Reinforce on Misfits roleswap: "Nevix isn’t playing Ana anymore, that’s for sure."
This week I was graciously able to pick the brain of everyone’s favorite Reinhardt player; Jonathan "Reinforce" Larsson. We take a look at the past, why Paladin tier-2 is always the play, the present and future for Reinforce, the current state of the game and cryptic clues on how the Misfits role-swap is shaking out.
How is today going for you Jonathan? It has been a while since we’ve seen you and Misfits in action, how are things going?
We’ve been enjoying a short break after coming home from Korea, we didn’t take many days off in Korea even after we went out in OGN since we figured we’d capitalize on the very high practice conditions over there, so when we came home we took a needed break to recharge and we just started scrimming again the other day.
I wanted to start with a little bit of your background, you’ve previously been at the 2GD Studio and have written for Fragbite.se, so you’ve definitely had experience with esports before going pro. Did this make the transition into becoming a progamer easier at all?
I believe so, yes. A lot of the connections I got in the very early competitive Overwatch scene came from 2GD, but since then I think I’ve managed to put out some good content in terms of interviews and community content due to my journalistic background. However, when you’re a progamer, to my surprise it takes up so much time that you don’t have any time really to follow other esports, and so you get sort of lost in only thinking, watching and playing Overwatch all the time.
In your interview with Fragbite, you mention that you and TviQ played a lot of CS and WoW. I have to ask, for my own selfishness; what classes did you guys play in World of Warcraft and are you all still playing?
Haha, it’s very on and off and I think he logs on occasionally during downtime when we have a period of little practice. TviQ plays most healers and was very fond of his Night Elf Druid. Myself, I prefer sticking to melee classes and primarily Paladin nowadays. I still have a lot of nostalgia about the earliest iterations of World of Warcraft. Shame Paladins were kinda just buff-bots back then (damn you, Jeff Kaplan).
From that same interview you talk about Digital Chaos’s star player, "MiSeRy", and how you appreciate his flexibility and dedication to the game. Do you actively follow Dota 2 as well?
Since I worked with The GD Studio in their more active years, I did so, yes. I started out as a simple Twitch moderator for the earlier DreamHack DreamLeague seasons and then moved on to working in production rooms and working with some Dota 2 major qualifiers. I don’t have nearly as much time anymore, and Dota 2 takes up a lot of time trying to stay up-to-date on things, but sometimes the housemates at The GD Studio will have a game up on our chromecast and I’ll see what’s up.
Overwatch does have some aspect of RTS and Mobas melded within it, do you think players with experience with these other games have an advantage over players with a more FPS heavy background?
Theoretically you’d need the best of two worlds, but I do think if you’re a highly skilled Moba player you can perhaps carry over some of the mindset and smarts from that genre to Overwatch. In its core, Overwatch demands a lot of mechanical skill if you’re opting for the DPS classes, but I believe for a team to be successful you need some sort of captain who has a grasp on team games and what goes into synergy, positioning and ultimate management to truly succeed.
Korea has taken more to those games in the past, with League of Legends and both iterations of Starcraft. Do you think this has any impact on why Korea looks so good?
No, I wouldn’t really say the success in those two titles carries over per se, but I would say that the Korean infrastructure, the benefit of having a premier league in OGN APEX and then the Challenger League for up-and-coming teams, as well with there being a lot of organisations putting pressure on players to work together and succeed as a team helps them consistently pull ahead. In Europe we don’t really have that infrastructure of frequent big tournaments going on as well as more than a few organisations telling players “step up, you will have to perform and improve or you’re out.”. There’s something negative in the fact that players are their own bosses in some sense here in Europe.
Also, what are you thoughts on the overall global skill in Overwatch? Is Korea that far ahead or is Korea ahead at all?
It’s very hard to say, on a team level I’d say so, but coming home from Europe, teams here are playing to their strengths in high mechanical skill (eUnited and Rogue plays very strong 3 DPS compositions for example which we don’t see in Korea).
It’s two different eco-systems that both will teach you a few thing or two regardless of which region you play in, but I think Korea has the upper-hand because of the amount of good teams there are in that regions and five or so teams that have a higher peak than the teams in the West. I definitely think eUnited could compete for a playoff spot in APEX with us for example, but there are like 10 of those teams in Korea.
Shortly after APEX you mentioned that you guys were going through with doing some role swaps. Could you drop any insight on how that's performing for you guys? Care to spoil who’s playing what? ;)
Well, Nevix isn’t playing Ana anymore, that’s for sure. ;)
While you guy’s were in Korea you seemed to be the emotional leader, always amping your team up in the booth. In your previous interview here at EsportsHeaven, you mention that Zebbosai is the most vocal in the group. Do these sound accurate and have these roles changed at all?
Yes, Zebbosai has remained one of the most vocal ones within the team, accompanied with me. Everyone in the team talks and wants to do stuff, but the shotcalling is an aspect I at least try to always keep in mind, to push for that extra ult-check call or shotcall in a time when no one has taken initiative, a bad plan is better than no plan, so even if I will have to orchestrate something sub-optimal, it’s better than just hoping for the best, and so I do my best to try and avoid those moments in-game.
To hint further we’ve made some adjustments to try and even out the team roles according to who’s vocal and who’s quiet, so we always know what’s going on everywhere, otherwise you risk doing actions without taking account for action going on elsewhere.
Now that the meta has settled in for a decent while, what are some of your thoughts on the state of the game? Still pretty fresh? Better or worse than “beyblade”?
I think this is a really good meta so far, we’ve been practicing a lot on the PTR here in Europe and you can pretty much play any type of composition you want, but it remains to see who can find the highest peak in performance with them going at each other. It will keep developing for months to come in this state I believe, perhaps it will stagnate, perhaps it will continuously develop as teams innovate.
Last but not least, we’ll end with a short “lightning round”:
Monte or Doa?
Mr. X, of course.
Reinhardt or Orisa?
Reinhardt, I’m not just going to drop my love in favor of some new shit on the market.
Tracer or Genji?
Genji because of his vertical game being on point compared to Tracer.
Taco-Dorado or Hanamura?
I freaking love tacos so I’m never abandoning my Dorado.
...and lastly, your favorite Korean food?
I mean, can you fit KBBQ as a single answer in this question? Those Korean mushrooms used as a side dish are god damn amazing.
Really appreciate you taking some time and letting me pick your brain! Any sponsor plugs or a message to the Misfits fans out there?
I’d really like to thank the Korean fans who supported us over in South Korea, and also the Swedish fans cheering us on for national pride! Shoutout to the Miami Heat. ;)
Interview written and conducted by: @Volamel
Images courtesy of @Sylviainiyo , David Chen, and Eleague.