for you, too.
61. I cry a lot. Sometimes I get too emotional.
I cried twice in this year’s World Cup.
The first time was when I was watching the award ceremony. A fan came up to me and said you guys did great this year, no need to be said. Then my tears started raining down. I kept telling that fan: I’m OK, I just feel sorry for the guys on stage.
The second time was when Nate and Youyou visited us in the backstage. Youyou hugged me and said: “I know you guys have been through so much.” Then I started crying again. It was so embarrassing that I had to pretend I caught a cold.
62. Sky was not at his best when playing against South Korea. Coach RUI realized this, subbed him out for the last map, and went with the Leave-Krystal-Shy trio that we never played before.
After the final, Sky was depressed for a long time. When we tried to talk to him, he would stare blankly into space, eyes wide-open, and refuse to speak.
He told me afterwards that he felt extremely, extremely guilty. He thought we had a chance to beat South Korea. He thought we lost the final because he made mistakes and played badly.
I was deeply saddened as I listened to him. He should not have felt he deserved all the blame. Overwatch is a 6-player game, but he took all the blame on himself, and never ceased to reproach himself.
Sky used little social media. He did not even have a Weibo account back when Miraculous Youngster was in their prime. He said he wanted to focus on playing and his professional career, and did not want to think about anything else.
When he was in Shanghai Dragons, Sky was the usually last person to leave the training facility everyday. He’d take the last bus to return to the team house, even when he was already out of the starting lineup.
He said he’s only had two life-goals: be a good student at school, and be a good professional player in Overwatch. But he thinks he was not a good student, and he is not a good player.
He said: “I played so badly in the final. I’m surprised no one is shitting on me on weibo.”
And I said I will be the first one to protect him if anyone shits on him.
63. The Team China squad has no OWL experience except for Sky. They were not known by many Western fans before this year’s World Cup. But we were undefeated in the group stage, and we made it to the final.
A journalist told me that many Western teams thought Team China was a mystery, and suddenly, Team China made it to the final as an underdog.
And I said, no, we are not underdogs. I have always felt that players from Team China are top-tier players. Most of them were underage for OWL Season 1, and therefore had no opportunities to showcase themselves on the OWL stage.
When I was working in Los Angeles for Overwatch League Season 1, I would tell many casters, coaches and team managers that China has a lot of talent – some of them are underage for OWL, and others did not know how to contact Western teams.
Perhaps they did not entirely believe me back then.
But after this year’s World Cup, I received an overwhelming number of messages from fans who were amazed by Team China. A fan even told me that she shed tears when watching Team China’s games, and that she will support all Chinese OWL teams next year.
I also received messages from Western teams expressing interest in Chinese players.
It all comes down to Team China proving themselves to the world by putting up an outstanding performance.
If we have younger players who will have a chance to land in OWL in the next few years, please remember the names of Guxue, Lateyoung, Leave, Shy, Krystal, Yveltal, Sky, RUI and Xiaogui.
They made a name for China in Overwatch World Cup 2018.
64. When RUI, Xiaogui and I formed the OWWC committee, we had long discussions about roster selection.
RUI did not want to field an existing team. He wanted to choose the best player for each role, and turn them into the strongest team that China could possibly offer.
He said: “I’m making a huge bet here. If we do well, we have a chance to make it to the grand final. There is extraordinary talent for every role.”
When we were putting together the roster in the first half of 2018, RUI said to me: “my goal is not to qualify for Blizzcon. My goal is to make it to the grand-final, and to compete for the championship title.”
And he delivered on his promise.
We had a clear separation of duties in the committee. We agreed to work on our own things and not interfere with others. Xiaogui and I had full faith in our coach.
Coach RUI said: “I will take the blame if things don’t go well. I won’t let you guys down.”
And we replied: “we win together, and we lose together. We will always be together with you no matter what happens.”
At the awards ceremony, I sent our players on stage, and stood afar. I raised my head to watch the big screen, and I saw our players standing in the spotlight, surrounded by cameras and the crowd.
It only took three days to set up this stage. But it took us three years to get on it.
Thank you everyone.
“There are many talented young men on the river’s east, and someday they will stage a comeback.”
(Note: this is a quote from a poem by Du Mu)