Team Gigantti’s rCk: 'Being able to make your hobby into a career feels like a dream.'
Richard “rCk” Kanerva of Team Gigantti enters Overwatch Contenders Europe 2018 Season 1 with a huge weight on his shoulders. His team, Team Gigantti, is the reigning Overwatch Contenders Europe champion. After a decisive victory over Orgless & Hungry, 3-1, rCk took some time out to chat with Esports Heaven about his thoughts on the strong start to Contenders, his victory at Assembly Winter 2018 and more!
I love interviewing players whom I don’t know too much about because I can get a grasp of what got them into esports. That said, what got you into esports? Were you a long time viewer of other titles or was competing always a dream for you?
I used to be pretty good at sports [like] football/soccer, but I had to quit because of my back injuries at the time. I still wanted to pursue a career where you can do a lot of competing and I’ve always enjoyed playing video games at a high level. So, after reaching high ranks in various games I decided to give it a try and go pro in the game called “Overwatch.” Being able to make your hobby into a career feels like a dream.
Just last month, you and your team played in Assembly Winter 2018. What did that tournament mean to you and your team?
It was our first LAN tournament and debut with the new Team Gigantti roster and it went as expected. We gained some confidence for the upcoming Contenders and it meant alot for us to be notified as the strongest team in Finland currently.
With your victory at Assembly Winter 2018, what does it feel being the best team in Finland?
It feels good to know that you’ve become the strongest team in your home soil and to be able to be a good example for the up and coming Finnish talents that are yet to make their entrance into [their own] path-to-pro.
Do you feel any extra pressure now that you're defending the Contenders 2017 Europe championship?
With this new roster, we are filling in big shoes since almost the entire previous Team Gigantti roster got picked up to Overwatch League. Step by step, we are becoming more confident about being able to defend the championship title since we are seeing the improvement that’s happening day by day.
For this season of Contenders, what are some of your personal goals? Is there anything that your personally working towards?
My personal goal for Contenders is to make myself a better team player and being noticed by the community and to be able to flex into any role needed. I was known previously from my DPS plays but now I’ve taken over a new role, which is Offtank, and I’m aiming to be the best Offtank there is in Contenders, and maybe someday make my way into Overwatch League. That would be the dream.
In terms of frontlines in this metagame, how do you feel about D.Va on this patch? Has Sombra been a problem or is she a bit overrated?
D.Va is really strong in this patch. Her versatility and great damage output makes her very deadly and force to be reckoned with. So that being said, Sombra is a problem and maybe a bit overrated [and] in some maps there might be better alternatives to go with.
One of the more stylistic choices I’ve seen lately is when D.Va players chose to use their ultimate. For all the aspiring D.Va players out there, what are some tips or tricks you could share about the best ways to use Self Destruct?
I’d put them in 3 categories, First: Defensive Ultimates; you want to just re-mech yourself instead of being a baby D.Va and a possible dive target for the enemy team. Second: Aggressive Ultimates, you want to make space for your team and possible get an entry frag for the upcoming teamfight. Third: Stalling Ultimates, you want to make time for your team to be able to regroup and recontest the point as a team and not going in one-by-one to be easy target for enemies to eliminate.
Something that is not similar to the Overwatch League is the specific format that Contenders is currently using. Do you enjoy the fact that the map pool is a bit more open and that the fact that the looser can pick the next map?
Yes, I truly enjoy this format and it fits our team more than fine. Anyhow, I wouldn’t consider this to be a problem even if the map pool weren’t as open as it is.
We did see that you guys did run a bit of Reinhardt on Hollywood Point A, which I thought was quite interesting. Could you walk me through a bit of the thought process there?
LhCloudy just enjoys playing Reinhardt and we’ve made good maneuvers and playstyles to be able to stay up with his huge maintank plays. Besides that we have a big shield for our team to block some early damage coming in and that massive amount of damage what Reinhardt can pull through if he reaches his targets is phenomenal. Nevertheless his insane Earthshatter(s) can be game changing.
You had an impressive performance on Hollywood. It seemed like you just kept finishing off kill after kill! What was going through your mind during that map?
Simple stuff, kept reading on what enemies were about to do and tried to stay at least one-step-ahead of them always. And also I popped off a bit, because I’ve got a really strong team besides me.
To end off the interview, who would you say your biggest competition in Contenders at the moment and why do you think they are so strong?
We’ve been practicing against almost every European Contenders team there is and I would nominate Orgless & Hungry and British Hurricanes as the biggest competition so far. We’ve had tight games with both of them.
Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLGs 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 Assembly Organizing