Toronto’s attempt at a majorly western roster starts off strong.
The Toronto Defiant entered the Overwatch League as an expansion team in 2019, struggling to find their identity throughout the season. Initially an all-Korean roster, they slowly started to chip away at their team's core, meshing different nationalities until they had a hodgepodge of different players towards the end of the season. During the off-season, however, Toronto committed to going for a full western roster, barring their two Korean support players Young-seo "KariV" Park and Joo-seong "RoKy" Park. After their 3-1 win against Paris, head coach Felix “Féfé” Munch, DPS Lane “Surefour” Roberts, and support Kristian “Kellex” Keller, spoke with journalists after their win.
Féfé, this was a match against your old team, how does it feel for you to pull off this win?
“Actually, for me it was a game like any other one. Sure, when you're playing against former teams, former teammates, you want to show that you know what you're talking about. But it was really good to see my former players, I was happy to see them here, but I'm also really happy my guys did their job today as a team. I’m really happy about that."
Féfé, after Lijiang (the only map they lost in the series) what do you tell your players after they kind of got shut out on the first map of their opening game?
“Yeah, we kind of got chilled by a composition that we've never practiced against [referring to Paris’s Orisa/Reinhardt/Symmetra strategy]. So, I said: "Guys, it's normal. We just have to adapt, slow down, be disciplined. It's a lot about still doing the same things we're doing at practice, so be disciplined, go back to the communication structure we worked on and we're going to win at the end.”"
Féfé, you brought in Albess and Lilbow as part of your coaching staff, what brought you to that decision to bring those two to help you with this team?
“Lilbow has a really great mind, he used to be a professional player for StarCraft and Overwatch, and he knows a lot about the game itself. I used to work with him on Eagle [Gaming] and I know he can bring really nice strategies and I know we can get along. Albess is more of an off-coach and team manager. He brings a lot of happiness, a lot of positivity, so I want someone like him to help us with all the homestand things to do."
When asked about joining a new team, Kellex had this to say: “I like joining new teams, it's a fresh start. Last season didn't go so well so it was really refreshing. I’m so much more motivated with this new team and I have big players on the team who I look up to. And everything just makes you work harder.”
Surefour, at the end of Eichenwald during Paris' first attack, you were kind of getting shut out by the Eternal, what's going through your mind when you have to go up against a mechanically gifted player like Xzi?
“I never think of the players individually, I always think of the characters they're playing and what they're doing with the character. You know, maybe it’s just me making mistakes or maybe it’s just me hitting shots. If he's just hitting shots, I don’t really have to change anything, just hit some good shots. If I’m dying because I’m doing something stupid or mistimed, I have to just change my timing and just think about how the game flows more."
About how Toronto can fair with the upcoming hero pools, Surefour said this:
“Hero pools won’t really affect our team I don’t think. We have a bunch of flexible players, the only thing we have to get used to is team cohesion. Making sure people aren't getting too excited, making sure people are listening. As the season goes on and on as long as were all still really friendly with each other, it’ll just get better and better. Like the Shock were probably rough at the start, but like, you’re going to have losses every now and then. As long as you get stronger from those losses and keep winning afterwards, and you just fix the things you need to, you'll get better if the environment is good."
Image courtesy of Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment