The Overwatch World Cup is an exciting time where fans get to see players represent their home country on the world stage. Dexerto interviewed Canadian coach/Dallas Fuel assistant coach Louis 'Tikatee' Lebel-Wong about the how the Canadian roster was formed, the meta, and the team’s strengths heading into Blizzcon in November.
Canada may have a population less than the state of California, yet their Overwatch Team has defied the odds in the past two global tournaments, finishing second in 2017 and third in 2018.
The team’s roster is the exact same as last year, so we asked Tikatee about 2-2-2, how the change will affect Team Canada and more headed into the World Cup.
Does 2-2-2 help or hurt Canada?
Tikatee: “I think it's going to be hard to say. I think teams, even in the Overwatch League right now are still figuring out the depth of 2-2-2. And come World Cup, the game might be different still, so it's going to be hard to say how strong our roster will or won't be at that time.
“I think we have a lot of our bases covered for sure. We have this all-star lineup, right? Like you said, the same as last year, so we've got players in every role that I'm confident in. So I do think we'll be extremely strong come World Cup.”
How much did potential future balance factor in with deciding the roster?
Tikatee: “Obviously, we held trials, we held a few of them publicly on stream, and that was the big factor in determining who we thought would work well together, in terms of personalities and play styles, and stuff like that.
But the other thing we have to take into consideration is experience, as well as how active they'll be in the game leading up to World Cup...People actively competing in Overwatch League and Contenders will have a lot of a say in terms of determining where the game will be at that time. That's something I personally prioritize a lot when choosing the roster.”
Why Note over Mouffin for off-tank?
During trials, a lot of people were impressed with off-tank player Mouffin, who has since been signed to Uprising Academy, but ultimately Note was chosen over him.
Tikatee: “Yeah, this is the hot topic, right? ...I know a lot of people think it's going to be just favoritism or everything just because of how much time I've spent working with NotE on the Fuel. Realistically, before we even started tryouts, we talked as a committee and we weren't sure how competitive it was going to be.
Obviously, when we had these standout players in every role from last year, it makes it hard to picture anyone else in the role. When we started tryouts, we see these players like Mouffin coming in like Ezire, like Zholik. It wasn't just Mouffin that we had a lot of discussion over choosing who was going to make the team.
But we see these players come in and they perform really well on tryouts, and it really got us talking about everything we need to factor in when we're looking at a player. So, like I said, active experience is really important, as well as past competitive experience, obviously. All of which all the players on the team have plenty of.”
2-2-2 in trials and beyond
Tikatee: “The game's going to change even more come World Cup. We had to take it with a grain of salt. Like how people did in tryouts, it was a good way of gauging in terms of personality and play style, stuff like that. But we're not sure if those results that we saw are going to be translated in terms of where the game is going to be at come November.
One thing I said to all the players is like it's going to be, the team we chose for World Cup probably wouldn't have been the same team if we were choosing a team for, to compete tomorrow or something. Because the results coming in from tryouts are probably going to be a little bit skewed because of how much the game will probably change.”
The North American Rivalry
Q: “Is there any team you really want to play and beat? I would assume China and USA of course, but are there any others you want to test yourselves against?”
Tikatee: “I mean the obvious one is USA, just because of that little rivalry, and Aero being the head coach of Team USA again this year. That would be fun to see on stage.
It's hard to say. I think we need to see what the bracket's going to look like, and who we're going to actually spend the most time preparing against, and who our biggest match-ups are going to be come World Cup. But off the top of my head, no one really comes to mind besides USA.”
The double-edged sword of automatically qualifying
Q: “Canada automatically qualified this year. And now the group stage is looking harder than ever. You're not getting those "feeder" games. How confident are you that the team will be able to perform right away against say... Finland that has to play through qualifiers to make groups? More time to gell against weaker teams in non-scrims.”
Tikatee: “Yeah. It's a bit of a double edged sword. In one way, like you said, we're going to be cold going into the games, we won't be fully practiced in a tournament setting as a team. It's going to be hard to gauge where we'll be before we actually play on stage.
On the other side of things, we'll have more time to prepare as a team, given that we don't need to prepare for qualifiers and stuff like that. We'll have more time to scrim, and get to know each other, and get comfortable with each other. As well as, we'll have a bit of time to gauge out the rest of the competition because we'll be able to see the games that they're playing.
It'll be, give us a good idea of what becomes popular in terms of the professional meta at that time, as well as giving them idea of where the skill that is at in the other countries. I think it's going to be both good and bad in a way.”
Death of the flex role?
Q: “Normally we would see DPS players on Zarya or supports on Hog. Now with 2-2-2, would you say the flex role is dead and those heroes are the responsibility of the off tank?”
Tikatee: “A lot of those situations would be like ... I wouldn't call it like a cheese pick or anything like that, but a very niche strategy, where we'd have a support player on Hog and play solo to support Mercy. Or have a DPS players playing Zarya in the 3-3, and stuff like that.
These strategies became, some of them became very popular, obviously like the 3-3, but I think they were at first designed to be like these niche strategies, to almost cheese in certain situations. Even looking back, something like the early days of Overwatch, we had teams like NiP playing 3-3 compositions when Ana was first released, trying to just get people off guard and get the most out of this new hero's kit and stuff like that.
I think it limits creativity in that sense. But I don't think it's destroying a player's ability to flex because there's still so many heroes in the game, and there's so many combinations of heroes. There might be some ideas that won't be able to be fleshed out anymore. But I still think there's a lot of room for flexibility.”
Q: “Obviously he's not Canadian, but Sinatraa. Say he's playing Lijiang… You might want to put Sinatraa on Zarya, on Control Center. But then what are you going to do on Night Market or Garden, right?”
Tikatee: “Well, right, right. To address that directly, the way it works in the Overwatch League, and the way I'll assume it works come World Cup, is as soon as you lock a hero in for the map, you are on that role for the rest of the map… if he's playing Zarya on Control Center or whatever, he's playing Tank or Off-Tank on the other two Control maps as well, if they come up.
It becomes a little awkward to strategize around if you wanted it to do that.”
Sigma on Canada
Q: “Who will be playing Sigma? People say off tank and main tank. Will that be designated to Note or xQc? Maybe even Mangachu?”
Tikatee: “Mangachu is one to pick up new heroes, for sure. It's hard to say. I think we're going to need to see it in competitive play and see what teams are doing it, with it, to see any big strengths with the hero. Right now, I could picture him as more of an Off-Tank, but again I'd have no competitive experience with him at all.
We haven't seen him on stage so it's hard to gauge right now. And potentially, it could be anyone. I will say that the players have expressed interest in testing him, and they're going to be spending time grinding him out of when he comes up in ranked, and stuff like that. But until we get more information, it's too hard to say.”
xQc, morale and team nature
Q: “Last question. This is the most important question, by the way. If xQc shows up at the scrims without showering and lowers the team's morale, what do you do?”
Tikatee: “Okay, the way I'm going to answer this is way too friendly. But the biggest thing that's surprised me about xQc ... because I had never actually never worked with him before, before bringing him in for World Cup this year ... the biggest thing that surprised me was how much he embraces team culture, both inside and outside of the game.
I think everyone said this before, but his stream personality and his personality when he's "tryharding" in game, are very, very different people. And the way he commits fully to making sure the team is on, in terms of morale and stuff like that, is second to none, I think. The way he just brings people together, the way he gives people confidence and hypes people up is really, really impressive.
I think if he were to come up without showering, I think people would be able to overlook that with his great team morale, spirit.”
The Overwatch World Cup kicks off at Blizzcon on Friday, November 1.