A few days ago it emerged on Twitter that Owly Six had parted ways with their Overwatch roster. Furthermore, the roster itself had also decided to split and become free agents.
Our Overwatch roster is no longer part of @OwlySix. All of the players are free agents from now on— Mendzel (@OWMendzel) June 14, 2017
The players had first come together toward the end of March when Quake legend, Av3k, and tank-turned-coach, Mendzel, attempted to put together the pieces of Poland and Russia's failing top teams, OW.QQ and TORNADO.ROX.
Despite notable support from the Owly Six organisation, which included putting the roster on the French LAN circuit to compete at both Gamers Assembly and DreamHack Tours, the team failed to breakthrough a very competitive field of European Tier 2 teams. Even online they struggled to find form; 3rd place in a Rivalcade Weekly was their only meaningful podium finish in nearly 3 months of professional play. The wheels had visibly started to fall off when Russian flex machine, Ilya "Txao" Makarov, left the roster in mid-May. But the team would continue on with a belief that they could turn things around for Contenders.
They had been playing with ex-Fragsters/Grand Danois gun for hire, Eskil "Hunni" Keller-Larsen, in the lead up to the Qualifiers. Things had been going well in practise, the team were confident, but again disaster struck and they failed to deliver in when the pressure was on. Respectably enough, Bazooka Puppiez would take them out in the Round of 32 on Day 1, but things would turn sour on Day 2 when Spain's Wizards e-Sports Club dashed their dreams in the Round of 128.
That failure to qualify was seemingly the last straw for the Owly Six organisation. Very little had been uttered in the public domain, so I caught up with coach Mendzel a few days after his tweet to get a better understanding of the situation...
What reasoning did the org give for dropping the team?
Mendzel: Two reasons, results and questionable future of Overwatch in Europe
Was it justified? How do you feel about the team's performances?
M: Underperforming in most of the tournaments. I don't exactly know why would that happen, we were looking good on scrims but when it came to cups at some point of it we were losing focus. We were facing same stuff each time, playing good in the beginning, losing to underdogs.
Did they decide to drop you directly because you failed to qualify for Contenders? Would it have changed things if you had qualified?
M: It's hard to say, from what they said I think we would need to get to Top 8 and qualify for next season.
Our journey might have been different if we would have won one of those close matches that we had (unKnights at GA, Garbage Boys on DH Tours or Bazooka Puppiez in Contenders).
What is the future of the roster? Will you stay together or is the team dead?
M: Team decided to disband, we didn't even think long about this. We were going to make some switches in the roster even if we would qualify to Contenders, so at this moment we didn't even have stable 5 (Hunni was 6th but he wasn't contracted, we wanted to sign him after qualifiers but it never happened). Also I bet that players needed some break from Overwatch, we were playing a lot for 3 months and not everyone enjoyed playing this game.
Will Av3k play Quake Champions now?
M: Yes Av3k is going back to Quake and he will participate in Quakecon qualifiers. Hope we will be able to see him on the big stage in Dallas!
What do you think about the state of the Polish Overwatch scene? Is it possible to build a Polish team that can compete with the best in Europe?
M: To be honest Polish scene doesn't exist anymore. We had pretty good scene with nice amount of cups but never with more than one or two stable teams, most of the good teams were mixes. We got some people that are trying to help scene, I'm also one of them, but after looking at the direction of Overwatch in Poland I started to give up a bit on our community.
It is possible to build a team that would have players with good mechanical skill, but after so many months of listening to what's been happening I doubt that this team would be stable. To be honest Owly Six was supposed to be full Polish roster, but it didn't happen because people refused to play with each other after the disbandment of OW.QQ (best Polish team back in the day). This is the biggest problem in Poland, Av3k is the only player who has bigger gaming experience, so we lack players with the experience on how to be a pro gamer. They think about the wrong things, they let their ego to grow too much and in the end they compete with each other and it's not healthy.
Do you think Poland's inclusion in the World Cup and the Katowice event will go some way to improve the state of the scene?
M: I don't know on which venue in Katowice its gonna take place, but I bet that its gonna be small offline event so it will help community to get to know each other better, but I don't think that's it gonna help in changing or growing of the scene.
Do you know if Owly Six plan to pick up another roster or are they out of Overwatch?
M: From what I know they are not planning to pick up any team now, but situation might change when we gonna know more about Contender and ways of qualifying from Open Division. So not now but in few months we might see Owly Six again in Overwatch.
What are your own personal plans? Do you want to continue in coaching? Maybe return as a player?
M: Right now I've got two options keep coaching and look for some opportunities or drop completely from esports. I don't want to use second option so I'll do my best to stick to esports.
Actually from Monday Im starting to work with some teams and I hope it's gonna help me in making my final decision.
I would like to go back and be a player again but if it's not gonna happen now then I doubt that It will happen in the future. Now also I can't even play cause of my unstable internet connection and it's already been 2 months since I played on my normal level.
Good luck! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
The final roster for Owly Six was:
- Ilya "NLaaeR" Koppalov (DPS)
- Mateusz "MATTH" Prymas (DPS)
- Max "clozZ" Khurkunou (Tank)
- Maciej "Av3k" Krzykowski (Support)
- Adrian "ślepajstos" Pieper (Support)
- Konrad "Mendzel" Mendzelewski (Coach)