He’s been a caster, a podcast host and a big supporter of the Overwatch Open Division—Dusttin "Dogman" Bowerman embodies Overwatch. Dogman has been in the Overwatch game since the beginning in 2016 with his debut at Agents Rising and considering that he’s been featured on teams like Splyce, Kungarna, and more recently Last Night’s Leftovers. Now, after two years of training, he’s approaching his biggest crucible yet - Overwatch Contenders playoffs with the Atlanta Reign’s academy team, ATL Academy. Dogman has been practicing, streaming, creating content, but still managed to take some time to speak with Esports Heaven about some of his goals coming into the new year and his thoughts on the Overwatch Contenders playoffs. I’ve got some housecleaning for you. One of my favorite back and forths I’ve had in an interview was last summer when I asked you about “Cyborg-byeolbe” and how you thought he had “cheats in his hands.” Now that we’ve had the first season of Overwatch wrap up, let’s talk shop. How do you think he did the first season? Any projections for the second season?I think Saebyolbe is still a legend. To me, he is one of the best aimers in the game. I’ve always been someone that respects players that have crazy aim. Some players only have good aim though, and he wasn’t one of them. He did well in the first season; however, it’s definitely hard to stand out when your team plays more heavily around your backline. I think things might change for him coming into this season due to GOATs, unfortunately. But with the potential for DPS meta to come back, you always will need good players like him.You and the core of Last Night’s Leftovers really captured the hearts and minds of the North American scene last year for Contenders. How did that feel to, in a sense, be the peoples’ champion?It felt pretty good; however, I wasn’t focused too much on it. Fortunately and unfortunately, I’ve already felt that happiness from succeeding on other unsponsored teams. It wasn’t really something new to me. LNL was a great team to be on for me individually; however, a lot of the publicity I got in the first place was due to playing on Kungarna in the first season of Contenders. I’m very fortunate I’ve been able to play on such good teams. Hopefully playing on one of the best Contenders teams this season will get even more people’s attention.We spoke previously about your competitive fire and how it derives from your athletics as a child. Would you say those lessons in passion and discipline have helped you maintain focus and combat fatigue in Overwatch? I think the biggest motivating factor from when I was playing sports as a kid was a chip on my shoulder. Coaches told me I was too small for success, I didn’t have a chance to be good enough to play on the highest level. Everything evened out when Overwatch came out when I was 18. I had a chance to compete on fair terms with everyone else in the world. Because I’ve gotten that opportunity, I can’t ever give up. Fatigue is real, and I take rest days, but after resting I come back even stronger.To preface the question and add some context, last year around this time you were heading into the second season of the Overwatch PIT Championships. Now I’ve got to ask, you’ve been at this for more than two years, how does it feel seeing Atlanta Academy leading Group A of Overwatch Contenders as you head into Week 5? Obviously, it feels great. The job’s never over though, similarly to teams in the past when we’re down and need to work back into winning, it’s never over. I hope this season has been proof that I carry my own weight and can give us outs in team fights. However, ATL Academy this season has really been a great team. Our roster this season is definitely one of the best. I do really hope that people notice me this season though.Speaking of, Atlanta Academy rounds out the Contenders Season playing against the reigning Contenders champions, Fusion University. What are some of your thoughts going into this game? Is this going to just be a precursor to the grand finals for this season?Our match versus Fusion is going to be a tough game, they have some really capable players on their team. We’ll be bringing out A game out to that match on Wednesday. I’m not sure if it’s a prelude to the grand finals, we still have to play this match and have some good teams ahead of us. You should really only be looking at the match closest, not in the future.I had an interesting conversation recently about the strength of an in-game leader versus the power of belief in one. So let me pose you this; would you rather have someone who is more accurate and intelligent in his shot-calling or a person who can get their teammates to truly trust and buy into what they have to say?I really like teammates that are more accurate and intelligent. You see teams towards the bottom that trust in their main support but they aren’t exactly doing the right thing. It’s important to not buy into stuff that is factually incorrect. Sometimes even the best leaders have the dumbest ideas.One of the Chinese casters keeps up with a handful of Contenders regions and actually rated Atlanta Academy within his top ten teams in his power rankings. You’ve always seemed to be well versed in other regions as well, what’s your take on the strength of Contenders globally?I think in previous seasons I’ve compared my teams globally. However this season I’m truly focused on our region. I like watching other teams play, but right now I try to not be too harsh about critiques. This meta is really hard to get everything right. Sometimes there are one or two glaring problems with a team, and we have those issues too probably. I think the best teams are the ones that have consistent and good game plans. I see a lot of teams globally either making consistently bad plays or inconsistent good plays. It’s not just them though either so it’s hard to have a take globally right now.I’ve yet to hear anyone really flesh out their thoughts on the division of North American Contenders, so as a player that has to play within the format, what's your take on the situation?To be honest, it’s best to not focus on the downsides or upsides as a player on the format. If you believe in a different format then it might be worth arguing over. However, personally, I’m fine with any format I’m given. I’ve been playing in a few different formats for years, the current format is decent, but I believe it’ll get better in due time.As we approach the new year, what are three goals you want to meet coming into 2019? It can be personal or esports related, just need three new goals for yourself.The first goal this year is to not jinx myself and stay focused. Other years I’ve veered off or gotten too confident, this year I’m focused and I know what I want. I don’t want to be in the Overwatch League that bad, I want to be one of the best players in the game right now really bad. Second goal is to be a more talkative person overall this year. I haven’t really been reaching out to too many people because I’ve been so focused. Hopefully this year I can make it up to my friends, online and offline. Third goal is to be decently fit, I’ve been working on it towards the end of the year anyways so hopefully I can be more consistent with eating less meat and running more. Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLGs of 2006. He started out primarily following Starcraft 2, Halo 3, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. He has transitioned from viewer to journalist and writes freelance primarily about Overwatch and League of Legends. If you would like to know more or follow his thoughts on esports you can follow him at@Volamel.Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.