Philadelphia Fusion tank player Gael “Poko” Gouzerch has made a name for himself playing D.Va in the Overwatch League—something that’s not easy to do. Fanfare and glory often goes to a team’s DPS players for getting huge numbers of kills and landing hard-to-hit shots. D.Va is not a particularly flashy hero. Sure, she’s got her Self-Destruct, but it’s not often that we see the ultimate making a huge difference with regard to kills.
It’s used more in professional play as a zoning tool to push enemy players out of the way. Professional players know where to hide when they see a D.Va bomb heading their way—and that’s what they do.
But Poko is redefining the way that D.Va is played, especially with regard to her ultimate ability. Across his Overwatch League career—which is just going on to its third week, mind you—Poko has consistently landed Self-Destruct’s that catch enemies off-guard and pick up multiple kills. So how does he do it? Lots and lots of practice, Poko told Dot Esports.
“The map pool of the Overwatch League is only eight maps per stage, so before the stage I spent many hours in custom games on each map figuring out what the best spots are,” Poko said. “I spend two to three hours a day in custom games to master each ultimate to perfection on all maps before training with my team.”
With this practice, he’s memorized the distance that D.Va’s booster ability can reach, making it natural for Poko to be able to visualize where the D.Va Self-Destruct will land. His enemies are often caught off-guard by the D.Va bomb, which Poko said forces them to make a quick decision: “Should I advance and take the risk of being flanked by the opposing team? Or should I back down and die of the D.Va bomb?”
Poko said it’s a difficult decision to make within the span of less than a second before the D.Va bomb lands, especially in a place as competitive as the Overwatch League. One single error affects the whole team’s chance of winning—and that puts on the pressure.
Practicing your positioning on Overwatch’s maps would be useless without considering the enemy team and your own team, Poko added. “Coordinating with my teammates and accounting for enemy cool downs is also important,” he said. “You cannot simply memorize places to launch the mech from. You also need to constantly recalculate your options based on the other team’s resources.”
But for new players, training in custom games and in Quick Play are two good places to start. “Train, train, and train again,” Poko said. “At first it will be difficult but do not be discouraged to not find the perfect spot or the right timing. It’s going to take some time.”
Change your positioning or timing by small increments—those make all the difference in a game like Overwatch. Continuing to practice in this way is near guaranteed to make an impact on your D.Va bomb placements. Time has been a big factor in Poko’s success. After all, he’s been playing tanks since Overwatch’s beginning, though he started off playing Zarya and Roadhog. But it was when D.Va’s Defense Matrix got buffed and dive composition dominated that he took up the South Korean hero. He found her boring for a while, as teams relied heavily on the D.Va player staying back and protecting the team with the Defense Matrix.
“And then Blizzard put out the patch that nerfed the Defense Matrix to 50 percent, but, in return, she received Micro Missiles,” Poko said. “Everyone thought that D.Va was going to disappear [because of the Defense Matrix nerf] but I was convinced otherwise.”
The way Poko plays D.Va remains unmatched in the Overwatch League. Philadelphia Fusion’s next match is scheduled for Jan. 25 at 7pm ET against New York Excelsior. They’ll play Shanghai Dragons on Jan. 26 at 9pm ET, too. If there’s anything we’re certain about, it’s that there will be plenty more D.Va bombs from Philly’s star D.Va player.