Last week, Esports Heaven got the chance to talk to BK Stars’ coach and Korean language caster for some of the western tournaments, Se-Hwi “NamedHwi” Go. Se-Hwi has been with the team for several months now and shows confidence in the team’s chances to do well in APEX S3.
Author’s note: for the purpose of making the interview easily readable and improving the reader’s experience — with Se-Hwi Go’s approval — the answers have been edited.
Hello, Se-Hwi Go! Would you say that you are basically the Korean Flame?
[Laugh] Flame is a good analyst, but there are many Korean analysts in Overwatch, so it is hard to say that I in particular am the Korean Flame. Also, my English is not that good, so I'd like to say sorry about that to the readers.
How did you end up being a caster and a coach? Have you done either in other games, or played competitively yourself?
It was by chance that I started casting Overwatch tournaments. I remember my first tournament was in July 2016. I casted the Nexus Cup on Twitch and even thought it was my first time I hit more than 3000 viewers. A lot of them told me that they enjoyed my casting, so I decided to be a caster. Before that I played World of Warcraft for about 6 years and League of Legends for 5-6 years, but not competitively, just for fun.
What is your approach to coaching? Are you the strict or the friendly type of coach?
As a coach, I think the most important thing is to instill the fundamental logic of the game in the players. For example: why you have to take high ground, what is the advantage to taking high ground, which spots are good to fight at as an attacker and which as a defender, why that spot is good to fight... I try to make sure they understand the reasons for their plays.
In scrim games, even though I can guide the players on how to play, I never do that. I allow them to solve the in-game problems on their own and after all the games, I show them what was the problem with their play. If I guide them when they are playing, then the mistakes are fixed instantly, but then the real problem is that I can't tell them them what to do in the middle of a tournament. So instead, I try to make them think about the game on their own.
Outside of game, I think a good attitude and a professional mindset is the most important thing. So, I always emphasize to the players that it matters. I don't want to be hard on the players and try to be friendly with them (sometimes we even play games together). But when they are being undisciplined or play badly repeatedly, I have to be harsh. I don't have a set approach; depending on the situation I can be both friendly and strict.
Looking back at APEX S1, what do you think allowed the team to have such a good finish? Was BK Stars better at something than rest of the teams?
I think most teams didn't have a specific style of play or a defined strategy in APEX S1, so individual mechanics were more important. At this point, that was a strong suit of BK Stars and after doing well in the group stage, the players got their spirits and confidence really high, and I think that was really important to BK Stars' good performance in APEX S1.
How much does having a super-star player on the team make a coach's job easier — for example, Fl0w3r? Do individuals like him really have as much of an impact as it seems from the outside, or is it still mostly about his team playing around him well?
Fl0w3r is a good player, there is no doubt about it. He is strong at both types of aiming, tracking and flicking, and also understands the game to a high degree. He can also play many heroes including Mei and Hanzo. If a team has a player like that, then the coach can devise many different strategies. So having a player like Fl0w3r makes a coach's job easier. However, I also think that no matter how good an individual is, his skills are useless if the teamwork is bad. So I do think that LW Blue's teamwork helps Fl0w3r shine even more.
How hard was it for BK Stars to keep its strong players in the post-season, when teams like Lunatic-Hai, AF Blue and KongDoo were trialing?
All our players are good, I think. Naturally, some players received offers by other teams, but they wanted to stick together. They have a strong relationship with each other so they didn't want to separate. Even now, the players say “Even if only one of us leaves the team, it will be the end of the team.”. The good relationship and trust between each other makes them stronger.
Going into the second season of APEX, some fans had high expectations of the team, but then you finished third in the group. What went wrong for BK Stars in APEX S2 from your perspective as a coach of the team?
I want the team to improve, but as I said in the previous question, my coaching style is all about teaching the players a fundamental understanding of the game, so this style’s effect takes time to manifest. I only joined BK Stars a week before APEX S2 started, so I didn't have have enough time to coach the squad. I think this is the reason why BK Stars left the tournament in the Ro16.
We lost our first match against Meta Athena, and even though they did a really good job, we could have done considerably better. Our DPS player, Carpe, was extremely nervous versus Meta Athena because it was his first match in an offline tournament. He couldn't play well like that and we lost.
The second match was against EnVyUs, who were the defending champion and play the three tank composition very well; they're the best in the world at it. When we won the third map versus them, Volskaya Industries, it seemed like we were going to reverse-sweep them, but Taimou had a really insane performance on Dorado. His Widowmaker destroyed us there. But at least we did well against MVP Infinity, so we ended the season on a high note.
As a coach, how do you work with players like Bunny and BERNAR who are excellent at one hero, but aren't as strong on the others? Is it hard to convince them to play heroes other than Tracer and Zarya?
I trust in Bunny’s Tracer and BERNAR's Zarya, so I always try to come up with different ways we can use them on those heroes most effectively, but at the same time a wide hero pool can make the team stronger. As the coach, if I tell them to practice other heroes, they have to listen; however, they don’t insist on playing Tracer and Zarya. By now, they have a good understanding of when they should change the hero and not stick to it. They also trust me when I tell them that they should play other heroes and don't insist on playing specific heroes.
The APEX S3 groups have been announced and you're in pretty much the same group, only difference being Rhinos Gaming Wings instead of MVP Infinity. How's yours and your team's confidence?
I think this is good opportunity for our team. We lost against Meta Athena and EnVyUs, so we can take revenge on them! We practice really hard and my coaching is starting to come into effect now. We had enough time to practice after the losses and now we are considerably stronger than we were in S2. We will do our best this season and many fans will see what's changed in our play. People will be surprised by our strong performances.
Would you like to make shoutouts to fans, sponsors and etc.?
First, thanks to all readers. Our team is practicing really hard so please support us and watch our games. We are still an amateur team and don't have a team house, salaries or any sponsors, so if anyone reading is interested, you can contact me about sponsoring BK Stars at email@example.com. We are willing to move to North America or Europe, if required.
Our team will show great games in APEX S3, so please watch them!
You can watch BK Stars play Meta Athena on Tuesday, May 2nd, 20:30 KST (time-zones converter) at twitch.tv/OGNglobal for the English language broadcast or twitch.tv/OGN_OW, should you prefer your Overwatch in Korean. You can follow Se-Hwi Go on twitter at @NamedHwi.
Photo credits: OGN
About the author: Hello readers, I go by the ID RadoN! My introduction to esports happened in 2009 and I’ve been following different titles within the industry ever since. Esports that I watch regularly are Overwatch, CS:GO, LoL, QL with the occasional SFV and DOTA2. If you wish to reach out, follow future content, or simply know more about my thoughts on esports, you can find me on twitter at @RadoNonfire.