Young-seo “KariV” Park and his team at LA Valiant had just lost against the Vancouver Titans, 1-3. It is a rough start to the league for the local team and, like many other professional players, KariV viewed the loss as an opportunity to study his own play an identify a weakness.
And, while his Zarya play may or may not need improving, there is one skill outside of the game that has undeniably improved since last season: his English speaking ability. Normally reliant on Korean translators, when realized none were available to help us chat, we almost scrapped the interviewed. However, KariV was up to the challenge of speaking with us fully in English and, if he was game, then so were we.
When we finished the interview, KariV left happier than when he walked in — a victory in the everyday language battle of a South Korean living in Los Angeles.
I’ve interviewed a lot of teams and players that lost on stage and it always feels bad. How do you personally come back mentally after a loss?
When I lose, I watch my last game and note what I can fix. Then, I try to fix my play and always focus on that.
What was wrong about your play?
My Grav timing was wrong and that is it. Sometimes, my grav is bad, so that’s the first thing that came into my mind. I need to focus my mind on that. Also, teamwork.
Who in your team put their best effort on stage?
KuKi because he changed positions from tank to support. He also carries responsibilities like setting up team fights, being a team leader, and a shot caller.
When you execute a bad Graviton Surge, what do you think about?
At the time, I forget about it, listen to my teammates, and just focus on my target. I would forget about it. Then after, I would go back and review it.
How do you prepare for the next game and what do you do to improve executing a Grav?
Before I use Grav, I have to be aware of my opponent’s D.Va because their D.Va will always be looking at me. So what I need to do is relax and find D.Va.
NYXL’s Tae-hong “MekO” Kim is a good D.Va player. Why is he so good? For example, what does he do to distract you from the way you play?
Meko’s D.Va bomb is very good. He’s very good at farming for the ult and positions very well. Things that he does differently than other D.Va’s in the league is being aggressive, knowing when to use Defense Matrix, and where he can position himself.
Who on your team do you have the most synergy with?
Agilities — he is my best friend and he is my roommate. We give each other feedback together and he is Brigitte. Since he’s Brigitte, we have to focus on each other in the game.
How did you and Agilities get along so well?
We are on the same team! Since we are roommates, we talk together, and we eat together sometimes. That is why we get along so well.
We want to know more about your friendship with Agilities. What do you two talk about besides Overwatch?
Agilities and I have a cat together named Grim. When I left LA during the offseason, Agilities wanted a cat, but I didn’t want one.
Are you now happy that Agilities got the cat?
Yes, I like the cat. I like animals as a matter of fact. It’s made me happier.
How long have you been learning English?
It was about a year or a year and a half ago. I first started when I was in Korea.
Has Agilities helped you with your English?
He is my roommate so he helps a lot. When I talk to a girl, I have to say she, but I always say he. Then, Agilities is quick to correct me and he always says “SHE!”. I say HIM and he says, “No! HER!”.
What kind of things has Agilities taught you in regards to English?
He taught me the word ‘addict’ because I am always playing this mobile game to help me relax.
A lot of your fans and the Valiant fans are going to read this. What do you want to say to those fans?
Don’t give up, my friends. We will get better.