Stage 1 of the Overwatch League has come to an end and Stage 2 is just around the corner. In the beginning, it seemed like the biggest spectacle of Stage 1 was going to be the struggle between the 3 powerhouse teams, Seoul Dynasty, the London Spitfire, and the New York Excelsior. However, the real highlight of Stage 1 was the mix of intriguing victories and losses in the last leg of the stage. The teams that got to play in the title match, in the end, were the New York Excelsior and London Spitfire.
Spitfire had unfortunately lost after a full-set game against NYXL, although they got another chance to play against them after they managed to win against the Outlaws in the title match semifinals. This caused the London Spitfire to play 3 matchups on the very same day. In the end, London managed to pull off a reverse sweep against NYXL, winning the Stage 1 title match.
We had the chance to interview all the members of London Spitfire about how they felt after the Stage 1 title match and their thoughts on the upcoming meta in Stage 2. The following is the interview with the London Spitfire.
You finished Stage 1 by winning the title match. How do you feel?
Profit: Not too bad (Laughs).
WooHyaL: It was the 1st stage and we won the title match for now, and not only that, we got outstanding results, so it was a very good start. Although, we still have a long way to go… (Laughs) Well, I think we will be able to keep up the good work because of this.
You played against all the teams that have joined the League during Stage 1; how did the League teams seem overall compared to those of APEX? Could you feel any difference?
Gesture: Well, it felt like it was easy to tell who the winning teams and underdogs were for sure back in APEX. Although it seems a bit harder in the OWL. Of course, there are strong teams and weak teams, but it feels like the gap between the two is less apparent compared to APEX.
WooHyaL: The main DPS from most League teams are totally amazing. Like, the western players who normally play hitscan heroes are really good, like for real (Laughs), so it feels like the difficulty of surviving went up by a lot.
Actually, the London Spitfire gained a lot of attention when your roster was announced, since GC Busan and KongDoo Panthera, two giants from APEX, were brought together in a team. How does it feel to be on the same team?
Gesture: We ourselves looked forward to being on the same team as the KDP members, who were known for their outstanding mechanics in APEX. It was convenient how we could try a variety of different strategies since it was now 12 players instead of 7, and it was great how there were many things we could learn from each other since each member of the team is a skilled player.
Bdosin: As for KDP, we were crushed by GC Busan in the APEX semifinals. But now that we are playing on the same team on a big stage like the OWL, I believe it’s nice since we can improve in many ways. I think we were able to finish Stage 1 well thanks to this.
With so many members, a total of 12 players had to live together and cooperate. Was there anything uncomfortable that happen when you were adjusting?
NUS: I don’t think there was anything uncomfortable in particular.
Gesture: As for me, I knew Bdosin since the time I played League of Legends. Also, I knew our current coach since he was with GC Busan before he moved to KongDoo. I think I was able to adapt quickly because I was living with people I already knew.
It seemed that both Busan and KongDoo had slightly different play styles; did this influence your gameplay in any way as you got together on the same team?
WooHyaL: The two teams certainly had different play styles back in APEX. But both teams have so many players who can do whatever plays they are asked to do. I think that’s why each of their play styles did not influence our games that much.
Since the London Spitfire is a team with the most players in the OWL, it doesn’t seem easy deciding which player will be part of the lineup; how do you come to an agreement on who will play what and when?
Gesture: Well, since everyone is a great player, we come to an agreement based on each player’s individually skill level in playing a certain hero. One player may be good with Genji, the other one may be good with Pharah, and so on, and in this case, whenever we need a certain hero for a map, we decide whoever is good at playing that hero will play most of the time.
But that doesn’t mean we always do that; if things don’t work out after our first try in practice, another player will play the next. Then we see which comp worked out best in the end and then decide.
If you were to pick one team that was most impressive out of all teams you’ve played against during Stage 1, which would it be?
Gesture: Houston. I was surprised that they were much more powerful than I expected. As for NY, I already knew that they were powerful so I wasn’t surprised by them. But for Houston, they left a great impression on me.
NUS: Houston definitely was impressive, but I personally felt that the Boston left the biggest impression on me. Out of all players in Boston, Striker was especially impressive; I already knew he was an amazing DPS, but he felt really powerful when I met him in OWL.
There must have been players who also left big impressions; if you were to pick anyone as your rival in OWL, who would that be?
NUS: Personally, I’d like to pick ArK as my rival. ArK is the one who is the best with Mercy in the OWL so I’ve always been studying his play style.
And I’d like to think of Closer as my rival as well. I’ve been learning a lot from him since he was always doing great in scrims, including the time we played against Seoul Dynasty. It’s like 'you'll find your rival among those closest to you'.
Closer: I heard that ANAMO will be joining New York this time. I’ll keep my eyes on ANAMO. I’ve met him during scrims once or twice and I remember him making a pretty big impression. Back then, the opponent team was good at diving in, and I believe that ANAMO’s Lucio was at the center of that playstyle.
Afterwards, I personally watched ANAMOS’s streams and I learned several things from him since he has a unique playstyle. That’s why I think it’d be nice if we could have a good game against him in Stage 2.
Profit: Of course, it’d be Fleta (Laughs). I just think that he’s the one I should keep my eyes on the most since he can play a variety of heroes and is skilled at the same time.
Bdosin: J-JoNak! (Laughs) This is how it is pronounced in the west. We need to refer to him like this since we are in the US now. So, as for J-JoNak, well, there is this mind game between Zenyatta players, and I think he is the best at this mind game currently.
On the last day of Stage 1, you had to play two matchups against NYXL and one against the Outlaws; there were almost two full-set matchups as well. Did you have a hard time with that
Gesture: To be honest, we actually did (Laughs). We weren’t just tired- it was hard to keep our tension up between each matchup, and we were already exhausted. Even more, we got many full-set games…
But then, we didn’t think that was much of a problem since it would be the same for our opponent team members. That’s why it seemed like both sides were trying to stay focused rather than play as smooth as we would normally play.
If you were to put a non-Korean player for each position tank/DPS/support on your team, who would you pick?
Closer: First, I think we really need someone who can lighten the mood of the team.
WooHyaL: Who was it? Mickie? xQc? xQc would be nice. I think that’d make both him and us popular (Laughs).
Profit: Taimou for DPS!
Hooreg: We should just move to EnVyUs (Laughs).
WooHyaL: No, I think it’d be nice to have dhak from the San Francisco Shock for the healer. He really stood out.
Profit, you are known for your high sensitivity setting; does having a high sensitivity setting help when you’re playing heroes with a lot of mobility like Genji and Tracer?
Profit: Yes, I think having high sensitivity is great since I can look around faster in-game. Conversely, I do lower the sensitivity a bit for heroes other than Genji and Tracer, although only by 1 (Laughs).
Hooreg’s Widowmaker was indeed impressive during the match against Seoul Dynasty. As for Widowmaker, there have been many times where you found yourself countered with another Widowmaker; was there anyone among all the Widowmakers you’ve played against that really stood out?
Hooreg: That would be Pine’s Widowmaker. I met him in both scrims and the tournament, and he is genuinely good. I wouldn’t know much for the other players since I didn’t get many chances to play in Stage 1. It would definitely be Pine if I were to pick one I met and played against myself.
You will be playing with a nerf on Junkrat’s Concussion Mine in Stage 2; as a DPS, how do you think this change will affect Stage 2 games?
Profit: I think it’ll bring dive comps out more.
Hooreg: Genji & Tracer, and I guess Pharah? Junkrat was picked to counter Tracer many times, but now that Junkrat is nerfed, I think Tracer will fly around again.
Fury’s performance after he was switched to play in the 3rd set in the finals was very impressive. Things weren’t going great for Spitfire back then, as you had to give 2 sets to NYXL; how did you feel when you switched in to play?
Fury: Although we were losing by 2-0 at the time, I thought I should first do my best, and cheer my teammates up if they were feeling depressed. Like, “come on, guys, we can do this together!”? (Laughs) I didn’t get too nervous or feel burdened once I started to only think about that.
It seems like the teams with ‘stable tanks’ have been able to climb to the top of the OWL standings, and Spitfire’s tanks have delivered some extraordinary performance. Is there any part of the game that you, Gesture, as the main tank of the team, set as the top priority?
Gesture: To be honest, it has gotten harder for main tanks to play in Overwatch compared to before. So I think there is a tendency for truly good main tanks to stand out while just fairly good tanks are made to appear as if they are not as good as they actually are.
That’s why I always think, “how can I do even more than is possible for me?” every time I play Winston. I try to refrain from jumping in hastily like I used to in the past, and always take the current situation and environment into consideration everytime I jump.
If we were to talk about WooHyaL’s trademark, we’d certainly be talking about the multi-kills you get using Self-Destruct during skirmishes. When you’re playing D.Va, you need to have good judgment; you have to decide to your ult for survival or to attack your enemies. How do you make your decisions when using D.Va’s ult?
WooHyaL: I use my ult whenever I think, “this will definitely kill someone” (Laughs). When the perfect timing like that doesn’t come up, I just keep my old Mech then self-destruct to call a new one.
You will be playing with a nerf made on both Junkrat and Mercy in Stage 2; as a tank, do you think this is a welcome change? How do you think the tank meta will change in the future
Gesture: It feels like we are going back to the old meta from APEX. Players who can play Winston well will begin to carry more. Now that we are free from Resurrect’s influence, there also will be situations in which players who are good at Tracer or Zenyatta will easily win team fights by assassinating enemies with their Pulse Bombs or Orb Volley. I think whichever heroes that can make this happen often with will become the meta.
WooHyaL: It was a bit stressful when there was a Mercy on the opposing team because that meant I had to look up at the sky and go around looking for Mercy (Laughs). Now that Mercy has less influence in the game, I think it’s become much more convenient for me since killing one enemy would make the team fights turn in our favor.
I was moved by how Bdosin and NUS were happy and hugging each other after you won the finals. How did you feel back then?
NUS: It was so hard back then when I made mistakes and didn’t do as good as I should have, especially during the last turn to attack and defend, but I was so happy that we won, thanks to my teammates backing me up. I was really, truly happy and I wanted to express how happy I was as best as I could, and I saw that Bdosin was getting ready to jump at that moment. I think that must have been how it came out.
Bdosin: For me, that was my very first time winning a tournament offline. So it must have been why I felt so much happier than how I felt in other tournaments.
I heard that NUS is usually the shot-caller in your team; how do you decide what calls to make?
NUS: Normally, I make the decision after checking what ults we have at the moment and our enemies’ ult. During Stage 1, I’d tell the team to make the first move if our Mercy had her ult ready… If Gesture had his ult, he’d be the one shot-calling on how we should play.
There are many times we’d get into discussions about how we should do the next team fight based on who has what ults. But then, I think we were often able to win the team fights easily because Gesture managed to take down several enemies at the front.
Mercy was the first target in most games in Stage 1 since she had so much influence over team fights; was there any pain or stress you felt as a Mercy trying to survive among the world’s best DPS players?
NUS: I wouldn’t say I didn’t have any stress. Honestly, that felt like an especially huge burden to me; it shook me up psychologically as I played. As for Mercy, making one mistake and getting killed would have a huge impact on the rest of the game and that burden snowballed throughout the game. Fortunately, I got over that somehow after seeing how reliable Closer was with his plays.
Closer: As for me, I don’t think I was too anxious about it. I mean, everyone was doing great, which helped relieve that anxiety- everyone was doing perfect with their plays… And NUS was doing great with Mercy, so much so that knowing NUS would back me up even if I wasn’t doing so great really lessened the burden for me.
Mercy got a huge nerf after the last patch; you’ll have to play in Stage 2 with that nerf. How do you think the support meta will change in the OWL?
NUS: I think we won’t have any choice but to use different healers depending on the situation. For example, Moira & Lucio will be picked in a tanky comp, or Mercy, even if she got nerfed, for Pharmercy, or just pick Lucio and Zenyatta, which will likely do moderately well.
Bdosin: I don’t think Mercy will be picked unless the team is going for Pharmercy.
Closer: Well, I think a variety of support heroes will be played, switching depending on the map, situations, and strategies.
HaGoPeun: Personally, I don’t think the Moira & Zenyatta or Moira & Ana combination is good enough. On the other hand, I think Zenyatta & Lucio or Zenyatta & Ana will get picked a lot. I guess Lucio & Ana could get picked on certain maps.
▲ What players from London Spitfire think about the nerf on Mercy (From London Spitfire YouTube Channel)
Speaking of Ana, what are your thoughts on Ana in current meta?
HaGoPeun: I think she will be played the same way she was played in the old meta- charging her ult gauge as fast as she can to use it in team fights. Many players chose to nano-boost Genji or Winston after Ana got her ult nerfed, and I expect Ana will be played just like she was back then if she ever gets to be played again.
Please tell us your goals for the upcoming Stage 2.
NUS: Even though we actually won the title match in Stage 1, we were placed 3rd in the standings. As for Stage 2, I’d like us to finish the 2nd stage perfectly, like being placed 1st and winning the title match as well.
HaGoPeun: I personally haven’t had many chances to play in many tournaments, so my goal is to play as much as I can in Stage 2.
Gesture: I’ll try hard so that we can open a huge gap between us and other teams in Stage 2.
Bdosin: We’ll make it to 1st place in Stage 2. Thank you! (Laughs)
WooHyaL: We will make sure to win far ahead of other teams in Stage 2 (Laughs).
Closer: I’d like to show that we are a team that doesn’t make any mistakes by working harder on our teamwork in Stage 2.
Fury: I hope we can show our fans more improved teamwork in Stage 2. I’d personally like to display much smoother plays now that it’s been a while since I joined the team.
Hooreg: I hope I can keep my skills at a satisfying level.
Profit: I’d like to play in Stage 2 with fewer mistakes than Stage 1. I’d personally like to work on my skills with other heroes as well.
Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Gesture: First, although we did win in the title match for Stage 1, I was sorry that it seemed we weren’t staying focused now and then. We will try hard altogether so that we won’t falter in the future. We will also do our best so that we get results that match our efforts.
I’d like to also express our gratitude for those supporting us all the time. I truly appreciate it.
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