The Houston Outlaws off-season has been headlined by Infinite Esports & Entertainment layoffs and the restructuring of OpTic Gaming across the board, but the acquisition of Dante “Danteh” Cruz earlier this fall should give the GreenWall something to smile about.
Danteh was a core member of the San Francisco Shock throughout multiple iterations of its roster in the first Overwatch League season. He showcased an immense amount of flexibility, and elevated himself into the elite DPS conversation with his mastery of Sombra.
Danteh gives the Houston Outlaws a flexible player with proficiency on core heroes like Tracer that the team was sorely lacking. Danteh should also allow eagle eye Jiri “Linkzr” Masalin to focus on sharpening what is already one of the best Widowmakers in the world.
Danteh put together an impressive individual campaign and was one of twelve players on Team USA’s roster for the 2018 Overwatch World Cup. Though he did not make the final roster of seven players, the Outlaws are certainly better for the trade and fans should look forward to positive contributions from Danteh in Season 2 of the Overwatch League.
How are you enjoying your new team so far? Can you share any first impressions with us?
We haven’t done practice yet because it’s the off-season right now. However, I’ve been hanging out with the team and that’s been fun. We’ve been going to dinner and stuff; it’s been nice.
So you’re currently in the house with the team?
Well, we’re moving right now. Also, some of our players are going to London for Gilded Gala next week. And then there’s Blizzcon that’s coming up soon, so we’re kind of all over the place right now. Everyone is doing their own thing; I just got situated in my new apartment. I don’t have internet yet.
"...if the other team can play a certain hero, you have to be able to have a
pick a different hero in response. You can’t just play a few heroes anymore,"
Congrats on the new place! I appreciate you making the time to talk to me during such a busy process. Before this part of the offseason you were playing with Team USA as the initial players selected. What was that experience like for you?
Making it to the 12-man roster was pretty exciting. It sucks that I can’t play on the 7-man roster, but I think I learned from the tryouts and as a whole, it made me a better player.
Some of those guys on Team USA were your teammates on San Francisco Shock. Throughout the first season, you were the only player that the Shock relied on in all metas and stages. What do you think you bring to a team as a player?
I can play all the flankers at a really high level — Tracer, Genji, Sombra — I feel like those heroes are used very often outside of Stage 4 when Brigitte hard-countered the dive meta. But now, they are starting to get strong again, and I think that being able to play those heroes while flexing to others gives you so many options.
What do you think you improved upon the most in your first season in the Overwatch League?
I think finding consistency was one way I grew in regards to myself. There’s a lot of things that go into the way I play, like how I sleep and how I eat before the match. I think I managed to figure out myself and how I can play more consistently by maintaining a more consistent lifestyle.
Was there anything within the infrastructure of the SF Shock that helped you adjust to a new structure?
Coaches help with it, but the biggest aspect was trying to figure it out for myself. It was a matter of testing stuff out. For example, I would see what would happen if I didn’t eat before I played compared to eating before playing. The amount of sleep and quality of sleep before a match is a huge variable on performance. There are a lot of things you have to account for.
I’m a really routine person. In Season 1 of the Overwatch League, I would go to the cafeteria every day and I think I ate the same meal about 95% of the time.
Have you found it difficult to maintain a routine in the off-season? What have you been working on since the Team USA trials?
I’m trying to be good at every single DPS hero besides Widowmaker. I feel like the player who focuses on Widow and plays Widow professionally has to focus on a more narrow pool, and I want to play as many heroes as I can. I think that’s how the meta is changing: if the other team can play a certain hero, you have to be able to have a pick a different hero in response. You can’t just play a few heroes anymore.
Is that to say that you are a fan of the current meta?
Yeah, I think it’s really fun. At first, I think Brigitte was way too strong, but now I think she’s at a fine state. She might be a little stronger than she should be, but overall, I like the meta and I think her standing in it is pretty solid.
Looking towards Season 2 of the Overwatch League, most DPS players have been looking towards flexibility in the hero pool. Do you think that is how the entire meta will trend in the next season?
I think some roles will. One of the DPS roles will be more stagnant; you will only need to play a few heroes. But in the other role, you will need to play a lot, so I think both positions of DPS players in general will look towards playing a lot of heroes.
I don’t think supports and tanks will have to counter much, but DPS players should look towards being well-rounded.
Danteh, thank you so much for the interview, I really appreciate your time. You had some very heartfelt goodbyes to your teammates on SF Shock, and now on your new team, you’re beginning a new chapter of your career. Is there anything you’d like to say to the Danteh fans who changed their colors from orange to green with you?
I think I say it a lot, but thank you so much for supporting me despite me switching teams. And thank you to the new people who have begun to support me, you guys are awesome.