One of the most interesting and exciting additions to the North American Overwatch Contenders scene for this season is Japanese player Sean Taiyo "ta1yo" Henderson. His addition to Third Impact ahead of the Contenders seeding tournament set to begin on January 11th to set the stage for the rest of the season. Now, this isn’t the first time he’s tried to travel abroad to continue his career, last year ta1yo was reportedly set to join GGEA, Houston Outlaw’s academy team, before the brand’s financial woes. With a solid track record in the pacific region and a resume that dates back to early 2017, ta1yo is chomping at the bit to help take Third Impact to their first Contenders title. Esports Heaven spoke with ta1yo about how he landed with Third Impact, how his view on the game as evolved over his career, and he shares his views on the state of Overwatch Contenders.Could you walk me through why or perhaps how you landed with Third Impact? What drew you to the team?Well, I was offered a spot in tryouts, and Jupiter was splitting up. I really wasn't looking to compete anymore but I still had the urge to compete. The tryouts were really long and the players were carefully picked. That is one of the reasons why I believe this team has high potential. What are some of your personal goals and aspirations finally landing in North America? You’ve been in the Overwatch community for some time, is there anyone you’ve been itching to play against?I really just want to win this season of Contenders and get a chance to play in the Overwatch League. I actually don’t know many people in the Contenders NA scene but I really just want to prove myself as a player.Related:Ta1yo on sustainability: “I just love the game from the bottom of my heart […] Even if I go homeless, I probably will somehow find a way to compete in Overwatch!”Last we spoke, you had mentioned that you loved the game with all your heart and even if you went homeless, you’d still find a way to compete in Overwatch. How has that feeling changed in just a little over a year? Do you still have that same love and drive for the game?My love for the game has not changed much, but honestly speaking my drive to compete has deteriorated a little bit because of how slow patches have been. Seems like nothing is ever new. However, with that said, I am really motivated for this season of Contenders. I really just want to win.In that same interview last year, you spoke about your mindset shifting from results based to more of a growth-based mindset. Could you talk a little about how that change happened? How was your mindset changed since then?I was a really toxic player back in the day, only wanting to win. That gave me a lot of willpower to grind, but it definitely affected my teammates negatively. Seeing my teammates break down at LAN gave me the epiphany of how my mindset was very toxic. Thus the change in mindset. My mindset as of now has become even more team-based. Overwatch is too much of a team-based game to have an ego. You’ve had your fair share of LAN experiences with your repeat World Cup showings and other events and they sound like they’ve had a profound impact on you. Would you agree with that and could you share how they’ve impacted you?Big overseas LAN tournaments just give me a lot of motivation to grind. For example, the Overwatch World Cup this year was able to rejuvenate the light to compete in me, seeing a bunch of Overwatch League players and stuff. Does the state of Overwatch Contenders concern you in any way, shape, or form? Do you have any ideas or thoughts on how best to fix those problems?I feel as if this new upcoming season of Contenders will be hard on the players, but more games will be cool to watch. I honestly don't have any clue on how to run tournaments, but Contenders as of now is nowhere near sustainable, so I hope that in the near future there would be better infrastructure for the tier 2 scene.What are your thoughts about tournaments like Breakable Barriers? Do you think a return to grassroots events could be interesting for both the professional players and the community?I feel as if grassroots events involve the community more. Streamer teams and people streaming their games are very healthy and is more interactive than the “professional” theme that Contenders has but I still think contenders should function as it has been.I hinted at this earlier, but you’ve been grinding away at this game since late 2016. Across the years, what would you say has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned? No matter how good and great you think you can be, nothing can beat multiple people working together. Overwatch has taught me so much about human interaction as well. I learned how to understand people and how they like to be treated, and being able to convey ideas to them, in a way that won't aggravate the said person.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.
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