Team Japan are the wildcard of Group D. Compared to the rest of their group little is known about these Beasts from the East, in large part due to the near-impenetrable nature of the Japanese scene for outsiders. All we can say for sure is that they definitely have their work cut out for them, going up against an all-star group that features world-class talent that has represented teams such as EnVyUs, Rest in Pyjamas, Dignitas and Selfless.

Even Vietnam are being represented by full club team, the battle-hardened CyzoneVN. Perhaps the shroud cloaking the Japanese scene is their greatest advantage in this group of sharks. The rest of the world have been left to wonder what exactly this band of rōnin are capable of, and in roughly 13 hours they will find out the hard way. Will they manage to cause an upset in the rankings or are they destined to finish last? To learn more about Team Japan, we caught up with their DPS star, ta1yo:

In general Western fans don’t know much about Japanese Overwatch, can you give us a rundown of the scene?

ta1yo: First off, I feel like the reason the Japanese scene is so low-key is because we have restrictions set by the government on how large the prize pool can be. We have a tournament every three weeks or so, but they are all small prize pool tournaments. We really need something big to get people hyped to watch the Japanese scene. It worked for the Overwatch Pacific Championships right? The Japanese scene has a lot of talent, there is a lot of individual skill. We could showcase some real good Overwatch!

Could you give us a quick synopsis on Team Japan, a who’s-who?

t: Sure, sure. You have Aktm and myself on DPS. We’re both from USG Iridata. Our teammate CLAIRE is on Support alongside RPG-Kingdom’s yoz. Then we have Jasper and deartn from our old sister team Libalent Supreme on Flex and Main Tank respectively.

How have you guys been preparing for the big event?

t: Honestly, we haven’t been scrimming that much, maybe a few hours a week. We have all been quite busy with work, school and our own teams. We’re in Sydney now though, a scrim (or ten) a day keeps the doctor away.

How do you think you will fair against the other teams in the group?

t: Haha I am worried! They are all teams with such great players. I could go on for a while about which players I’m worried about, but what I’m really worried about is how great their synergy will be, especially Vietnam, they’re a full team. Scary.

Would it be correct to assume you’re just as worried of Finland and Spain?

t: Well, when you’re going up against some of the world’s best players you’ll always be worried no matter where they’re from, but I feel like we’re still going to put up a great fight against them. No doubt!

The Team Japan roster is:

  • "Aktm" (DPS)
  • "ta1yo" (DPS)
  • "deartn" (Tank)
  • "Jasper" (Flex)
  • "yoz" (Support)
  • "CLAIRE" (Support)

Big thanks to Nosferatvs for his contribution of questions for the interview.