Uprising’s DPS starter Blase Interview
Boston Uprising's starting DPS player Jeffrey "Blase" Tsang has been waiting all season to do what he was signed to the team to do. As a hitscan specialist, the American born player, like other DPS players across the Overwatch League, was stuck on Brigitte all season. With the introduction of role lock, Blase was finally let "out of the Brig" and back to DPS. Surprisingly, this only lasted a week. Fans were struck to see him come out last week in Boston's matchup against the Washington Justice in the off-tank role.
Believe in Boston Sports got an opportunity to speak with Blase the day after Boston's 3-1 loss to Washington. We spoke about how he was moved to the tank position, how he thinks the team has done, the current meta, and his Team USA trials for the Overwatch World Cup. Also - he had some thoughts on the ideal hero, if he could make it.
Starting rosters for Boston's match against Washington sent shockwaves throughout the Overwatch League when Blase was announced as off-tank. Without rCk, the DPS player had to fill in. While Blase couldn't get into what happened exactly, I did ask him how long he had to prepare. "Maybe less than a week," he said, carefully picking his words. With so little time to prepare, it wouldn't be fair to expect much from anybody in that situation. How did he think he did? Blase said, "I think my Roadhog is alright. But I think my D.Va needs... I don’t play D.Va. At least... I think I have like the ring for it but I don't really necessarily have the practice for like the tricks and everything... I'm not used to that."
This reflects the general consensus among fans after the Washington match. While there were certainly moments of cringe on the mech, there were several exciting moments on Hog. Why was he so much better on one than the other? "In my opinion, Hog's a DPS. Like, the only thing that differentiates, like differentiates him with the other Tanks, like his whole kit is based on killing. And he has 600 HP. I mean, I really like the Hog mechanic, and he's like one of the first characters I've played when I first played Overwatch" he said.
Meta This, Meta That
After fans' demands were met and GOATs was buried beneath the ground, the 2-2-2 role lock was introduced to spice up the meta. Sadly, a similar mirroring situation has quickly developed around an Orissa, Hog, Mei, and Reaper team composition. Why is that? "The thing is like, the patch they put out before 2-2-2 wasn't necessarily like that big in terms of changing how guns worked. Because, like, Mei and Reaper have always been strong after they got their billion buffs. Because they've always sucked... Overwatch kept trying to like buff heroes like DPS heroes and, like, counter GOATS but like it never worked out" said Blase.
Meaning that as developers tweaked all the DPS heroes to try to take GOATs down, they were never readjusted once role lock was introduced. Now there are DPS heroes that have been buffed to counter GOATs, but that's not the context of the game today. "There are these "over tuned" DPS heroes now, like Reaper and Mei, that happened to be the 'tankiest' of all DPS heroes. That also has self heals and escapes. And also a great utility" he said. Until further adjustments are made to these and other DPS heroes to tone them back down, Reaper and Mei are likely to dominate the meta.
At 8-16 on the season, Boston has all but been eliminated from the season end playoffs. Despite that setback, is there something that can be gained from the remaining four matches for the team? Blase said, "Obviously, we just kind of want to like have a 'no regrets' at the end, you know. Like, even if we don't make playoffs, we just want to win some at least. Kind of like Washington...just try to get back up to form, you know? Like, I don't think plans matter at this point. And I think we just want to like- not win out, just like be proud of ourselves at the end. Like as far as we could take it, you know? End the season with no regrets."
I think most observers see Boston as trying to work through internal and lineup issues that have plagued them all season. Given what has happened with this team, what does Blase want to do himself with the remaining matches? "I think, obviously, I do want to go back to DPS, that would be great. I wanted to be put on Mei. Because I only, like, I played her for one match. So I want to go out strong. I want to play a few matches on DPS. I don't really want to play off-tank that much" he said.
One big change to the Overwatch League this season has been the introduction of the homestands. Boston hasn't had the opportunity to participate in one, but will be there for the Los Angelos Valiant's homestand this stage. What does Blase think of the upcoming homestand? He said, "I mean, I guess, it's like a different stage. I mean, it's not that different, it's still in LA. It's almost like a walk down the street... But there are probably going to be a lot more fans for the Valiant crowd." He clearly recognized since all the matches at Blizzard Arena are in LA, there may not be much difference with this homestand.
But what about Boston's homestands next year? Surely there's something new to that? Clearly getting excited, Blase answered, "Knowing that, like, all your friends are there is, like, really cool. Traveling's also going to be really cool... The fans, just being in one place... because don't see too many Boston fans in LA, you know? So it would be different."
Part of what will be different for players next year will be all the traveling. What will that be like? Thinking about it, he said, "It's going to probably affect players differently from, like, traveling and having jet lag, depending on like how far you go. I don't know too much about it yet. But I'm fine with it. I'll try to deal with it. I've never been to London or Paris, it would be pretty exciting.
Another major change to the starting roster last Friday was new DPS pickup Stellar on the main stage. Formerly of Toronto Defiant, Uprising fans didn't expect to see him this season. How did he do? "I think, definitely, the nerves hit him for the first two maps, because he hasn't played like stage 1 or 2. But I think, after the first two maps, he played pretty well. Stellar's a really nice guy. Like, he's kind of like the rest of us. Like, he tries the hardest. Mei isn't one of his heroes. And we kind of like forced him on it, because I'm on Tank. He's trying to learn Mei, and he's been hard driving on it" Blase said.
For his first time on stage in months, Stellar's play certainly improved as the match went on. But what about the other DPS on stage, Colourhex? "Colourhex has always, like, been a really good aim. And that's the reason really, like, he has been performing. Yes, I mean he's the best guy-- I don't know what else to say. He's been a good player" Blase said excitedly. I also thought Colourhex did well, matching up well with Washington's Corey who has lead his team to their current 5-0 record for the stage.
Fans, casters, and players can't help but critique the game. Whether it be new heroes, levels, patches, or any of the hundreds of minor tweaks that happen over the course of a season. If he was given the power, what type of hero would Blase make? "I want a high mobility hero, 200 HP-- And just high mobility, I mean that' s highly mechanical, fun to play. Ability wise, obviously like maybe one movement ability. I think more passive abilities too. They should add more passive abilities to characters. I think a good passive is like the passive Doomfist. You hit someone with your ability you get the shields, something like that" he explained. Imagine someone than Tracer, with a hard to master weapon, and passive heals or AOE abilities. Hopefully Jeff Kaplan is listening.
Despite garnering attention all season for his Doomfist play, Blase didn't make this year's roster. Why does he think that is. Thinking it over, Blase said, "I definitely think I wasn't ready for the trials. It's like transitioning effectively from playing Brig 24/7 to playing like - Genji here and now. It's like, "Whoa". And I definitely don't think I performed that well, I feel like the first leg or two. Trying to get used to it and trying to grind out DPS heroes. And I think first impressions matter. So at the end of like the trials, the 3rd or 4th week, I think I did way better. But I think... it didn't really matter at that point. So definitely think this year wasn't my year to get to team USA, but I think next year, I have a better chance. Just having more time to grind out DPS and just be more ready."
Though he didn't make the team, Blase still supports this year's squad. What does he think their chances are? "I think it depends on how well Corey plays, honestly. Judging by the meta right now, I think if the meta continues to be this meta, I think it's like all up to Corey basically. And like the rest of the team, just play well. Because this meta's kind of like, hinges on getting random headshots, getting the hooks, you know, playing GOATS.... I think their chances of making playoffs, world cup, I think- judging by the roster, probably like 50%. I don't think the rosters entirely like in sync, judging by what the meta is now. It's hard to say. I haven't seen other teams win" he said.
Having spent time fighting for a spot on the USA roster amidst his season with Boston, some may question where does Blase's loyalty lies. If he could have it either way, would he rather be a part of a deep playoff run with the Uprising or Team USA? Without hesitation, the DPS answered, "I'd probably choose the Boston one because world cup's, like really good exposure, but I think- like if I could make playoffs with our team, I would want that more, than the world cup." That's what we like to hear.
Boston has four matches left on the season and nothing but pride on the line. Hopefully the team can work through their lineup issues and show forward progress before the season ends. We at Believe in Boston Sports want to thank Blase for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him and the team the best of luck on the remainder of the season.