In spite of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the Overwatch League is starting to heat up. The third season is reaching its halfway point and is about to kick off a month-long tournament with big money and a lot of pride at stake. One of the biggest matches for the first round of the May Tournament is set to kick off this Sunday, as the Los Angeles Gladiators face off against the Toronto Defiant.
For the Gladiators, they're looking to enter the second half on a high note. They enter the weekend with a 3-3 overall record and hanging precipitously from the play-in cutoff line, with the Defiant looking to overtake them in the standings. But this weekend's game with the Defiant may have a little more meaning for the Gladiators' top two support players, Benjamin "BigGoose" Isohanni and Jonas "Shaz" Suovaara. This Sunday will mark the first time that the two face off against their former teammate, DPS all-star Lane "Surefour" Roberts.
Prior to this Sunday's big game, Shacknews had the opportunity to check up on BigGoose and Shaz to check up on how they're approaching the second half of the season, ask about adjusting to life under quarantine, and see how they're approaching this first-time matchup against Surefour.
Shacknews: We're about halfway into the season. There were some question marks about the Gladiators given the roster changes. How do you feel the team has adjusted?
Benjamin "BigGoose" Isohanni: I don't think anyone in our team doubted our roster and we ourselves were pretty confident in our roster for the upcoming season and I think that's biggest thing that matters.
Shacknews: What was your reaction to losing Surefour? And what did this mean for you two as far as taking on a greater leadership role for the team?
BigGoose: Of course I would've loved to play with Surefour but I decided to stay in glads for season 3 and I don't think my role has really changed significantly this year.
Shacknews: The Gladiators are at 3-3. How is the team approaching the second half?
BigGoose: I myself don't think about our current standing and just focus on the next game whoever it may be against. Our preparations aren't really any different from before.
Shacknews: How have you been adjusting to life under quarantine? How has it affected your day-to-day training?
BigGoose: I think our daily lives are pretty similar even to before quarantine. Some of us used to go out to eat every once in a while and go to the gym but luckily we have our own gym so we are still able to do that.
Jonas "Shaz" Suovaara: It's great, I get to focus on self-improvement. Our team got us a home gym so working out is a lot more convenient than before the quarantine, I do miss going out though. For practice the two biggest things are that we play from home obviously and that we don’t see our coaches face to face.
Shacknews: How would you describe team morale right now after living almost six weeks in quarantine?
BigGoose: Our team morale is pretty much the same still and I think our lives haven't really changed that much.
Shacknews: How do you feel the support meta has changed over the course of the season?
BigGoose: I think the support meta hasn't really changed that much. You get to play about 1-3 heroes depending on the week. Sometimes it's Lucio, sometimes it's Brig, and maybe sometimes u get to flex.
Shacknews: You guys are facing off against Surefour and the Toronto Defiant. Surefour won't have Widowmaker because of Hero Pools, but he's been picking up Echo. What are you guys expecting out of Surefour's Echo and how are you preparing for the matchup?
BigGoose: I don't think there is any reason to prepare any differently than for any other team. We'll be approaching the match as any other match.
Shaz: I don’t really think about who we are playing against beforehand. We can’t know what Toronto will play so we will just have to adjust during the match.
Shacknews: Lastly, Bischu rejoined the Gladiators back in November after a brief stint with Guangzhou. What does it mean to you guys to have him back?
BigGoose: It's nice to have Bischu back he is a really good teammate and also a really good friend so I'm glad he is back!
The Overwatch League continues this weekend with the start of the May Tournament. The Los Angeles Gladiators face the Toronto Defiant this Sunday at 4PM PT. Catch all of the action live on the Overwatch League YouTube channel.