Team USA has finished the 2018 Overwatch World Cup Los Angeles Cup Group Stage as the 1st seed. It will be representing the stars and stripes at Blizzcon 2018 at the 2018 Overwatch World Cup Finals.
In the final match of the Group Stage, Team USA faced off against Team Canada in a showdown for seeding. By finishing 5-0 and securing the 1st seed, Team USA will avoid South Korea in the Quarterfinals.
Team USA looked excellent last weekend. Their seven players showcased cohesive team play across both the GOATS style of play as well as standard dive compositions in the current meta. D.va has returned as the premiere flex tank hero, and Indy “Space” Halpern put on a clinic.
Team USA’s first win of the group stage was a clean sweep against Team Austria, and I got the opportunity to catch up with Space after the 4-0. We talked about playing on Team USA and reflected on his growth as a player since joining the Valiant.
I’m here with Space, Flex Tank of Team USA. How does it feel to start your group stage off with a win?
Pretty good. It was a convincing win for sure. We didn’t really expect much outside of a lot of tanks, because we didn’t really know what they were going to play. So we just decided to mirror with a lot of tanks as well.
You guys were able to win out with superior talent, and it seems like you and Team Canada are a cut above the rest of the teams in this group. Out of the remaining four teams, are there any that stand out to you?
I think probably Brazil and Norway both have a shot at challenging us. Brazil has a lot of synergy because those players have been together for a long time. They all know each other and they play well together in Brazil.On Norway, most of the players know each other, and every single player is good mechanically, so I think those two teams have the best chance.
Team USA has plenty of good mechanical players yourselves. Have you focused more on your individual abilities or have your prioritized team synergy?
We’ve definitely focused on playing as a team. Mechanically, we’re all really good players, but the difference maker will be if we can become a better team and have the best synergy.
In your experience, what’s the primary difference when comparing playing in the Overwatch World Cup to playing in the Overwatch League?
I think Overwatch League is a lot more competitive. There is a lot more prep for every individual match, and you know that your teammates will be playing with you for the next year or two. You have to get used to the environment for the long haul and work well as a team, so it’s a very different mentality when compared to playing in the Overwatch World Cup.
The Overwatch World Cup is a competition that is taken very seriously by the teams, but the atmosphere outside of the games is very laid back. You get to have fun meeting new people, playing with new players, so it’s a pretty big difference.
As an individual, do you have a goal you’ve set for yourself at the Overwatch World Cup?
I think my main focus right now is making sure that my team and I are never nervous. Getting used to the stage and the crowd is the best thing I can focus on for Overwatch League Season 2. It’s good to get back in the groove of playing on stage, and being prepped to play your best no matter what the conditions are on the day.
It’s also a good opportunity to evaluate my own strengths and weaknesses, as well as decide which specs I’m going to use for next season. Ideally, I’ll already know which mouse and keyboard I’m comfortable with before Overwatch League Season 2, so by the time the season starts, I’m prepared and playing at my best.
It’s great that you’re getting a head start on your Season 2. You’ve played a half-season with the LA Valiant, has your experience on stage given you any perspective to help players get over first-time stage nerves?
Definitely. When we have a new player come in on stage, the main focus is to make them comfortable with something that’s always consistent. Saying “nice job” after every round; giving fistbumps; making sure they’re communicating to the level they need to be and keeping an eye out for every new player.
That’s exactly what my teammates did for me on the Valiant. Fate, Kariv, and Agilities all looked out for me and made sure I was playing my game so we could all play cohesively as a team. That’s something I always focus on.
Since your debut, you’ve been praised for a consistently high level of play across all flex tank heroes. How do you feel about your level of play in the current meta?
Right now, I’ve just been focusing mainly on D.va. The meta is mostly GOATS, and when it’s not GOATS, you’re playing dive with Winston and D.va. It’s honestly good for me, because it means I don’t have an excuse to not play my best on D.va. I can just tunnel on D.va only and learn all of the tricks I need to know and all of the best positioning.
Only playing one hero is kind of an advantage. I don’t have to focus on playing multiple heroes like the other players on our team, so I make sure that I’m doing my job so everyone else can succeed.
Looking ahead, Team USA is likely to qualify for the OWWC Finals at Blizzcon. If you qualify, are there any teams or players you’re looking forward to playing against?
No specific players really, but I think the teams to look out for are Finland and South Korea. I know everybody wants a rematch from the last World Cup of South Korea vs. USA, so that’s something we’re all looking forward to competing in. But I think the biggest team to worry about aside from South Korea is Finland.
What specifically about Team Finland are you looking out for?
I think the person to look out for is Linkzr. He has the most potential to pop off on all the heroes he plays. His Widowmaker is specifically very dangerous.
Their backline of BigGoose and Shaz have been playing together for a while now on the LA Gladiators, and they’re amazing players. Aside from Taimou, all of Team Finland played together on Team Giganti before World Cup last year, so they have a lot of synergy. They’re very strong as a team and their tanks synergize very well too.
There’s definitely going to be some interesting matches at Blizzcon. Space, one more question for you: In the final game of the Group Stage, Team USA will face off against Team Canada. Who is taking the win?
We are! USA, for sure. Guaranteed.
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