DBLTAP – Can you tell me a little about your background in esports?
Beom-Joon “Bishop” Lee – I have been gaming for a long time, but the first esport for me was League of Legends. I was a big fan back when I was in college. I even participated in some collegiate tournaments. However, Overwatch would be the first game I played where I got to go pro, so I don’t have much history when it comes to esports.
I am excited to announce that I will be joining the @Cloud9 Overwatch team as their Head Coach! NA here i come ;D— Bishop (@BishopOW) March 8, 2017
DBLTAP – What has it been like working with the London Spitfire roster and what are you most excited for in the upcoming season?
Bishop – A lot of effort has been going into the team, mainly in the format of keeping all twelve players happy in a foreign country, and so far, it’s been going great. We are most excited, just like everyone else, to see how these players, who were formerly two separate teams, are going to create synergy with each other. We want to see what kind of powerful rosters we can make because we have an infinite amount of talent to choose from.
One of the biggest advantage we have over other teams is that we have two players for each position and these guys have a lot of LAN experience as players. We are also excited about slowly moving into making strategies and counter-strategies as we solidify the roster.
DBLTAP – Some have said that the Spitfire’s biggest weakness is having too many players coming from different teams that will cause tension over playing time. What do you have to say to those who doubt the team you coach and say it should be smaller?
Bishop – Yes, not all players will be getting the amount of spotlight of being on the main roster as others and there is really nothing we can do about that because the game will always be played by six players. However, we are trying to merge the two rosters as quick as possible in order to prevent that from becoming a weakness and there is certainly enough opportunity for everyone to get their share of playing time.
Depending on what maps and which teams we are playing on and against, we will always have that large pool of talent to draw from. I don’t see having a seven or eight-man roster being advantageous over having a full twelve-man roster. We will also be having multiple occasions where we can swap players in and out as the tournament proceeds.
DBLTAP – How has working with the Cloud9 roster been like and what benefits do they bring to the table?
Bishop – Working with Cloud9 has been one of the best things to happen in my life. Being given the option to coach instead of play led me to retire from professional play because I felt like I wanted to contribute in a different way in the esports scene. Working with Jack Etienne, CEO of Cloud9, has just been amazing overall.
Jack put a lot of faith in me going into the Overwatch League. He gave me the freedom to decide what kind of roster I wanted to build starting from scratch, and has supported me the entire way through. After spending a few months in Korea, we ended up being able to successfully bring in the core of KongDoo Panthera and GC Busan as well as two additional members whom we trialed.
DBLTAP – What is your biggest role on the Spitfire roster?
Bishop – I think that every head coach has a different work ethic that they pursue. My main focus is to make sure our team has a set direction every day, and I think this comes from my background as a player. I try to get the most value out of every day, whether that be determining how and who we play in scrims to or setting an amount of goals.
Player relations is another big focus of mine because we have a very diverse roster made up of two teams. I’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on trying to have the twelve players come together instead of divide themselves because they come from different backgrounds. So far, we have been succeeding and everything has been working well.
DBLTAP – How has your player background helped you adapt to a coaching role?
Bishop – Being a professional player for a bit over half a year has given me insight into how players approach the game. It helps me understand when players get frustrated and what they need to help them succeed. My time playing really helped me become a successful coach from an ability to understand what the players are going through. At mechanical levels, having played the game at a high level certainly helps me go through meta shifts.
Thanks for the amazing crowd atmosphere and for supporting the team these past two days! We'll see you again on January 11th for our first #OWL2018 Regular Season match!#AcesHigh️ pic.twitter.com/Jr7Id9qCCu— London Spitfire (@Spitfire) December 9, 2017
DBLTAP – How does the Spitfire coaching staff adapt to changes in the meta game?
Bishop – A new patch is kind of like a Christmas gift to all of the coaching staff. It is something that allows us to fantasize over because every change in development is a new challenge for us and something exciting. Whenever there is a new patch, whether it be in a map or character, we hop on the PTR (public test region) and mess around to try to come up with something.
The players really enjoy the changes as well, especially Rascal who gets very excited with each change because he loves adapting and playing new heroes and creating new strategies. When it actually comes to implementing new changes however, we take a lot of cautious steps. If something is working fine we don’t try to change it.
DBLTAP – What goes into a scrim and how does it work?
Bishop – We only play other Overwatch League teams and they usually last around two hours. Two teams will go ahead and play a couple matches, and while it is practice, players are expected to play their best.
This interview has been condensed for clarity
Photo Credit - Blizzard Entertainment