Australia’s Overwatch World Cup campaign came to an end on Saturday morning after a hard-fought game against South Korea fell the way of the two-time champions 3-0.
While the team has had moments of brilliance throughout the tournament, Huseyin “Hus” Sahin has been a consistently strong performer for Australia. The DPS for Team Australia, Blank Esports and now Sydney Drop Bears has been around in the scene since early 2017.
Just missing out on the chance in 2017 to go to the World Cup, he was ready to prove his worth in 2018. His Widowmaker in Bangkok was fearsome – and ultimately the reason Australia got over the line against China with some crucial picks on Temple of Anubis to qualify for BlizzCon – and against South Korea he was menacing on his Sombra.
While it wasn’t enough to pick up a map against the eventual grand finalists, Australia had already achieved their goal for OWWC – making it to BlizzCon. Now after having a chance to make a name for himself on one of Overwatch’s biggest stages, I sat down with Hus to speak about BlizzCon, Blank and Hero 29 – aka Ashe.
First of all, thanks for sitting down with me Hus. How does it feel to finally be here?
It feels really good, I’ve been super keen to come here for ages. I really wanted to come last year when Blank was sent to World Cup – and it was straight after APAC Premier, so it was a prime time to come. Unfortunately I couldn’t get tickets though so I couldn’t come.
Well instead of being a spectator you are now here as a player…
Getting a backstage pass is great – the player area chops!
What’s the best part about it?
I guess it’s playing on stage. Even if it was a short three maps or whatever, it was still so much fun.
It’s a massive change to fly halfway across the world to play the same game you play back in Australia. What’s been the biggest change?
The jet lag has been the biggest issue. Travelling to Asia is okay because you are only changing a few hours, but travelling to the US you are literally travelling a day in time difference. We got here at like 6am and we had to stay up but I slept at 2pm. Luckily I pulled an all nighter the day before though so I smashed a whole day of sleep and I woke up I was good.
Had time to play some ranked queues over here?
Yeah I placed my account. Went 8-2.
4450? It’s not bad. I thought I was going to get higher.
What’s it like playing on US West?
It was just a farm honestly. It’s easier to climb here because back in OCE, it’s harder to get games with decent rated players. Games over here, if you lose a game you lose less SR and the queues are faster. There’s a bigger pool of games to win from, if that makes sense.
Do you VPN back home?
Yeah, back home I play on US West on 180 ping which is garbage.
Do you ever play OCE queues then?
Very rarely. I have one account which is hovering around low Grand Master and even then that account takes a long time to queue so I don’t bother with it. I’ll only queue if the fellas are queuing up and we can queue snipe each other. “ANZ q now.”
For what it’s worth, yeah. The good thing about SDB is that they have a really good facility with really low ping to foreign servers. That’s the biggest reason why we joined and it’s exciting.
You guys have also had time to bond as a team over the World Cup because it’s pretty much everyone except Custa. Do you think you’ll have that advantage in not just mechanics but team play?
Yeah I think we do. We’ve got experience with an OWL player and an OWL coach. No one else in Australia has that. It’s priceless.
How much has Gunba (Australia OWWC Coach and Coach of Boston Uprising) been helping you?
A ridiculous amount. I can say that he has put in by far the highest amount of work I’ve seen anyone put in. I was on a team with him [on Blank] as a player and he was always putting in a lot of work. So much that you don’t get to know him outside of his work because he’s always working. It’s set a standard for me and the amount of work I’ve put in has increased compared to my previous teams and tournaments.
[After the games though] he’s relaxing now. He’s done his job and worked really hard and he should really be proud.
Did you enjoy your time on Blank with him and for Contenders Season 1 on LAN in Taiwan?
It was really good – we had Seksi with us as our coach and we played really well back then. I can say that we were competitive with the winning team of both Contenders Korea (X6 Gaming) and China (Lucky Future Zenith) at the time.
Oh, so you were scrimming with them?
Yeah and we were really competitive with them so that was a good time for us. Unfortunately we had some roster changes and we lost Seksi and we had to come back to Australia because of no LAN – that was a killer for us. Playing officials on 180 ping, that was rough. I can say that was the lowest point in my Overwatch career.
Did you have any Academy trials over the off-season?
After [OWWC] Bangkok, yeah I did. They are all on 180-190 ping though. I say 180 but realistically my minimum is 185 and it spikes to 200 sometimes. I got pretty far in some trials – like final phase – but then I’m competing with some Korean dude who sent in some VODs of him playing on Korean servers and it’s him on like 2 ping. The best VOD I have to send to them is me playing on 150 ping. That shows how Australians have to practice versus Koreans.
That’s also why our Control [maps at OWWC] have been so bad. You have to play on such high ping and you can’t make crazy mechanical plays because the ping just screws you.
That was a big point throughout the entire tournament – you only won two Control maps against Sweden and Thailand.
That’s right, actually. It’s a nightmare man. Our Control has been getting here though on low ping, it’s definitely improved. Throughout the practice before the tournament here we were consistently getting better at Control. We were getting more aggressive, confident and making what I like to call “feed plays.” It’s like plays that are out of the norm and they don’t expect it – that’s what wins you Control maps.
A high-risk-high-reward deal.
Yeah, and we started making those plays and we started winning Control maps so that was good.
At BlizzCon, they’ve also announced Ashe and while you haven’t had the chance to play her yet, what’s your first impression?
Her kit looks freaking awesome. I think Bob is a bit of a question mark. I saw some of the numbers and he seems ridiculously broken. I think the fact that he can contest point, he can get a nanoboost – it’s literally like adding a seventh hero to your team. It’s like a Torb turret, but he can knock up and contest stuff…
…and he has 1200 base hp…
Yeah. I think the rest of Ashe’s kit is great though. I’m a big fan of the skill shot on her dynamite. I also like the fact that they balanced her hip-fire pretty well to do a lot less damage than her scoped [shot], so people are going to require a lot more skill to hit those shots. I also like the mobility she has – she’s a good addition to the game.
Who would play her – you or Ckm?
I’m not sure honestly – it depends on the meta. Hopefully me though, I’m super keen to play her. Last time Hanzo got buffed, I really wanted to play Hanzo because I like him and then Ckm played Hanzo the whole time and that was lame. I was stuck on Widow the entire time – Widow’s fun, but new Hanzo was broken.
Speaking on being stuck on Widow, Ckm was on Widow all day yesterday.
Yeah and he popped off.
What was the change?
Generally on Anubis either me or Ckm will play Widow if they have a non-stationary comp because it applies an insane amount of pressure they have to deal with in the forward choke. We had the Sombra there already and they had a comp with Sombra-Genji and we could play Genji into that but we can give up the blade for some more consistent damage. Widow picks are invaluable on Point A and that’s why we were able to cap the point out because he got a pick on the Ana.
People were really praising you and Ckm for holding your own against Carpe and co, how do you think you played yesterday?
I felt like I played decently well. Gunba was saying I played really well and made very few mistakes. Throughout the series I thought I was doing fine – the worst parts for me were our first defense on Anubis because we made a mistake with our positioning and we were punished for it and I died on Widow so I didn’t think I’d make it back on point in time.
I swapped to Tracer but I didn’t really know how to play Tracer with that comp because every time I’d come back the fight would be over and I’d have to try and make a two second pick or something to stop the snowball. It was really awkward playing that into Sombra-Genji though and the supports already had the high ground so I couldn’t flank them. That was a rough point, and then on our second attack we screwed up our comps really hard.
Sanctuary on Busan…
That would have been your first official on Busan?
Yeah our first official – we had played a bunch of scrims on it and historically our best point was Sanctuary on that map. However, Korea’s play style with the Winston playing sneaky and solo-flanking our Ana forced a lot of peels. JJoNaK was also getting hard pocketed and he frags real hard so that was annoying to deal with.
Our combo was we would send our Wrecking Ball in and get some Pharah spam in and Sombra opens in from behind, however Pharah got hard pressured from the McCree-Zen – the Zen was hitting five-balls on our Pharah and killing her it was ridiculous.
Well then, any plans for the rest of the weekend?
Play Ashe, meet some people, watch the rest of the games, drink and have fun. I’m super keen!
The Overwatch World Cup is still on-going, with China and South Korea facing off in the Grand Final right now. You can watch it on the Overwatch League Twitch channel.
Hus will be playing for Sydney Drop Bears in Contenders Australia Season 3 starting on November 19. You can follow Hus on Twitter here.