Spazzo on Overwatch League Season 2: “The skill level is increasing and I think when this season is said and done we’ll look back at 2018 the same way we look at 2016 and 2017 now.”

Volamel 2019-02-15 04:44:07
  Fusion University’s head coach, Chris "spazzo" Infante has worked within the Overwatch scene since early 2016 as both a player and a coach. His experience as a player as well as climbing up the support staff ladder makes him an incredibly well versed and knowledgeable asset to any team. Before he joined the Philadelphia Fusion’s academy team, he was a part of Optic Academy as well as the European Cloud 9 roster that competed in Contenders Season 1 of 2017. Spazzo took some time to sit down and speak with Esports Heaven about what may happen with D.Va since her changes, Overwatch League Season 2, and just what went on with Fusion University’s Symetra strategy in the final 2018 Contenders season.
Looking back at your experience in coaching, you’ve repeatedly worked with mixed rosters. Could you give some advice about working with multi-lingual rosters? How would you suggest a young coach approach a mixed roster? The best advice is to not get frustrated and stay patient because it will probably take double the time investment if there’s a language barrier involved. The most important thing is building trust with each player, and every player is a little bit different. Always consider your players' perspectives on situations and focus on building trust through your actions. Past the language barrier and cultural differences are just young guys who want to win. I’m grateful for learning experiences I’ve had and I’ve made plenty of mistakes. Be patient and remember the players come first. Learning Korean also helps. Staying with that, you’ve been in the community for a good while, but we don’t hear much from you often, so I wanted to get to know who ‘spazzo’ is. What are some of your goals going into this year? Anything you’re specifically looking to accomplish? I don’t usually put myself out there when it comes to social media. When I first started coaching I was just someone who thought about the game constantly, but as time went on I’ve learned more and more that there’s way more depth than just being strategically sound. Personally, I’ve had a lot of shortcomings in my career standings-wise, but for my own personal growth, I’ve learned so much. The players I’ve had the opportunity to work with and seeing their own growth makes it worth it. My goal from the start was to just do my best to help players achieve their own goals in Overwatch. So aside from winning Contenders again or making it to Overwatch League, my goals remain the same; be the best help I can be for them in achieving their dreams. There has not been an official announcement of when Overwatch Contenders NA begins, but I’d imagine it’s around the corner. How are things going behind the scenes with Fusion University? How quickly has the team adapted to the metagame? We just started practice again but I’d say our roster will excel at this hybrid meta that’s forming. All of the guys are versatile and we’ve been exploring “anti-goats” comps for a few months now. We will only see more of these type of comps due to the armor and hero changes, so I think we’ll do well. Speaking of the metagame, what is your take on the state of D.Va? Who else could see playtime over her? Personally, I preferred the subtleties of the 1-second matrix “mind games”. I think this type of player controlled counter play is a good quality of Overwatch. I think from a balance point D.Va is a necessary evil. Personally, over the past year and a half, I’ve grown to appreciate the intricacies of D.Va and I think it’s not something that can be easily as appreciated from a spectator's view. I prefer living in the honest reality of understanding she’s a staple and prefer the route of nerfing the aspects of her that have less player influence. When it comes to the triple DPS compositions with Hammond, we’ll see a lot of the obvious choices but I don’t think it's a clear cut as D.va will be played over X hero, or D.Va player will play Y. I think we’ll see variations of swapping Zarya and D.Va for Sombra on more GOATs focused maps. McCree might make some appearances too. I think the meta is in this shifting phase now and teams will start finding the limits of where goats can be interchanged and where it's still the clear cut choice. I’ve got to ask, can you explain the Symmetra strategy on Hollywood Point A in the Overwatch Contenders Final? Who’s idea was that and how did you guys come up with that? It’s pretty straight forward. Symmetra generates ammo for her gun while shooting barriers, the idea is to hard focus the Reinhardt’s shield with Zarya taking a slightly off-angle. The idea is to catch them off-guard and if they stand there expecting the general GOATs vs GOATs fight on point, they’ll lose out pretty fast. At max charge Symmetra does, I think somewhere, between 180-190 DPS so, the Reinhardt, and his team, just melts. Since it was finals and we just had to win the first point, it made sense. It ended up going a bit south because they rushed and saw what we had. It’s a real strategy for sure. Aero mentioned that Dallas Fuel uses Team Envy to practice specific compositions and strategies. Do you think that is a common occurrence with academy teams? Do you think Overwatch League teams are utilizing the academy system properly? I think it really depends on the main team and how they want to utilize their academy team. Most teams are really in the infancy stages of exploring how to use these teams. As the matches have more importance in the OWL season practicing specific scenarios like that behind “closed doors” is very useful. In general, though I don’t there's a true correct way to do it. If there’s good structure and your academy team is generating talent for your own team or the league, that’s a win for OWL all around. Tis the season for Overwatch League predictions and I wanted to know how you felt about this season? Who are some of the teams that you think people are sleeping on and who do you think is overrated? I haven’t seen every team scrim but aside from the Spark (everyone's on that hype train now for good reason), I think the Charge will do better than most power rankings have them placed and I think the Fuel are a bit overrated currently. Rio and Hotba are all around solid. Happy and Nero have great mechanics, Kyb is versatile and game smart and Shu/Rise/Chara are all solid as well. I think the concern for the language barrier is a bit overstated. Comms are extremely important, but with good structure and planning outside of matches, I think they’ll find a system that works for them and do just fine. As for the Fuel, I’m just too unsure to place them as high as some power rankings have them. There’s a lot of uncertainty for me personally to have them rated so high, but I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. I will also say I’m unsure of the Valiant being rated so high for similar reasons. Both teams have great talent (love you Space) but I’m just unsure of how consistent and well these two teams can play for the entirety of the year. The skill level is increasing and I think when this season is said and done we’ll look back at 2018 the same way we look at 2016 and 2017 now.
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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