Stratus on Justice's morale after Stage 1: "We are always able to come back"

Overwatch's Icon Aaron Alford · 14 Apr 2019

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Image via Washington Justice

The Justice and the Chengdu Hunters locked horns for their first match of the new stage and impressed everyone with their experimental team compositions, which included 27 of the total 30 Overwatch heroes.  The Chengdu Hunters ended up winning the well-fought the series with a 3-1 map score.



We caught up with Justice DPS Ethan "Stratus" Yankel to ask him about his thoughts on the OWL meta going into the second stage, the future of his team, and the status of the GOATS composition going forward.


What do you feel is valuable about winning the last map, even when you have lost the game already?


Stratus: I think it does two things, one is morale for the team.  It shows we can perform on stage, and we can do things well next time.  The other big thing is the end of season playoffs, every map counts toward that.  So obviously we want that win.


Would you say even though you lost the game, you had an optimistic vibe going into the last map?


All the people and communication were super positive, like, “Yeah, let’s go, let’s go!”


So this stage is looking pretty promising, GOATS has slowed down perhaps.  Do you think it is dying out?


I think it’s a combination of two things.  One, the map pool is way different from stage one.  There is a lot more open maps, so compositions that are more spam focused combined with the Lucio speed boost nerfs mean that as you cross open areas, you get chunked down more.  This means other things are more viable due to the changes. To be honest though, GOATS is still really viable, and if the maps were tighter like the stage one maps, we would be seeing a lot more of [GOATS].  So we are blessed with this map pool.


So you think it sounds like it’s not dying, but other things are more permissible?


Yes.


Do you think the slowdown of GOATS is more due to meta changes or to the new map pool?


I would say it’s more the balance changes.  The Lucio nerfs make it harder to cross large areas, but the map pool has an impact as well.  The balance changes I think outweigh that.


So in the long run, do you think GOATS might not make a huge resurgence?


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I think it will slow down.  More things will become more viable now


Do you think the changing meta is good for you guys?


100% yeah.  You got to see it on map 4, when Cory on DPS popped off. Once we got him on DPS, Cory in the house.  All Stage 1 he was saying “put me on widow,” we were experimenting with Widow GOATS and stuff like that too.  So yeah, I think so.


So you are 18, would you say the Overwatch player pool averages a lower level of age than other Esports?


If you look at a lot of the players in the OWL you can’t trace back their history too far.  A lot of them grew up, a little bit, playing this game. Just a little bit.


Why do you think that might be?


Oh, it’s hard to say. I think a big reason is that Overwatch appeals to a huge group of people, people who may not have been interested in Esports before.  I know that was the case for me, when I started playing the game I was like “Oh, this is really interesting,” and before I never really wanted to pursue esports.  So, maybe just right place right time.


You guys have shown glimmers of greatness, despite being near the bottom of the ladder.  What do you think you guys do well?


I think as a team we are all really positive, there is no negativity toward each other.  To the point where, we weigh ourselves down when we are winning or losing. We are always able to come back. This makes a big difference in negative situations with the team, because we don’t create them.  The team atmosphere is really good.


One of the biggest controversies from season 1 was the Shang Hai Dragons and their rigorous practice schedule.  Would you say your practice schedule is healthy?


It’s definitely healthy.  I will say, coming after stage 1 we have been taking our practice more seriously.  Our team environment has changed a little bit too. We recognize that we are not in a good position, we aren’t where we want to be.  So we have been stepping it up. You know, there is a balance between being healthy and also taking things super seriously, and we are still trying to get to that.


What would you say the team needs to do to catch some of the other expansion teams that are doing well?


Not to complain, but a better stage 1 schedule would have helped with that.  To be honest, I don’t think we are too far behind. So I think a lot of it comes down to fixing coordination issues, and I don’t think it will take much time at all to catch up.


Do you think that the fact that you guys have been more accepting of non-GOATS heroes even in the peak of GOATS popularity, do you think that will pay off in the long run?


I think so.  We have definitely done more experimentation than other teams, especially coming into this new meta.  Maybe not quite as heavily as Chengdu per say, where they have been trying to forge a new meta with their bear hands.  But I do think that experimentation and our willingness and ability to play other heroes will pay off in the end.

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