By Rilee Stapleton
On Tuesday, February 9th Mizzou Esports held its first ever Overwatch Combine through Discord. The combine was open to all current Mizzou students who wanted to improve their gameplay in the title. These players received coaching throughout the combine while also having fun in a competitive, yet friendly environment.
“[The coaches] said this was first and foremost a casual get-together,” sophomore Grant Clemmons, who participated in the combine, said. “It was a community event more than anything else.”
The combine started with balanced games between players of all skill levels. Players of all ranks had the chance to play with Mizzou varsity players and learn from their gameplay. This initial round of matches was designed to be a casual experience where all participants could interact.
The second round became a little more competitive, as players were divided up by their skill rating. It was at this point where games were monitored closer, and students received feedback on their gameplay. The students who made the top lobby were given a development plan and an opportunity to play with or against the varsity roster.
While the main focus of the combine was to provide all students a fun place to improve, a couple players impressed enough to earn a varsity tryout. Two of these students, freshman Ashley “qwertp” Kline and Luke “kabby” Twogood advanced past the early rounds of the combine and played well enough to join the varsity squad.
“I didn’t think I had much of a chance to make the varsity roster, but I was also looking forward to playing with SR players,” Kline said. “[The combine] showed me how coordinated Overwatch could be.”
The idea for this combine came from Mizzou Esports’ goal to continue to improve their program. Overwatch head coach John “Speakeasy” Green mentioned in an interview that he hopes these combines can become a regular aspect of Mizzou Esports.
The program is always looking to build a fun and competitive community, and these combines will help players improve while also providing an outlet to have fun and make friends.
“Getting the varsity roster filled out was just a bonus,” Player Development coach Austin “Careless” Crawford said. “The purpose of the combine and events like that in general is just to have an actual Overwatch program where we have student body engagement for everyone who is interested.”
With a successful first attempt at an esports combine, Mizzou Esports will look to continue providing community events for all students at the University of Missouri, regardless of the games they are playing.