Austin “Muma” Wilmot is the glue that holds Team USA together – and that’s just how he likes it. WIth an easy weekend of Overwatch behind them to secure Team USA a BlizzCon spot, I talked with the star-spangled main tank to divine his plans for the future. Enjoy!
I hear often that Rawkus manages your calls for Team USA, by and large, which is similar to the way things run in Houston as well. What’s the structure like, exactly? How much thought did the team put into its comms structure – or is it fairly natural?
It’s pretty natural. In the past, Rawkus had a really major part in comms, because being able to communicate Discord targets is such an important call. Discord Orb is such a powerful ability that the entire game was built around listening to your Zenyatta and shooting the discord target together. With Zen being… not as in favor, you listen to your Ana a lot, because hearing nade cooldown is really important. But there are a lot more comms from me and Sinatraa, as well as whoever’s playing Sombra. She just has so much scouting ability.
What’s the info exchange like between you and ZachaREEE? What’s it been like to get him acclimated with a bunch of OWL players, and what has he taught you in turn?
I’m really thankful for Zach’s addition to the team. OWL and Contenders have always had very different playstyles, which I find very interesting. Even when we’re on the same patch, Contenders teams run comps that OWL players never, ever run. In OWL, everyone was running Mercy and Zen, but everyone in contenders was playing Lucio. So having that experience of contenders, that knowledge, and being able to bring it to all of these OWL players – it’s just a big melting pot of information.
Speaking of regional differences – a lot of people have brought up that South Korea looks more beatable this year than ever. Do you agree with that?
Eh… I mean, not entirely. I think that the SK roster could definitely be better, but I think that a lot of rosters could have been. South Korea is beatable, but I also think that they’ve always been beatable. Last year, USA pushed them to the very edge (even if it wasn’t Grand Finals, just because of the draw.) They were still really beatable then, and even if people say they’re unbeatable, I think they still were. I think the same is still true now – Finland really pushed them to the edge in Korea.
So if you guys make it to the Grand Finals – WHEN you make it, I mean – who do you think you’ll be up against, assuming fairly good random draws?
To say anything but Korea is kinda silly, I think. I could see Finland, though. I’m pretty impressed with their roster – I could potentially see something happening there for sure. I would assume Korea, though.
How removed from the Outlaws’ daily grind are you right now? Do you check in on occasion, or are you fully focused on Team USA stuff?
I’m very much focused on the World Cup. The Outlaws actually had our first meeting together as a team a few days ago. That was the first since the season ended, so you could say it’s been a really long time. We went to that, but we actually told them we were gonna be late because of World Cup scrims! But they knew that was coming, so…
I’m fully focused on the World Cup right now. Maybe since BlizzCon is so far away, I might have some Outlaws stuff to do after these group stages, but I’m not entirely sure.
Are you hoping to get a break in that pre-BlizzCon gap, too? Or would you prefer to stay busy?
I have a lot of things that I’ll be doing this month [now that the group stages are done.] I’m going home to visit family for a bit. I’m going to a bunch of concerts, too – I really love music, so that’s gonna be my break. That’s gonna be fun.
NICE, ok. Who are you gonna go see?
Uh, well… I’m gonna see Drake. I’m gonna see Drake with Jake. That’s gonna be pretty funny. Troye Sivan, Tigers Jaw… There are a few more I’m thinking of buying tickets to as well. I might fly to a festival in San Francisco to see Tame Impala. Thinkin’ about it.
Even your downtime is busy! That sounds like you.
Yeah, well, I don’t like sitting around. Unless it’s so I can play video games. –Laughs- You kinda have to sit around for that.
After all that downtime – How do you feel about the Outlaws’ Season 2? Not that you have too much to go off of, or anything – but are you confident you can one-up this past season?
Yeah, I think we can. There are a lot of things we learned off of Season 1; a lot of mistakes that we made that resulted in a pretty mediocre season (in my opinion.) I think with some of our roster changes – and a lot of other changes that people will be seeing soon – I’m pretty excited for Season 2. Not to mention the behind-the-scenes changes, things people won’t really see, like changes to our structure and stuff. I’m pretty confident in our roster.
In terms of that structural stuff- coaching and support, for instance – how has the team evolved? Where has that growth come from? Just from time spent together, or from watching other teams?
During Stage 1, when [Outlaws Head Coach] Tairong first got here, his English was pretty mediocre. That was definitely a problem. As the season progressed, though, he had more and more lessons and talked a lot more, so his English has gotten a lot better. Not to mention that towards the end of the season, when we brought in KyKy, we found that he was a really, really, really good pickup. He had worked with Korean players so much in the past, and he’s a very vocal person. He was able to step up in a leadership sort of way to talk with Tairong. Tairong would say what he wanted to say to Kyle, then Kyle would turn around and say “Ok everyone, shut up, listen to me! I’ll translate, I’m used to this.”
So the big deal is making progress on the language barrier in Season 2.
Oh definitely. I experienced a pretty extreme language barrier first-hand during All-Stars – it was really fun, and I definitely gained a newfound appreciation for players or coaches that have to go through that.
You and Poko were kind of on that side of the fence together, right? Playing on Team Atlantic with a bunch of Korean players.
Yeah, we talked about it – he asked for tips, and I just said “Smile and nod, dude.”
Getting into Season 2, what’s gonna be the biggest thing you want to work on?
During Season 1, as the season progressed and our comms and coaching structure changed, I started to back down from the leadership position I had in Stage 1. I was the most vocal player and I tried to make sure everything was structured. As the season progressed, I went away from that, but next season, I want to get back into being very vocal – being the glue, basically.
Isn’t that decided by the meta, though?
Yeah, but you’ll always be able to control the game as the main tank. The entire game is played around them – if you’re playing Reinhardt, your team should play Reinhardt comps. If you’re playing Winston, your team should be diving with you. You can always be the most vocal player.
Are the Outlaws still worried about having a “truly good” Tracer player? Were you ever worried?
I thought that Clockwork was our Tracer player… and then we never played him. So I was just like, “Ok, I guess.”
I mean, there’s not much more I can say to that! That’s kind of it, really. As for Season 2, well… stay tuned?
[Outlaws GM] Flame has always said that he built the Outlaws off of a strong core of synergy, personality, and coachability. Is that still a major focus in Season 2? Has that changed at all when looking for new players?
I don’t think so, no. The team is still full of very similar, like-minded people. I think that’s something that we still have that puts us above other teams.
Beyond making it to Grand Finals, what’s the Outlaws’ biggest goal for Season 2?
Building consistency is the thing that I’m really focused on. I could also say that, for next season, let’s just continue to not lose to the Spitfire. Ever. That’d be pretty cool, since we never lost to them in the regular season (even though they ended up winning it all.) Through the Transitive Property of Overwatch Teams – if we beat them, and they never beat us, technically we won Season 1 of the Overwatch League.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment