EnVision Crimzo on Contenders Finals: "Fusion University are the team I want to face in the grand finals."
April showers do indeed bring May flowers, but it also brings the start of the final stretch in the run for Overwatch Contenders North America. Teams all across the world will begin their final steps to completing the first of many seasons for Contenders. On the North American and European front, both regional finals will be held in Nieporaz, Poland at the Alvernia Planet media venue. EnVision Esports took the upset win over XL2 Academy to secure their ticket and star Zenyatta player, William “Crimzo” Hernandez stopped by Esports Heaven for a quick interview leading into the Overwatch Contenders North American finals.
I once missed out on asking a player what they were listening to, music-wise, so I always like to ask: what is on your playlist currently? What are you listening to while you're floating around on Zenyatta and fragging out?
Honestly, I don't really have a specific genre or song that I listen to all the time. Usually, the music I'm listening to is dependant on my mood. Typically when I want to chill I listen to piano. But in general, I listen to a lot of genres: rock, hip-hop, even Spanish pop. Occasionally when I feel extra spicy I’ll throw in some Disney soundtracks or K-Pop.
I have it on good authority that you claim to have had a pet beaver and that you may or may not have been jealous of the well-off children that had a moose as a pet. Do you know anything about this?
I don't usually talk about Bobby the Beaver. But I will say, none of the mooses owned by the rich kids will ever be as dank as Bobby the Beaver.
On a more serious note, you and your team, Envision Esports, have qualified and will be attending the Overwatch Contenders playoffs in Poland. How does it feel to not only be traveling out of the country, but you are going to be playing on LAN. Has that sunk in yet? How does it feel?
I am excited and nervous at the same time. I’ve been out of Canada before, but that was with my parents when we visited family in Cuba. I’ve never traveled alone or visited Europe, but I think it will be an exciting experience, especially since I’m going to be with my teammates. This LAN will be my first ever so I'm mostly going to be focusing on feeling comfortable and keeping myself calm since I tend to get emotional and talk a lot in-game. This is all going to be a new experience for me, but I’m excited and I think we have a good chance of winning it all.
Have you been someone who has grown up playing games? If so, could you talk about some of the most influential games in your opinion?
I grew up with an older brother who loved video games and he’s the one who really introduced me to games and taught me in the beginning. I started playing games at around 6 years old, mostly on the N64. I believe the first ever FPS I played was GoldenEye 007 for the N64 which really introduced me into the FPS genre. I had limited computer access because I had to share with my older brother so I played a lot of Call of Duty and Left 4 Dead 2 on console. Eventually, I got my own PC and played League of Legends a bit until Overwatch was released, and I’ve never looked back.
From what I’ve heard, Envision contacted you directly from your ladder performance. Could you talk a little bit about how that actually happened?
So when the academy teams were announced, everybody was trying to build the best roster possible. I was able to trial for some teams and I think a big reason I was offered trials was because of my short time with Kungarna. I had contacted some teams about trials but a majority of them didn't give me a trial, which was understandable since I was a relatively unknown player with little experience and only minor accolades.
EnVision was the last team that contacted me and was my last hope of getting into Contenders. There was about a week gap between my last trial with a team and when EnVision contacted me, and I started to think that I wasn’t going to be able to make it onto a team, which would've been a huge disappointment. At the time I was the rank 1 Zenyatta on the ladder, so I do think that was a big reason I was contacted by EnVision. The EnVision trials went well for me and they offered me the spot. I was super excited and ready to prove myself to be one of the best flex supports in North America.
Obviously, you are known for your Zenyatta, is there a support player that you look up to in terms of skill?
It’s gotta be JJoNak. The things he is able to do as Zenyatta is insane. I also think it’s pretty cool that JJoNak was scouted in ranked similarly to my situation. He has incredible aim and his team is able to pocket him and protect him very well, so I would assume going up against him is scary.
Where do you think you need to work on your play the most? I’ve heard you’re quite vocal. Is there anything you wish you could spend more time on?
I think I need to work on my ult usage. A lot of Zen players have strong mechanics but Transcendence is probably the most impactful team fight ultimate in the game and wins the team fight on its own if used correctly. There are a lot of factors that play into when and how you should use the ultimate, and I think I need to work on figuring out the optimal ways to use my ultimate to have a strong impact in the team-fights.
To reach the top means you must put in some serious work and have an ironclad work ethic. What are your thoughts about professional players facing burnout? Do you ever worry about it yourself?
I think burnout is a tricky situation within esports because people want to play the game professionally and casually during off-hours because it’s what we enjoy doing. We just want to play the game we love, but often times we over-work ourselves because we’re so used to just playing the game as much as possible because it’s what we enjoy doing. Personally, I’m not too worried about burnout. I do get my practice in and play a lot, but I also relax and do other things so my life isn’t Overwatch 24/7.
For most people, I think I can safely say you name came of out nowhere, but have impressed. How has it been transitioning into a professional environment?
In the past, I was just a ladder player. And as we know - ladder is a spooky experience. I’d thought I learned a lot from the teams I was on, but I have truly learned a lot in my time with EnVision. In the past, at times I felt as though I wasn't good enough, and possibly the reason for my team's failure. It’s a bad mentality to have but I feel like I’ve broken out of that mentality.
Were you always a support player? If not, where did you begin to play support and why? Is that a role that you tend to gravitate towards in other games?
I’m a pretty flexible player in games. I don't tend to have a specific role I like to play all the time, but I do usually gravitate towards support. I think support is an underappreciated role mostly because people want to be the ones dealing all the damage, or getting up into the enemies face as a tank. Typically people don't want to play support because they see it as a boring role and they would rather be playing something they feel is more impactful. I think to be successful as support you need to be smart, communicative and patient.
Last but not least, your first obstacle for the playoffs will be Toronto Esports and on the other end, you’ve got your rivals Fusion University and Optic Gaming. Let’s assume you do make the grand finals, out of the two, Fusion University and Optic, who would you rather meet in the final and why?
Definitely Fusion University. I love the guys at OpTic, but given the history we have against Fusion University, they are the team I want to face in the grand finals. We’ve always been close with Fusion University but have always had issues closing and they are a strong team. We’ve lost to them twice in the grand finals of previous tournaments and had an incredibly close series against them in the final week of contenders. That said I think we’ve learned a lot since the last time we faced them so if there is a team I want to face in the grand finals of North American Contenders, its Fusion University.
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 OGN.