Inside OWL’s 2019 MVP: Sinatraa

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Jay “Sinatraa” Won recently cemented his position as the best Overwatch has to offer, taking home the Overwatch League Championship title with the San Francisco Shock. Not only did he snag first place, but Sinatraa also received the 2019 T-Mobile OWL MVP Award for his phenomenal performance throughout the season.

At only 19 years of age, Jay Won has achieved what most others can only dream about.

Solo queue superstar

Sinatraa’s grind to the top began in Overwatch’s first ranked season. At this point the game did not have a fleshed-out meta, much less a thriving esports scene. The introduction of ranked and an ELO system brought out the competitive spirits of players and created an absolutely addicting experience.

Sinatraa was one of these passionate players, investing large amounts of time refining his gameplay. By the end of Season 1, Sinatraa logged over 100 hours of gameplay. During this time Won dominated the leader boards, quickly making a name for himself as one of the game’s premier solo queuers.

Sinatraa sported an aggressive personality and an equally aggressive playstyle to match it. Early on he was disliked by peers and was perceived as “toxic” for trash talking other players. Opinions of Won quickly started to change when players realized he could back up his words with action. Far outclassing his peers, Sinatraa displayed exceptional mechanics on every DPS hero, most notably Tracer.

He took the hero to its absolute limits, showcasing incredible feats of tracking and aggression. Footage of his game play became a stark example to the esports industry that Overwatch did indeed have an exciting skill ceiling to be attained. Sinatraa eventually topped the ladder in Season 3, peaking at №1 with an insane 4873 Skill Rating (SR).

Popping off on the big screen

Following the 2016 World Cup, the hype around Overwatch as an esport was steadily building. Looking to make his first real competitive debut, Sinatraa signed to Selfless Gaming, alongside other popular teammates Daniel “dafran” Francesca and Jeff “emongg” Anderson. The team quickly proved themselves a top competitor, finding success in community tournaments using a strategy dubbed the “Selfless Comp”.

This composition utilized heroes that allowed the players to use sheer mechanical prowess to overpower opponents, a perfect fit for Sinatraa. Despite the success of their composition, Sinatraa never won a single tournament with Selfless. Though they lost, their matches allowed Won to publicly showcase his skills. He was quickly recognized as a top NA DPS and managed to be voted into the 2017 Overwatch World Cup for Team USA.

The World Cup was huge for an aspiring Overwatch pro, it was the only time pros can compete against all three main Overwatch regions at once. Despite the pressure to perform and represent his country, Sinatraa stuck to his aggressive high-risk playstyle. Famously spamming the “Hiya” Tracer voice line, he took cheeky duels with enemy DPS and quickly dispatched them in front of thousands of viewers.

The United States found immediate success with Sinatraa on the roster and crushed the qualifiers. Unfortunately, Sinatraa’s World Cup run would be short-lived. Round one pitted the US against South Korea. During the match Sinatraa surpassed all expectations, carrying the US hard. At one point he even managed to solo spawn camp his Korean competition.

Won’s performance single-handedly allowed the US to take two maps from the eventual tournament winners before ultimately losing the series. Despite his early knockout, his performance convinced many people that he was the best Tracer in the tournament.

A shocking signing

Scouts for the newly formed Overwatch League were in a frenzy to pick up new talent. Following his World Cup results, Sinatraa found himself at the center of it all. Won’s contract negotiations culminated in an all-out bidding war. Making Overwatch history yet again, he eventually signed with the San Francisco Shock for an unprecedented $150,000 starting salary. The only drawback was that due to his status as a minor, Sinatraa had to wait until he was 18 to play, as per OWL rules.

SFS bombed the first stage of the Inaugural OWL season. Shock fans remained hyped, hoping the debut of their star DPS player would turn their season around. Unfortunately, when his time finally came, Sinatraa struggled. Joining mid-season didn’t allow for very much chemistry and his individual gameplay looked extremely shaky. The Shock ended their season in a disappointing 9th place.

Looking forward, SFS spent the next offseason carefully planning a comeback. Coaching staff for the team worked with Sinatraa to reinvent himself as a player for OWL’s Season 2. Marking him as their star player, the Shock signed other aggressive players such as Matthew “super” DeLis and Minho “Architect” Park to provide support and create an environment where Sinatraa could shine.

The Shock’s efforts bore fruit this season as the meta shifted away from dive in favor of the tank-heavy GOATs composition. Adopting the Zarya role for his team, Sinatraa was able to take over in-game leadership for his team. All the changes proved worth, and the Shock won their way to a second-place finish in Stage 1.

They displayed an extremely proactive version of GOATs with Sinatraa’s sharp mechanics and quick thinking leading the charge. SFS went on to dominate the entire season, only finding consistent competition in the Vancouver Titans, who they eventually took down in Grand Finals.

OWL’s completion will only serve as a short respite for Sinatraa. Expect to see him stealing the spotlight again in November as a starting DPS for the 2019 Overwatch World Cup USA team.

Written by Jash Rai

Originally published at www.esportznetwork.com on October 4, 2019.

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