Nerf This!: Interviewing Hyo-bin “Choihyobin” Choi of the San Francisco Shock

There was a time, long ago, when D.Va was unstoppable. She was overpowered, nigh unkillable, and was the favorite go-to flex tank for tank mains like myself. She was an almost universal pick in both quick play and competitive matches. As they say though, all good things come to an end, as she was nerfed a bit over the next couple of patches.

However, that didn’t stop her from being one of the most versatile characters in the game and for talented players to utilize her for some extremely dynamic gameplay. One of those players is Hyo-bin “Choihyobin” Choi, the star D.Va player of the San Francisco Shock, whose precision-like D.Va play along with his polished ultimate usage have secured wins for one of the strongest teams in the League. I sat down with him after their sweep over the Los Angeles Valiant and started by saying the only thing I could think of after a win like that.

Okay, so you guys are terrifying.

(laughs)

I remember telling your teammate Super the same thing, that after California Cup last year, that you guys are going to be dangerous. Turns out you really are. So I’m gonna ask a spicy question.

Bring it.

Given that you were going against the Valiant, who is having a bit of a time this season so far, what did you do to prepare for this match?

We didn’t take into account that they were 0-7, as we still wanted to respect them, so we just did the same thing we always did: try to predict what they were going to run and prepare according to that situation.

Absolutely. They still have excellent players and aren’t done yet.

Exactly.

In stage one, you guys played the longest game in Overwatch League history, but unfortunately, you did not succeed in taking the title. What did you learn from that match that propels you to really take it to the next level in stage two?

It was really my first time that I played in a match for that long. I felt very fatigued, even though I’m not doing much physical activity. It was just a very big strain on me and the rest of the team. But it was also a really good experience for me. The thing that I learned the most was that I really need to keep my mental and physical condition in top shape.

Is there anything you’re doing now in order to reach that goal?

I go to bed a bit earlier in order to get more sleep and I’m also doing a little more physical activity.

Oh, that’s good. Any particular activity that you prefer?

I’ve been running these days, but I really like to play basketball.

I’m trying to learn myself, I’m so bad at it. I’m notorious for traveling. Speaking of which, you guys have been going nowhere but up since the second half of last season. How were you able to transition from being an average team to a rather dominating one?

In the beginning, we couldn’t really find our ground because we were experimenting with a lot of rosters; but after that, we were able to find the best starting six for this current meta, which is a major reason why we [have been] able to find success.

With this current meta, what I’ve noticed and enjoyed is that no one knows what the hell this meta is. It’s kind of GOATs, but not, as we are seeing different teams try other compositions. Do you still consider this a GOATs meta despite many teams’ efforts to kill it?

It’s kind of like you said; there isn’t one set meta right now. It’s more as if a team brings GOATs, then we’re obviously going to mirror that. If a team goes DPS, then then we do the same. It’s kind of hard to tell; it’s very reliant on the variables that are given in each match.

I imagine that’s a nice breath of fresh air for you, though.

I’m not too sure. I’m not sure if the general audience likes seeing what they’re seeing right now; I’m sort of indifferent about the whole thing.

What attracted you to focus on playing as a tank in the first place?

At first, I was a main tank, back in competitive season three. But that was also when D.Va was really OP. Once I saw how OP she was, I was like, “Oh, wow, this is a hero that I’d want to play.” And ever since then, I became a D.Va main.

Same. Those were good times. I put almost 200 hours on her.

Exactly. (laughs)

If there was a player, teammate or not, that you’d 1v1 right now, who would you choose, which hero, and why?

I’d pick Tracer, and I’d want to go against JJanu from the Vancouver Titans for a little revenge.

Tracer – Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Exactly! Revenge. But again, speaking about Vancouver and New York Excelsior being such dominating teams, it doesn’t seem to intimidate you that much. Do you think you could take the crown of being the best Overwatch team in the league?

Oh, yeah. Definitely.

Living in America and being a professional gamer, was this something you always wanted to do?

I feel very fortunate to be here, because I would have never have imagined this. I got started by being top ten in the competitive rankings in my region with Roadhog. Once I realized I was really good, I knew I had a shot at becoming a professional.

Did you plan on having a different career?

I was going to school at the time, I would have just graduated and did my mandatory military service. And then probably work at some sort of company.

Now that we’re into stage two, which team so far has shocked you in either a good or bad way?

I think Shanghai is playing well way under the radar. They experiment a lot with their roster as well. One time we scrimmed against them and they did extremely well. That was the one time where a team actually “wowed” me personally.

Your fanbase has been growing and has been very loyal and even took over the arena today. What would you like your fans to expect going forward?

I want to tell the fans that we are a stronger team this season and want to show them that we can go 7-0 this stage.

Can’t wait to see it. Thank you so much!

Thank you!

Choihyobin and the San Francisco Shock take on the Guangzhou Charge next at 1030 PM est tonight (Sat April 12). Watch them on Twitch, the Overwatch App, or the ESPN app.

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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