The NUEL Overwatch Spring Split regular season is nearly at its conclusion. We have a week to go before the playoffs, and one team is definitely going to qualify: York’s Underwatch. Following their impressive performance last week they currently sit at the top of the leaderboard. I wanted to interview them to find out their experience of the season so far, and their feelings going into the playoffs. I spoke primarily with Team Captain Zreak, and other team members answered as they wanted.
Electro: First question: how would you rate your season performance so far?
Zreak: I would say we have been in superb form this season. Everyone wanted to continue our winning form in the Swiss stages from last season and aim for first place again and we have done exactly that. Our first week started off a bit slower than normal but we quickly regained our confidence. Team plays have been coming together and we have been responding to the opposition compositions well. I couldn’t ask anything more from the team other than to keep it up!
E: You were missing a consistent Mercy player last season: how has the changing meta affected your picks this season?
Z: Last term Derf2000 was our main Mercy player at the time due to the tank roles being filled. The meta change has not largely affected our picks. This season we have managed to integrate him into that tank role whilst I have taken support. Jklol and z7k can play any DPS we need. As a result, we have large flexibility in our picks for all roles. We can now run any composition we want, and Mercy is still part of some of them!
E: z7k is already a talented Sombra player: with huge Sombra changes inbound, do you think you’ll have an advantage going into playoffs?
Z: She’s a powerful asset in teams right now, so it’s definitely a big advantage.
E: You were knocked out at the last hurdle in the previous season: any teams you’re worried about or would like to face going into the playoffs?
Itspaddyd: Cambridge was the team that beat us, but there have been multiple times teams have come really close (notably Warwick Angels.) Going in with a mentality not to underestimate teams is super-important I think.
Z: Lots of teams have had roster changes but I would like to see how Warwick Angels and UoB Ares (Birmingham) are doing. We had close games with them last term. Our game on Dorado against Reservoir Hogs (Aberdeen) was very close: they will be one to watch. I would like to face Durham again though because I have some good friends on that team and should be a close encounter!
E: You guys are good friends outside of the game. That’s obviously helped you as a team, have you got any other tips for NUEL teams looking to make it to playoffs?
Z: Indeed it has! I shall not give too much away but definitely having a shotcaller in your team helps a lot and having strategies to execute when against certain compositions or on specific maps. If you can, try to have each person in a specific role that can play any of those characters when needed.
Itspaddyd: strengthen the team bond by losing SR together
Z: that too.
E: Three of your players are due to leave the university next year. Is that a concern for the team’s success?
Z: I am hoping that some new talent comes through from the freshers or from the second team as I would like to see this team do well again. We have Burakkuada who has integrated into the team easily after joining this term, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.
E: I guess you can hope for some talented freshers?
derf2000: Does z7k have a younger brother maybe?
E: Might I suggest cloning?… Before we wrap up the interview, is there anything you would like to say?
Z: Just a massive thanks to the NUEL for being able to put on this sort of competition. It’s great to see the competition growing each season.
My thanks to Zreak and the rest of Underwatch for taking the time to be interviewed. You can catch the final week of the NUEL Swiss format today at 7PM on the NUEL Twitch Channel.