Hadi on Overwatch in 2024: "I actually think it'll flourish"
With a convincing victory at the Saudi eLeague Season 2, it is still clear that Hadi "Hadi" Bleinagel is a premier tank in the competitive Overwatch space. While his performance was limited, you needn't look too far to find examples from the Overwatch League of his exceptional play.
Hadi spoke to GGRecon about the closure of the league and what it means for him, his experience in the Saudi eLeague and more.
With the Overwatch League officially closing, we're all left wondering what comes next. However, we have not heard enough from the people the most affected; the players themselves. So, where do you stand currently on the future of competitive Overwatch? Are you concerned that there will never be stability or is that expected? Do you think the game can bounce back as an esport?
I actually think [Overwatch] will flourish and grow more because of the changes. Obviously, it's tough as players and staff have way less stability. But I think in the long-term it will be good for the esport as a whole having many different tournaments and LANs.
Have the thoughts of retirement crossed your mind since then? Has that been something that has come up in conversation with your peers? Are other players concerned and are beginning to plan for a future without much support for competitive Overwatch?
Yeah, obviously I thought about retirement or other options like collegiate etc. For a lot of my ex-teammates and friends, it's the same, I personally have decided to stay in esports though. Saying that I am also doing coaching on the side and started my streaming career, to have a little bit more stability.
Looking ahead to the future, what do you hope changes format-wise? Are you more interested in revisiting Hero bans? Would you like a map draft system?
I think Hero bans are very bad, and [there are] millions of reasons for that, but as long as the game gets frequently patched there's no need for Hero bans in my opinion.
I'm very fine with the current format, I just hope we get a lot of tournaments!
In 2022, you helped 01 Esports to a convincing victory in the Saudi eLeague's second season. What has it been like to reconnect with Youbi and Quartz? It's clear you all work well together, is there a chance that the three of you team up for 2024?
Yeah, it's very nice to reunite with the boys, this is now the 3rd or 4th Saudi-Event that Youbi, Quartz and I have secured together, even though in this one I was mainly on the bench just KSAA is a beast on Sigma!
Flash Ops is a while away however talk to me about the feeling around the event. You've drawn SrPeakCheck, the only team to advance from the Swiss stage undefeated, as your first-round opponent. Are you concerned at all? Do you think they'll be your more difficult competition?
I'm feeling good about Flash-Ops, I think we have a really good and flexible team and can play pretty much any comp, including some which might be harder for other teams to pull off, so I am very optimistic. I will just do my best as always.
If you had to go back and give a piece of advice to that young, rookie main tank that felt super awkward going into scrims with British Hurricane, what would you say?
If I could advise my old self, it would be to feel more free, worry less, have fun and take good care of yourself. Basically, all the things I am trying to do now, just earlier.