Overwatch has come a long way in the world of esports since its release. A growing player base and a Blizzard esports team committed to a grand vision have helped the game to thrive. This past week 7 franchises were revealed for the upcoming Overwatch League, turning Blizzard's private plans into a public reality and taking a significant step forward for esports.
The huge potential of the Overwatch League has been the carrot on the stick for a hungry NA scene and as a result many teams have been making moves in the hope of taking their squad to the next level. Team Liquid added flex player Fury, Immortals imported Korean talent in KariV and Fate, FNRGFE refocused their previously scattered talents, and during this same period we saw Counter Logic Gaming bring in silkthread on the DPS role.
Prior to this CLG had already upgraded their flex support slot, bringing in Shake for The, but after making it through the Contenders NA Season Zero Open Qualifier 2 they decided to replace waffletastic with silkthread for the group stages. Although they failed to make it out of groups, CLG were impressed enough to offer silkthread a spot on the roster.
Historically known for stomping the competitive leaderboards, placing top three on the North American server for mutliple straight seasons, silkthread would gain notoriety after he rang for teams such as You Guys Get Paid? and Denial Esports (now ARC 6) where he delivered consistently solid performances. However, he was reluctant to commit due to his studies despite being a soughtafter talent. He reappeared again later, this time with CLG, and had accepted their offer to join following the aforementioned Contenders run.
Now it has emerged that even with the Overwatch scene starting to bloom, silkthread has decided against a career in professional esports. We caught up with him to ask a few questions:
Silk! Thank you for doing this! Can we start with your full name and a brief introduction about you?
s: Yea sure! I'm Ted Wang and I'm an 18 year old recent high school graduate. I was raised in a pretty traditional Chinese household and have been held pretty high standards for success. I graduated rank 10 out of 787 students in my high school and I guess that's partly why my parents are so supportive of me continuing school rather than following a path of gaming and esports despite its novelty.
So not too long ago you trialed for CLG, that went well as you had solid performances at the BEAT invitational, what caused the backtrack in that decision to join/trial for CLG?
s: So basically I feel that the mental stress and energy needed for tournaments on myself personally was way too taxing for me. That, combined with other factors such as the effort needed to consistently scrim 4-6 hours a day made me come to the decision that I don't think I could genuinely enjoy professional gaming as a path for me. Not only that, but I had started to feel as if playing the game became a chore instead of a medium for enjoyment so I decided to take a step back and just focus on the university path ahead of me.
So what's next? University?
s: Yup, I'll be attending UT Austin this fall semester and will be majoring in Biology.
Well done! Any parting words for CLG?
s: Absolutely. It was an amazing and extremely helpful learning experience playing with them for the past couple weeks. Each person on the team was fantastic in their own way and it pains me to have to leave them but I think ultimately that's what's best for me. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to try out the scene with and I'm definitely glad I tried because I think it's better to try and find out it's not for you than to regret never trying. A big thank you and shoutout to each and every person on CLG for always having a special place in my heart and giving me this opportunity.
You have always done really well in the competitive ladder, but more importantly you had consistent showing while ringing in for teams in the pro scene - this meant more than a few teams were interested in having you play for them - why choose CLG? Was it friends like Hydration?
s: Mmm, it's true that I was (and still am) good friends with Hydration but that definitely didn't play a large part in my decision to trial for CLG. I think it was mainly the potential I saw in the team as well as how well structured the org itself was. It looked like a great opportunity and so I decided to take it.
What are your thoughts on Contenders and the Overwatch League?
s: Well, my thoughts on OWL is that I think it's definitely exciting and awesome even coming from a person who most likely won't be participating in it. I think it's a great step for the future of esports in general and hope that it succeeds as much as I desire it to. Obviously, many orgs have been dropping/leaving the OW scene recently so it's hard to view the scene going in a positive direction at the moment but I really hope the OWL fixes that. Regarding the recent announcements for OWL, it's just so great for me personally to see this fantasy-like thoughts of an official league for Overwatch slowly turn into a reality.
What do you think about the current state of the NA scene? How do you feel about the recent influx of Korean talent?
s: Hmm, I think it's a great way to force the NA scene to "step up" and start to take the game more seriously. It's definitely an improvement and healthy way to liven up the competition and as a spectator to the scene now, it brings in more excitement that teams can now compete with the top top of the NA scene which was pretty much an uncontested title before.
The Counter Logic Gaming roster is now:
- Joao Pedro "Hydration" Goes Telles (DPS)
- Nathan "Miso" Lui (Flex)
- Bryan "iShiny" McCarthy (Tank)
- Jake "Shake" Kaplan (Support)
- Daniel "Mikado" Yamilkoski (Support)