Mosaic eSports’ ChrisTFer on Contenders: 'I think most people agree that the new structure is excellent.'
Mosaic eSports is a new esports organization that has quickly moved into the Overwatch esports space with its newly acquired roster that will seemingly compete for a spot in Overwatch Contenders. Their main tank player, Christopher "ChrisTFer" Graham has seen the front lines of the Overwatch World Cup on team United Kingdom and has been in the Overwatch esports scene almost since its inception. He sat down with Esports Heaven to discuss how his new team was progressing and some predictions on how the Overwatch League will shake out.
I know ChrisTFer to be the fearless sole leader from Singularity Ninjas and your short time with Envision Esports. Is that the same role that you’ve taken up for Mosaic eSports? Are you still maintaining the solo shot-calling style of in game leadership?
Probably not, we haven't figured out our fully communication structure, but we have a more experienced shotcaller in Luddee on the team, so i’ll probably be doing secondary shotcalling and calling engagements for example.
Now we that we finally have some sort of news with Contenders, what is your take on the format and the overall structure of the event? Where are some major things you think could be improved?
I think most people agree that the new structure is excellent. The way the prize money works is better for players and spectators. The buyout system into OWL is probably the best thing about the ruleset though. Allowing orgs to invest into the tier 2 scene and receiving fair compensation for players moving up, whilst also making it impossible for players to go to contract prison like we saw during the preseason signing window.
Are you worried at all with the lack of region locking or are you all for teams traveling across the globe to compete in a region they might not call home to? Is this something you or Mosaic might considered moving forward?
Not at all. Any system with region locking will inevitably cripple talented players who are playing in regions that aren’t that strong overall. NA contenders would be a joke if only NA players where allowed, and it would hurt the academy teams quite a bit. It's important for these academy teams to be able to scout and nurture talent from around the globe, just as they did with their OWL rosters.
We’ve only got roughly 2 or so weeks left before the inaugural season of the Overwatch League and I have to ask—what are your thoughts of the Overwatch League Preseason? Is this what you envisioned way back when it was first announced?
Preseason went pretty smoothly overall. The arena and stage looked excellent, skins and colours looked good, so I would say it was a successful test run for the main event starting soon.
That being said, what are some of your first impressions of the teams so far? Anyone stand out as a frontrunner leading into Stage 1?
I think the 3 Korean teams are probably going to finish 1-3. Can't really pick between London and Seoul for the first spot.
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“I think the next highest team will probably be Philly.”
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A lot of people are writing them off because they don’t know some of the EU talent and there has been a lot of problems with the visa. But that being said I think they have the most talented and stacked non-korean roster in the League and they have a world class coach in Kirby. The tank line especially of Fragi and Poko is going to surprise a lot of people I think.
How are things in Mosaic eSports going? I know that teams have been practicing for a bit now, has anyone behind the scenes really surprised you as of late?
Teams are just starting to form, and with a Christmas break just finishing, things will probably take it up a notch now. There is no significant standouts, really. The teams you would expect to be good are starting out that way, but that being said, I don't think anyone should take scrim results this early too seriously.
I know you and fischer have teamed together since your days back in the chavs and Hammers Esports. How important do you think having pre-existing synergy will be leading into Contenders Season 2? Do you think teams that leverage that pre-existing synergy will beat out newer, start up teams?
It's definitely nice to have a pre existing synergy with fischer. Combining that with the existing core that already exists at Mosaic means that we will have an easier time in the first month and we at least know there isn’t any significant personality clashes which will harm the team down the line. Which is definitely an advantage over teams that are bringing in talent that's never played together before.
Drawing back to the Preseason for a moment, do you think this metagame is going to really test Tank players based on the fact that we’ve seen so many different variations of compositions used? For example, on Junkertown you might run Orissa/D.Va or maybe even Roadhog/D.Va. Will this metagame put pressure on the tanks more than usual?
For sure. Throughout my time as main tank, I’ve been in a meta where I only play Reinhardt, or only play Winston. I’m not consistently playing 4 heroes every scrim block which makes main tank one of the most flexible role in the current meta.
It's way more enjoyable than previous metas.
Could you talk a little bit about Moira? What are your thoughts of her hitting ranked recently? Do you think she’ll change the metagame at all?
I don’t know if the hero is bad, but in a meta where Zen and Mercy are this strong, it's hard to foresee Moira getting much playtime before nerfs come in for the other two.
Speaking of maps like Junkertown and potentially Blizzard World, it seems like Blizzard is really testing the limits of what maps can be. Is this something you want to see more of or would you rather keep things fairly similar throughout the map pool? If so, from a pro player’s perspective, what would you like to see concerning map design in the future?
I think pro players still massively prefer map pools without some of the newer maps. Junkertown specifically is a map almost everyone hates. I haven't played Blizzard World yet, but based on the newer maps that have come out i’m not sure i’m looking forward to it.
Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLG’s 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 and @tempusrob