OW The Unfinished Novel of Chipshajen—a Digest of one of Overwatch’s finest supports.

VolamelVolamel 2017-06-21 12:45:58

In every team sport, you have unsung heroes that build the core foundation of your team. Overwatch and esports, in general, are no different. Where a majority of the cameras and observers are glued to DPS stars with incredible aim, there is more to a team than meets the eye. Team EnVyuS has a plethora of talent on its roster. Even if they share equal amounts of cameras attention, the support line is a crucial part of every team and there is one support, in particular, that has an interesting past that I feel is crucial when talking about how skilled they are at Overwatch.

From Days Long Gone...

The unsung hero and one of the core members of team EnVyUs is easily the support player, Sebastian "Chipshajen" Widlund. Chipshajen has been forever compared, but never truly evaluated. He is the team’s support pocket ace, which means at any point in a match, he can call upon a plethora of clutch plays that allow the team to work their own magic—whether it be amazing Sleep Dart accuracy or skilled decision making on who to heal and when within very small windows of time. Recently, he has even shocked and awed the community with fantastic tracking with Sombra, a more unorthodox support hero.

Formerly of team HULKTastic and team IDDQD, Chipshajen has been a strong staple through the small timeline of Overwatch. Yet, every hero starts somewhere, and Chipshajen’s tale begins with a genesis in a small, yet unique, esport.

His background comes from Bloodline Champions and DOTA 2. In his stint with Bloodline Champions, Chipshajen won Dreamhack Winter 2011 and placed 3rd at Dreamhack Summer. In Bloodline Champions, he was touted as one of the best at his class, again, piloting the dedicated healer, Alchemist. Chipshajen was unmatched when it came to positioning correctly in tandem with his teammates. He knew the proper spacing needed to not only heal but also to give himself enough room to work with as the enemies danced around him like vultures.

* * *

“Chipshajen is a God.”

* * *

Before he was part of CS:GO community, Auguste "Semmler" Massonnat was in the trenches of a little game called Bloodline Champions. In a match at Dreamhack Summer 2011, Chipshajen’s SK Gaming roster took on ZowieGear. These were Semmler’s exact words during a heated moment in Map 3 where Chipshajen narrowly keeps his teammate alive through the barrage of enemy damage:

“...I know the answer. Chipshajen is actually omniscient. He is a god-like being put on this earth to play BLC (Bloodline Champions) at a level we have not yet seen.”

Left speechless after Chipshajen single-handedly saves his team from the brink of defeat, Semmler continues, saying “Alchemist is obviously like his child that he’s watched grow and now leads it like a puppet master. I have never seen such reactions come out of an Alchemist!”

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Chipshajen, even in a different game, still has that flair and aptitude for games—just in general. Whether it is Dota 2, Counter Strike, Bloodline Champions or Overwatch, you know exactly what you are getting when you look at the name “Chipshajen.”

Looking at how Bloodline Champions is played, just from a viewer's perspective, we can already see some similarities to Overwatch in a way. In Bloodline Champions, Chipshajen has this steel- like focus that is undeterred from all the colorful particle effects and odd fireball-like projectiles flying past his avatar. The same can be said about Overwatch as well. Chipshajen is known for being a world-class support player.

* * *

“Chipshajen is actually omniscient. He is a god-like being put on this earth to play BLC at a level we have not yet seen.”

* * *

What is almost more impressive than clutch star plays is the fact that Chipshajen can perform on such an array of support heroes. With playtime on Ana, Sombra and Zenyatta, what else might we see Chipshajen pull out next? Could he possibly follow in the footsteps of long-time rival Ryujehong, and branch out into other roles entirely? Perhaps the cards of fate have Chipshajen sharing time with Widowmaker, or even Zarya. One thing is for sure—he wants to be known for his own merit.

Not only was he at the top of his class in Bloodline Champions, he also had a small foray into the Dota 2 scene winning the joinDOTA League - Season 2 EU with team hehe united. Being able to play two esports had the highest level is rare and take a level of dedication most people can’t muster up. Chipshajen has transitioned all of his skills from ever competitive game he has played over to Overwatch, and that is a key factor in why he is so dominant in the supportive role.

...to History in the Making

Coming from the past to what Chips has recently accomplished is a monumental achievement. He went from being a disgustingly good Bloodline Champions player to being a founding father of the EnVyUs Overwatch roster most known for their legendary run, going 57-0 in the early stages of the game. They were ultimately stopped by Rogue at the Atlantic Showdown. He was also part of the team when they went to South Korea to win the first season of the OGN’s APEX League. They are the first team to travel to South Korea and win a Korean title.

Chipshajen was a large reason why that team did so incredibly well. He is the anchor for the team that keeps them all grounded in the game. The problem is, you never really see the anchor and the same goes for Chipshajen. The supports do not usually get much camera time, but when they do, you know they are about to do something amazing. He is a large, constant factor on the team, helping them make repeated deep runs within OGN’s multiple APEX seasons and other major events like MLG Vegas.

That is another event that has gotten dusted by the slow erosion of time. The team had just won APEX Season 1 and Taimou had problems with his visa, resulting in EnVyUs having to delay their games a day later. They would enter said games with little practice leading up to the event and still manage to convincingly defeat everyone at the tournament. Yes, they did have a strong team that was favored by the metagame, but you cannot fully discredit their accomplishments. EnVyUs still managed to win, after all.

In his interview with GosuGamers’ Featured series, “The Essence of Heroes”, Chipshajen talks about the ever-lasting comparison between himself and Ryujehong. They always seemed to be compared to “two sides of the same coin” and Chipshajen agrees, stating “I think that’s an accurate description. I feel like I play way more aggressively during scrims and practice, but when we end up on stage, I just want to play it safe and try to keep everyone alive. Playing dive comps like Lunatic-Hai often does allows for more offensive plays, too, I think.”

When we look at the statistics, they do show that, on average, Ryujehong does end up with a higher percentage of his teams kills between the playtime of both Ana and Zenyatta—especially on Zenyatta with a small but important difference of about 2.6% of his teams kills. On the other hand, Chipshajen dies on average around 1.3% less than his Korean counterpart.

While the stats do corroborate this comparison, not only on Ana but with Zenyatta as well, Chipshajen has had enough of sharing the spotlight with the Ace of Lunatic-Hai. In a recent interview with Winston’s Lab, Chipshajen talks about why he would like to play against Lunatic-Hai; “A guy called Ryujehong is on that team, whom I constantly get compared to. I want to play them.”

OGN’s APEX Season 3 beckoned EnVyUs and Chipshajen with its prestigious prize, as well as an experienced atmosphere, that would surely level them up in more ways than one.

“Just like Chips”

Even within the short amount of time that Overwatch has been competitive, Chipshajen has stood out from the crowd and will continue to do so. His views and attitude have spilled over into the next generation of players. When I spoke with Toronto Esport’s support/flex player, Mikias “Snow” Yohannes“ he mentions Chips straight away when I ask him about who inspired him as a player? He goes on to say; “Chipshajen. From the start of the competitive scene for the game. I have not only admired Chipshajen’s mechanics and style of play from the beginning, but his attitude in and outside of the game is something that should be noted and taken as an example of.”

* * *

“Just like Chipshajen, I want to have the skill, but also the attitude.”

* * *

Chipshajen has the tools and utility to really showcase some of his skills as EnVyUs continues on in the tournament. With the use of Sombra becoming more and more apparent, Chipshajen is on the forefront of the support meta game, showing his Sombra against the team's match against Rhinos Gaming Wings and X6-Gaming. However, with their missteps in their match against X6-Gaming and a surprise Junkrat pick, EnVyUs was a bit unnerved. It should most apparent in their communication and execution, where Chipshajen had a rough time finding his footing with Sombra and finding successful EMPs.

With EnVyUs’s loss, they fell to the bottom side of the bracket and face off against rival team, Meta Athena. After losing the Control map, they turned it around with three straight map victories for a convincing win over Athena. Now, they are faced with their rematch against X6-Gaming. Can Chipshajen and crew conquer their demons and best the team that sent them to the lower bracket? Or will their APEX Season 3 run end here?

Chipshajen has my vote for best-supporting actor and deservedly so. He has the history, the statistics, and the consistency that deserves an award. He is the catalyst for his team, allowing them all to fulfill their role to the best of their abilities. Semmler had it right when saying that Chipshajen was a “puppet master.” He controls EnVyuS’s pacing throughout the game as well as supplements his teammates whenever possible.

It is safe to say that Chipshajen is one of the best supports—not only in the west, but in the world. APEX Season 3 is a grueling crucible, but with Chipshajen’s track record, I wouldn’t worry.

Team EnVyUs has a god watching their backs.

Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLG’s of 2006. He started out primarily following Starcraft 2, Halo 3, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. He has transitioned from viewer to journalist and writes freelance primarily about Overwatch and League of Legends. If you would like to know more or follow his thoughts on esports you can follow him at @Volamel.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment and Akshon Esports.

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