FNRGFE’s Jcb on the joys of coaching: ‘Nothing feels better than finding a flaw in your opponent’s play ...'
A fanatic crowd similar to the Overwatch World Cup awaits the one and only corn dog, dogs. FNRGFE has taken the Overwatch community by storm. With their loveable team logo and a charming tale of success, they now find themselves at the culmination of their journey through Overwatch Contenders Season 1. The playoffs are upon us and the newly furnished Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles. FNRGFE’s coach and analyst Jcb sat down with me within the war room of Esports Heaven to discuss the game plan going up against some of the best Overwatch teams that North America has to offer.
I know that you’ve worked with many teams in the past as a player and as a coach/analyst. What would you say is different about FNRGFE?
FNRGFE is actually the first team that I’ve worked with as a coach or analyst in Overwatch. I have however played for many teams and FNRGFE definitely laughs the most out of any of my previous teams. You can tell that every player genuinely loves playing the game and loves playing with each other. I find it’s best to let them have fun and put them back on track between maps if necessary, but I think it’s important to keep a positive environment since that seems to be where players grow the most.
Could you talk about the other members of the FNRGFE support staff? What in your mind are their strongest traits?
Aero is our other coach, and in my opinion, his biggest strength is making sure everyone is in the right mindset to compete at their best. He makes sure people show up on time, and are warmed up beforehand. If he sees the team falling into old habits he will be quick to identify it and make sure the players do too. He’s also taken on the duties a manager normally would on top of the coaching work he does so I think he’s a very valuable asset to the team.
Tikatee does VOD recording for us and he is the most consistent one I’ve worked with. He gets good angles in fights, uploads the VODs instantly after each scrim, puts in the extra time to timestamp them, and he’s here every day. On top of that, he’s a great guy and he’s fun to be around, which is an important factor when you’re working together as much as we do, it definitely helps to keep the team atmosphere as fun as it is.
For those who do not know, Seagull has been added to the EnVyUs substitute roster for the Overwatch Contenders playoffs. Could you expand on your thoughts about the EnVyUs roster changes that went live not more than 48 hours ago? Where do you think the ‘ball was dropped?’
From what I’ve heard Seagull was added to the roster before the deadline, but the website had an error and as a result, the roster wasn’t updated until much later. If that was the case then I find it disappointing that Blizzard didn’t reach out to the attending teams to let us know about the roster change because it has a big impact on how we would have prepared for the event. I understand how the miscommunication could have happened so I won’t hold it against Blizzard, it’s just a shame that it happened the way it did.
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‘Regardless we still have a game plan for taking down EnVyUs and I hope that we can pull off the upset in LA.’
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Speaking of team EnVyUs, FNRGFE was one of the only teams who really took EnVyUs to the brink during their Week 5 match. Could you talk about the gameplan going into that match in particular? Will there be any carryover from that match into the playoffs?
Prepping for EnVyUs we knew what maps they would play, we talked about how we would play them, and we found a couple small things in their play that we might be able to exploit. We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for them because of OWL tryouts, but we did the best we could with the time we had. I believe some of the things we had success versus them with we will be able to apply again in LA, but we definitely have to change some things up if we want to pull off the upset.
With Overwatch League on the horizon after approximately a year ago, what in your personal life has changed after pursuing Overwatch professionally?
I was previously working as a web/software developer and decided to put that on hold to pursue Overwatch. I felt that if there was any time to pursue something like this it would be now. I was worried that people might not understand my decision but surprisingly my friends and family have been supportive. I feel incredibly lucky that I found a girlfriend who is so understanding of what I do; she’s helped me feel more at ease with pursuing this. Regardless of what happens next, this has been an amazing experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.
You’ve been vocal about your Volskaya Industry defense, without revealing any secrets, what other maps do you think are FNRGFE staples?
Ilios and Oasis are two of our strongest maps, so I was very happy to see they were the maps chosen for the pool. I can’t really talk about the rest of the maps without giving away what we plan on picking, but I think this map pool turned out really good for us.
Why do you think that those maps suit the players so well?
In general, I think we are a very strong Control team with the exception of Lijiang Tower, which is one of our weakest maps. I think a lot of it comes down to how comfortable the players are on those maps and how well everyone does at making space for each other and keeping each other alive.
Now, I know you’ve booked your flight and the clock is slowly ticking down till the start of the show this weekend, but talk with me about what you're expecting from this experience?
I think we’re going to put up a really good showing vs. EnVyUs and I want to be the team that pulls off the big upset. If we are able to take them down I feel confident that we will win the tournament, which would be amazing since everyone is almost exclusively talking about EnVyUs and FaZe right now. Either way, we will have a lot of fun and I’m very excited because this will be the first LAN I attend not as a spectator.
What was it like transitioning from player to coach/analyst? Are the experiences similar in the way they feel on a personal level? Does it still get your adrenaline going?
At first, there was an itch to keep playing, because I still have that drive to prove what I’m capable of, but I came to accept that until there is a better framework for the tier 2 scene it wasn’t worth it to invest more of my time into it. I knew that coaching was something that I would enjoy doing and that I felt I could provide a lot, so I just went for it. I really enjoy finding ways that we can perfect our game through simple changes and scout out our opponents.
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‘Nothing feels better than finding a flaw in your opponent’s play and seeing your team capitalize on it in game.’
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To be honest, when I was playing I never got too worked up I just focused on playing my game, but when you’re watching your team play a close match on a 2-minute stream delay while listening to live comms... that is the most stressful thing I’ve experienced in Overwatch. It is very much still a personal experience, I put a lot of blame on myself for our losses and I try to think about how I could have better prepared us for each game.
Awesome, thanks again for sitting down and taking the time to talk with me today. Let the people know where they can find you on social media and what’s to come for you personally.
My Twitter and Twitch are both @jcb_ow . I hope that you will see me coaching in the Overwatch League, but if not, I have some things lined up, so I will definitely still be involved in the Overwatch scene.
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. If you would like to know more or follow his thoughts on esports you can follow him at @Volamel.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.