My Overwatch career and my future in Valorant
It's been almost four years since I last wrote one of these, back when I stepped down from the original Envy roster. At the time we had about a 6 month period where we were scrimming 8 hours a day plus review with maybe 1-2 days off a month. This wasn't forced on us, we just wanted to win that bad. With tournaments every weekend we racked up a lot of 1st place victories and a 60+ game win streak. Then we started attending LAN events every month or two and even lived out of hotels for a few months straight between E-League, APEX, and Blizzcon. Towards the end I was extremely burnt out, dealing with various team problems, and struggling mentally with some personal issues. When I left it wasn't with the best timing and regretted it immediately, but I didn't see any other option at the time due to our very demanding schedule back then.
After that I played for a few teams behind the scenes but by the time I got back into fighting shape the rosters I played with were being dropped due to the tournament drought in 2017 and organizations preparing for OWL. Since I was out of the scene for almost a year I missed the window for the first OWL team signings. I wasn't too upset about it. Just because I was good in the past doesn't mean I still was and they didn't know any better, but it did kill my drive to keep playing.
One day while I was just playing deathmatch for fun my old teammate buds asked if I wanted to ring for Envision in a scrim. I agreed and must have left an impression because afterwards they asked if I wanted to tryout for the other dps slot. I wasn't very confident at that time but knew with enough practice I could still compete so I tried out and ended up joining the team.
Shortly after, I learned the team had some ongoing issues with the Envision organization and were going to be leaving. Since we needed a new home I reached out to Envy and asked if they were looking to sign on a Contenders team. I really didn't think they would want to re-sign me because of the way I left previously, but I still wanted to try and get the rest of my team signed.
By some miracle we were signed to Envy and hastr0 welcomed me back as well. All the Envy staff that I knew were genuinely happy to see me back. I honestly felt like I didn't deserve it so I made sure for the next 2 years of my contract I kept my head down, worked hard, and tried to represent the team as best as possible.
I had some ups and downs my first Contenders season as a player, we ended up tying for 3rd in North America which, looking at how many of our opponents are now on successful OWL rosters, wasn't too bad but my goals were always set much higher. In the end I don't think I gave myself enough time to practice enough heroes and were really only competitive on a select few like Pharah, Hanzo, Mei. With only a 6 man roster and working with my teammates hero pools I had to expand to heroes like Tracer that required extra attention if I was to compete against all the other Tracer mains that spent an entire year playing dive while I was on vacation.
After that Contenders season I was starting to lose faith in joining OWL as a player. I was getting older and didn't know if I wanted to play catch up for another year so I asked the team and staff if coaching was an option. I still enjoyed the strategy aspect of the game and felt like I could be just as big if not a bigger asset as a coach. They agreed.
I've never had a coach before playing in Contenders. Back in 2016 and every other team I played with since then it has always been up to the players to handle review and strategy discussions, and that usually meant a lot of it was up to me. I didn't mind because it was just another part of the game to me and I would do anything to help us win. So while I didn't have a coaching mentor to build off of I still knew the game inside and out and would have to figure out the rest.
At the time our other coach Chu was handling a lot of the managerial duties so I was able to focus on macro strategy, hero comps, and review while he would focus more on player coaching. Luckily we signed bomb as a full time manager soon after which freed up a lot of Chu's time to focus more on coaching.
It was a little intimidating at the start, I wasn't sure if the players would respect my decision making but I was confident in my game knowledge. GOATS was becoming the prominent meta which had a shocking amount of strategy involved in the mirror match. We ran into issues with certain players wanting to try to counter it and others wanting to become the best at it. It led to a lot of tough situations (including a 300 ping Reinhardt) but in the end we embraced the comp and I focused on trying to analyze the match up as much as possible.
With a lot of review and focus on execution we found what works for us and also had a few tricks up our sleeve that I don't think anyone in NA at the time could handle. We were racking up the wins and eventually finished the regular season undefeated. With such a great performance from the team a lot of players received offers to join OWL teams and we were handed the challenge of rebuilding the roster.
Long story short, 2019 was a lot of winning and rebuilding while trying to maintain the same level of success. I feel like we accomplished that. Roster after roster with back to back undefeated seasons I ended my Overwatch coaching career by helping send 10 players to OWL:
(and hopefully a couple more on the way ;) )
However, I didn't want to stay in Contenders forever either. I only ever received interest from a couple OWL teams as a coach and none of them panned out for one reason or another. I wasn't sure what I could have done better, I felt like after two years of working hard I achieved almost everything I could have. If OWL wasn't going to happen then I wanted to start looking into other options.
When Valorant beta started I knew I wanted to get into the scene so, after two years of keeping my head down to rebuild the trust I previously lost, I asked Envy management if I could switch games and help scout or potentially build a Valorant roster. At the time I didn't know if I wanted to coach again or what, I just wanted Envy to get a solid start in this new game.
After sitting in on a lot of scrims, trialing with certain rosters, switching players in and out, I proposed the Together We Are Terrific roster to management and they agreed to put an offer in which they accepted. These guys are awesome and are improving every day, show them some love:
Soon after, the topic of what I was going to do came up because my previous contract just ended. After spending some time talking about my goals I was offered the General Manager position to which I immediately agreed.
And that's where I am now. I appreciate all the support from the fans over the last 4 years, sorry I let a lot of you down as a player but I hope you continue to support me and all of my current and past players in their careers. Special thanks to Envy and hastr0 for giving me a second chance, I'm going to continue representing the team as best as I can.
Looking forward to the future!