The Singularity Approaches - ChrisTFer talks World Cup, Reinhardt, and more!
There comes a point where hard work meets perseverance at the crossroads of determination and courage. Christopher "ChrisTFer" Graham has been through the Overwatch wringer and come out the other side with quite the impressive resume. ChrisTFer was a former member of one of the stronger unsponsored teams all the way back in late 2016; The Chavs. That roster was then signed to Hammers Esports, but sadly they were let go in March of 2017. Now, ChrisTFer finds himself apart of Team Singularity after returning to Europe after a short stint on the North American team, EnVision Esports. Team Singularity and ChrisTFer have exploded back into the Overwatch Contenders Season 1 and have made a statement. With back to back 4-0’s against eUnited and Bazooka Puppiez.
With that said, ChrisTFer sat down and talked to Esports Heaven about his experience at the Overwatch World Cup representing the United Kingdom, the new Singularity lineup, and more!
Good evening ChrisTFer! How are we doing tonight? Hopefully things are well?
No problem. Things are going good, back into a regular scrim schedule now and I'm enjoying it.
You guys took convincing wins over eUnited and Bazooka Puppiez this week. How did pulling off the double 4-0 feel? Did it feel good coming out of the gate with this new squad and being able to pull off some upsets?
Yeah it felt good for sure. I wasn't entirely sure how we were gonna perform as we haven't been able to scrim many good teams and it's obviously a new team so I wasn't entirely sure how people were gonna perform in officials. Was definitely pleased with everyone's performances and the result given how dominant it was.
In a recent interview with Slingshot Esports, you talked about how your play at the Overwatch World Cup was some of the best Overwatch you've played. If you compare that to your current level, which version of ChrisTFer is stronger?
I guess from a pure mechanical standpoint my World Cup performance was still better. With Team UK I didn't have to main call so it gave me more time to focus on my personal gameplay, whereas with Singularity I'm doing 95% of the decision making/calling so I find that my mind is more on that.
Ideally, you'd want to partition some of that responsibility off, right? I'd assume single-calling in Overwatch would be super hard. Are you comfortable in that kind of role or is it a necessity at the moment?
I actually really like having the full responsibility on me. This is the second team i've ever been in charge of calling for (Envision the first) and I think I'm actually far better at it then I expected. One of the main reasons those teams worked is because the entire squad has faith and listens to the calls, and I think if you can get a setup like that, a single calling system can actually be optimal.
You heard it here first, folks. ChrisTFer is a shotcalling mastermind! Now, you are on the United Kingdom’s Overwatch World Cup team, could you talk a little bit about your experience in Santa Monica? In your eyes, how much impact does the Overwatch World Cup have on a standard team? (i.e. eUnited/Rogue)
I think the World up was the best week of my life. I got to spend a week drinking beers in the Jacuzzi with some of my best mates and also managed to win every game we played! I think people overvalue how much impact the time off for players playing at the World Cup had on teams, specifically the ones you mentioned.
That being said, you guys did handily beat Taiwan, what were some of the expectations going into that game overall? Did you guys have any thoughts about Flash Wolves as a team and did they live up to those expectations?
All of our plans and expectations saw going 12-0 in our group and having to play the USA to qualify for Blizzcon. So, the fact that we had to play Taiwan obviously means we felt like they weren't as good as we expected. On Team UK we are super confident against any team in the world in a LAN environment. I think we called in game that the series was over after we took first on Hollywood as it was super apparent to us that they were nervous.
That is some confidence! One point and we’re calling it a win; that's what I like to hear! Talk to me about Singularity. Where do you think Singularity stands within Europe at the moment? Do you think you guys can make the Playoffs?
Maybe it's my over confidence coming out again, but I legitimately think we might be top 2 Europe right now. Its super hard to tell as you can argue we have only beaten teams that are underperforming but i think we beat both Puppiez and eUnited harder than anyone else did this season. I think this weekend will be the tough match, if we can win I think we have a very good chance of making playoffs.
Now, you did sub in for EnVision Esports for Week 1 of Contenders, could you talk a little about your time with the guys over there? Are you surprised at the performance they are putting on? Did anyone stand out to you at all?
I think I played with EnVision for about five days. I think we actually lost almost every scrim that week so I think the fact we played so well vs. Rogue in the official match surprised me a lot. I ended up not staying with the team as i didn't feel like it was fair to play with a team knowing full well that i would be sitting days out to go trial with OWL teams. I think the DPS duo of Gravy and Jaru is actually super talented and could be on par with the elite duos in NA and EU. I still get surprised at how well they seem to be bodying everyone in Contenders even still and I really hope I can qualify for lan so I can meet them.
Just like any profession, not everything is sunshine and rainbows. What are some of the hardships that you’ve had to overcome as a professional Overwatch player? Like you mentioned, the Overwatch League is going to be a big deal literally for every player. How much of an impact will that have on the careers of current and future Overwatch pros?
Problem with Overwatch in general is that it seems like reputation and your actual contacts within the scene are often more important than your actual skill. ‘Specially for roles like support and Tank, it's much harder to gauge their skill level by watching their official games. And when you consider how big a difference being in OWL and not being in will probably make to the lives of players, it's definitely a scary situation to be in. I have just got to hope that my recent results continue and eventually I can find an Overwatch League team.
With the confidence that you’ve show me so far, you're making a strong case for yourself my friend! Talk to me a bit about the different mindsets that you have to be in when playing Reinhardt and Winston. Is it an odd transition or have you done it enough that the switch is easy for you now?
I think if I go back like to TakeTV, my Reinhardt was at the highest level I've ever played it. But that tournament—even though I felt my Reinhardt was good—it was apparent as a team we couldn't continue to not play Dive. My Winston was actually super terrible for about 3 months. It took me epic-failing my NRG trial for me to realize that i actually had to improve it a lot.
I guess it's a pretty big character flaw that it took me that long to realize i was struggling. I was fortunate within team UK to have the guidance of the best team in Europe at the time and I think that thanks to Boombox, Kruise and Hayes's guidance, my Winston improved a lot over the month we scrimmed. I like to think I'm now at a position where I'm arguably the most well rounded tank in the West, as I can play both heroes and take full control over shotcalling.
Before we wrap up, do you have any predictions with the new patch next week? Are you expecting anything out of the ordinary to make an appearance? Is Singularity preparing something special for next week's games?
I expect that Junkrat might become a decent part of the metagame, but I'm interested to see if it can work without building a comp around him totally. We are gonna experiment with a few things in scrims but I don't think we need to overthink things to win.
Alrighty, we’ve got an explosive comp ending with an explosive interview! Thanks again for stopping by, ChrisTFer! As for the last comment of the interview, let people know where they can find you, what's going on in the life of ChrisTFer, and a quick message for your supporters and fans.
@ChrisTFerOW is the best place to find me, although I probably don't tweet as much as I should. I genuinely do appreciate all the kind words I've been getting after games and I plan to keep the wins coming!
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 @tempusrob