LA Valiant Agilities & LA Gladiators Bischu on collegiate Overwatch and the current meta


by | Feb 3, 2018, 2:38AM PDT

Thank you to Nick D’Orazio for helping us get an interview with Agilities! Thank you to LA Gladiators for hosting college night!


Agilities

What do you think of the Junkrat and Mercy changes?

I am very happy about it. The game is just going to be much more enjoyable for everyone. Even on the first day when the patch came out, I was enjoying watching and enjoying playing the game more. I feel like Junkrat may need a bigger nerf than that because he’s still very powerful. Maybe a little too powerful. His tire is crazy.

How do you think the meta will develop? Do you see any other characters becoming stronger due to these changes?

I think more supports will become stronger. I think Moira and Ana will be played more. The main comps that I’ve run into right now are quad tank because Lucio and Moira just go in with the tanks. Speed boost in and Moira heals all of the tanks at once.

Thoughts on collegiate Overwatch teams?

I think there’s a place for it. Those players that aren’t in the Overwatch League, like from that [collegiate] to the Overwatch League is a really big step. I think it’s a good idea. It gives Blizzard a lot of publicity. It gets viewers from the colleges.

Advice/ tips for players looking to go pro after collegiate?

You can’t get too down on yourself if you’re not making it. You have to put in 100% effort and play every chance you get. If you put in the practice and review your own mistakes, using Overwatch as an example, if you record your own POV and watch it later, you can see what you’re doing wrong and then you could try to fix those mistakes. That will probably help more than just playing the game. I feel that if you watch your own gameplay, it’s the easiest way to improve.

If you’re really good at the game and you have 100% confidence that you can make it, then it’s probably better to focus on the gaming side. If you’re not confident in yourself, then you need to balance it and have a backup plan. If you don’t make it in esports and drop out of college, then you’re kind of screwed. The best way to do it is to have smart practice so that when you get the chance to play, you’re getting the most out of it.

LA Gladiators is hosting a college night/ meet and greet. Fans get the opportunity to play Connect 4 against Surefour. Do you think that you could beat him in Connect 4?

I don’t know, I used to be pretty good at Connect 4. I can challenge him.

LA Valiant viewing party at UCI?

I would like join them and be at one in the future. I think it’d be cool.

Shoutouts

Thank you to the fans, thanks for supporting us and we’ll hope to do good in the future as well.

Bischu

What do you think of the Junkrat and Mercy changes?

I’m pretty happy with the changes. A lot of the times the kills kind of felt robbed. You make a sick pick and then it doesn’t even matter anymore because res is up. It kind of rewarded you for playing aggressively, being unsafe, and having bad positioning. I’m happy to see Mercy go for sure. I think Junkrat is still a little bit too strong in my opinion but I’m still happy with the changes. People might not think that it’s a big change, but Junkrat not being able to 2-shot you with “skill” isn’t really a thing anymore. It was crazy. You could miss your shots and still be relevant.

Do you think they will still be viable characters to play?

Junkrat will still be viable.

How do you think the meta will develop? Do you see any other characters becoming stronger due to these changes?

I think the meta will shift to tank meta where teams will run at least three tanks. I think that Moira and Lucio will get a lot more play time. People don’t know how much AoE healing that is. When you guys are all clumped, the tanks can’t die. It’s crazy. There’s so much healing. If people remember back when Ana came out, it was all about building ults fast. It’s similar with Moira. I think she’s going to need a bit of an ult nerf. She’s getting it way too fast. It feels like season 3 Ana where you tell your team to just take hits and build ults.

If there were a need for a significant patch change in the future, do you think that they’d implement the patch immediately or after a stage?

If something was incredibly broken, I feel like they would hotfix it. As long as it’s not game breaking, I don’t think they’d patch in the middle of a stage.

General thoughts on collegiate Overwatch teams?

I think collegiate Overwatch being there is really good. I was on a collegiate team myself back when I used to play League of Legends. It’s a little bit weird though because if you look at traditional sports, people go from college sports into the professional scene. In esports, the transition from the collegiate scene to the pro scene isn’t really there. You don’t really hear about great college players going into professional esports. I’m a little disappointed that the transition isn’t as smooth but I feel like in the future especially with the Overwatch League being so well made and produced, I feel that it’s set a good future for aspiring talent out there

UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and University of Toronto are in the Fiesta Bowl Overwatch Collegiate Championship. Who are you rooting for?

I gotta root for my boys from San Diego!

[Bischu smiles and laughs]

Advice/ tips for players looking to go pro after collegiate?

It’s really up to them. I was only going to college for a year and I saw a good opportunity and took it. It’s not as scary as it seems. If anyone puts in the effort and remembers that they’re doing it for themselves, they can do it. I forget it sometimes too. I just play and then I get complacent and then I stop practicing and stop watching vods. Every day someone else is doing all of that. As long as you put in the effort anyone can do it, and don’t be too scared.

So you guys are hosting a college night and meet and greet today at the Guildhall. Do you think you could beat Surefour at Connect 4?

I don’t know. He’s pretty big brain so we’ll see. I’m pretty confident too, but Surefour is definitely the main boss here.

Any advice for climbing solo queue?

Play D.Va.

[Bischu laughs]

Shoutouts

To my family who supported me through all of this. I’m happy that they’re happy with where I am. I was stressed out and they were just as stressed out. I’m really happy with how everything turned out and they still support me. Big shoutouts to the fans. None this would’ve been possible without the fans. We would just be here (College Night at Guidhall in LA) in an empty bar.


Thank you so much to Agilities and Bischu for their time and good luck on their future matches. Follow their teams LA Valiant and LA Gladiators. Player photos taken by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment. College Night photos taken by Oshin Tudayan.

LA Valiant Agilities & LA Gladiators Bischu on collegiate Overwatch and the current meta


by | Feb 3, 2018, 2:38AM PDT

Thank you to Nick D’Orazio for helping us get an interview with Agilities! Thank you to LA Gladiators for hosting college night!


Agilities

What do you think of the Junkrat and Mercy changes?

I am very happy about it. The game is just going to be much more enjoyable for everyone. Even on the first day when the patch came out, I was enjoying watching and enjoying playing the game more. I feel like Junkrat may need a bigger nerf than that because he’s still very powerful. Maybe a little too powerful. His tire is crazy.

How do you think the meta will develop? Do you see any other characters becoming stronger due to these changes?

I think more supports will become stronger. I think Moira and Ana will be played more. The main comps that I’ve run into right now are quad tank because Lucio and Moira just go in with the tanks. Speed boost in and Moira heals all of the tanks at once.

Thoughts on collegiate Overwatch teams?

I think there’s a place for it. Those players that aren’t in the Overwatch League, like from that [collegiate] to the Overwatch League is a really big step. I think it’s a good idea. It gives Blizzard a lot of publicity. It gets viewers from the colleges.

Advice/ tips for players looking to go pro after collegiate?

You can’t get too down on yourself if you’re not making it. You have to put in 100% effort and play every chance you get. If you put in the practice and review your own mistakes, using Overwatch as an example, if you record your own POV and watch it later, you can see what you’re doing wrong and then you could try to fix those mistakes. That will probably help more than just playing the game. I feel that if you watch your own gameplay, it’s the easiest way to improve.

If you’re really good at the game and you have 100% confidence that you can make it, then it’s probably better to focus on the gaming side. If you’re not confident in yourself, then you need to balance it and have a backup plan. If you don’t make it in esports and drop out of college, then you’re kind of screwed. The best way to do it is to have smart practice so that when you get the chance to play, you’re getting the most out of it.

LA Gladiators is hosting a college night/ meet and greet. Fans get the opportunity to play Connect 4 against Surefour. Do you think that you could beat him in Connect 4?

I don’t know, I used to be pretty good at Connect 4. I can challenge him.

LA Valiant viewing party at UCI?

I would like join them and be at one in the future. I think it’d be cool.

Shoutouts

Thank you to the fans, thanks for supporting us and we’ll hope to do good in the future as well.

Bischu

What do you think of the Junkrat and Mercy changes?

I’m pretty happy with the changes. A lot of the times the kills kind of felt robbed. You make a sick pick and then it doesn’t even matter anymore because res is up. It kind of rewarded you for playing aggressively, being unsafe, and having bad positioning. I’m happy to see Mercy go for sure. I think Junkrat is still a little bit too strong in my opinion but I’m still happy with the changes. People might not think that it’s a big change, but Junkrat not being able to 2-shot you with “skill” isn’t really a thing anymore. It was crazy. You could miss your shots and still be relevant.

Do you think they will still be viable characters to play?

Junkrat will still be viable.

How do you think the meta will develop? Do you see any other characters becoming stronger due to these changes?

I think the meta will shift to tank meta where teams will run at least three tanks. I think that Moira and Lucio will get a lot more play time. People don’t know how much AoE healing that is. When you guys are all clumped, the tanks can’t die. It’s crazy. There’s so much healing. If people remember back when Ana came out, it was all about building ults fast. It’s similar with Moira. I think she’s going to need a bit of an ult nerf. She’s getting it way too fast. It feels like season 3 Ana where you tell your team to just take hits and build ults.

If there were a need for a significant patch change in the future, do you think that they’d implement the patch immediately or after a stage?

If something was incredibly broken, I feel like they would hotfix it. As long as it’s not game breaking, I don’t think they’d patch in the middle of a stage.

General thoughts on collegiate Overwatch teams?

I think collegiate Overwatch being there is really good. I was on a collegiate team myself back when I used to play League of Legends. It’s a little bit weird though because if you look at traditional sports, people go from college sports into the professional scene. In esports, the transition from the collegiate scene to the pro scene isn’t really there. You don’t really hear about great college players going into professional esports. I’m a little disappointed that the transition isn’t as smooth but I feel like in the future especially with the Overwatch League being so well made and produced, I feel that it’s set a good future for aspiring talent out there

UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and University of Toronto are in the Fiesta Bowl Overwatch Collegiate Championship. Who are you rooting for?

I gotta root for my boys from San Diego!

[Bischu smiles and laughs]

Advice/ tips for players looking to go pro after collegiate?

It’s really up to them. I was only going to college for a year and I saw a good opportunity and took it. It’s not as scary as it seems. If anyone puts in the effort and remembers that they’re doing it for themselves, they can do it. I forget it sometimes too. I just play and then I get complacent and then I stop practicing and stop watching vods. Every day someone else is doing all of that. As long as you put in the effort anyone can do it, and don’t be too scared.

So you guys are hosting a college night and meet and greet today at the Guildhall. Do you think you could beat Surefour at Connect 4?

I don’t know. He’s pretty big brain so we’ll see. I’m pretty confident too, but Surefour is definitely the main boss here.

Any advice for climbing solo queue?

Play D.Va.

[Bischu laughs]

Shoutouts

To my family who supported me through all of this. I’m happy that they’re happy with where I am. I was stressed out and they were just as stressed out. I’m really happy with how everything turned out and they still support me. Big shoutouts to the fans. None this would’ve been possible without the fans. We would just be here (College Night at Guidhall in LA) in an empty bar.


Thank you so much to Agilities and Bischu for their time and good luck on their future matches. Follow their teams LA Valiant and LA Gladiators. Player photos taken by Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment. College Night photos taken by Oshin Tudayan.

Interview UCI Melee Captain Faceroll: “There are countless ways for me to get better, and that’s really exciting to me.”


by | Feb 2, 2018, 9:45PM PDT

Griffin “Captain Faceroll” Williams shares his thoughts on his performance at GENESIS 5, staying motivated, and his goals for 2018.


How did you prepare for this tournament? Was there a specific practice regimen?

I looked at my projected bracket and tried to prepare myself for specific matchups. I knew I’d most likely be playing against Ryobeat, a Peach player from NJ.  He was a player I was kind of worried about so I thought a lot about the Peach matchup and practiced for it in advance.

How did you feel going into this tournament and how did it affect your performance?

I’ve always felt like I’ve been improving, ever since I started playing. So each current day I’m the best player I can be. I took my first ever rest from Melee during this Winter break (a personal record breaking low of only entering 1 tournament in 3 weeks), which meant I wasn’t as warm as I could be. But even during my break, I still watched Melee sets and thought about the game, and I feel like I was able to come back into the swing of things with a fresh mindset. A small break can be good because it can serve as a sort of mental reset; it’s enough time to break some very bad habits and forces you to think more holistically about the game because you’ve been away for a bit.

I think that helped a lot going into Genesis because when I started school this Winter quarter, I had a newer perspective and was able to implement things I had been thinking about.

What part of your performance did you think that you executed well, and that lower level players could learn from?

One thing I executed well was keeping my mentality in check. In winners bracket, I lost to PewPewU— a player I previously held a 2-0 record against— in a pretty embarrassing fashion on stream. I felt as though I had played literally the worst I had ever played. After talking about it with Druggedfox, someone I look up to a lot, I was able to consolidate my feelings and work through them. I messaged Druggedfox on Messenger pretty much directly after the loss telling him how I felt, and he said something that really stuck with me. “If you played the worst you’ve ever played just now, that only means you will play better during the rest of the tournament!”. Hearing that actually made a lot of sense to me, and I was able to channel that into positive energy and ended up having one of my better performances in my career at a tournament of that caliber.

It’s something lower level players can learn from for multiple reasons. 1. It’s important to realize that ranked players can play bad too, and that it’s okay if you personally have a rough set because everyone goes through it. And 2. That singular set doesn’t have to define you for the rest of the bracket. It’s completely up to you how you react to it, and the previous sets have actually no bearing on how the rest of your sets need to play out.

You were the highest placing solo Sheik main that attended Genesis. Why were other players who have been known for their Sheik not as successful this tournament (aside from Plup)? Is having a secondary character necessary for covering Sheik’s weaknesses in the developing meta?

Honestly, my bracket was easier than it was projected to be. I was the beneficiary of several upsets, which meant that I ended up playing lower ranked players who made upsets, instead of the higher ranked players I was originally slated to play. It’s not to say my bracket was a cakewalk, but just that it was “supposed” to be much harder. But I also think in general I’m actually a very consistent player at nationals, basically never losing to anyone ranked lower than me.

I don’t think a secondary character is necessary if you main Sheik, though that’s not the popular opinion. Most top sheik mains (Plup, Shroomed, Swedish Delight, etc.) at least play one other character regularly in tournament (usually for the Jigglypuff or Ice Climbers matchups). I don’t think that’s necessary at all, though. I think Sheik doesn’t lose any matchups super badly, meaning every matchup is more dependent on individual player skill than character differences. But I also think it’s possible that Sheik is at an advantage in every matchup. I for sure think Sheik beats Jigglypuff and Ice Climbers, which are the two ostensibly “bad” matchups for Sheik.

I think the reason why people default to playing another character for certain matchups is that it’s easier to mold that character’s playstyle around beating a certain character. Whereas if you are trying to play your main, you have to change how you normally play and that can be frustrating.

UCF/ No UCF? Controller mods? Does it matter?

I am very pro UCF. I think that it’s ridiculous certain controllers are objectively better than others, to the point where certain techniques are nigh impossible to do. This would be less of a big deal if Gamecube controllers were still being manufactured, but because Nintendo has ceased production, a controller can range up to $50, and the price jumps up way more if it’s known to have good dashback.

Admittedly, I didn’t notice much of a difference between my play during Genesis 5 (which was on vanilla Melee) and when I was playing on UCF, except for a couple of cases.

There is definitely an argument to be made that UCF makes certain things too easy, and that it’s not a big deal to get individual controller mods, but at this point the vast majority of the Melee community wants UCF.

Once players had qualified for top 8, who were you predicting to win?
I predicted Hungrybox to win simply because he has been winning most tournaments these days. Plup was who I wanted to win, but if I were a betting man, I would have bet on Hungrybox for sure.

What is the experience like at Genesis?
The Genesis experience wasn’t incredible in terms of tournament logistics. The venue layout left a lot to be desired, such that there wasn’t much room to move around in your pool area. There was also a lot of noise, which made it difficult to hear your pool captain. I also waited an hour between my Top 64 sets because they wanted everything to be put on a recording setup.

That being said, nationals are awesome for many reasons. Nowhere else do you get to be a part of such a massive event with such enormous amounts of talent. One of my favorite parts of nationals is walking around during later parts of the bracket (Round 2 pools and early Top 64) and just seeing all of the hype matches. Most of that stuff isn’t on stream, so the only way you can enjoy it is by being there in person.

What makes Genesis a tournament that brings in so many players?

Genesis is a tournament with a lot of history (first time Armada went to the states), so it has a brand that people recognize and want to be a part of. Also because it’s in California, it has access to the huge local population of players. I know several people from UCI that suffered the 6+ hour drive to Oakland, which is something that wouldn’t be possible if it were on the East Coast, for example.

What was your favorite moment at Genesis?

Plup winning was really awesome. My favorite moment was playing against llod in bracket and being able to implement stuff in the Peach matchup that I had practiced with him just earlier that day. Peach is a matchup I feel like I’ve struggled with in the past, and it was cool to see things I had worked on come to fruition.

 

 

 

 

 

Any fan interactions?

A really cool story is during the middle of day 2 of the tournament, a little kid walks up to me (must be around 12 or 13) and says he’s a really big fan of mine, and wants to play. His tag is “Lil’ Pastry” and he’s from NJ. He was just so excited to play Melee and he felt really invested in learning from me and getting better at the game. Seeing his passion made me want to get better too! He interestingly had a B0XX controller, which is an attempt to make a traditional fight stick controller for Melee. It is one of only 2 in existence, the other 1 being owned by Hax$ himself. Pastry was a very technical fox main and just seemed so happy to be there in the moment.

What keeps you motivated to continue and improve at melee? Depending on a placing at a particular tournament, how do you move forward from a difficult loss, and how do you prevent complacency from success?

I feel motivated by the fact that there is still so much room for me to grow. I can watch a set of myself, and see so many mistakes I make that seem obvious in hindsight. There are countless ways for me to get better, and that’s really exciting to me. I feel like so many players above me in rank are totally beatable, and that’s something I am motivated by.

Preventing complacency is really hard, but one thing to do is to keep a list of things that you need to work on. Even if you win a set versus someone and you feel good about it, if you have a specific notated list that needs to be completed, you still have work to do. And since it’s specific, you know exactly what you can start improving on.

Any particular goals in mind for this year?

I’d like to beat a top 30 player at a national. I am very consistent at nationals in that I very rarely lose to players worse than me, but I never really exceed expectations. I sort of always place around where I should. I’ve taken numerous sets off of top 30 players at locals and regionals, and I want to take the next step and do it at a tournament that really matters.

Favorite character to play besides sheik

Fox is probably my 2nd best character besides Sheik, but Falco I think is the most fun to play. It’s just something about his combos that are really satisfying. He has a lot of moves that just feel good to hit with, and you can swag on people in ways that I feel are universally respected.

Favorite technique/combo to pull off
This might sound funny but one of my favorite combos is hitting an opponent with ledge attack and then tech chasing them off of it. It just seems really silly and frustrating for my opponent to have happen to them.

I also am a fan of chaining multiple down-airs in the middle of my combos. It just feels relatively unique.

What do you want prospective students, who play melee, to know about UCI melee?

It’s super welcoming and there is a large group of people who play, from all skill levels. I don’t want UCI Melee to seem like a place for only tryhards and people that play endlessly every day. That is definitely not the case, and I don’t want to prevent anyone from getting into the scene because they feel intimidated. The scene is very lively, and we recently got some new additions to our club board that I feel like will do great things after I graduate.

Shoutouts

Shoutouts to all of my Irvine friends that cheered me on during my matches. It really means a lot to me that you would show your support, and I really do think it helps. Shoutouts to Druggedfox for giving me much needed emotional support and helping me be the player I know I can be. Shoutouts to TAG and the rest of my officers for running sick Melee events and constantly fostering the Melee scene to new heights. Shoutouts to you for interviewing me and UCI Esports for promoting content like this!


Follow Captain Faceroll on Twitter. Cover photo taken by Alexander Bond. Screenshots taken from VGBootcamp’s VODS and Nate Gallagher’s Youtube.

Interview Matt Akhavan: “I’m very fond of collegiate esports, Overwatch, Tespa, and everyone involved with the collegiate scene”


by | Feb 2, 2018, 9:33PM PDT

After requesting an interview with Matt Akhavan, we met at the Blizzard Arena and discussed what the responsibilities are as a team manager, thoughts on collegiate Overwatch, and what college students can do to become involved in esports.

Greeted with an ecstatic “UCI Esports!” we quickly noticed how cold the room was. We joked, “They don’t call it the Blizzard Arena for nothing.”

Matt Akhavan is currently a manager for Misfits Gaming and UCI Esports.


Whose idea was it for the entrance today (1/31/18) ?

Today’s entrance was the Naruto run with the rasengan. We all knew that we wanted to do the Naruto run. It was one of the ideas that had been floating around over the weeks, but it was somewhat hard to do. There’s the camera man in front of you, so you can’t be running too fast. It’d look weird and they’d already be on the stage, and then the viewers would think “what are they doing?” So, we added the rasengan because we thought it would be funny and more recognizable. We really just want to be entertaining and have people enjoy our team coming on stage, and eventually when the wins start coming up, we’ll be a team that everyone loves to watch all of the time.

General thoughts on collegiate Overwatch

Collegiate Overwatch is something that I’m excited for. There are more schools that are investing into building infrastructure like professional teams. Schools are taking more interests in esports so that students have an easier pathway as competitors to showcase their talents and pursue a career. It makes it easier for parents to be more accepting of the idea that students can go to school possibly getting a scholarship for playing games and getting a degree. While esports may be a student’s plan A, the degree is also available if esports doesn’t work out or going pro doesn’t work out. So, I’m very fond of collegiate esports, Overwatch, Tespa, and everyone involved with the collegiate scene.

The Fiesta Bowl Overwatch Collegiate Championship is happening February 17th. UC Irvine, UC San Diego, University of Toronto, and UC Berkeley will be competing. Who will you be rooting for?

UCI! I think we came out really strong. We’re completely undefeated. I’ve seen the other schools play, they’re all really good. We’ve gone to UCSD a couple of times. They always have LANs and other tournaments that happen throughout the school year. They’ll be a fun team to watch. West coast best coast by the way.

We recently had LA Valiant come to our school and host an awesome viewing party. Are there any chances of Florida Mayhem doing something similar in the future?

I would love for an event like that to happen especially since I go to UCI. Although, I believe there are marketing guidelines which wouldn’t allow Florida Mayhem to have such an event because its Gladiators/Valiant territory. We are going to be doing events in Florida.  We’ll be doing viewing parties, sending cool merchandise, and making it as fun as possible for the fans in Florida. As far as doing stuff in LA, we’re a bit restricted.

LA Gladiators is hosting a college night at the Guildhall tonight and fans will get to play board and card games against the Gladiators team. Do you think that you could beat Surefour in Connect 4?

I’m actually really good at Connect 4. Ever since I was a kid I was always three or four steps ahead. If I don’t win, I at least tie. If I’m about to lose …

*Matt makes a motion of releasing the Connect 4 discs from the grid and we both laugh about it*

All of the pieces drop and it’s a draw.

What are the general responsibilities that you have as a manager for Florida Mayhem?

As a manager, I manage all of the day-to-day. This includes anything that happens at the studio and any gear that the players need I can purchase. I work with the Overwatch League operations team, the IT department, anything related to game day, practice structure, practice culture, infrastructure, and acquisitions for both players and staff. As you know, Florida Mayhem only has 6 players. I’m assisting in acquisition of players and we have a handful of people on the team working with that as well. Those are my main responsibilities as of right now.

Any advice for someone looking to become a manager?

I would say that you need a degree, which is why I’m getting a degree. Having experience is the most important aspect of becoming a manager. It’s really hard to trust somebody to manage all of the day-to-day and make sure you’re getting everything in on time such as paperwork, contracts,  and visa acquisitions. You’re doing the business as well as the day-to-day for the players. Becoming more dependable and learning how to communicate effectively is something that you learn in college just through interacting with your peers. You also learn time management and meet deadlines. Just the fact of you having a degree signifies that you put in effort through a 4-year program that’s pretty intensive for most students. I think that says a lot about your character if you finish your degree.

Any advice for someone looking to become a coach?

If you want to be a coach, the biggest thing is to create content or to get experience. I’m very weird about this and I’ll say that you should be willing to work for free, but I also don’t think that anyone should work for free. If you’re an organization, you should pay your interns. This is my opinion, but I also think that if you’re not willing to work a job for a free and donate your time for the experience, then you don’t really want it. For being a coach, you have to make content. Put your content on YouTube. Refine your skills. Someone sees your YouTube video, it hits Reddit a couple of times, and that’s when you get people interested in what you’re doing. You then have a portfolio to show people when you’re applying for a position. Overall, it’s about networking, experience, and having a portfolio to show.

As a student, what advice or tips would you give to other students or people in college who would like to get involved with esports

Try to do something locally with your school. At UCI, we have our esports program along with TAG. Other schools have clubs related to gaming and esports as well. Try to do as much as you can. You need as much experience as you can get. Work hard and network. I would say I was very fortunate for getting involved. I lived in LA and I volunteered for teams and at events. My volunteer work was approached with “Hey, you’re really good at this, let’s offer you something more full time.” Then you continue building on top of experiences like that.

Shoutouts

Shoutouts to UCI Esports! My favorite school! Thank you to all of the Florida Mayhem fans that have been sticking with us. I know that it’s been tough to watch our team falter but, we take every loss harder than you guys do and we practice so hard. Everyone wants to win, and we try to stay light-hearted and have some fun when we go on stage for the fans.


Follow Matt on Twitter.  Entrance and interview photos taken by Oshin Tudayan.

 

UCI League of Legends vs. Boise State University


by | Jan 31, 2018, 5:53PM PDT

UCI’s League of Legends team started their season today with a match against Boise State University. The starting lineup included Justin ‘Tower of God’ Choi in the top lane, Youngbin ‘Y0UNGBIN’ Jung in the jungle, Jeffrey ‘Descraton’ Du in the mid lane, James ‘Lattman’ Lattman as the AD carry, and Lyubomir ‘Bloodwater’ Spasov playing support.

UCI Picks & Bans Game One

  • Shen, Janna Ornn – Bans 1
  • Kog’ Maw, Sejuani, Azir – Picks 1
  • Sivir, Tristana – Bans 2
  • Nami, Illaoi – Picks 2

BSU Picks & Bans Game One

  • Camille, Vladimir, Zoe – Bans 1
  • Orianna, Jarvan, Maokai – Picks 1
  • Jayce, Alistar – Bans 2
  • Varus, Karma – Picks 2

First blood was secured by UCI in a skirmish in the mid lane consisting of both UCI’s and BSU’s mid and jungle. The kill went over to Descraton with the assist from Y0UNGBIN.

Twitch.tv/UCIEsports

By the 08:20 in-game time, Tower of God had accumulated a 40cs lead against BSU’s top laner who only had Ninja Tabi and a Doran’s Shield. At the same time, the other four members of UCI’s squad were setting up for a 4-man tower dive in the bottom lane. Lattman and Bloodwater shove their lane for minions to tank tower shots, Descraton approaches from bottom side blue sentinel, and Y0UNGBIN sneaks around from the jungle entrance near the tier two bottom lane tower. Y0UNGBIN lands a Glacial Prison on Karma with the ice storm AoE slowing Varus. Lattman gets the kill on Varus and Descraton is on a spree after killing Karma. At this point in the game, UCI had a 4.4k gold lead with all three lanes winning.

Twitch.tv/UCIEsports

BSU no longer had the option to go for duels or skirmishes as their entire team was severely behind. Their win conditions had dissipated quickly as UCI’s proactive play left no breathing room. With superiority in vision and macro plays throughout the remainder of the match, UCI ended the first game in less than 30 minutes with all enemy structures brought down.

Left to right photo Tower of God, Lattman, Coach Dreamweaver, Descraton, and Bloodwater © Oshin Tudayan

UCI Picks & Bans Game Two

  • Shen, Janna, Sejuani – Bans 1
  • Ornn, Braum, Vayne – Picks 1
  • Alistar, Lulu – Bans 2
  • Zoe, Kha’ zix – Picks 2

BSU Picks & Bans Game Two

  • Vladimir, Camille, Azir – Bans 1
  • Jarvan, Maokai, Sivir – Picks 1
  • Lee Sin – Bans 2
  • Ekko, Morgana – Picks 2

First blood goes to Lattman with the assist from Bloodwater in the bottom lane. Bloodwater used Stand Behind me to jump to an ally minion which allowed him to land a Winter’s Bite and auto attack onto the nearby Sivir applying two stacks of Concussive Blows. Bloodwater used exhaust on Sivir, landed another auto attack, and Lattman lands an auto proccing Concussive Blows’ stun effect. Soon after first blood, Y0UNGBIN approaches Ekko from blue side wolves and secures the kill as Descraton had already brought Ekko to low health.

Twitch.tv/UCIEsports

At 07:30, Descraton is faced in a 1v2 situation against BSU’s Jarvan and Ekko. Descraton began the fight landing Paddle Star onto Jarvan bringing him down to less than 50% HP, then dodges the Demacian Standard/Dragon Strike combo and Time Winder. Descraton cleans up the fight by first killing Jarvan with a long-range Paddle Star, and then with some assistance from Tower of God ends Ekko’s life with Paddle Star as well. UCI had a 3.6k gold lead and 7 kills to to BSU’s 0 at this point in the game.

Twitch.tv/UCIEsports

Like game one, UCI’s dominance in the early game and superiority in overall macro play lead them to a quick victory. BSU losing all lanes and being behind in the jungle throughout the early to mid-game once again leave them with limited to no win conditions as the game progressed. UCI won their lanes, capitalized on their advantages, and had consistent vision on enemy champions allowing them to maneuver effectively across the map.

Lattman interview by Loc Tran

What was going through your mind in game two that made you hold the AD pick instead of picking Kog’ Maw on first rotation?

We wanted to prioritize the Zoe pick, and we also wanted to try and bait out the Ornn pick. Then we’d pick Braum into the Ornn to counter the Ornn ult. But in the end, they just ended up giving us Ornn and Braum anyways. Once they picked Sivir, I really wanted to pick Vayne into Sivir. As long as you can avoid getting pushed in the entire laning phase, Vayne will mess up a Sivir pretty badly. They picked Morgana which is also a character that Vayne is pretty sick against. So, it was like a no brainer at that point.

How does it feel to be a collegiate League of Legends player at UCI?

It’s been a very humbling experience. Being a part of a program at such a reputable school is something that I will always be grateful for and its cool.

What do you think was the main reason you won this series?

I think the biggest reason we won this series was because of our control around mid. Our jungle-mid control was phenomenal this series. We never really didn’t know where the Jarvan was since Youngbin was doing such a good job of tracking. There was never a situation where their mid laner had priority and could roam off it because Descraton was dominating mid. It’s really easy to win a game when you have full control of mid.

What do you think is the main difference between this year and last year besides the obvious roster changes?

There’s a difference in mentality this year. Last year we kind of became a little complacent towards the middle to end of the season. This year, since we lost last year, everyone’s been humbled by it. Our work ethic is much higher this season compared to last season. For me personally, I’m playing 10-12 games a day during the week on top of school. I tried to use Descraton’s number of games played to see how much I should be practicing.

What do you think about the coaching staff?

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a permanent coaching staff throughout the entirety of this season as well. That being said, I still really respect and enjoy having the coaching staff that we have this year. Our coach is a great dude. His name is also James. That’s always a plus. It’s nice to have more than one James on the team. We have a group of analysts that are very committed and that helps a lot.

Do you have anything to say for your fans?

Thanks for the support guys! We love you all!

© Oshin Tudayan

Dreamweaver interview by Loc Tran

What are your goals with the team?

We’re working on winning. I think we’re doing a pretty good job currently.

How long have you been coaching this team?

It’s been a little over 3 months

What’s your coaching background?

I used to be a small-time mentor. I used to help Bronze and Silver players get up to Gold or Plat. One day my friend just said, “oh you should try to coach a better team and see what comes of it.” I just said ok. I started messaging challenger teams and asked if they wanted a coach. They said yes, and I just did that for a while and then I ended up on Fnatic and of just went from there.

What advice would you give to a solo queue player that’s trying to get better, but is hitting a wall?

There’s two major things that I would say. The first thing is, lots of solo queue players are going to focus on “oh it’s my mechanics that are the problem. This is what’s holding me back.” Often that’s not the case. The mental state that you get into is a lot of times what holds people back in solo queue. The second thing is, review your own games. It’s something that I do. I’m a bad player. My mechanics are awful. If you look at my response time, it’s horrible. But a lot of times just by reviewing my own games, I can put myself in situations where I don’t have to make those clutch responses that I would have to because I recognize “oh I’ve been in this situation before I know what to do.” I just react appropriately to begin with and not put myself in that situation. Finally, be willing to tell yourself that you’re wrong.

What do you think of the players? Do you like working with the team here?

Yeah! Of course! I like working with this team! It’s sort of unique. Collegiate teams don’t have to interact with each other as extensively as professional teams do. For example, when I worked with Fnatic, they lived in a house all together. It wasn’t just a generic house, it was a very small house. That changes the dynamics where a lot of players will sort out personal issues between themselves as professional teams because they’re living together. That’s something that doesn’t exist on college teams, but at the same time it’s not as big of a problem.

UCI’s League of Legends team had an excellent performance and have made it very clear that they’re goal is first place this season. Congratulations to Tower of God, Y0UNGBIN, Descraton, Lattman, and Bloodwater on their first win of collegiate season!

London Spitfire. New York Excelsior. Two Korean teams finally drop a match in OWL


by | Jan 30, 2018, 12:13PM PDT

January 25, 2018. Spectators, commentators, and media were in for a treat as two of the top three teams had shown that they could only hold an undefeated record for so long.

London Spitfire. New York Excelsior. Coming into the third week of OWL with unblemished records, few if any expected any of their opponents to win a series, let alone a map. Korean teams have been known for and have the expectation of being the best.

The opening match was between Boston Uprising and London Spitfire with the latter expected to win. London had defeated San Francisco Shock the previous day coming into this match with a 4-0 record in the league. Boston had come in with a 1-3 record with their only win over Florida Mayhem. After the four-map series, Boston was able to take the win in the tiebreaker game on Lijiang Tower.

overwatchleague.com

The next match displayed a back and forth battle between Philadelphia Fusion and New York Excelsior. Numbani to New York.  Temple of Anubis to Philadelphia. Ilios to New York. Dorado to Philadelphia. In a similar fashion to the opening match, Philadelphia won the tiebreaker match 2 points to 0 against New York.

Among the audience there was discussion of what went wrong and an attempt to figure out why expectations were not met. Had the skill gap between Western and Korean teams been closer than what the general consensus believed? Were Western teams able to catch up within just three weeks of competition? Were London Spitfire and New York Excelsior simply not as prepared for Lijiang Tower as their opponents?

overwatchleague.com

Some common factors that teams mention in regards to  improvement include communication, practice against the best opponents, adjustment to professional environment, and adjustment to a new culture. Boston Uprising and Philadelphia Fusion have multilingual rosters which creates some difficulties in their communications yet they were able to defeat full Korean rosters. Communication due to language barriers most likely was not an issue for London and New York. What about the quality of their practice? Are London and New York getting the best practice in the Overwatch League, compared to their previous performances in APEX and Korean solo queue?

Philadelphia Fusion’s Poko happy about their win over NYXL. Photo by Alexander Bond.

It’s too early to say that these teams are faltering, but the possibility of defeating them has been confirmed. With the developing meta, it’s exciting to see how teams will adapt to new patches, how they will efficiently use their subs, and the overall growth of Overwatch League.