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Erster: “After practicing with Mighty AOD, I knew I could make it to the highest league.”

Volamel 2019-08-03 07:22:58
  People may be familiar with "Erster" the DPS ace for the Atlanta Reign, but not many people know who Jeong Joon is, what games he spent his summer nights on, and what he had to go through to land in Atlanta, Georgia and play in front of a sold-out Cobb Energy Centre.  “From when I was a child I liked to play games, but only after my friends dragged me to a PC bang did I really put a lot of time into it,” Erster said. GunZ: The Duel, Sudden Attack, and an ancient FPS called Karma were some of his first games that he first took a liking to. However, the former two were titles he spent nearly seven or eight years on and actually competed in, winning an amateur tournament and placing second in a semi-professional tournament as well. With how much time Erster spent gaming, he steadily improved, which led to him fostering a competitive drive. In many cases, this newly found motivation is stifled by concerned parents that don’t see a future in games. However, in Erster’s case, things went as well as anyone fledgling pro-gamer could have hoped for.      “My family is relatively lenient,” he said. “I was learning to play the drums to get into a music high school, but I quit school after I did well in tryouts and became a pro-gamer. My parents trust me and support me in whatever I decide to do.” “When Overwatch was released I was just having fun playing the game,” Erster explained. “I tried out for a lot of different teams thanks to my high SR and I got picked up.” Those same tryouts landed him in a promising South Korean Overwatch team called Mighty AOD. Erster now stood side-by-side with the likes of the Los Angeles Valiant flex support, Park "KariV" Young-seo, Shanghai Dragon’s DPS all-star, Bae "diem" Min-seong, and main tank for the Florida Mayhem, Koo "Fate" Pan-seung, among others.  This ragtag group of generational talents stuck out like sore thumbs but never could properly align the stars. During OGN’s Overwatch APEX, he and his team were placed in one of the hardest groups possible and only missed advancing due to their head-to-head record with the French super team, Rogue. Erster has always marched to his own tempo and he’s done it with confidence every step of the way. “After practicing with Mighty AOD, I knew I could make it to the highest league.” With the level of talent was constantly able to showcase on a number of heroes how can you not respect that kind of tasteful confidence? Erster knows he’s very good at Overwatch and he’s a package deal. He talks the talk and certainly walks the walk. However, his time with Mighty AOD came to an end in the summer of 2017 when he joined many of his former teammates in the Asia-Pacific region to compete as Ardeont.  And while their tenure there was massively successful, things didn’t go exactly as planned. Both good memories and bad ones cloud the memory in a murky film of ambiguity. “I had a very good time in Mighty AOD, and the same with being in Ardeont,” Erster explained. “However, when I was on Ardeont, I had some bad experiences like being treated badly and not getting our share of prize money despite the good performance.”      And when asked why he and the team decided to part ways and leave their home region of South Korea, he shied away, but wanted to make sure that no one had the wrong ideas. “No one from Ardeont wanted to leave Korea, but we had to go to Taiwan because of reasons I can’t say.” From Ardeont, Erster made his way to China to play for the organization Lucky Future on their fully Korean stable, Lucky Future Zenith. He would be flanked by some of South Korea’s finest free agents at the time. Players like longtime teammate diem, Hwang "Marve1" Min-seo, Choi "Michelle" Min-hyuk, Yoo "Lucid" Jun-seo, and Park "iDK" Ho-jin. While there, Erster and the team dominated two whole seasons of Overwatch Contenders China and did so effortlessly.  “On Lucky Future Zenith I was good friends with everyone on the team, which was proven in our results,” Erster mapped out. “Everyone was outstanding players, and I think being good friends boosts your chance of winning by 50%. We only [practiced against] Korean teams, and if we were in Korea we would have taken the throne. Everyone from Lucky Future Zenith has insane talent and everyone is doing well in this season.” And after his success in two different regions, Erster still kept a mellow head when approached by the Atlanta Reign earlier in the year. His confidence still acting as a spearhead through life. “Everyone got a lot of offers individually and it was nice to get the chance to choose from,” he said. “It didn’t really feel like a dream come true because I knew I’d make it.” The pleasure, for Erster, came from knowing his hard work was finally paying off and he’d be able to showcase his skill on the biggest stage in Overwatch. While Erster has played in three totally different regions, transitioning to life in the states can still be a bit jarring, but things seem to be going well in Camp Atlanta. “I really like America because everyone on the team is really nice and playful, but sometimes the language and food make me think of Korea.” Erster then went on to explain more of the team dynamic within the Reign saying, “All our teammates laugh and joke around a lot, so we try to have fun at the moment. It seems like the more fun we have, the higher our win rate is!” That same laughter and lightheartedness was on display at the Atlanta Homestand, where Erster and the Atlanta Reign walked away winning both of their home games. But where was Erster’s mind in all of the chaos and energy? It was with the fans. He shared that hands down his most memorable moment were the cheers from the home crowd in Atlanta. “Even though we had soundproof headsets on, the crowd was louder than the headsets could block,” Erster said. “I’ve never experienced that before. I didn’t know there were this many fans. Everyone on the team [enjoyed] it, and I was emotional at one point. I was really happy that we won both of our games.  “Playing at [the] homestand was an unforgettable moment for me.”
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 to follow his thoughts you can follow him at @Volamel. Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.

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