By Joseph “Volamel” Franco
Special to VPEsports
Photo: Courtesy of Blizzard
For two years Caleb “McGravy” McGarvey has been grinding the Overwatch ladder for a chance to play Overwatch at the highest level. After an unfortunate series of events with his previous team, EnVision Esports, he’s returned playing under a familiar blue banner but now resides with the Dallas Fuel’s academy team, Team Envy. Consistently able to overcome adversity, McGravy has been a North American sweetheart since his breakout performance during Overwatch Contenders Season 1 of 2017. The North American hopeful spoke with VPEsports about his past team’s restriction on trialing with Overwatch League teams, his new year’s resolutions, and his upcoming playoff match against reigning Contenders Champion’s, Fusion University.
No matter the role and no matter the hero, you’ve been hell-bent on making the Overwatch League. Where do you think that drive comes from in your personal life?
I think I’ve always just been a passionate and competitive person since birth. I’ve played sports and esports alike and I’ve always wanted to be the best regardless of the game. But as I grew older and played sports I was always the smaller kid, but what I lacked in physical attributes I made up for in effort and I think that has translated directly into my Overwatch career.
Roughly within a few days, you’ll celebrate your two-anniversary of being signed to EnVision Esports. Obviously, you’re not with the team now, and we all know how things ended, but do you regret making that decision back in 2017? What were some of your favorite memories from your days with EnVision?
I’ve thought about that decision a lot and I don’t think I do regret it. It was necessary for me and others for financial stability, but it came at a price. We sort of ball and chained ourselves, while we had financial stability, we lacked the opportunities that other players had especially during the Season 1 Overwatch League tryouts. I know almost every single player on our team had been offered tryouts but we all had to turn them down because our owner said no.
But I still don’t regret signing, Sub was very generous and I definitely would not be where I am today if I wasn’t apart of the first season of Overwatch Contenders. I think my favorite memory with Envision was when Sub flew us up to Dreamhack Montreal and we played both in that tournament and had our match versus Kungarna. We ended up 4-0ing Kungarna to secure playoffs and we got 1st in the Dreamhack tournament as well and we went out and celebrated. For sure one of the most memorable weekends of my life.
Looking ahead, you’ve got quite the opponent standing before you in the North American Overwatch Contenders playoffs. Your team, Envy, has drawn Fusion University. Now I don’t intend to pry, but what kind of practice measures are you guys taking for them? What’s changing, if anything, behind the scenes for Envy as you guys approach the playoffs?
I personally don’t think anything needs to change, even though our record stands at 2-3, we 100% know we are capable of matching up versus Fusion University. Not much has changed meta-wise, so we just need to continue and drill our fundamentals and stay confident. If we keep playing the way we have the past 2-3 weeks, it’ll be a really fun match to play and watch.
Let’s talk support staff because you’ve got two very interesting cases with you in relation to them. With Chu, you’ve seemingly been with him forever. What are some of the things that Chu brings to your team?
I think Chu has really grown as a coach, he started with us an assistant coach with Packing10. We did that for a while and he’s seen us grow and we saw him grow as well. He got his first big shot to be head coach for us at APAC and even though we did not perform well I think everyone that was still on the team knew he could have stayed as head coach and we would have been happy with that.
I would say one of the biggest things Chu brings to this team is consistency, he’s really there in practice and making sure we aren’t slacking or goofing around. He’s really the backbone to this team as much as we torture him sometimes. Overall Team Envy would not feel like Team Envy if Chu wasn’t coaching it.
Now compare that with a former player like Talespin who recently moved into a coaching role. I can only imagine that both of them serve different goals for the team, but it’s an interesting dichotomy that not many academy teams have. As a former player, what kind of insight does Talespin bring to the team?
I think originally we picked up Talespin last season because we knew he was experienced and smart and although his mechanics weren’t up to par we still had a really good season with him. We got to keep the best parts about Tale and now he gets to help out the other players as well. I would say having a former player as a coach isn’t almost crucial because a lot of the coaches don’t understand the ins and out of what a player is feeling or thinking. He also does a really good job challenging that status quo and making sure we are thinking outside the box.
I wanted to pick your brains on the thought process on your match with Second Wind and your Winston pick on Lijiang Tower. We’ve seen that be utilized more and more in Overwatch Contenders, could you walk me through exactly what the idea is behind putting Winston as an off-tank?
Sure, with how the meta has evolved it’s almost purely been GOATS. Nearly every team has given up on trying counter composition, so that leaves windows to slightly adjust the composition to maximize it in a mirror matchup.
So, how it’s supposed to work vs GOATs is when the Winston either jumps or walks into the middle of the enemy team, his bubble timing is supposed to be your engage window and it blocks off heals. Winston also has insanely high cleave potential when you are zapping 6 players at once which leads to quick Primal Rages and that ult is super good for displacing teams. Overall it’s very map dependent and player dependent. I wouldn’t say it’s something you are going to see regularly. It’s very good at catching opponents off guard and helps teams to snowball maps.
Player fatigue has been a major issue since the end of the first season of the Overwatch League and it’s not something that only league players face. As a member of an Academy team, do you face this kind of stressors as well?
100% I do. We talked about this earlier but I’m coming up on my two-year anniversary of being a signed player. That means for two straight years I’ve been playing Overwatch almost every day. I would say my biggest mistake was forcing myself to care about ranked queue. Playing ranked and keeping your mechanics fresh is almost essential but putting forth effort into grinding high SR and ensuring wins isn’t mandatory because the system is so flawed at the moment. I would constantly find myself more frustrated at the end of a night of ranked then at the end of a hard day of scrims.
Last but not least, 2019 is going to be a big year for esports. Obviously making the Overwatch League is priority number one, but what are some of your other goals for the new year?
Some of my other goals are to build my brand as an individual and make more content. I also would like to continue to prove that I’m one of the most dominant and consistent off-tanks in Contenders North America. I’ve been playing professionally for almost two years now and every meta I’ve been a force and relevant and I want to keep that up. As always my big team goal is to win a season of Contenders, Fusion University has always been in our way and we are very confident in being the first team to take them down and take the title.