The San Francisco Shock had just qualified for their third stage finals in a row, defeating the Los Angeles Valiant 4-0 in a rapid semifinal. There was one major difference to their preparation, however. For the first time this season, the Vancouver Titans would not join Matthew "super" DeLisi and the Shock in the finals.
Ultimately, the Shock were defeated by the triple-DPS composition of the Shanghai Dragons in an intense battle that went the distance, lasting seven maps. Upcomer talked with super prior to the finals to discuss the new matchup, the Shock’s surprising strategies in the semifinals, and what it would mean for him to return to his hometown of Philadelphia to compete in the Season Grand Finals.
super: I don’t know if upset it the right word, maybe we were just expecting it. Because we’re kind of used to it at this point, it feels kind of inevitable. So I guess it’s a little weird that we won’t see them but sad? Not really.
If I’m being honest with you… we didn’t practice any of that. Coming into today, we were like, you know what, let’s just do this. I literally played Orisa for the first time yesterday in a scrim, and we just kind of ran with it [laughs].
I wouldn’t say we prepared, we just kind of had confidence in ourselves. People had said we were the underdogs, I don’t know about that. People can say what they want, they were saying that Valiant were going to win, so we were just like, let’s play our game, we’re confident. And it worked.
I think it’s a few things. When a bad team is on the rise, people see and focus on the improvement a lot more, but if a team is already good and staggers a little bit, it’s hard to tell who’s better than who. And we did drop a few games to lower tier teams this stage, like Houston, who did a lot better this stage as well, and Chengdu. I think they can surprise anybody on any given day.
So we had those few losses, and people were saying that we didn’t know how to adapt to the meta, or that we don’t know how to beat a good DPS team like Valiant. It’s a whole combination of things that made people not think we were going to win today.
Not on purpose, it just kind of happens. I like to get people hyped, I like to trash talk, all of that stuff because I want to help improve my team’s mentality, I want to get us in the best spot to win. Hyping everyone up is the best way to do it.
We had a team full of TF2 players, all six of us had played. In competitive TF2, there was no comms structure, everyone was just yelling. So once we’d become accustomed to that, it was easy to transition to Overwatch where comms aren’t as intensive. But if you’re still used to that style and can pick apart what you need to hear, it becomes like second nature to you. Everyone just talked all at once basically and we kind of made it work for the time being.
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When Overwatch League was announced we all hoped that we would get picked up as a team, but obviously we didn’t know anything about it at the time. I think having half of our team make it was a really good showing for us.
I never really imagined I’d have as many fans as I do, and so many people talking about me. Last year, it wasn’t really like that, I was on the lower end of players so people didn’t talk about me as much. This year, I gained a lot more of a following because we’ve done well and I’ve streamed a lot more, all that stuff. I never would’ve imagined coming towards the forefront of the league. I don’t want to say I’m the most popular - there’s still Surefour and a bunch of popular people still. But just being able to be one of the most talked about people, I would have never thought about that.
No, not really. Just because I don’t really consider it like an added burden. I take it as it goes, so I’m not stressing if more people are cheering for me or more people are hating on me than last season. I take what people say with a grain of salt, I don’t really get offended by that stuff. At the end of the day, it’s just part of the job.
The Grand Finals is in the Wells Fargo center which is where Flyers and Sixers games are played, and as a kid, I went to a lot of Flyers games. I must have been there at least 30 or 40 times, somewhere around there, so I know the stadium in and out basically. Being able to play there, just like I said, it’s something you’d never imagine. However the dominoes fall, I guess we’ll see, but if I got to play up there and people in my hometown who know me could see it, it would be crazy.
I think it has its positives and negatives. Players are definitely worried about how often they’ll have to travel and how they’re going to practice when they travel, or how their schedules will work because of jetlag. Jetlag is a serious thing, especially if you’re traveling from Europe to North America. That could be a challenge, but I’m also really excited to see other cities as well. I’ve only ever been to Italy, outside of the US, so being able to go to different cities I’ve never seen before is going to be really fun.
If I had to go to one city, pick one out of all of the ones in the Overwatch League, maybe Seoul? I would want to go to Seoul. I’ve always heard so much about it, that it’s nice. There’s a lot of Korean players in the Overwatch League and my teammates, especially Rascal, he said that he’d want to show me things about Korea.
I’d be game director, and I would delete Sombra. Then I would resign. Or nerf her into a zero percent pick rate.
No, I’m not concerned about any type of meta change. Even if there is a huge meta shift with DPS heroes that we can’t play with our current lineup, we have Architect and Striker on the bench who are two of the best DPS in the league. And then we have smurf in case I can’t adapt well to Ball or perma-Orisa, perma-Winston, whatever it’ll be. If I struggle with that, smurf can slide in. I don’t think we’re concerned about that at all.