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Gladiators Legion Gods: “The players currently in the Overwatch League should not be comfortable with their positions.”

Volamel 2018-12-04 06:23:45
  Overwatch Contenders houses both rookie and veteran talent looking to, one day, grace the Overwatch League stage. On the latter half of that discussion lies Daniel "Gods" Graeser, flex tank for Gladiators Legion. With a track record that dates back to 2016, Gods has been around the competitive Overwatch circuit for a while, playing on teams like Luminosity Gaming, NRG Esports and Cloud 9. Now, he plays for the academy team for the Los Angeles Gladiators, Gladiators Legion. Gods spoke with EsportsHeaven about his thoughts on some of the new teams entering the Overwatch League, the level of Contenders, and why Overwatch League players should not remain comfortable going into the second season.
You’re quite known for having a big presence on social media with some hilarious posts on Twitter and on your live stream. Does that humor permeate into Gladiators Legion at all or is it strictly business? My social media memes are essentially my thoughts and jokes condensed into images directly. I love being able to be myself on social media and joke about whatever I want to. I think it's important to give people perspective though, I've been working on reaching my goals as a professional player for over 2 years now. When it's time to perform I take it completely seriously. From your time on Luminosity Gaming all the way until now with Gladiators Legion, you and Pookz have been practically inseparable. What has tied you to together for so long? What are some of your favorite memories with Pookz? Oh boy ... the stories I could tell. Pookz and I met early on in my career, we were the two new additions to the team at the time so we definitely felt more separate from the team initially. I believe that combined with our similar sense of humor made us good friends. Some of my favorite memories come from our time traveling together and competing in 2016. Traveling can be hard and stressful, it's hard not to have some inside jokes about the weird stuff that you experience along the way, that's my favorite part. The community has been vocal about their opinion on the heavy tank metagame that we are currently in, but from a players perspective, what are some of your takeaways from where the game is currently? Do you enjoy where the game is at right now? The game is pretty simple from a professional perspective. The meta is defined around a sequence of abilities and movements made by your Reinhardt, Zarya, and Brig. The initial clash of the tanks is heavily scripted and predictable. While it is fun as someone who enjoys scripting and planning strategies in the game, I don't enjoy the game as much if I don't get to work on implementing new compositions because certain heroes are too powerful. In a past episode of OverSight, you mentioned that you think that the second season of the Overwatch League would be more competitive and that teams would be defined by their coaches. First, what is your take on some of the new teams this year? It's pretty clear to me that the teams that had existing rosters have a distinct advantage, it would surprise me if one of the new expansion teams were able to take the top spot. I'm excited to see people that I know and compete with and against moving up from Contenders and getting their chance to compete. Unfortunately, I have to cheer for them from the sidelines but it should be a really good season to watch as a spectator. Second, do you still think that the coaching staff will dictate the pace of each team? This is something I’ve personally wondered about myself because it seemed like in season one, coaches were viewed as very replaceable. The Fuel, Valiant, Shock, Boston, London, and Shanghai all made coaching staff changes mid-season. Do you think this will change in season two? Good question. As time goes on the coaches will become critical for a team’s success. Currently, however, I believe the players have a better feeling and knowledge about the game than their coaches in some instances. This doesn't apply to every team. As we see more and more veteran professional players retiring to coaching positions this dynamic will change. You will eventually have people that played Overwatch professionally for several years transitioning into a coaching role. They will have a lot to teach someone who is 18 and just breaking into the scene. In the past, you’ve been fairly critical of Overwatch Contenders saying there are only around 10-15 players that could easily compete in the Overwatch League and that a lot of the matches are not worth watching because of the level of play. Do you think that either of these things has changed over the past five or six months? Contenders is still a pretty mixed bag. If you picked a name out of a hat blindly, you could potentially get someone who is barely good enough to compete in open, or you could get the Overwatch Leagues next MVP (me). In all seriousness though, players and teams in Contenders are getting stronger every day. The players currently in the Overwatch League should not be comfortable with their positions. Some of us are out here grinding all day to come and take their spot. Now I’ve got to ask, what went wrong in your match against Second Wind last week? Yikes. A lot of different things contributed to that loss, to be honest though. It was the best way for us to lose. Everyone on my team is going to learn a lot from a long, drawn-out endurance game. In some ways, we feel like a new team. Adding Dalton and Far as well as some communication and cultural restructuring from our coaching staff is pushing us in the right direction. I know we can and will do better in the future. Could you walk me through the thought process on swapping Dalton from the Zarya onto Sombra on your attack on Route 66? What about Second Wind did you see that made the team call for the swap? That was actually my call. We had noticed that Sombra can be good in instances similar to that one. I made a judgment call and it didn't play out the way that I thought it would. Not to fault Dalton though, we barely had experience playing with the Sombra. Next week Gladiators Legion is facing off against Team Envy. Not to pry too much into the strategy going into next week, but could you explain to the folks at home what goes into preparing for a team? The thing I can't stress enough with my team is playing our own game. Make our moves and force the other team to react. Team Envy might be a challenge, we aren't worried about facing any specific team right now. They should be worried about facing us.
  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.

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