Ole is a name many Overwatch fans might not know at first glance. Pedro Orlandini played for Black Dragon e-Sports, a middle-of-the-pack Contenders team, and was recently signed to LFTOWL with his BDe support counterpart, Paulo “pizzalover” Vitor.
He’s never played for Brazil Gaming House – South America’s kings of Overwatch, perennial Contenders champions and World Cup attendees. That doesn’t mean the Brazilian World Cup committee didn’t see him, though. When BGH support specialist Rodrigo “kolero” Kröber couldn’t make it to LA, Ole stepped in without hesitation – and helped Brazil in its impressive (if unfruitful) World Cup push.
“Even though I’m not part of Brasil Gaming House, we’ve studied Overwatch together and been personal friends for some time. Even though we had a limited amount of time to practice, we devoted a lot of time to make sure we could play at the best level we could. Kolero [the support player for BGH] couldn’t be here, but we adapted well.”
A huge portion of that time was spent scrimming – well, looking for scrims, at least.
“This is a unique opportunity – the best opportunity we have to raise our skill level. On that first Friday in LA, we scrimmed for eight straight hours. All week, half of the team would be practicing and waiting while the other half would go knocking on doors, saying, “Hey, want to scrim? Let’s scrim!” We were seizing every opportunity we could.”
“Out of all of those scrims that we got to do, the best one by far was Canada. The best word for that scrim would be “perfection”. Their timing, their ults, their plays, their calls, everything – of all the things we learned that week, the best things were gleaned from just two hours with Canada.”
Their time spent practicing was not wasted. While Brazil failed to secure a spot in the top-eight competition at BlizzCon, no one left Blizzard Arena with the idea that Ole and Co. didn’t give it their all.
That grit and effort was most evident in a harrowing reverse sweep against Norway, who were heavy favorites coming into the match-up. Reverse sweeps are the moment you put your money where your mouse is – your mechanics and mentality must all be focused to a razor’s edge for a chance at victory.
“We were really hyped throughout the entire series, but we were trying to stay grounded. It was something we knew we had to work on from last year – this year was all about staying calm, being professional and staying focused. That’s what we tried to do here, more than anything else. Just be in the moment. Obviously, we might get upset or frustrated if an ult hits us really hard or something, but all we can do is reset, refocus, and try again.
Between maps 2 and 3, I looked at my team and said, ‘Today, we’re gonna make history. We’re gonna reverse sweep these guys.’ And then we did it.”
While the boys from Brazil placed 3rd in Los Angeles – their best showing ever in the World Cup – the Overwatch community has, by and large, ignored the region and its talent. BGH have often been the only team anyone talks about (which makes sense, given their immaculate Contenders records). Ole explained to me that there’s a reason BGH have established such dominance in their region.
“We’re in a sealed box. It’s something we constantly talk about in South America – there’s a ceiling for the best players in our region. When we come here – “we” being the three iterations of the Brazillian World Cup team – it’s almost like a shock. These Overwatch League players are professional. They can play for hours every day. And they are continuously raising the ceiling together. Every. Day. It’s something South American players simply don’t have the opportunity to do.
That said, I still think the core talent you need for a good Overwatch team is present in South America. It just needs a space to grow.”
With the expansion of the Overwatch League in Season 2, that core talent may finally be getting their chance. 20 teams are searching for players, and the stars of South America can no longer be ignored.
“I think that, at the very least, the entire roster from BGH should be considered – individually, you know, maybe not as a whole unit. Including Kolero, who wasn’t here, of course. Aside from them, I think there’s a lot of really good talent in South America that the League should pay attention to, and give opportunities to.”
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment