Content of the article: "Summary of Dpei’s Twitch AMA on 19 Nov"
Near the start of OWL Season 3, I wrote a summary for an AMA that Dpei (Gladiators Head Coach) did on Twitch. People were interested in another summary for the AMA he did today, so I made another one.
Like last time, I encourage you to watch the vod before repeating anything from this thread, so you and I are less likely to spread misinformation. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/809037423
This write-up is broken into sections by me, and except where indicated with ‘quotation marks’, uses my own wording. Almost everything here comes from a direct question asked by the chat.
Gladiators’ 2021 roster
- The Gladiators are not totally done with the off-season, but Dpei refused to say much about their next moves, saying it’s the job of the marketing team to announce them. However, he did say that the team has a very strong ‘base’ and knows what is needed to fill the holes.
- The Gladiators will keep their 2021 roster ‘tight’ and focus on developing their own players as opposed to signing back-ups and specialists. Dpei said that the roster will be smaller than last year’s (which had ten players). Dpei stressed the point about having a ‘tight roster’ every time he was asked about what moves the Gladiators will be making next.
- The Gladiators asked Moth if he was interested in the team, and he said yes. The process was quite simple afterward. Dpei said that the team could have looked toward younger talent, but it was clear that Moth was the right player for them.
- Dpei says that the new team has the highest ‘individual skill’ of any Gladiators roster. He needs to see how the team performs as a collective before saying too much, though.
- Dpei can’t answer questions about the precise strengths and weaknesses of the new roster because it depends on the meta, hero pool, etc. He has ‘ideas’ about the team’s best meta, but they are not concrete. He’ll gear his team toward its strengths once those become apparent.
- The Gladiators’ roster decisions are mostly made by Dpei. He says that he specifically asked for roster control for the upcoming reason. He also said that the team is ‘very collaborative’ overall and is working very well with their budget this year.
- Dpei says that he could have all the talent in the world and still nothing would happen if everybody didn’t work hard. Dpei says the Gladiators done a good job recruiting ‘pieces’, but they currently only have ‘planned success’ and need to work for real success.
- Dpei says that Kevster’s individual skill and play hours match up with elite talents like Decay. He understands the Reddit hype behind Kevster and hopes he will live up to it.
- Kevster will be moving to LA with the team. Chat persistently asked if Kevster is a real person, and Dpei said he is ‘the most real person I’ve never met’.
- The Gladiators became interested in Muze because Face (Assistant Coach) worked with him previously and always kept an eye on him. Dpei said Muze is a great player who grinds a lot, is very flexible, and is very motivated. He says he will go outside of the game and solve team problems, which is a very good quality. He says Muze is like OGE in that regard, and in that his English is excellent. Later in the stream, Dpei said he has ‘high faith’ in both Muze and Face.
- Dpei says he has a good gauge on OGE’s skill level, and would rate him above Muze at the moment. However, he also trusts that Muze will be better in the long term. He says Muze currently has an insane ‘Reddit reputation’ and might be a little bit overhyped. He says Muze has a better Orisa and OGE has a better Winston.
- Dpei was asked if the Gladiators would be a Western team. He says that this year will have a ‘mix’ and that he focused on getting top players from both the Korean and Western markets.
- Dpei isn’t sure when the team will be together scrimming, but hopes they’ll come together two months before the season begins.
- The decision between existing OWL talents and free agent comes down to budget. Dpei says that people think the Gladiators spent a lot on their current roster, but in reality they didn’t buy out any OWL players and went a lot cheaper than people think. He explained that both Shu and Moth chose the Gladiators out of free agency.
Past years’ performance and players
- Dpei says Birdring was always good last year, and always thought he was good. He says that he wasn’t at his best during the GOATs meta, but was not surprised at all by his performance this year. Dpei says he is the world’s biggest Birding fan.
- Dpei says it’s very hard to motivate players who have limited play-time. He knows that players simply want match time and says that he ‘feels so bad’ when he has to tell his bench that they can’t play. He says this informed part of his decision to make a tight-knit roster for next year. He says that he liked all his bench players from last year and said Paintbrush, Jaru, Bischu and Cloudy were among his favourite players to work with in any case, because they asked questions and always stayed hungry.
- Dpei was asked about Fissure from Season 1. He says the situation was ‘really complex’ and summed it up by saying that Fissure and the team ‘didn’t see eye to eye on how
should proceed going into playoffs preparation’, and that meant Fissure didn’t play. Dpei says that they wanted to give Fissure an ‘avenue to play’ but he ‘wasn’t willing to concede’. He still mentioned Fissure as one of his favourite Season 1 players to coach, later in the stream.
- Dpei says it’s good for Surefour taking a break from Overwatch and hopes he’ll be happier without the pressures of OWL and streaming.
- Dpei says he was annoyed that the Fusion kept choosing the Gladiators as an opponent in tournaments when there were weaker teams to select (in his opinion).
- Dpei was asked about the team’s indecision as to who would play Sigma in the Season 2 playoffs. He said that Void’s Sigma was not as good as it is now, and there was disagreement between the coaches on who should play the character. Dpei said that Void was ultimately too high-quality of a player to leave out of the lineup, as much as the other coaches believed Hydration was the better Sigma at the time. He says the team ‘fucked up’ their playoffs that year and probably could have been Grand Finalists if ‘certain things didn’t happen’ – though he acknowledges it wouldn’t have mattered because the ‘Shock would have washed
’. He thinks that his team was better than Vancouver and NYXL at the time, and the Gladiators’ elimination was the result of the team ‘imploding at the worst possible time because of stress’.
- Dpei says that during Season 3 playoffs, the Gladiators thought the Hog composition was weaker because they saw it first scrimming Houston and believed Houston picked it up from a another low-rated team. But he says Houston was right in the end about the Hog comp being the best, and says it was funny how all the top teams thought they could beat the Hog comp with the Winston rush comp.
- Dpei says that playoffs pressure is very difficult to navigate, and there hasn’t yet been a Gladiators season where the team hasn’t suffered in playoffs. He says everybody was burnt out last season, especially due to COVID (but added that it was still smoother than Season 1 and 2).
- Dpei says BigGoose’s motivation waned throughout the year, playing less and less Overwatch, culminating in his retirement.
- Dpei thinks that the outlook for veterans like Soon depends partly on their salary expectations and where they’re willing to go. He guesses teams like Vancouver, Boston and Valiant would sign him, but doesn’t know if Soon would want to play on those teams.
- Dpei implied that the Paintbrush trade was necessary so the team could fund signing Kevster. He says it was mutually beneficial in the end, as Paintbrush started on Dallas. Dpei says he likes Paintbrush and it was hard to trade him away.
- Dpei still thinks highly of OGE and thinks he is a great player. He said it’s unfortunate that things didn’t work out the way he thought they could but accepted their ‘difference in opinion’. Precisely, his contract situation was that the Gladiators agreed not to exercise his +1 and effectively allow him to become a free agent. Dpei implied heavily that OGE has found another team that OGE thinks is a good fit.
- Dpei says that Dallas are probably the winner of the off-season, simply because they will improve so much between 2020 and 2021. But he still thinks the Gladiators did very well, and says Dallas almost must be a successful team next year given how much they’ve invested into OWL with mixed results.
About rival teams and players
- Dpei says that the Gladiators have a good roster, but wouldn’t describe it as the outright most talented roster in NA. He said that there are a lot of super teams coming to NA (and mentioned Dallas and Washington as examples), which is ‘very scary’. He thinks that the disparity between Korean teams and other teams is going to increase next season. He hopes that the Gladiators won’t be one of those ‘other teams’.
- Dpei says there are nine or ten teams with tons of talent and great potential to place highly. He predicts there will be a ‘big margin’ between those teams and the others. (He listed a few of them, but I forgot to write them down. They’re pretty much exactly what you expect, though.)
- When asked which teams he is most scared of, Dpei says that Dallas is ‘very scary’. He joked that they’re going to be like playing against a generational all-star team in an NBA video game. He says they’ve basically got all the best players from Element Mystic’s past; and stacked on top of the fact EM is one of the most successful teams in a scene he rates highly, Dpei thinks Dallas will be very good next season.
- Dpei was asked who he considers a dark horse, and he said ‘us’. He said anybody that doesn’t have a Korean roster is a dark horse. He says teams like Seoul, Shanghai, Shock, Fusion, etc. have established success and are only improving their rosters, so they should have higher expectations than other teams by default.
- Dpei hopes that Jjanu will find another team. He thinks Jjanu has a great D.Va and Hog, but also knows that the league is very competitive for spots this year.
- Dpei was asked about Toronto’s chances next year. He says he doesn’t know much about that, and it’s up to KDG to decide. He said a similar thing about Washington, but also noted they have tons of options because they’re a Korean team.
- Dpei says Crusty is the coach he holds in highest regard and joked that he considers Crusty to be his ‘god’. He later added that he thinks Crusty is the best OWL coach.
- Dpei was asked who the top three most impactful players in the league are. He named Profit, Striker and Viol2t. He later talked about how Viol2t is simply a tier above the other flex supports.
- Dpei says FDGod might be the best Lucio in the League. He says FDGod might be raw in terms of team play and perhaps his other heroes aren’t as strong, but knows that he’ll be a ‘great Moth replacement’ for Shock and ‘won’t skip a beat’.
- Dpei thinks Philadelphia will remain a top team. He says they’ve still got Alarm, FunnyAstro and ‘great DPS’. He suggested things will depend a bit on their new off-tank (which the fanbase doesn’t know about yet).
- When asked what he thinks of NYXL’s roster decisions, Dpei said that the Korean talent market is very ‘saturated’ and in positions like DPS, there may be a preference for ‘budding mechanical players’ as opposed to veterans. Later in the stream, he said that the extent of NYXL’s roster changes and also their ‘projected signings’ indicate that budget was a factor. Later, he said that he doesn’t expect NYXL to be ‘championship quality’ and repeated that the upper end of OWL will be extremely competitive next year.
- Dpei says that Justice will probably be the most improved team next year, considering where they started in 2020 and where they will begin in 2021. He said similarly of Dallas.
- Dpei says that signing multiple players in the same position is a ‘double-edged sword’ and involves a trade-off between specialisation and the ‘holistic’ experience that each player gets. He says teams would have to assess thing like how bad their Sigma/D.Va player is at Zarya, etc.
- Dpei was asked about Decay. He says that Decay simply wanted to join a Korean team, and sympathised with the fact he was just an 18-year-old kid who wanted to play with his friends without the stress of learning English. Dpei doesn’t think Decay had a problem with the team itself.
- Dpei was asked repeatedly about Super. He says that we have to ‘wait and see’. He doesn’t know if Super or Viol2t will re-sign.
- Dpei was asked about the prospect of Bischu as a coach. He said it won’t happen this year because the Gladiators have their coaching staff established already, but he believes Bischu could be a good coach if he put time into it. He said relationship-building is his strength.
- Dpei says that Hydration is ‘really proficient’ at his best heroes, but that DPS is so competitive nowadays that you need to be exceptional, not just good.
- Dpei was asked about Taiyo. He says Taiyo isn’t the greatest player mechanically, but he knows that he is a calling player, and both he and Crusty love DPS players with strong callouts. He said it might be better if Taiyo was a flex DPS player, but he could also improve mechanically. Dpei says he encourages Birdring and Kevster to call out more often, but understands that he has to ‘meet in the middle’ with different personalities.
- Dpei holds Rush, Sp9rk1e and Hanbin in high regard. He says Rush transferred really well into OWL and think it’s good how he ‘surrounds himself with good players’, because he thinks even the best coach ‘won’t do shit’ unless they have good players.
- Dpei was asked who he think is underrated. He said he doesn’t really know, but mentioned Hanbin.
- Dpei finds preparing for Chengdu a bit annoying but says they’re ultimately not a very successful team record-wise.
- The Gladiators weren’t acutely aware of Ans’s skill before the Shock signed him, but they already had Birdring at the time and Dpei rates Birdring highly. He thinks Ans is now the league’s best hitscan player.
- Some OWL teams certainly spend more than others, and Dpei joked that it sometimes feels like they have ‘fuck you’ money. Dpei says there was a rumour that Dallas went over the budget in Season 2 and says it’s clear they were big spenders this year too. He says the Fusion, Shock and some Chinese teams (e.g. Spark) ‘have the bag’ as well, so to speak.
- Dpei thinks Jjonak is a great player and should start, but doesn’t know enough about what NYXL is going with their roster in general. He fears that Jjonak will trend downward if he plays the game less than he did in the past.
- Dpei thinks Mag and Decay are the biggest pickups for the Justice. The others are good, but he isn’t as high on them as championship-standard players.
- Dpei says his role doesn’t differ too much from last year’s – the team just has better defined roles. He says that there’ll be less things ‘following’ him during the season.
- Dpei knows nothing about Overwatch 2 that we don’t, and nothing about how it will interact with OWL.
- Dpei thinks that Chinese talent is ‘really cool’. He says that as the scene continues to improve in the next couple of years, it will probably be the next best place to look for talent after Korea.
- Chinese players are difficult to sign for international teams because they require a visa commitment of at least three years, meaning the talent would have to be much, much better than the next best available to be worthwhile. Dpei also said that having a trilingual team would be complicated. He said he’d be open to explore it later, but that for the time being, the circumstances aren’t permitting for an NA team.
- Dpei was asked about the difference between a HC and GM. He said that his role in the team is handling the competitive side of the team, including the roster. He says he collaborates with Brenda (General Manager) on the budget, but everything else is handled by other people. He says that the team this year will have more people in place to handle some of his old responsibilities. (Dpei was also GM last year.) Dpei said this was an expected progression as last year was his org’s first year managing an OWL team, which was understandably tough.
- Dpei says that it would be hard to make a LA-based bubble like the NBA did for playoffs, since the NBA is a lot more professional.
- Dpei says that the most impactful roles in OWL matches are meta-dependent overall, but mentioned DPS, flex support and flex tank.
- Dpei was asked what his biggest learning from the last season was. He said that you can have a roster that works on paper, but that you also need to ‘work around personalities’. He also said that the League is ‘insanely competitive’.
- Dpei says that if London were to sign the entirety of British Hurricane, they wouldn’t do amazingly but would likely outperform any random Western team with players strung together. He said their long-term synergy would be important.
- The Gladiators will be living in apartments next year, in a ‘ritzy’ part of Los Angeles. The main office will be five minutes away from the apartments.
- Dpei says that he follows NA Contenders ‘sparsely’, and believes the talent there is ‘pretty drained’. He tuned in yesterday and said he saw lots of ‘strategic mistakes’, both in terms of team composition and map playstyle. He gave American Tornado v. Drifters as an example of this.
- Dpei said that it’s tough to gauge skill in coaches. He compared his own recruitment process to an ‘intelligence test’ as it’s most concerned with how well the coaches articulate their ideas, and not necessarily on quizzing them about the game.
- Dpei thinks that the state of Contenders is ‘fine’. He says that Contenders builds up from how interested people are in playing amateur Overwatch and how well OWL is doing. He says there is a good amount of money in it, so money is not the problem.
- Dpei says that to get a job in Overwatch, he quit his job with $10,000 in the bank and eventually succeeded with not much left. He said coming into coaching was a ‘long story’ for him and he effectively lived in poverty for some time.
- Dpei says that Overwatch struggles to make a connection between the casual and competitive-watching playerbases, especially in comparison to LoL. He says Blizzard is slowly improving how the two are integrated but understands the opinion that it’s ‘too late’.
- Dpei doesn’t think Overwatch 2 will bring back former OWL pros.
- The reason there isn’t a players’ union is that the players are ‘lazy and don’t really care’. He says the same thing happened in LoL. Dpei says that the OWL does give players a good amount of support anyway.
- Dpei doesn’t think that double shield will remain meta after the latest Brig nerf, but also noted that he isn’t scrimming or paying close attention to the meta currently. He says that 25 HP is a big deal and that the Ball-based dive compositions you see in Contenders will likely remain relevant.
- Dpei is a GM player, but he joked about how he doesn’t deserve his placements because he doesn’t actually play ranked much.
- Dpei was asked who he wants to beat the most and he said the Valiant, but then said the ‘real answer’ is the Shock.
- Dpei said that the ladder is a ‘good’ place to look for talent, but Contenders is the best place. He says ladder is the only place you can prove that you’re better than somebody else apart from Contenders. It proves individual skill and allows players to practice, which is very important.
- There aren’t any particular coaches Dpei doesn’t like playing against. He says he’s well-informed as to what they like.
- Roster moves get leaked because people are interested, and people talk. Dpei says leaks don’t cause much harm overall and ‘it is what it is’. He later added that if there are GMs basing their decisions on leaks, those GMs are probably bad.
- Dpei says his most impactful coaching decisions have come in map 5 situations, such as on Ilios and Oasis in the respective matches against the Valiant last season. He says he remembers playing Mei + Reaper on Nepal Village against London in Season 1 as a ‘gutsy’ coaching decision that came from a good read on his opponent.
- Dpei says that Korean Contenders teams would do decently in OWL, and says Runaway proved as much (though largely though the GOATs meta).
- Dpei says it’s hard to teach mechanics and individual skill. He says teams should make sure their players are mechanically skilled before they are signed, as coaches can only do small things to help with that. He says he couldn’t simply turn a Masters player into an OWL player, or whatnot.
- Dpei says game days are long and exhausting. He wakes up early to watch the Asia games to see if there’s anything to learn or if the team read the meta correctly. He hates the regions being split. He’s not sure what will be happening to that next season. He’s also not sure about hero pools.
- Dpei was asked what he thinks of Redditors. He mused about Reddit reflects the social media generation and the circumstances of esports in general. He says that in the public eye, coaching suffers from recency bias and it’s like that in traditional sports too. He says he will always accept accountability for a bad season but admits people’s misconceptions and skewed timelines do play on the mind sometimes. He accepts that it’s human nature to be demanding.
- Dpei says the language of a team doesn’t really matter as long as it’s the same language. The Gladiators speak English because they’re based in LA and it’s a universal language.
David himself might see this if the last one is anything to go by. Please let me know if there's anything you'd like changed about this, seeing as there'll be a lot of people who read this without watching the vod!
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