A band of misfits, Heist is looking to shake up the future of Australian Overwatch.
Taking some of the most promising talent from Contenders Season 2 and putting them in a thriving team environment behind one of the best coaches in the region with no outside expectations, Heist have shown they can live up to the name of the team they replaced in Dark Sided.
After a shaky start to the season with a close 3-2 against Freshman Class, they pulled out one of the biggest upsets in Australian Overwatch history with a five-map nailbiter win over front-runners Order. From there, people had to take notice.
They went the entire season with only a slight hiccup against the Mavericks, as the hype behind the underdogs grew from week to week. When it came to playoffs, they blew the confident Blank Esports roster out of the water to go from non-existence to LAN in the space of two months.
Clip: Bus lands a 4 man Earth Shatter while stuck in Roro’s Graviton Surge to kick start Heist’s assault on Blank in their playoffs match on Hanamura.
For each player on Heist though, it’s been a long road. Joshua “Bus” Bussell was on Bin Chickens in Season 2, who infamously finished dead last in Group A with a 0-20 belting of a season.
Declan “Dalsu” Selby has qualified for LAN before with Masterminds in Season 1 before being kicked before the major event, as Masterminds crumbled beneath the wrath of the Drop Bears in the final.
On the other hand, DewBoy was a late addition to the roster, slotting in after Roro’s departure to Blank days before their first game, but has shown experience beyond his years under coach Choco, who joined him from PIXL. Guzto fell painfully short of a LAN berth with SereNity after drawing the short straw in playoffs last season against Drop Bears.
The Kanga Esports duo of Locus and Junglejazz got to spread their wings at Melbourne Esports Open, thriving in the new Heist environment, and now return to LAN in Season 3 to enact revenge on the exact team who knocked them out – the Drop Bears.
Individually, Heist’s players have had a lot of story lines cut short by that one team in the past. Now they come together to knock the champions, who stand in the way of a grand final appearance, off their perch as the new kids on the block.
I spoke to Dalsu and Bus before the LAN finals to talk about their journey as a team, what their first LAN means to them and what they are looking to prove.
Heist came into Season 3 as complete unknowns and misfits. What made you join the team?
Bus: I didn’t see it so much as misfits. Originally, when we started trialling, I remember Heist were trying people like Kiki, and Locus was the only one locked in, and I liked Locus so I put my name down and hoped for the best. Anything could have been better than Bin Chickens.
Dalsu: I had a couple of trials with Kanga and some other teams, then the roster Heist were trialling I thought was the best. I’ve spoken about this before, but going into the season I was a bit cautious of playing with Bus because I thought he was a MM player but in trials I was very impressed with him. I thought that if we had a main tank who was this good and improved over the season, the rest of us will to.
Jungle then came in and I was set on him and he has been very solid. Everyone has improved so much in their role and I have so much faith in everyone under Choco.
Did you ever think this roster would finish top 4?
Dalsu: Yeah, definitely. With the potential I was seeing out of everyone out of the team and we had Choco – who from my experience is very intelligent and puts in a lot of work and won’t let you slip discipline-wise or gameplay-wise. He’s always there to answer questions and if he doesn’t know the answer, he will truthfully tell you and find out the answer for you even if it takes a couple of days.
Bus: I remembered being really worried after we lost Roro a few days before roster lock, but then we found Dewboy and I knew little-to-nothing about Dewboy. I questioned it at first, but he got so good so quickly. I didn’t expect to come this far, but I think it was halfway through the the season when I realised how good everyone was and how fast we had improved, it became more of a reality.
Yeah, I was going to ask a bit more about Choco, because he’s been a highly rated coach for a while. How much of a help has he been with you guys?
Bus: So much!
Dalsu: An insane amount. It’s insane how much he’s helped in and out of game. Even though he is our coach, you can always go to him with real life problems like a friend. I’ve never had a coach so intelligent and knows what they are doing the majority of the time, and if he doesn’t know he will find it out for you.
“He will go out of his way to make sure you are comfortable with what you are doing, and if you challenge him on an idea he’s completely open to discussion and doesn’t get offended.”
Bus: He also puts in a heap of work we don’t see behind the scenes as far as researching other teams or watching VODs of different regions to get ideas and bring them back to the team. He puts in so much that we don’t probably realise.
And he would have gotten a little bit of that with First Generation in NA Contenders at the start of the season?
Bus: Yeah, and something that’s nuts too is that he left First Generation to put more effort into us which felt pretty special.
You guys really made the spotlight after your upset 3-2 win over Order, how did that win affect the team morale, especially after the close match against Freshman Class?
Dalsu: I think after Week 1, we just wanted to forget that game and we were chalking it up to Week 1 nerves. Everyone was super nervous – and everyone has played in officials and I’ve been in playoffs but for me the first week is always nerve wracking, especially with a new team. We put that aside and we worked really hard to make sure that didn’t happen again against a weaker team, so as soon as that was over we put our heads down and focused.
When we came up against Order and beat them we were very excited because it showed that our hard work was paying off and we were a strong team when we played at our absolute best.
Bus: I think it was a bit scary because Freshman Class were pretty good too. We were really confident heading into it and we probably underestimated them and it made us stay on our toes. I remember when we played against Breakaway a couple of weeks later and we were double-triple-checking to make sure we weren’t expecting it to be an easy win and that it wasn’t over until it we see the wins on the board.
Heist GC Family Photo c.2018 (colourised) pic.twitter.com/g6CmphC3Ex
— HEIST Gaming Club (@HeistGC) December 21, 2018
And that was a team that could have caused an upset on you too, given how much they improved throughout the season.
Now, this will be the first Contenders LANs for both of you – maybe not the first you’ve qualified for – but how are you feeling about it?
Dalsu: Personally, I’m very excited. I can’t wait to meet all the Heist boys and then people from the other teams too and some community people as well and I’m excited to perform on stage and on stream.
Bus: I’m so keen man! I’ve played at random LANs before but I’ve never played on stage before so I’m excited and also very nervous. I’m not sure what it’s going to be like up there – everyone said it’ll be fine so she’ll be right. It’ll be great to meet everyone but also very nervous to play.
Up against the Drop Bears in the semi-final, do you think you can cause an upset to stop their champions run? What will it take?
Dalsu: Definitely confident.
Bus: We have the potential for sure.
Dalsu: If we play how we know we can, and how well we can, I’m fairly sure we can win.
Is there anything you are worried about in particular?
Bus: I’m scared to see Chrono on no ping. The few times we’ve scrimmed with him while he was over on NA it’s a bit hard to judge, especially on Reinhardt about high ping, it’s just so much different.
Dalsu: I’m worried about them pulling something different out, or improving their GOATS a lot, so we will have to see.
Bus: They are in the ‘guh! [laughing]
Other than you, who do you think will take out the title and why?
Bus: I’m pretty confident in Order showing up. I don’t think Athletico will put up much of a fight against Order and I think Order will do really well.
Dalsu: Unless Order choke somehow, or don’t take it seriously enough, or falter against Athletico, they are in good running.
Well, thanks for taking the time out to chat, and good luck at LAN!
HEIST will take on their first LAN challenge against two-time champions Sydney Drop Bears on January 20 at 11pm AEDT. You can catch the action live on the Overwatch Contenders Twitch.