The Atlanta Reign are poised for an amazing season. After their breakout performance last year in the Overwatch League, they sit toward the top of the Power Rankings for 2020. The success of their first season in the league has earned them high praise as well as high expectations. But what does it mean when the underdogs are suddenly among the front-runners? I asked the Reign’s popular resident dog, flex support Dusttin “Dogman” Bowerman, what the future looks like for Atlanta.
You’ve said in the past that you prefer to be the underdog. Can you explain that mindset?
“I think it gives me more motivation to be an ‘underdog.’ It makes me want to work harder and review more and do more than anyone else because they don’t expect me to do so. I want to be someone that everyone counts out, so I have all the pressure to work and the rewards from it too.”
Conversely, Atlanta is not an underdog this season. How do you think the high expectations will affect you mentally?
“Atlanta is still an underdog to me, there’s still Shock, right? The best team in the league, as long as they’re there – we’re not a favorite.”
[Author’s Note: At the time of this publication, the Atlanta Reign’s “underdog” status remains in question.]
It seems like you tend to turn the negative things people say about you into motivation. It’s as though the harder you get hit the harder you work. What is your process behind that?
“I don’t really turn negative things people say about me as something to give me motivation unless it’s my teammates. I actually pay more attention to criticism given to me by people I respect, not really the public. But any criticism given to me by my peers gives me extra motivation for sure.”
What player do you look up to or respect the most? Who is Dogman a fan of?
“Really, I don’t look up to any other players. The only one I have watched a lot of is Viol2t, but besides that, I only care about myself really. Not a fan of anyone either, besides Dafran.
Atlanta is known for being a very tight knit team and the players are often called some variation of “frat bros.” Do you think the travel schedule and not having one team house will affect how close you are with each other?
“Nah, we’re the same team we were last year. We’re still as tight as ever. No team is as close to each other as we are. I try to make sure of that. It’s my goal to try and do silly stuff or stupid things to bring the team closer together. I like seeing my teammates happy, so I try and do everything to connect everyone and make sure everyone feels accepted.”
Last year’s homestands in Atlanta and Dallas proved that the home team definitely has a strong advantage. How do you plan to overcome that overwhelming force and provide some upsets while you’re on the road this season?
“Most of our games are road games while being in the enemy’s home territory, so we don’t really have any plans other than to try and embarrass them in front of their own crowds. That seems fun.”
You don’t play until Week 4. Do you think the extra time will be an advantage, or do you anticipate a slower start to kick off the rust?
“I think the extra time will be an advantage for us since we had a late start. We’re starting to catch up to everyone now so it’s nice to not have to start early.”
Regardless of whether they are underdogs or a powerhouse with an advantage, Dogman’s vision for 2020 is crystal clear. All signs point to an excellent showing from the Reign – no star alignment necessary. Wherever the twists and turns of the season take the Atlanta Reign, Dogman isn’t losing sight of what matters.
“It’s super important to have fun. Unfortunately, esports isn’t really physical so it’s not like I’m ramming anyone in the face to get my adrenaline going. So, a big way to stay motivated and in games is through pure enjoyment of what you’re doing.”
Questions? You can message Rhiannon on Twitter @Psyryn_OG and ask away.
Follow The Game Haus for more esports and sports stories!!
Twitter: TGH Esports
Facebook: The Game Haus
“From Our Haus to Yours”