Earth, Shattered — Interview with Pokpo of the Atlanta Reign

As a main tank, it’s a hard life. Trust me, I know.

Even with the GOATs meta allowing tanks their time to shine, the lack of dynamic play has bored a lot of viewers. For those who like GOATs, however, the common response is, “You just have to know what to look for.”

Atlanta Reign / Courtesy Overwatch League

For the Atlanta Reign, they seem to know what to look for; whether it be GOATs sprinkled with plays they learned from Reddit, or unleashing the beast that is Torbjorn. However, their loss against the recovering Los Angeles Gladiators gave the Reign pause and even had people thinking that maybe they weren’t as good as first believed.

The Reign have held their own overall; however, it wasn’t without the help of the their tank line, led by Park “Pokpo” Hyun-jun, a pickup from Element Mystic in Korean Contenders. I sat down with Pokpo and his translator Dongmin Jeong. Pokpo, who is much taller than I imagined and was somewhat understandably reserved at first due to the loss he sustained not twenty minutes earlier, held a posture that showed a feeling all too familiar to professional players: the weight of believing that you did not play at your best. As the interview went on, he seemed to remember that there is an entire season to improve–and become a formidable team in the league.

 

Let’s introduce yourself. Tell us about yourself as the main tank for the Atlanta Reign.

 

I’m from Gwanju, South Korea and I was picked up by Element Mystic in Korean Contenders [for] two seasons. After that, I participated in tryouts for Atlanta and got picked up with Daco for the Atlanta Reign. Hopefully, we can prove ourselves to be worthy of the Overwatch League.

 

So you guys are still 3-2, still a winning record, yet today’s game was difficult to swallow. What are your thoughts on today’s game? What have you learned you needed to improve on?

 

Basically, I didn’t play very well and I couldn’t communicate the way I wanted to in the game. And it might sound like an excuse, but I tried to play a different playstyle from what I was used to, so I felt like I couldn’t make plays. The enemy team, the Gladiators, had the initiative on us.

 

So coming off of that, what do you want to improve on?

 

I think that I should concentrate more in the game and on my gameplay, especially with comms. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I need to improve on, but specifically today, I made too many mistakes and I couldn’t get my calls through. I simply need to focus more on the game.

 

Like all of the expansion teams, being the new squads, there was a lot of speculation of how exactly well you guys were going to play, and yet now, you have one of the fastest growing communities, one of the more interesting playstyles, and certainly some of the most passionate players in Dafran and Dogman. How does it feel to prove people wrong?

 

So despite everyone rating us as a “slacking” team, in our first matches, we showed potential and we showed growth as a team. Moving forward, I’m really happy that people see us as as contenders for the playoffs and even the championship. I hope that we can keep giving it our all so that we can continue proving critics wrong and instead of it being a surprise that we are good, that people can actually live with the thought of “Atlanta is actually very good.”

 

On a more meta note, with the upcoming patches and the introduction of Baptiste to the hero pool, as a main tank in the age of GOATs, what are your thoughts given that these updates are apparently designed to end the current meta?

 

I’ve heard that there are people watching GOATs who are saying that it’s “resident sleeper” and that it’s boring. GOATS has been prevalent for about five competitive seasons now, even back when I was in Element Mystic, way back. I think it’s time to let it go. Like Sombra/Genji, Sombra/Tracer, Genji/Tracer, the same way that those comps transitioned into GOATs, I think that GOATs is going to transition into whatever meta. The most important thing at that point would be to get used to the new meta.

 

Do you ultimately believe that the end of GOATs would be beneficial or detrimental to the Atlanta Reign?

 

I can’t really say. Right now, we’re doing pretty well in GOATs, so we’re thinking positive. No one has just bothered to practice on the PTR. If we can adjust to it quickly, and figure out the new comps in the meta, then it will be good. If we can’t adapt and experience too much growing pains, it will be bad.

 

For Reinhardt play, being a main tank myself–

 

(laughs)

 

I know! I don’t seem like the type at all! I know I have a lot of fun with him, but like a lot of others in competitive, his Earthshatter ult is hard to use below professional level seeing as it can be easily countered, if not predicted now. How are you personally able to determine when to hammer down?

Photo Courtesy of Blizzard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a really hard question because it depends on the situation. If you play Reinhardt long enough, you just know. Usually when they go for an aggo D.Va bomb or push through with  Brigitte’s Rally, or moving so fast that they can’t help but ultimately hurt themselves, then that’s a good opportunity. Otherwise, if their Reinhardt is on top of the payload, you can shatter and the ultimate will go right through.

 

Given that your fanbase is growing, you even got a fan in me–

 

(Laughs, points out my barely hidden Los Angeles Valiant jersey)

 

I’m a sports nut! I like multiple teams! Anyway, is there anything you’d like your fans to look out for as we get further into the season?

 

I’m sorry we let you down today. We will do whatever we can to bounce back, fixing our gameplay, focusing on what we need to work on and we will come back even stronger. Thank you to our fans for cheering us on and we won’t let you down again.

The Atlanta Reign play against the Chengdu Hunters on Saturday, March 16th at 4:30 PDT and against the Houston Outlaws on Sunday, March 17th at 3:00pm PDT.

Brittany
Brittany "Briggsycakes" Gonzalez is a litta bitta switcha hitta Trinirican winna from Philly/New York who now resides in California as the Los Angeles Valiant's official hypewoman/meme victim. She can easily be bribed with apple pie and macaroni and cheese and thrives when writing about her own personal experiences regarding humanity's place in the esports/social media age. Don't @ her unprepared. Follow Briggsy on Twitter here.
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