The Toronto Defiant Toronto Defiant OWL Rank #20 's two newest additions are longtime veterans of the game. They once played together on the same Contenders team before joining the same Overwatch League team. Their careers share little else in common.
There wasn't any guarantee that they would be in the Overwatch League this season, let alone starting for a team.
Mangachu was one of many professional Team Fortress 2 players who began playing Overwatch during the game's closed beta. Several years after his career in TF2 ended, Mangachu still makes references to the game. "Dafran was doing like, TF2 tactics. He was jumping over my head and doing stairstabs," he said after the Torbjorn 1-on-1 in reference to a technique used by Spy players in TF2.
Although his Overwatch career began early, Mangachu found little success in Overwatch's early days. Few podium finishes awaited him on teams like Northern Gaming and Tempo Storm. Eventually he settled into a place on Renegades in 2017.
While Logix's pro career didn't begin as early as Mangachu's, he still began while the game was still young. Despite first turning pro in 2016, Logix didn't start to turn heads until 2017 when he was a part of Movistar Riders. Once people began to pay attention to him, however, it became clear: he was one of the best Tracer players in Europe, if not the world. That reputation soon earned him a place on one of Europe's best squads: Misfits.
Both players played in Contenders Season One 2017, but while Logix's Misfits found success, Mangachu's Renegades struggled. All six Misfits players were given an opportunity to play in the Overwatch League for the Florida Mayhem while Mangachu remained in Contenders.
Logix's Mayhem squad struggled and quickly found themselves in the second to last spot in the league's standings. They moved in the opposite direction of the current Defiant; rather than go from a Korean roster to a mixed one, they began with a western roster and decided to add Korean players midseason.
Not only that, but the team began to make the changes as the game transitioned from a Tracer meta to a Widowmaker meta. Their new Korean additions included Widowmaker specialist Sayaplayer. "Because of that, [the Mayhem] transitioning their roster felt more natural," Logix said.
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Logix is hoping that his current team experiences the turnaround his old team never did. The Mayhem's losses continued even with their new players. They finished with a 7-33 record and Logix sat on the bench for many of his team's games following Sayaplayer's addition.
"I obviously learned a lot [on how] to deal with mental attitude when I was on Florida, obviously going through a lot of losses and partly being on the bench. You try to soak in all [the] information [you can] while you're on the bench," Logix said. He said the Mayhem helped him learn how to be "mentally very strong and [helped] not letting losses affect me as much."
The Mayhem went through a rebuild in the offseason and Logix was released from the squad. He was not signed to another Overwatch League team. Instead, he had to look elsewhere for playing opportunities.
"I decided to stay in NA Contenders because I feel like the region in general has more publicity towards it and there's a lot more attention towards the entire region," he said. "I feel as though like working with different teammates with different skill levels--I learned a lot, like dealing with people or like trying to help people get better at the game."
The first of those two teams was XL2 Academy in November of 2018. Mangachu had been on that roster since the start of 2018.
"I have to give a lot of credit [to Logix] for my personal work ethic. On XL2 Academy, he was very demanding to have like a strict and professional scrim environment and he kind of changed the way I look at scrims," Mangachu said.
Mangachu wasn't the only one who learned new things during the pair's time together.
"As far as Contenders go, I took it as an opportunity to play with completely new players. Obviously I joined the NA Contenders region and pretty much every player I played with I didn't play with previously," Logix said. "So it's just like you try to work with all kinds of different attitudes and different personalities and that's just like a really fun challenge I had in Contenders."
The two split apart in January of 2019 when XL2 dropped both players as part of a rebuild. Mangachu went to Mayhem Academy (and later on Revival) and Logix went to the Montreal Rebellion, the academy team of the Toronto Defiant.
Image credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
Then, in late June, they were reunited. The Defiant added both players.
"It's pretty much a dream come true," Mangachu said. "I wanted the circumstances to be really good for myself as a person [and] as a player and honestly the timing was just right for Toronto to message me. To be able to represent my hometown too is really cool."
This is new territory for Mangachu in his long Overwatch career. Luckily for him, his surroundings aren't totally unfamiliar.
"[Having Logix on the team] definitely helps a lot [in adjusting to the new team]. You know synergy is pretty important in this game, so having an understanding of how each other [communicate] and work and play together is extremely important," Mangachu said. "So being able to work with him again is going to be a great learning experience."
The two are just the third and fourth purely western players on the Defiant roster, joining sharyk and Gods. Logix believes the ease at which each player adapts to their new roster depends on their role.
"I also think just adding a hitscan player [as opposed to a player of another role] to a Korean team is a lot easier because the hitscan player doesn't necessarily have the biggest communicative role," he said. "On this team, sharyk and Gods came into the team slightly before me, then I joined. Like changing up the entire front line is quite a lot different in that sense. So obviously language is a big hurdle for us right now."
On June 24, both players played in their last Contenders match. Less than a week later, they had both played in their first Overwatch League match. A week after that, they were playing in front of a sold out crowd in a massive Atlanta theatre.
Image credit: Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment
For Logix, it feels good to be back. He loves "the professionalism by which everything is done," stating "even this interview is something you don't do in Contenders."
"It adds a whole vibe of just being a professional," he continued. Whether it's having to take pictures, having to do interviews, or simply seeing the opponents he plays against, he loves it. "It adds to the experience and it's a great feeling to be a part of."
That professional vibe may follow Overwatch League pros around no matter where they go, but when the show goes on the road things become different. Not just in professionalism, but in energy and excitement. And that was especially true in Atlanta.
"It was funny [to get booed and cheered against when playing against Atlanta]. I really enjoyed it," Mangachu said with a smile. "It's awesome to see a crowd so passionate, even if they were cheering against us. Just how active they were towards everything was really cool."
"We definitely knew there was going to be push back," Logix said in reference to the Defiant playing against the home team. "But I would say they were more passionate than I would personally give them credit for, which is a weird thing to say but they were super loud [and] super enthusiastic. Even though I'm not on the home team and we lost, it was super great to see how passionate fans can be. It makes me super excited for localization."
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After all of his and Logix's praise for the home crowd's passion, however, Mangachu couldn't help but compare it to the one other weekend he played in the Overwatch League at the Blizzard Arena near Los Angeles.
"I'm very excited to see more crowds, either of that size or of that energy. LA isn't as hype from what I noticed. They got to step it up a little bit, the crowd's a little bit bigger here but..." he trailed off with a smile.
Rather than continue his call to the Blizzard Arena crowd to get more hype, he instead he finished his thought with a summary of his biggest takeaway. "Yeah, it's really exciting to see the crowd so hyped up."
Regardless of how Mangachu or anyone else feels about the Los Angeles crowds, that is where they'll be playing the rest of the season. Each of their remaining games in Los Angeles will need to count. The Defiant are currently 7-14, which puts them two matches behind the 12th place team with just seven matches left in the season. If they make it into the top 12, they'll need to continue to be perfect as they'll have to fight their way into the playoffs through a play-in tournament.
There might not be a better pair to lead a team that has gone 2-12 in their last 14 games back into the mix for playoff contention.
Following their loss to the home team on Saturday, Logix looked just as cool and professional as he sounded when he talked about learning how to deal with losses better. It looked as if he had already put the loss behind him and was ready to continue building toward getting his first win with the Defiant.
Mangachu also seemed like he had put the Defiant's loss to the Excelsior behind him when talked to the media on Sunday. He remained in a good mood (of course, who wouldn't be after proving once and for all they're the Torbjorn hammer god?) and talked about some positive takeaways he got from their match.
Image credit: Stewart Volland for Blizzard Entertainment
For both players, there is no time to sulk over losses. Logix has finally returned to the Overwatch League and Mangachu has finally joined it for the first time. They can't sulk; they need to win and they need to do it now.
"Every match going into Stage 4 is going to be super important for us because we need to get those wins that have a shot at the top 12," Logix said.
They've had a bit of time to adjust to their new roster and try to get over the language barrier however they can. Now the next step is clear.
Win. And do it now.