The British Esports Championships have only been going for a few months, and Sunderland College is already the most decorated institution, with wins in Overwatch and League of Legends.
We interview Sunderland Seers head coach Dan to ask about the team’s playing habits, what it’s like playing in the Championships and how well they think they can do at the grand finals at Insomnia in April.
Please tell us how the teams got started.
Team 1 was already pretty much established before I was involved with the team. I came in originally as a player alongside a few others in this roster, however as time progressed and team 1 showed themselves to be strong and I found a place on the sidelines, I used my high level experience to help them reach their full potential.
Team 2 went through some roster changes during the off season, revamping our support and tank lines with even more high level players who fit well with each other, and stood up to team 1 in their first practice match together.
Throughout the last two seasons, it’s become apparent how fortunate I am to be able to work with such naturally talented players who respond incredibly well to my coaching and ideas, and I must say they’ve made it incredibly fun and exciting to work with the team.
For each team please list the player roster.
- Anthony and Connor on DPS
- Jake and Josh on Tank
- Mitchell and Jark on Support
However this roster rotates around a lot due to their varying hero pools.
- Connor and Joseph on DPS
- Sam and Fed on Tank
- David and Bence on Support
This roster has only been together a short time, but also impresses me greatly with how quickly they adapted to each other’s playstyle.
Having won in Overwatch in Season 1 (and in our pilot), you guys are the most decorated team in the British Esports Championships so far. What are your targets for this season?
Almost all our players have the goal of going undefeated throughout the season. Team 2 have also said their goal is to meet Team 1 in the finals at Insomnia in April.
Meanwhile, team 1 have said they want to improve their flexibility so they can respond to anything a team could possibly throw at them. Both teams have used the win last season as a source of momentum. Team 1 are using it to continue their dominance, and Team 2 are using it as a reason to push further and match their peers going into this season.
More personal targets for players are things like improving mechanics and hitting career highs in Ranked play. As a coach, seeing their goals almost all being about improving and pushing themselves makes me happy to say the least.
Who does what in the team, please tell us about your roles and how your strategies have developed as a team so far?
Gary is the manager of the team. He tries to be cool and knowledgeable about the game but truthfully plays 2 heroes that will forever be weak. His hobbies are torturing himself by playing League with players that are better than him, despite rarely playing the game.
Dan is the coach of the team. He thinks he’s phenomenal at everything but actually is just boosted and does a lot less than he thinks he does. As a hobby he analyses goats for 8 hours a day and explains how to not be bad at the game.
- Anthony is the alpha of the team. He practices running 50 miles daily and recites Tracer voice lines to the point where he now is able to use blink and recall in real life. As a hobby he hits 180 pulse bombs on cheetahs.
- Connor doesn’t know the concept of time. He’s always late and any hero that isn’t Genji, Tracer or Widowmaker doesn’t exist in his mind. As a hobby he plays, trying to climb the ladder, hoping someday it will replace the hole in his heart created by the implementation of Brigitte to Overwatch.
- Jake is a mechanical mastermind, firing shots towards enemies on other maps with his incredible aim and positioning on hitscan. In his spare time he likes watching paint dry and crying because his team won’t follow up on a 6 man shatter and, as a result, he missed a reddit spot.
- Josh is a Junkrat main, simply trying to prove to us that he can actually play other heroes so that he doesn’t get left behind after his hero left the meta. As a hobby he likes destroying sand castles and making babies cry.
- Jark is our dedicated Lucio one trick who for some reason played off tank for the entirety of last season. Basically complains whenever he can’t play Lucio on Lijiang. As a hobby he flies around the enemy backline and ignores the fact he’s a ‘healer’.
- Mitchell just sits at the back and complains when a flanker is on him. He occasionally presses Q and very rarely will call a discorded target. Other than that his favourite hobby is pretending Zenyatta is the second version of cookie clicker and just spamming hoping that an orb flies wide and hits an enemy.
- Connor is our former console player who is still trying to work out what a mouse is. He plays typing games to try and learn the functions of a keyboard, but sometimes forgets that the W key exists, which is problematic for Overwatch.
- Joseph plays Brig. Whenever he tries to play anything else we deny him the honour and watch him cry that his baby – Soldier – will never be coming back to meta. In his spare time he likes to reminisce on times where Soldier wasn’t a throw pick, and when he wasn’t being bullied onto Brig.
- Sam doesn’t know what communication is. Instead he leads the team by singing opera during the matches. When maps end he talks a lot of smack, not realising that without his team carrying so hard their backs are broken, his aggression would really be “feeding”.
- Fed will never hit Grandmaster (GM). He is forever cursed to be locked at 3999 SR and there is no fix for the curse. In his spare time he likes to watch streamers in GM, hoping he can find the trick to break the curse… sadly it will never happen and he will forever be hardstuck in Masters.
- David is a Tracer’s soul in a Zenyatta’s body. Front lines are this man’s best friend, despite them being his hero’s worst enemy. His hobbies include listening to really unknown music, playing really unknown games and watching really unknown anime… and then complaining about them.
- Bence is another Lucio one trick. When even the thought of playing another hero crosses his mind, he immediately breaks into a panic attack until he hears the words ‘Speed Boost’ echo through his ears. Upon regaining consciousness, he likes to surf on CSGO to practice for all the reddit-worthy wallriding he will be doing.
What do you think of the British Esports Championships?
All players said basically the same thing: It’s a great way to expose students to a growing industry that they otherwise may have missed out on. It allows for normal players to get the spotlight and attention that the pros get, and even for just a moment can give them a spark of inspiration to pursue a career they’d have otherwise never have considered.
Allowing players to travel down to Insomnia and play in what is likely their first LAN event is just the final piece on that, and will likely provide a surreal experience for all players, coaches and managers alike.
Players’ complaints have been present too however, with everyone mentioning the season-long map pools, rather than having a different map pool for each week, which would allow more variation for strategy and also for the players to not be stuck playing the same maps for 5 weeks which can feel restricting at times.
What are your thoughts on the grand finals at Insomnia, are you confident going into that?
Team 1 has said that they’re extremely confident going into the event no matter who they face. They believe the pressure of playing on stage will not affect them at all, and I agree that they are all very calm players under pressure. With that being said, I think the fact we’ve been able to beat every team we’ve played by such a large margin is going to also contribute to that at the same time. It’ll be my first time preparing a team for a LAN event, so I’m excited to be able to do that too.
Team 2 is using Insomnia as their goal. They want to prove that Team 1 isn’t all the talent seers has to offer and they want to contest and even beat them at Insomnia. They fully believe they can get there and I agree. They’ve shown to be growing very fast and taking on board criticism very quickly (in some cases adapting mid-map and erasing weaknesses within moments of it arising). Upon arriving at Insomnia there have been a few different answers, some nervous that there will be a crowd, some excitement that they’ll get to play in front of that crowd, and some sheer confidence that they’ll be able to perform fully, no matter what the scenario.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I must admit, Team 1 has been scrimming teams outside of British Esports, simply because scrimming even the top teams in the division doesn’t really allow us to feel ‘challenged’ by our opponent.
It’s going to be Seers vs Seers at Insomnia, and you can quote me on that. I’m incredibly confident in both teams’ ability to perform and listen to my feedback. Our team is not only successful within British Esports, but also in spare time, with our Coach operating high in the Tier 3 scene and almost all of our players sitting in the Top 1% of the playerbase.
We have the potential to go undefeated and I believe we absolutely will do that unless something catastrophic happens.
I have no doubt we’re the best team in the division, and I invite any of the other teams to try and knock us off the top.