While the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the esports world, the Overwatch League has picked back up and is preparing to enter the second half of its third season. As the season reaches its halfway point, the league is going to kick off a new May Tournament, where big money and pride are on the line. One of the most exciting matchups of the first round is set to go down this Sunday, as the Toronto Defiant meet the Los Angeles Gladiators.
Earlier today, we checked in with the Los Angeles Gladiators' Benjamin "BigGoose" Isohanni and Jonas "Shaz" Suovaara. Now we reach out to the Toronto Defiant and specifically say hello to one of the top Widowmaker players in the world, Lane "Surefour" Roberts. This won't be an easy weekend for Surefour. This week's Hero Pool has left Widowmaker banned, leaving Surefour to experiment with Overwatch's newest character Echo, who becomes legal for the first time this weekend. On top of that, this will mark the first time that Surefour has played against the Gladiators, where he spent his first two seasons as one of the team's top players.
Prior to Sunday's game, Shacknews had the opportunity to chat with Surefour. We ask about adjusting to life under quarantine, picking up Echo, Hero Pools, and what it means to face off against his old Gladiators teammates.
Shacknews: We're about halfway into the season and it's your first one as a member of the Toronto Defiant. How have you adjusted to your new team? How would you say the transition has gone?
Lane "Surefour" Roberts: It's been fine. I have not found any challenges in transitioning teams.
Shacknews: The team's record sits at 4-5. It's not where anybody expected to be, I'd imagine. How is the team working to improve in the second half of the season?
Surefour: Except for the small handful of teams at the top, everyone is trying to do the same thing right now. Work on fixing their mistakes and improve as much as they can.
Shacknews: How have you been adjusting to life under quarantine? How has it affected your day-to-day training?
Surefour: Fortunately I have not had to make any major adjustments outside of following social distancing recommendations. The main difference for team activity is that we currently practice from our homes and apartments instead of at the Defiant's training facility.
Shacknews: How would you describe team morale right now after living almost six weeks in quarantine?
Surefour: Team morale hasn't changed from the first week of quarantine to the last week. Everything is pretty much the same. We stay connected online and through our practice sessions.
Shacknews: What are your thoughts on Hero Pools? Do you feel like this was the right move for the league or is there something you feel the league could be doing better?
Surefour: Overall, I think Hero Pools were good for the game. The worst part is when characters I find fun to play are banned. But I know it’s only temporary. I wish Echo hadn't been banned in Competitive the first week she was out, but I look forward to trying her out this weekend in match play.
Shacknews: Lastly, you're about to face off against the Los Angeles Gladiators. What does it mean to you to face your former teammates?
Surefour: If the Defiant win, it will be a bit bittersweet because I want my friends on the Gladiators to be successful. But if the Defiant lose, I'll be sad too. I’ll play my best and we'll see what happens.
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.