CIS Hope’s Sharyk on improvement: “ … keep focusing on yourself and try fixing your mistakes first, even if you are losing.”
Formerly of eUnited and dating all the way back to the beta of Overwatch, Normunds "sharyk" Faterins has always found a way to be involved. His newest team, CIS Hope, looks to take their chance on the upcoming season of Overwatch Contenders. Sharyk sat down with Esports Heaven to discuss his journey as a player, his time with Team Russia during the 2017 Overwatch World Cup, and more.
After speaking with a handful of players, everyone's story is similar, but different all the same. Would you consider yourself a competitive person? Where do you think your drive to compete comes from?
Yes, I consider myself a competitive person. To be honest, I have no idea where this drive is coming from. Probably it’s because I like the teamwork and the process itself during the competition, like creating strategies or working together to achieve something, and I just can’t play any game casually, except single player games. It doesn’t matter if it's a Dota, CS:GO, or any other game–I will try my best to win.
We’ve seen you play in teams like eUnited and going all the way back to ANOX and Flipsid3. Talk to me about what first got you into games. Do you have a history with other competitive games in general?
At some point, I just had nothing to do apart from studying and when I was bored I started playing random games, mostly CS 1.6 with my friends and Warcraft 3. Then as time went on I found out there are people are playing games for a living and from that time I started to play all sorts of games to reach the high level. I started with CS:GO and I spent an insane amount of time practicing but I couldn't find a team that I wanted to play with and at that time it was just too late to get on the pro level and it was too hard to get noticed the same is with Dota 2. After a couple of months Overwatch came out and one of my friends invited me to create a team that called Quake Fortress which later was renamed to ANOX.
You’ve been in the Overwatch esports scene since early beta and have seen the tide shift from high to low. What, in your eyes, has been your favorite metagame to play and why?
The best meta in Overwatch was when Overwatch was released. If I’m not mistaken, at that time people played Reinhardt, Zarya, Mccree/Pharah, Mercy/Zen and Lucio, It was one of the best metas for me just because, I had a lot of mind games as the main tank, and I had to pay attention to a lot of things, such as McCree’s Flashbangs, or Lucio’s boops to block Earthshatter from the enemy Reinhardt.
Nowadays almost everyone is playing dive (with the exception of some maps) for one year straight, which becomes more annoying to watch and play.
As someone who has been around the scene for a long time, has the Overwatch League lived up to expectations in your eyes?
To be honest, I thought there will be more than this. They did a great spectator mode, but the color scheme is making it harder to watch (not every team, just some of them). Right now Overwatch League is the same as other Majors, maybe even worse than in other games.
Could you shed some light on why the former eUnited roster did not decide to stick together going into Contenders Season 2?
Let's say that we were tired of each other, and when you are losing for a couple of months straight, it's hard to keep the same focus and confidence in your team.
As a tenured player, I am sure you had a hand in crafting the team. What were some of the thought process behind the selecting the players? Was there anything you were looking for in particular?
I was always trying to find the person who has a wide pool of heroes or the person with the dedication, and who can listen to advice and criticism from others. There are not a lot of players that can take criticism, but if you can find one, you can a make a good player out of him.
That being said, what would be a word of advice for people who are aspiring to become Overwatch progamers?
I would advise keep playing Overwatch and don’t pay attention to how other players play, keep focusing on yourself and try fixing your mistakes first, even if you are losing.
I know it’s a bit in the past now, but could you talk a bit about your experience playing in Poland for the 2017 Overwatch World Cup? Russia, unfortunately, drew South Korea in the playoffs, could you talk a little about your matches overall? Was there someone who stood out in your eyes?
Overwatch World Cup was something special for me, I was invited as a stand-in for Team Russia 2-3 days before the flight to Poland, and some of the players still had Visa issue, which affected us a lot. We watched a lot of VODs together, and we were preparing for every single team in World Cup. Most of the matches were pretty easy, but then we met Team Canada and for some reason, even though we knew that they will pick Pharah and Mercy, we just didn’t counter it.
I think that Team South Korea is the only team that stood out. They had different tactics from everyone else and [a different] playstyle, which made it harder to prepare for them. I think if we had more time, we might have won a map or two.
Many Contenders teams have been either leaked or announced by now, and I’m sure you’ve been playing against some of them behind the scenes. Is there a team that you would pick as to which teams people might want to keep their eye on?
I would prefer to keep your eyes on new Bazooka Puppiez and Morte’s new team. Both of these teams are playing insanely right now. Also, don’t forget to keep your eyes on CIS Hope!
To close, as we come to the end of the pre-Overwatch League era, what team would you say took home the best team of 2017 title? Is there any team you think has a solid shot going into 2018 and the start of the Overwatch League?
The best team in 2017 is Lunatic-Hai (Seoul Dynasty). They won a lot of big tournaments against best teams in the world multiple times.
I have no idea. For now, Bazooka Puppiez and Morte’s new team have a solid shot, but everything can change coming up to Contenders. In Overwatch League, without a doubt Seoul Dynasty, London Spitfire, Dallas Fuel and Los Angeles Valiant will show something insane.
Thanks for having me! Follow me on Twitter @sharykow and Twitch: sharykow and don’t forget to cheer for my new team, CIS Hope!
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, TaKeTV, and @tempusrob