OVERWATCH LEAGUE is almost back, and during the mid-season break we caught with with Team UK, Boston Uprising and Atlantic Division All-Stars player Fusions.
He’s been a breakout star of the league’s second season – and up until the day matches started back in February, no-one outside his team knew he’d even be there.
7 Fusions being interviewed in the crowd at the Overwatch World Cup, where Team UK upset Team USACredit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
A last-minute addition to the Boston Uprising roster, Fusions was only revealed to the world as their new main tank as the opening weekend got underway.
That meant uprooting his life and flying several thousand miles to move to LA on a week’s notice, but it’s paid off.
A guaranteed salary of £40,000 before prizes and bonuses straight after A-Levels is a good starting point for anyone, but he’s not done yet.
Getting there has taken a huge amount of hard work, with days now consisting of constant practice and preparation to play with and against some of the very best Overwatch players in the world in front of an audience of thousands.
He talked us through the highs of the past 12 months from beating Team USA in the Overwatch World Cup last year, to being selected for the Atlantic All-Stars just before the break.
Fusions also has some tips for those looking to rank up as all-important tank hero Reinhart.
7 Fusions was part of Boston’s academy team, and was a shock addition to their main roster on the day matches startedCredit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
What does your training schedule look like? How much time does the squad spend training in-game each day, and can you reveal how much training you do away from the keyboard?
Our daily schedule usually starts at 11 a.m. on a typical practice day where we arrive at the practice facility, our video review prior to scrims is usually at noon to 1 p.m. followed by 4-6 hours of scrims (practice matches vs other teams), and video reviews in between with our coaches/analysts.
We also eat meals together on practice days, typically our day ends at 8p.m. where we are free to go home to our apartments but players usually practice more by themselves.
What was the last paying job you had before being able to be a full-time pro?
I never actually had a paying job before become a professional player.
When I started pursuing going pro I was in school doing my A levels at 17 years old, so as soon as I finished my A levels I went straight to pro play getting paid to play Overwatch.
How different is your life now to before you joined Boston, and how has it changed your plans?
Joining Boston has been a crazy change in my life, moving to the USA and competing on a regular basis on stage vs the best players in the world is something I’m so grateful I get to experience.
As for the future it’s definitely helped me prepare myself for the years to come, and helps reassure me that I can pursue my dream of competing while staying afloat money wise.
What is Overwatch?Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter developed by Blizzard Entertainment.Unlike many other shooters, characters in Overwatch have one of three roles: damage-dealers, support, or tanking.Damage-dealers do the traditional job of trying to outgun the opposing team’s members. Tanks are there to draw fire and soak up damage while protecting objectives or their team-mates, while support characters can heal other players, boost their damage output, or protect them.The Overwatch League is one of the flagship eSports competitions, with millions of pounds in prize money up for grabs.12 teams competed in the inaugural season: New York Excelsior, Los Angeles Valiant, Boston Uprising, Los Angeles Gladiators, London Spitfire, Philadelphia Fusion, Houston Outlaws, Seoul Dynasty, San Francisco Shock, Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem and the Shanghai Dragons.That’s gone up to 20 for season 2.London has some company in Europe with the addition of the Paris Eternal, while Shanghai now have local competition in the form of Hangzhou Spark, Guangzhou Charge and the Chengdu Hunters.The Washington Justice, Atlanta Reign, Toronto Defiant and Vancouver Titans have all come on board in North America as well.All the players are full-time professionals, and all the teams are currently physically based around Blizzard’s Arena in Los Angeles, though they will be competing in their home cities from next year.
7 Beating Team USA on home soil is likely to be a career highlight for all of Team UKCredit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
How did it feel to beat Team USA in the World Cup?
Beating Team USA in the world cup was absolutely mind blowing.
We went in just giving it our 100% and saying whatever happened, happened, and we came out victorious over heavy favourites.
It was one of the best moments of my career, and will probably continue to be in the long run.
Other than being a great result for the team, what was the significance of it for you, and do you think it helped you step up when called up by Boston?
Beating Team USA and performing against world class players at the World Cup definitely helped me prepare myself mentally for playing my first games in the Overwatch League.
I knew that I could compete against some top players in my role and just did my best to fit in and it let me perform less nervously and up to my standards.
7 Fusions has grabbed the opportunity with both hands, and is making the most of itCredit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
How aware are you of being part of the same organisation as the New England Patriots, and did your American team-mates need to give you a crash course in quite how much of a big deal they are?
I realise how significant being a part of the same organisation as the New England Patriots is, even though I generally don’t follow American sports I know how big of a deal they are, it’s absolutely real to even be talked about them in the same sentence, let alone represent the same organisation and city, for that I am incredibly grateful.
How long before the first match of the opening weekend did you know you were starting for Boston?
I knew about a week plus a few days in advance that I was going to be starting for the opening game vs New York Excelsior, I had to prepare myself to move and also mentally very quickly but I knew that it was my big chance to show off what I can do on the top level so I made sure I did everything possible to be ready for the games.
7 The Boston Uprising are owned by The Kraft Group, just like the New England PatriotsCredit: AP:Associated Press
How to be a better ReinhardtDO you play Reinhardt and want to get better?
We asked Fusions for his top tips for anyone trying to move up the ranks with Rein that you can use the next time you decided to do a little tanking in Overwatch.
Giving tips to lower ranked, more casual players for Reinhardt is always hard for me because I don’t know or experience the hardships of that rank at all.
But from my perspective the best advice I can give is focus on yourself and not your teammates, your teammates are at that rank for a reason, and so are you.
Anyone who spends more time focusing on their team rather than themselves and their own attitude will improve slower.
As for Rein specifically I’d say; focus on positioning before fights.
You don’t want to be taking shield damage before an engage has even happened, also when in Rein vs Rein matchups try to track the enemy Reinhardt’s Earthshatter so that you know when you need to be more passive with your shield up.
If you can outplay their Reinhardt, a lot of other things will come naturally from there.
How did it feel to get that call?
Getting that call that I had made the main team was surreal, it’s a moment of excitement, nervousness and also just pure joy.
Seeing that your determination and hard work through thousands upon thousands of hours spent practising is paying off is the best feeling any competitor can get.
How has your first half-season in OWL been?
My first half season of OWL has been the most exciting time of my life so far, there is really nothing better as a competitive person who loves games, still hits me every now and then how crazy my life really is.
What has surprised you most about playing in OWL compared to Contenders and the World Cup?
The biggest difference I noticed from Overwatch League compared to World Cup and Contenders is the level of effort that you need to put in in order to be successful in the Overwatch League.
I was dedicated before I joined Boston but now all I think about day and night is Overwatch, how I can be better and how to improve, if you don’t have that drive, you won’t make it at this level.
7 Teamwork is key in Overwatch, and Fusions has slotted in with his new team-mates perfectlyCredit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
What do you think has been your play of the season so far?
I don’t know if I’ve really had a “play of the season” but I’d definitely say my performances against NYXL and Florida Mayhem were some of the highlights so far, had crazily good showings in both.
How did you find out you’d made the all-star team, and how did that feel?
Getting confirmation that I was on the allstar roster was kind of surreal, I don’t think I deserved my spot there because I’m yet to prove myself as one of the absolute best, but I am extremely thankful to those who voted me in for the event, it gave me a chance to experience new point of views and play on a different, fun and less serious stage, which really made me appreciate why I love doing what I do.
Are you looking forward to (hopefully) being based in Boston next year?
I hope I get the chance to be with Boston next year aswell, Boston is an absolutely great city and I love the team too. With the home games coming for season 3 I would really love to play in Boston in front of the great fans and represent the city.
7 Your job as Reinhardt is to draw fire and protect your team
What tips would you have for an aspiring ranked player to try and get noticed and get themselves onto a team?
The best advice I can give to any aspiring player is the most generic but also the most helpful. Keep grinding.
Every player when improving in a game has plateaus and even moments where they will get worse because they implement something to their game that doesn’t help, it’s never a straight upwards trend.
I’m not the most talented player and I struggled while trying to compete in other games, so I know all too well the hardship that comes with trying to improve and seeing no results.
Over time you will learn from the things that made you worse and naturally over time you will have moments of brilliance where your level of play improves or you realise something that makes you a better player.
Keep your head up and go for it, especially people that can see pro play within their reach and are already near the top.
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Want to know more about Overwatch League?
Sun Gaming also caught up with London Spitfire’s Gesture and Profit ahead of the All-Star game to get their views on London’s rollercoaster season so far.
We also recently revealed how on some teams the amount of work is catching up with the pros fighting for the title and looked at how the league is going to cope as its commissioner quits for Fortnite.
You can see Fusions in action this weekend when Boston Uprising take on London Spitfire this Saturday at 1.45 a.m. as stage 3 kicks off.
The matches are all streamed live on Twitch.tv, as well as on a number of TV stations around the world.
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