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Underwatch: The View From the Top

Following an incredibly close, nerve-racking game against GCU, the University of York’s Underwatch won the Spring Campus Clash. An “Underwatch” team has participated in every NUEL Overwatch tournament since its inception and this only further solidifies York’s reputation as the best at Overwatch. I spoke to Risotto (also known as Burakkuada ), Jimbo, Derf2000 (also known as Sosig), Wallabeh and Z7k (also known as Mýa) to explore how the tournament looks from the very top, two splits in a row.

It’s very clear to see that GCU is a 1 man army

Wallabeh

As already mentioned, the Spring final featured a very close game between reigning champions Underwatch and challengers Caledonian Chargers. I wanted to know how the match felt “on the ground” in-game. Risotto gave the overview. “It was an interesting game because we won Busan quite easily. So we all got super cocky and then we threw Hollywood because we were all just memeing, then we draw on Volskaya, we throw on Dorado and then we won the other two control points. So it was just us throwing and getting cocky and then realising we had to try-hard.” That said, even after the comeback was on, it wasn’t completely smooth sailing as Jimbo pointed out. “We did have to pull out our secret strat to win. Should never have worked but somehow did.”

We were kind of preparing for YEET.

Derf2000

Some people have made comparisons between the match and that of the Overwatch League Stage 1 finals. Both had 2 teams that were highly expected to be the final 2 (NYXL and Vancouver Titans vs YEET and Underwatch) but a 3rd, highly aggressive team (San Francisco Shock vs Caledonian Chargers) with a star player (Sinatraa vs Cameron) makes it instead and gives the favourites a good run for their money.

Risotto found solidarity with the Titans’ performance in their final. “I feel like Vancouver Titans are the same, they just expected to roll and got surprised that Shock got 3 games and then were like tryharding Rialto and just dumped on them.” Jimbo acknowledged that they had underestimated GCU. “We kind of assumed that because GCU are basically always run goats, that YEET with their triple DPS would be able to easily overcome them and that’s a compliment to GCU.”

I feel like I’d rather come in as underdogs like GCU. It’s kind of like fate that we win both splits only to lose the grand finals when it really matters.

Risotto

While Underwatch went into the Grand Final playoffs with Spring under their belt last year as well, this time they also have Winter. I wondered if that put any additional pressure on them or if it only boosted their confidence. Wallabeh started off. “I think, if we end up not winning, we’ll be pretty annoyed because we’ve won both splits and then not getting the grand prize because we tilted on the final day would be pretty ****.” Derf reinforced that the effect isn’t as big as it might seem from the outside. “I think it doesn’t really affect us the fact that we won the first two.”

They are still confident that they’ll win though, as Jimbo compared their experience with GCU in Spring to what they had with YEET in Winter. “It’s a similar thing to when we were playing against Staffs last time where we lost so many times to Staffs because we didn’t really know quite what we were going to do against them yet and were just trying a lot of stuff.”

I think we can play pretty much any meta

Derf2000

Heroes are constantly getting buffs and nerfs and the tournament is always played on the most recent patch. I asked whether they thought any of the balance changes might change how they approach the game. Wallabeh was adamant that GOATS would stay as strong as ever. “GOATS is still meta. GOATS is just too strong, its still meta. If we had a proper flex DPS who was like a poppin’ Pharah, we could probably play a ball, triple DPS comp but GOATS is still meta.”

Risotto was confident that the team would be able to adapt even if the meta did drastically change. “We’re fine. If GOATS gets buffed we’re fine, if GOATS gets nerfed we’re fine. Whereas with GCU if GOATS gets nerfed they’re ***ed so, we’re in a fine spot.”

It’s been good with GOATS meta I think because we’ve got all the roles

z7k

While many of the playoff teams have ripped into Caledonian Chargers for being “carried by Cameron,” Underwatch do believe that the comp overall makes it hard to carry as Risotto iterated. ” Callum once said ‘a team’s GOATS is as good as its worst player.’ So I feel like when it comes to GOATS it’s not about star players it’s about consistently having good players.”

Derf also believes that GOATS is more accessible in a sense for lower ranked players that can be helped by those higher up. “You can lift up lower rank players just with lots of good comms and lots of good energy or whatever. I think GM is basically masters with game sense. You can drill game sense into players with comms.”

Definitely not honourable mention to Coventry Ice

Risotto

Over a hundred teams played in the Spring Campus Clash and even after 5 weeks of games, an element of luck in seeding can be involved in which teams make it to the top. I asked if they had any honourable mentions for teams that might have been able to do much better had the die rolled in their favour.

“Honorable mention to Warwick. They probably could have been a top NUEL team if one of the best players at Warwick actually wanted to play with them. Honourable mention to Leicester because they have a star player in the form of HoneyPops.” They also had a bit of a dishonourable mention for Coventry as well. “The internet cut out in York and they forced us to play with 3 players. Coventry Ice – we’re coming for you.”

Jon is a bot

Underwatch

While Underwatch are confident, they don’t come across as arrogant or conceited. Though the team has had a phenomenal performance throughout both splits, they still have one more hurdle between them and going to watch the Overwatch League in Los Angeles. We wish Underwatch the best of luck on the big stage of the Grand Finals and look forward to another nail-biter of a match between

You can watch the Grand Finals of the Overwatch Campus Clash IRL at NUEL Live on the 4th May at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London. Tickets are available now, or if you prefer to watch from home, it’ll be streamed to twitch.tv/thenuel.

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