Overwatch League – Interview With Brandon “Seagull” Larned From The Dallas Fuel

Dallas Fuel Seagull

Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

I sat down with Seagull after his team’s victory over the Los Angeles Gladiators to close out Stage One. We talked about team compositions, building on their victory, and more!

 

What was your strategy going into the match against the Gladiators?

Strategy is difficult because Effect is gone. So trying to come up with Tracer-less comps is nearly impossible given Tracer is in almost every team comp at a high level. Realistically we depend on Orisa/Junkrat comps and Widow/Genji comps. Those are the two types of strategies we had to base ourselves around because we had that limitation of “Hey, our Tracer player is gone right now.” So that’s what we depended on.

 

What do you think were the keys to your success when running those compositions?

It really depends on the map. For example we played I think Pharah defense and offense on Eichenwalde. For the most part we weren’t set in stone on a lot of strategies. We knew we had to run these two optimal team compositions, which are probably the only two we can run right now. I would say that our team was better at coming up with plans today during the game and keeping track of [the opponents] ultimates and knowing where to play and stuff like that than usual. We’ve been focusing on that more so than ever in the past couple days. For the most part when your team has a limitation like “Well, you can’t play Tracer.” You know no matter what team comp you play, it’s going to kind of suck. Then you end up focusing on all the other stuff that matters. So we put a lot of effort into communication and leadership and stuff like that. We really wanted to make sure that we closed the stage on a high note.

 

Were there any specific communication changes that you made that you think were really beneficial?

We changed our lineup pretty consistently through this stage. The first week I think we changed players on a map-to-map basis. It was very significant. So going from that to week two, we tried out a different set roster for that week. That week we realized that the team really depended on Taimou for shot calling. Week Three, I remember they went back to the original EnVy lineup which was Effect + Taimou and using a set lineup for all of the practices. That made it a lot simpler to improve on communication and the behind-the-scenes chemistry. The week after that, that was the week where again we played with myself and Custa and there was no Taimou playing. That week we were trying to address the fact that if we don’t have Taimou playing, how does the team lead itself in game? You don’t want to have a team thats completely reliant on one person right? What if Taimou is having a bad day and doesn’t talk as much? Do you really want your entire teams performance in game to depend on Taimou having a great or bad day. Not mechanically, just shot calling? That week I believe we won 3 over Shock and it was 3-2 vs Boston. It was a really good week. That was because we delegated shot calling responsibilities not to one person but there was a mix of people with different responsibilities. That week we improved a lot, but then going into this week Effect was gone. So at first we were changing our lineups a lot, then we figured out how to start improving, and now Effect is gone so we’re back to this lineup. For the most part this stage has been a mess. It is improving, and I think the shot calling in this weeks games is significantly improved over any other week.

 

Dallas Fuel Players

2018-02-03 / Photo: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

 

Looking back at stage one, what are your biggest takeaways?

A lot of the behind the scenes chemistry that a team has, you don’t actually quite actually understand what you have until you don’t have it. When we did all of these subs, and we starting switching things up we accidentally kind of messed things up. It wasn’t intentional, we thought we’d keep it but that is the most significant thing that our team has learned coming out of stage one. For me as an individual it’s more about being more open and talkative with strategies with team members, providing input and things like that. Even as a sub player, it’s really, really, important. Essentially, even if I’m not playing for a week because the strategy happens to maybe need Effect and Taimou for ever map. I can still provide strategy input and I think that’s really important a lot of the time.

 

Are you feeling more confident moving into stage two that you’re going to continue to build on the performances like you had today?

The moment we get off Mercy meta we’re going to improve. I don’t think anyone in the league truly enjoys Mercy with the exception of maybe one or two players. Our team struggled moreso than anyone else.

So, clearly you’re looking forward to stage two with the incoming balance changes?

Oh yeah. I’m actually really interested to see how the Sombra changes play out. Her spread is decreased, I haven’t played on live much yet. Is she Tracer now? What’s her damage, because the traditional dive is Genji/Tracer or Soldier/Tracer. If you add a Sombra to that does she actually do enough damage now to apply kill pressure? Could she just de-cloak behind someone and actually put enough pressure on to kill them rather than just being really annoying? That’s the question I want to find out [the answer to].

 

So the Fuel have had some really interesting strategies that you’ve tried out during Stage One. The Doomfist attack on Anubis comes to mind. What goes into those interesting composition strategy planning sessions?

It’s a split between coaches and players. Coaches would probably be the driving force behind it but players provide their input every step of the way. Usually strategies get broken down into “Hey we’ve seen this in scrims, people are holding in these areas. How do we beat this? How do they lose?” When that happens sometimes players come up with unique ideas like the Doomfist offense on Anubis. Where we were going “Okay, how do we get up top with all of our players when they have a Widowmaker who covers a lot of different sight lines?” It’s really obnoxious to get up there. You could spam them with an offensive Junkrat? I think it was Peak, who is one of our coaches who came up with the [Doomfist idea]. Mostly it comes down to crazy ideas that sound good, then you try it. If it works or doesn’t you try and figure out why it did or didn’t in a scrim practice session. Based on the logic, you bring it into a match, or not.

 

For fans who might be trying to learn from watching you play, do you have any advice for the heroes that you like to play?

The biggest tip for every hero is just to play a lot. That’s the most important thing. I play a lot of different heroes at this point. I think I’ve played: Solider, Zarya, Hanzo, Pharah, Junkrat, etc. Once you play a lot of Overwatch you know the role and the team that you want to fill as a specific hero. The more you play you figure the game out and that’s the most important thing. To do that you just play a lot and ask questions like “Why do I suck?” “Why did I lose this?” Stuff like that.

 

Can you talk about the origin story of today’s entrance routine?

[laughs]. That was just five minutes before the match. We were like “We should come up with a really cool walk-on.” Then Taimou starting talking about London doing the “High Noon” where they all fell over. Then he was like “What if I fall over and Chips resurrects me?” I think someone else said “Yeah but [Chips] has to fly”. So we were like “Okay, Okay. We’ve gotta pick him up then. We’re gonna carry him in.” But then, we were like “Can we pick him up easy and fast?” So we did real quick in the dugout. The only thing we had to remember was “When we get to the base of the ramp and Taimou falls over, make sure we drop Chips’ legs first so he doesn’t go head first into the floor.” That’s what we kept saying to each other. Me and Mickie [laughs].

 

You and the Fuel have a ton of fans. Do you have any message on behalf of yourself or the team for your fans?

Thank you for all of the support. I know that we’ve had a very rough start but it can only really go up from here. We’ve got some new additions coming. We’ve got some awesome patches ahead, stage two! I’m excited to see how it goes. For me personally, thank you so much!

 

Sam 'Taco' Owens
Sam 'Taco' Owens is a lifelong gamer who has been playing Blizzard titles for over 20 years. Co-founder of Overwatchscore and content-creator, Taco loves taking a quantitative approach with his analysis. Follow Taco on Twitter!
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