Confetti that just rained down to celebrate the San Francisco Shock winning the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals must eventually be swept away. In similar fashion, teams across the league must sweep away their failure to reach the mountaintop and focus on the next season. That has inevitably left to many players, coaches, and staff leaving where they were in 2019 to seek new adventures elsewhere.
That’s the position Kellex, Boston Uprising’s former support player, finds himself in. Watchpoint Lobby got the opportunity to speak to the Danish Overwatch pro. From his beginnings on a local Overwatch team with his friends, to being the last of the 8 original players on the Uprising, to where he looks to go from here, Kellex talked about his run in the Overwatch League.
Kellex got into Overwatch back in the 10th grade, when the beta first came out. Like other pros, he joined a team with his friends. “At first, I thought it looked like a silly game… I just kept playing because it was really fun” he said, looking back at those first few months. His team did well enough for them to get him into Contenders, where he was noticed by pro scouts.
I’m still surprised to this day how I managed to get to tryout because it just all happened really quickly. That really surprised me.Kellex on his first call to tryout for an Overwatch League team
Even looking back at the original 8 players from the Boston Uprising (RIP Kalios, Gamsu, Striker, Mistakes, Snow, DreamKazper, and Kellex), the Danish man can’t help but laugh at his notoriety of being the last one associated with the team. He said, “I got a lot of the memes with the battle royale thing. That I won the battle royale when I was the last OG from the team. I thought it was funny at first but it’s just a natural process of a league that players come and go… I was obviously sad about losing all my teammates from season 1 but I got really good teammates season 2 so, it was a nice experience” he said.
It hasn’t been easy being an Uprising fan the first two years of the league. The highs are very high, but the lows are very low. What was the best memory Kellex had in his time with Boston? “Obviously my favorite would be stage 3, season 1. I think we went 10 and 0, we were the first team to have a wins-only stage. Just getting a 10-and-0-stage was really amazing because I would not expect to be one of the best teams because I never really thought that I was in that group of players” he said, with excitement in his voice. Uprising fans remember that stage fondly.
But with the good comes the bad. Boston went 0-7 in stage 4 to close out the 2019 season. What happened? “Nobody’s sure what the exact problems were but I think we just had a hard time fitting together as a team. I think all our present individuals are really, really good. I think as a unit, we just didn’t fit together well. I’m not completely sure” Kellex answered. Given the volume of rumors swirling around the team and his fellow support player Aimgod, it’s been difficult to pinpoint the cause of Boston’s issues this year. There may have just been too many.
But was there strife among the players? Thinking about it, Kellex said “I mean personality-wise, outside the game, we are really, really good friends. But I think in-game, as a team, we just had some silly issues and different opinions.” Those are some measured words coming from a team that had all the drama of a Kardashian family swirling around them all season.
That One Time…
No story of the 2019 season for the Boston Uprising is complete without addressing those three consecutive reverse sweeps. Uprising fans all know where they were when those matches happened. Dallas, Atlanta, and Toronto fans have worked tirelessly to forget. They’re not there yet. So how did it go down?
With a slight laugh, Kellex replied, “I mean, once you’re down 2 and 0, you kind of just have to let go of like– you just need to be like, ‘Okay, guys we went down 2-0, we can’t lose that much, right?’ So, I don’t know, in the halftime we kind of just reset our mental attitude and just try to play more of our own style and pull it off. It’s pretty weird to explain but we were down 2-0 and we were like, ‘Okay, we need something to happen.’ So we started playing with less fear or something and then it managed to happen.”
2020 Overwatch League
Fans of the Overwatch League know next season is a big one – geolocation and weekly travel for teams. Given that teams get to play in front of their own fans but also face extensive travel, is the change overall a good one? Thinking through those variables, Kellex answered, “I think it’s all good because you got the feeling of playing by your fans’ side at your own home games and also you get to travel and see a lot of the world. The only bad thing I can see is that you would travel so much that it’ll be hard to find a good schedule for yourself regarding sleep and just how you’re going to be very busy. I think a lot of stress can come from that but if you have a really good grip on that I think it’s only positives.”
Though there wasn’t a Boston homestand this season, the Uprising got to play at the LA Valiant’s end of season homestand. What did Kellex think of it? “It was really incredible because it’s a different feeling from just playing in the arena. It was really a bit different than just your normal weekend at the Bristol Arena. That was really, really cool” he said. Granted, it’d have been nice to have one in beantown, but at least he got a taste for it.
As of publication, there’s been little movement with the Uprising’s roster. The only changes have been the addition of Mineral as the head coach and iLka as assistant coach. Former coaches Gunba and Shake have also been let go. What does Kellex think of the changes? After thinking for a moment, he said, “I think all of the members from the team need a fresh start so I think what HuK is doing to the team is actually pretty good. I think the process he’s doing now is actually pretty good because I think all of the players and staff need a fresh start with the last season.”
With Kellex and Aimgod as free agents, Alemao, Persia, rCk, and and Stellar as team options, and Blase, Fusions, Colourhex, and Axxiom under contract, Boston’s roster is likely to look much different next year. Making a change at the top seems to be the most logical place to start. It seems as though Kellex gives Boston’s President of Gaming Huk credit for leading change the right way.
Now that his original Uprising contract is up, what does the future hold for the main support player? Knowing that he was a free agent going into the offseason, Kellex said, “I hope to try out with other teams.” Though he wouldn’t commit to whether or not he’d trial in Boston’s upcoming open trials, there is a chance he could come back. While he wouldn’t give specifics on which trials he may be looking at, a man with his experience and resume will be in high demand.
Kellex also has plenty to keep himself busy these next few weeks. “Right now my main priority is the World Cup because I think Denmark has a really good roster this year. I think we have a lot of potential to make it far so my main priority right now is World Cup” he said, clearly excited for his next adventure. But even with OWWC looming, he couldn’t help but hint at his OWL future. “After that, I want to focus on finding a team” Kellex said.
Thank You, Next
But why should teams care about him? What can he offer that not any other ordinary support player can? Kellex replied, “I think just being through all the ups and downs, I’ve grown a lot from it as a player and person. I think I have experience in every field in the game– because I know how it feels to lose every game. I know how it feels to win every game. How to control myself during that. I think that sets me apart from other players who may be just won all their games and haven’t experienced really losing all the time.”
It’s true – Boston has (fortunately? unfortunately?) been through it all the last two years. And Kellex has been that lighthouse, the reliable and steady constant through an ocean of change.
Where does he hope to see himself next year? “I’d like to make it on to a new team because I really want to experience the next season with all the traveling – that’s my main goal right now. After the world cup, getting on a new team so I can be there to experience all the homestand games and the traveling because the next season that’s coming is so different from this one” Kellex said. For someone whose been in the league from the start, the fire that pushed him to grind from a small local team, through Contenders, and to the biggest stage in all of Overwatch is still clearly burning.
A Fond Farewell
Two years with any team seems like nearly a lifetime in esports. I wanted to know if he had anything to say to all the fans both he and the Uprising had accumulated in the first two years of the Overwatch League. Without hesitation, he said, “I want to say thank you to everyone who has watched me and the team play. I’ve got a lot of messages, very nice messages of support… After the last stage, it helped me a lot and the team as well to come back because there’s no worse feeling than going 0 and 7 and being disappointed in yourself or failing you guys. So all the support you’ve given us is really nice and it means a lot, more than you think.” Given how many fans have flocked to the team’s stalwart, it wasn’t a surprise to hear his appreciation. He knows a thing or two about support, after all.
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