Jay “Sinatraa” Won goes to have to purchase a much bigger trophy case. The 19-year-old skilled Overwatch participant spent this 12 months successful nearly all the things he probably may.
It began when he was named MVP for the 2019 Overwatch League season, which he adopted by successful the league championship as the driving drive behind the San Francisco Shock. This weekend, he added to his accolades as Team USA received the Overwatch World Cup at BlizzCon, and Won was as soon as once more named the Most worthy participant. This stage of success ranks amongst the best particular person seasons in the history of e-sports — however when requested about it, Won doesn’t appear too stunned.
“It definitely exceeded my expectations,” he says of 2019, “but not by that much.”
Won has been half of the Shock since OWL’s inaugural season in 2018, and regardless of comparatively excessive expectations, the crew had a disappointing debut, ending ninth in the 12-team league and lacking the playoffs. 2019 was a special story. The Shock spent most of the season combating for high place with the Vancouver Titans. They misplaced their first playoff spherical towards the Atlanta Reign, however San Francisco then went on a dominating run, sweeping each subsequent crew they performed. Before the grand finals towards Vancouver, Won predicted his crew would win 4-0 — and so they ended up doing precisely that.
Winning the World Cup was arguably a good larger feat. While the OWL season lasts a number of months, the World Cup takes place over a single weekend, giving groups just some weeks to organize. Since the match’s inception, South Korea has been dominant, successful gold in three straight competitions. The USA, in the meantime, has largely disillusioned, failing to earn a medal regardless of a number of star gamers. According to Won, what made 2019 totally different got here right down to how the crew ready earlier than the matches.
“We had a larger coaching staff to help throughout the whole thing,” he explains. “No matter what match we had, we were always prepared. We didn’t care if it was a really weak team. We would fully prepare for them regardless. And I think that was a problem last year, and the years before. We were maybe too confident and only worried about Korea. This year, we did review on every team possible — every map, every comp, all that stuff.”
The Americans managed to knock South Korea out of the match in the semifinal spherical, and it was a very heated match for Won. The US squad featured three gamers from the Shock, whereas two extra San Francisco gamers starred for South Korea. For Won, this added an additional incentive to beat the match favorites. “Every year, we always want to beat Korea because they’re always the best team at every World Cup,” he explains. But as a result of some of his Shock teammates have been half of the South Korean squad, he says, “I simply needed to beat them further dangerous. There was undoubtedly loads of yelling throughout that match.”
Overwatch is a crew recreation in which squads of six need to work collectively in order to finish a spread of aims. Because of this, synergy and teamwork are arguably extra essential than pure expertise. Still, Won managed to shine in each competitions, as evidenced by his twin MVP awards. He says that, whereas championships are all the time the final purpose, the particular person accolades are additionally essential to him. “It means a lot,” Won says. “My biggest goal was winning the championships, but my second biggest goal was to be known as a good player in the league.”
2020 can be a really totally different expertise. For subsequent season, OWL is transferring to a brand new format the place groups will play out of their respective residence cities, which implies an enormous quantity of journey. In addition to internet hosting matches in San Francisco, the Shock will even be taking part in video games in China, South Korea, the UK, France, and a number of cities throughout North America.
It’s a dramatic change, with all types of new logistical challenges that would probably make repeating as champions a good tougher problem. Won solely has one very particular fear about the new format: he hates flying. “I just don’t like airplanes,” he says. “Maybe I’ll take some melatonin, I don’t know.”
For now, although, he’s taking a while off. After an extended season of OWL, he was capable of take a two-week break earlier than heading straight again into preparation for the World Cup. Now that that’s over, Won says he’s spending a while away from the recreation in order to fight burnout and keep contemporary for subsequent 12 months.
But all of his current success has added a brand new complication: Won has turn into one thing of a celeb. After the Shock wrapped up their championship season, he even appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon alongside teammate Matthew “Super” DeLisi. Won says he’s recurrently acknowledged in locations like airports or in Ubers. Once, he was even noticed by followers whereas procuring at a drug retailer with some associates.
“It’s pretty weird every time,” he says.