Lukemino On Offseason Trials, Collegiate Success & OW2!

Volamel 2022-06-15 09:34:41
  Lukemino speaks about Overwatch 2. With all eyes fixated on the 2022 Overwatch League, semi-professional players stand as outsiders looking in. However, the health of their vantage point is vital to the success and sustainability to Overwatch esports as a whole. Maryville Esports support ace Luke "Lukemino" Fish spoke to Esports Heaven about his offseason experience trialling for Overwatch League teams, the hurdles faced by tier two Overwatch 2 players, etc.
Recently you shared some of your opinions on the first Overwatch 2 beta. With more and more information spilling out about Overwatch 2, could you talk a little bit about how you feel about where things stand now? Lukemino: We’ve been playing around on Overwatch 2, scrimming and stuff, I think over time it has grown on me a bit more. But I do think that losing one of the tanks, it’s harder as a support because the off-tank used to peel for the supports. That’s kind of just fallen to the supports to do the job of the off-tank as well. I don’t know if Overwatch 1 or Overwatch 2 is better right now. Overwatch 1 feels easier to play as a support, but for every other role, it just might feel a little less oppressive to play Overwatch 2.” We need ranked ASAP. The only other thing I hope they change is that I hope they add more supports. I don’t really think there is anything fundamental that I think needs to be changed. It would be nice if there was a beta where they tried 6v6 with some slight balance changes, but to be honest, 5v5 might just be better.” Could you talk about some of the hurdles that collegiate and Overwatch Contenders players have with their access to Overwatch 2? Lukemino: When Overwatch 2 was first coming out and Overwatch League had a month's head start, it was definitely much harder to practice against Overwatch League teams as a Contenders team that just didn’t practice the meta at all. It set us back a bit, but as long as they keep updating the game and keep adding patches, it just won’t matter long-term. It was a little unfortunate that during the offseason people really couldn’t get good practice, but most of the teams had already decided on their rosters by then. I don’t think it particularly hindered anybody's ability to get into the Overwatch League. I didn’t actually play in Open Division because we already had a Contenders spot, but I do feel bad for the players who had to play in Open Division and had to play 6v6 when Overwatch 2 just isn’t going to be on that. It's really unfair to people playing through Open Division but there isn’t really a better means, except opening a beta just for Open Division. As someone whose name is constantly circling the Overwatch League, could you talk about your experience in the 2022 Overwatch League offseason? Lukemino: I generally don’t have really high expectations when it comes to Overwatch League tryouts. I can’t really go into specific teams or whatever, but every season I’ve been old enough to play, I usually get more than a few tryouts for teams. I feel like for a lot of teams, they already know  who they want when they trial people and also it’s kind of a connections game. I’ve had a very [...] bad method of making Overwatch League connections and stuff. It's really hard for a team to determine how good a player is just off of tryouts. So I don’t really blame teams for going like ‘oh we want this player’ or ‘other players on the team like this player, we should probably get them.' I was kind of hoping to get into Overwatch League this season, but eventually, I think I will make it [in] as long as I keep practising and winning stuff. I’m not too pressed to get into Overwatch League. At this point, it’s just a waiting game. [Overwatch League] is the goal, but I’m taking it as it comes because I feel like if I tried to put in more effort it wouldn’t be through gameplay. I kind of have an issue where I don’t put in a lot of effort outside of just gameplay because I only care about winning. My connections game is weak. Listening to people from coaches to players talk about the difficulties of roster building in the offseason, do you think that had a role to play in the way that season looks now? Do you think that could be why some of these tryouts were not ideal?  Lukemino: I don’t know if it would have made a huge difference for trials because a lot of teams now are going for players they know are really good at the game. Like you see a lot of teams going for double flex support because a lot of the flex support players are good players, they’re reliable players, just recycle [them] and have them learn the new role and if the meta ends up changing to double flex support then the team is already prepared. I think since Overwatch 2 people weren’t sure, it was just about getting the best and most consistent players because before Overwatch League teams would pick up players around the meta. That’s a bit harder right now, because we don’t really know what's going on with the meta in 5v5 because there have been almost random balance changes.” I wouldn't be surprised if there were more 30-day OWL contracts going around as the meta shifts a lot. A lot of teams are not prepared for meta shifts just because not every team has players that are super flexible. The collegiate Overwatch space seems like a three-horse race between Maryville, Redbird and Northwood. As someone with a good amount of experience on other teams, what makes Maryville different? Lukemino: I’d say that I’m still a little new to Maryville because I’ve only been there for one semester now--but we did win. I’d say, partially, since I’ve been here, our success [has come from] us having a powerhouse roster. Credit goes to the long-term success to the people in charge there. They’re really good at building rosters and helping teams not fall apart early season because we definitely had some struggles early season. We lost against random tier 3 teams that we shouldn’t be losing to with the roster that we had. After we practiced a lot, we talked a lot. The biggest thing with Maryville is that the staff helps the players communicate a lot which elevates some struggles some teams will have with players getting really frustrated at their teammates but not having anybody to talk to. That happened a lot in the offseason. With your experience with Odyssey and Contenders, is this something that you feel happens with a lot of teams? Is there a high value in people who can facilitate good communication in your mind?  Lukemino: There is definitely a lack of that on the weaker teams in Overwatch right now. People tend to complain to their friends instead of actually talking to their teammates and working stuff out. Having someone who is just there and can just help you talk to people with your frustrations, it generally leads to long-term success of a team instead of just people being constantly frustrated and not even knowing that you’re frustrated with them. With the Overwatch Contenders season spinning up, do you have any final words or goals for the season? Are there any teams you're particularly interested in beating? Lukemino: Northwood is not even a threat anymore since they lost [Landon "Landon" McGee], it is kind of over for them. I mean they have [Christopher "Cjay" Smith] now and he’s pretty good but it’s just not the same as having a ‘Landon’ on your team. Redbirds used to be a powerhouse but I don’t know, something is up with that team. Not doing as well as they probably could be. That’s all I have to say. Maryville just wins again not really a competition. We just picked up [Rene "k1ng" Rangel] and [Enrique "Joobi" Triana] as well. [We’re] more stacked than before. I know looking through some of your social media and Maryville’s social media, those acquisitions were fairly recent. Do you think k1ng and Joobi have been integrated well? You talked about them being kind of stacked, is it a good feeling having them around?  Lukemino: I’ve known k1ng for a long time, he was on Odyssey with me before and I’ve talked to Joobi before and know him pretty well. Both of them are really good players. You know, you just add some good players to a good roster and you get a better roster. Last semester we had our fair share of problems and a lot of it stems from [us having] two hitscan players and one of them is [playing an off role]. Granted, it’s not like he’s bad at flex DPS but it just alleviates the pressure of him having to learn every character in the game because now we actually have a flex DPS player. Although we don’t have a tank now that [Michael "mikeyy" Konicki] is in the Overwatch League, so we’ll have to figure that out.
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. Additionally, visit Esports Heaven to keep tabs on more games. Images via Blizzard Entertainment

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