How professional Overwatch players keep calm when the stakes are so high

During the Overwatch Contenders playoffs, we had the opportunity to interview the winning teams and ask an important question: how do they keep calm and avoid tilt despite the pressure and hype the live Blizzard Arena LA crowd brings?

Some players keep it light with humor, while others rely on well-practiced systems that allow them to focus on the game and nothing else. Some players draw upon their automatic Overwatch instincts, honed by thousands and thousands of practice games. By getting out of their own head, these players trust in their reflexes to and game sense above all else.

▲ Misfits after their victory vs. Cloud 9

The majority of us won't ever play on an international stage where the stakes are so high, but that doesn't mean we can't learn from the zen techniques of the Overwatch elite!

The Misfits squad relies on positive reinforcement

It's important to remind your teammates of the strategy. Don’t overhype things, remain calm. Remind everyone what to do and how to execute their tactics. When you get team wiped, It’s important to remind your team that “We got this!” and to keep the coaches advise and strategy in your head.  

-- Tim "Manneten" Bylund

▲ Giganti after their victory vs. 123

Giganti relies on a reflecting on mistakes and taking a big picture approach to understanding the game.

"If you practice and get a routine down, you can have a system. When high-pressure situations arise, you can fall back on that system. When we die, we think 'what is our plan for next time?' We take a step back and that allows us to assess the situation.”

-- Jonna "Fragi" Laine


"In today's game on Ilios ruins, 123 were beating us constantly in the fights and it took some time to figure out what we had to do. It was a small mental block. We had to see the game clearly and figure that out as a team. We had troubles against snillo's Widowmaker, but we didn’t know why. "

We needed to take a step back and look at the situation. What is going wrong? Then we adjusted, went left, and won."

-- Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin


"In general, we don’t have a problem with nerves. It doesn’t affect us. We have a system for coming up with the plan for the next fight so, even if we get 6-man wiped, it doesn’t affect us. That is our mentality.

"It’s important to not get too overhyped. Just stay relaxed and play your game. I think the most important thing is to play *your* game." 

-- Joonas "zappis" Alakurtti

▲ EnvyUs after their victory vs. FNRGFE

EnvyUs largely ignores the audience, relying on their experience playing in LAN environments.

"Usually, when we play games we ignore the audience. Focus on the screen. If you do that, it feels the same everywhere you play."

-- Christian "Cocco" Jonsson

"For me, there were nerves at the first LANs. But we have been on stage so many times now it doesn't matter."

-- Sebastian "Chipshajen" Widlund

"We have played for so long together, we get used to it."

-- Jonathan "HarryHook" Tejedor Rua

"I feel nothing, I have played so many LAN tournaments."

-- Pongphop "Mickie" Rattanasangchod

"We don’t feel nervous that much. We are a slow starter and it’s rare we actually beat a team 3-0. *laughs* We expect sometimes to lose the first game, but overall we don’t feel nervous."

"Sometimes there is a problem and we start to get snowballed really hard. We die and it It feels like we can’t reset. For us, we reset when someone devises a plan. We decide if we are gonna switch strategies or try a new tactic, It’s rare we get snowballed though.

"Anyone can shout out an idea and devise a new tactic. That is how it works with us."

-- Timo "Taimou" Kettunen

"I actually feed on the audience and the pressure. It kinda depends. When I have been out of a tournament environment for so long, I feel more nervous.  But you get exposed to all of it again and then you stop caring"

-- Brandon "Seagull" Larned

The first day of the Overwatch Contenders playoffs is over but will resume this Sunday. Both NA and EU grand finals will determine the regional champs and, in addition, there will be an NA vs. EU show match at 2:30.

You can watch them both at

RELATED: Photo tour -- our journey through the Blizzard LA grand opening celebration.

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