Alexandre "san alex" Simões is the General Manager of Samsung Morning Stars. The team has been performing well, with their Angry Cup victory and a 3-0 lead in Contenders EU. I managed to ask a few questions about why the team is doing so well, whether GOATS-meta is good for Overwatch, and got his views about the future of Contenders EU.
Morning Stars was looking to build a top team in Europe and they contacted me. My type of management focuses on the scouting of talent and team building, so in their eyes, I could help them achieve this objective. I was allowed to choose the head coach and the 8 players that would represent the team. Our Trials were described by some players as the most stacked in EU/NA, even when compared to Academy teams.
As a General Manager, I dislike the typical bottom-up structure that some Contenders teams have where players make most roster decisions. From the start, I decided that me and the head coach would choose the roster, so my first mission was to find the right person to coach this team. PiPou reached out to me and the rest is history.
We won the first tournament we participated in (Angry Cup) and we are 3-0 in Contenders. I'm really happy with our results, so to answer your question, the changes in management were definitely important for the recent success.
Is the team living in the Milan HQ gaming house together? What are the pros and cons of it?
The team is living in a beautiful city called Bergamo, close to Milan. The gaming house and the mansion are separated and they are 5 minutes apart by car. The pros are that we probably have one of the best gaming offices in Europe, a chef, and a mansion! The cons would be the usual homesickness that affects so many teams in different sports.
Since the team roster is international, are there communication issues? Who is the shotcaller of the team?
Not really. We all speak English and understand each other. The culture exchange here is enriching!
A few weeks ago, Seagull released his "State of Overwatch" video which created debate about the current meta. What are your thoughts on it? Do you feel that 3/0/3-tank heavy compositions are ultimately bad for the future of the game?
I agree with the topics raised by Seagull, but I would like the community to contribute with more ideas to fix the problems he raised. Matchmaking and Pro scene are different. In Morning Stars vs Gigantti, you will see that GOATS and its variations can be very entertaining for the spectators.
▲ Solheim gives an analysis of Morning Stars GOATS vs. Gigantti GOATS.
What changes can Blizzard make to improve Contenders/T2 Overwatch? Are there issues unique to EU that need to be addressed?
Blizzard should make Contenders more appealing for organizations. I imagine their plan is to have Contenders populated by Academy teams in the future. However, that is only doable in NA. Other than that, EU Contenders works really well. The admins are great and dedicated. I don't share the same catastrophic views as others.
Contenders EU currently has 12 teams. Next season, it will have 8. Reducing Contenders to 8 teams will make it more competitive. There has been a clear gap between the Top 8 of Contenders and the lower teams in previous seasons.
Should Contenders Finals continue to be offline? Are there potential issues with cost by having LAN finals?
As far as I'm concerned, all games of Contenders EU would be offline like in Contenders Korea. Currently Blizzard covers the travel expenses for finals, so that is not a problem either.