It’s been a bit hectic of an off-season for the Boston Uprising. As I wrote about, we lost 6 of our players from the 2019 roster in one fell swoop. Gone are Alemao, Kellex, Aimgod, rCk, Persia, and Stellar. Just the next day, Boston announced that DPS Blase was traded to the Houston Outlaws. That left the Uprising with just 3 players on their roster – Axxiom, Fusions, and Colourhex. While the team is running open trials right now, there are plenty of spots to fill before the 8 man roster deadline on November 8th. Where do they go from here?
Enter Huk, the Kraft Group’s President of Gaming and the GM of the Boston Uprising. After the well-received AMA on September 4th where he answered fans’ questions and announced the signing of new Head Coach Mineral (read our interview with him here), Huk hosted his 2nd AMA on Monday, October 28th.
10. Back at PAX
Last year, Axxiom and Kellex took the time to fly to Boston to be at PAX East, the largest annual videogame convention on the east coast. Given that the team will be in Boston next year, it only makes sense that more of the team can be present at the convention in 2020. Look out for them to have a presence at the annual con.
9. Huk as an OW Player
Speaking about his own ranked play and time playing Overwatch, Huk mentioned some interesting tidbits about himself. Although he self-admittedly has horrible aim, he did mention beating both Jake and Striker in 1-on-1 Tracer skims. However, he is a tank main with an okay Winston, pretty good Rein, and a solid Sigma.
8. Kraft’s Involvement with the Uprising
Any New England sports fan loves to pour over all the details of their teams, and the Pats/Revs/Uprising comparisons are always a source of interest. How involved is Robert and Jonathan with each team? According to Huk, the Krafts watch the matches and message Huk often. They even say hello to the players whenever they make it back to Boston, calling players by name. Ultimately, though, Huk has alot of independence and autonomy to do what he wants on a day-to-day basis. He did, however, say that he and the Krafts, from day 1, are very much in-sync in their long-term view of the team’s philosophy and strategic priorities.
7. Team Notes
Huk revealed a laundry list of small notes about the team for 2020. First, they would remain a mixed team. This, despite signing two Korean players this offseason (more on that later). Second, Boston is getting a team house for next year. Huk thinks this works better for players and staff and that everyone on the team was in agreeance on this. Third, Huk believes Head Coach and MT are the hardest positions for OWL teams to fill. Fortunately, he said, Boston has those positions locked down.
Lastly, Huk spoke at length about he and the Kraft Group’s philosophy. Namely, that Huk is a value guy. Meaning, he pursues players that are overlooked as upcoming and breakthrough players. Also, even older players who are being discounted as they’re released from teams are sources of value that he will go after. Anyone following the Uprising the last few years won’t be surprised to hear it – but he made it clear he’s aware of the perception.
On this last piece, he rejects the moneyball label. While he said teams fall into 3 tiers of how much money they’re willing to spend (low, mid, high) he labeled Boston as a “low to middle” tier team. Looking for value is not the same as not having the resources to go after top tier players, but a mindset at maximizing the opportunities a team gets. Often, the teams who spend the most won’t always win. Ask the LA Dodgers and/or New York Yankees about that.
6. Player Burnout
Huk was asked about player burnout as the OWL goes to a geolocation model in the 2020 season. He had an interesting take on it. He thinks most burnout is due to unbalance. People like to be at their computers all day whether playing OWL scrims, ranked, streams, or another game with their friends. He is a firm believer in having a healthy balanced lifestyle – exercise, diet, and mindset. Unfortunately, players are often unwilling to change their behavior to achieve that balance. Enforcing some cap on scrim/practice time would not address the problem, according to Huk.
5. Gamsu Trade
Asked if he had any regrets about the Gamsu trade that happened right before the 2019 season, Huk said unequivocally no. At the time, Gamsu was #3 on the MT depth chart behind Fusions and Axxiom. According to Huk, he had open communication with the former unofficial captain about his position with the team and offered him the option to try to move to off-tank, try to improve to be the team’s MT, or get traded. Gamsu, according to Huk, chose the latter. While Gamsu has claimed the trade was unexpected, Huk thinks he was just surprised because he didn’t get a say in who he was traded to. Which, fortunately or not, was to the only team that genuinely had interest in him – Shanghai.
4. Kellex Departure
While Huk often aspires to be as cold and calculated as another famous member of the Kraft Group, even he couldn’t help but admit a bit of a soft spot for the last remaining original member of the Uprising.
Thinking about Kellex and his relationship with him, Huk said he did have a closer relationship with him than other players. Though you could tell Huk didn’t want to make it appear as a full on friendship, a player and GM who’d been together for 2 whole years clearly had a health respect for each other. So next time anybody says Huk doesn’t have a heart, rewind it back to this!
3. Venue Announcement
Many a Uprising fan has wondered what is happening with homestands in 2020. Boston remains one of the few remaining teams to have no confirmed venue for next year’s home games. During the last AMA, Huk ruled out Agannis and Mathews Arena. Rumors have swirled around the World Trace Center and the Boston Convention Center. Additionally, some fans fear the matches may be played outside the city as the Kraft Group scrambles to secure a site on short notice.
Well, though Huk didn’t confirm an exact spot, he did say the site was in Boston. That’s huge – the city is dominated by college students that are right square in Overwatch League’s target demographic. He said the team is dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s and will have an announcement soon.
2. Signing Myunbong
In a move that surprises no one (thanks to all the leaks), Boston has signed flex-support Sang-min “Myunbong“ Seo. Formerly of Korean Contenders team O2 Blast, Myunbong is a Ana, Moira, and Zen specialist. Check him out in this great match against RunAway in Season 1 of this year’s Contenders Korea. He’s on a 2+1 contract, showing that Huk and company really believe in him as a long-term fix for the flex-support role for the Uprising.
1. Signing Jerry
After jebaiting the whole AMA with another surprise announcement and following the Myunbong signing confirmation, fans were shocked to hear Boston had signed DPS main Jerry from Contenders Korea team Meta Athena.
If you look at his Liquipedia page, you’ll be surprised to see him listed as an off-tank. Surprising, because Huk said he would be the main DPS for Boston. His hero pool consists of Widowmaker, Sombra, and Mccree among others. It’ll be interesting to see how the Korean interacts with his fellow countrymen Myunbong and Axxiom, as well as Fusions and Colourhex. His transition to full time DPS may very well define the Uprising’s 2020 season.
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