The Atlanta Reign took on the Toronto Defiant for their first match of the season and made it look like a walk in the park. Following the match, The Game Haus caught up with main support Petja “Masaa” Kantanen to discuss a broad variety of topics, including the match, upcoming homestands in Atlanta, and his supreme dislike for the Philadelphia airport.
Before the Coronavirus outbreak, the Atlanta Reign were the team that had to wait the longest to play their first match. Do you think that provided an advantage to you? Or do you think there was a disadvantage because you had to wait around?
Masaa: I feel like at least for this match, it’s been really, really helpful. I see a lot of people made the point on Twitter that it’s kind of unfair to Toronto that we had so much time to prepare for them. We could make super specific threats against them because we had all the footage we needed. So sure, we had a huge advantage going into the game, but at the same time Toronto should have known that we would have stuff against them. So it works out both ways but more towards us.
How do you feel that you personally played against Toronto today? And is there anything that you would have changed?
Masaa: Well the first map was super rusty. You’re getting back into the groove of playing on LAN, the outside noise, and you got to get the basic game rolling. The first map was a little bit jumpy, you know? Ups and downs. But after that we got the ball rolling, got our normal game going on. If we just keep the momentum going and the same level of chill that we played with today it’s looking really good.
The broadcast doesn’t typically show too much support POV, so was there anything specific that you did today that you’re proud of and people may have missed?
Masaa: Probably not. I just played it pretty safely today. Like just ramp it up according to the season, see how long it goes, and see what I can get away with. Hopefully, I will be a full Reddit Lucio by the end of the season. But I feel like Dogman had a lot of moments in that game that went missed like clutch lamps and really good heals. Stuff like that the streams miss a little bit. It’s not as flashy as DPS clicking heads and it’s never going to be.
As a support do you wish there was more broadcast coverage from your POV?
Masaa: I’m pretty sure most of the supports are pretty cool with it. At the end of the day the game is there for the spectators. If there was Mercy gameplay, sure there might be like a hundred people who want to learn to play Mercy. That’s why the POV cameras were such a good idea. If people wanted to learn a certain role they could pay for the subscription. But right now it’s a little bit like the DPS/Tank show. Maybe they’ll do the same thing with YouTube that they did with Twitch.
You’re one of the more consistent supports in the league but you don’t get as much attention as some of the others like Jjonak or Moth. Is that important to you or does that affect you at all?
Masaa: To be honest, I’m just here doing my job. I don’t really care about how much people rate me because then I have zero pressure. I just do my own thing. But I feel like I’ll mention for at least one of those roles that you need to just be consistent. That’s the key. You need to be really consistent. You don’t need to be like the flashiest player as long as you are consistent. Sometimes you need to clutch it out but 90% of the time you need to be there for your team. Tracking the ults, calling rotations, whenever someone’s flanking, and stuff like that. It’s not a highlight reel type of position and that works for me.
The hero pools are starting after this weekend, are there any specific heroes that you’re looking forward to not playing against?
Masaa: Mei. Mei is always annoying. It’s pure hell in video game form. It’s definitely no fun. It’s no fun. You get frozen and stunned but you kind of get used to it. Sombra and Mei are the worst offenders though. Probably Sombra even more because as Lucio you only have one job to do. Counter the EMP with beat. It’s just like a game of chicken and just so stressful when there’s a Sombra on the field.
A lot of the analysts and fans had the Reign pretty high up in their power rankings. Do you think there’s a reason for that and does it then put pressure on you to perform well?
Masaa: I think it should put a little bit of pressure on us but at the end of the day I’m not sure how many people really read into them on the team. They don’t take it to heart like “oh we’re the best!” It probably puts more pressure on the enemies because they think, “oh these guys are ranked high, they must be really good.”
I feel like most of us know how good each of the other teams are because teams talk to each other, players talk to each other. We scrim against each other and we all have our own lists like that. We have in our heads who is really good, who’s in the middle, and who is at the bottom.
Which teams are at the top of your list then?
Masaa: Well, I feel like it’s the same teams that have been there for a long time. Philly is good, Shock is good, New York is good. Teams like that have strongly established that they’re really good.
Are there any teams or specific players that you’re looking forward to playing against?
Masaa: Oh, 100%! Philly just to get some 1-v-1s going with Astro to see who’s the greater Lucio. And of course the Gladiators. They have half of a Finnish roster on their team, so those two.
Speaking of Finland, it is a small country with a small population. Why then do you think there are so many Finnish players in the league?
Masaa: We had a big TF2 and CoD4 scene, so I think they transitioned really well from those two games to Overwatch. They have the same elements. But at the same time we have so many more CS:Go players. That’s like the biggest game over there. We just had so much of a player base to move up from there who had competitive experience.
Obviously there is a lot of traveling this season but you have been very outspoken that you actually hate traveling. Have you been preparing for that in any way? Or are you just accepting it at this point?
Masaa: I try not to complain but as the season goes on I’m probably going to start bitching a lot. But right now, I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos about the technicalities of flying.
So it’s mainly a fear of flying?
Masaa: Yeah, like flying and traveling. Being around tons of people. It’s always like…eh. It’ll probably get better in the season because you’re getting used to it.
Even though you’re not a fan of traveling, is there anywhere that you are looking forward to going this season?
Masaa: I don’t know. In the US it’s probably Washington, DC, it seems like a really cool place. Plus Paris! It’s always nice to see the city. And the biggest plus side of going to Paris is that if we have a break after the game you can fly directly home. Because otherwise we would have to sit on a plane for like 15 hours. But from there it’s only like 3 hours.
Recently on a stream you mentioned how much you hated the Philadelphia airport. What exactly didn’t you like about it?
Masaa: It was scuffed. Scuffed! No where else do you have to carry the bin through the x-ray machine yourself. And they didn’t even have enough of them! I don’t know, it was just like these minor details and it only happened to me. At the same time, we probably saw the bad side of Philly. I wasn’t the greatest fan of it but we tried the cheesecake….wait no..cheesesteak!
Cheesesteaks are sacred in Philly. Where did you go to get them?
Masaa: It was like a food court mall? Reading Terminal Market? The food was actually insane there but maybe we were just in a bad part of town.
Atlanta was one of the teams that got to have a homestand last year and will have its first one this year in just a few weeks. Are you looking forward to that experience again?
Masaa: Yeah, 100%! The last time we were there it was actually insane. Especially now that you probably get booed at some places, like we play so many teams at their homestands. These are the few matches that we don’t play against the home team. We’re going to get booed a lot this season and are probably going to become the villains of the league if this keeps up.
Don’t some people already consider the Reign as villains?
Masaa: Yeah yeah. It’s a little bit spicier action! It’s going to be nice to go back to your home crowd and have people cheer for you. Give you energy instead of throwing tomatoes at you. And just to see the fans in real life. They’re not just screen names anymore, you know? They’re like actual people coming to watch your team play. So it’s like, pretty insane.
Finally, there are 20 teams in the league. Why should fans root for the Atlanta Reign?
Masaa: Well I think gameplay wise we’re a really good team. Plus we have a lot of big personalities that you can pretty much pick and choose what kind of person you like. You have Dogman and Babybay, the dynamic hyper duo that just go ham every time. But maybe if you’re coming from a Korean background you’re more into Korean Overwatch. Then you have Pokpo, Edi, Erster. All of those insane players from the Korean or Chinese Contenders’ scenes. Then we got all over EU, we have such a mixed bag of personalities that you can probably find at least one of us that is tolerable.
Featured Image Courtesy of Carlton Beener for Blizzard Entertainment
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