Interview : Reunited Coach Hayes



Reunited have been one of the premier Overwatch teams in the scene. There has been no doubt that they are a formidable team capable of competing with the best in the world. But after a string of poor results the team has made some slight changes which includes bringing in new coach Hayes. caught up with the coach and managed to get an interview out of him :

The first thing I want to ask you about is your history competing in Overwatch – I see that you were playing with The Chavs, what kind of experience do you have as a player competitively?

Hayes: I started playing Overwatch in the open beta and formed a team on release. From the start I played with the goal of going pro so it was something I was taking very seriously. I played with the majority of the Chavs roster since release with some different changes in players, we went our separate ways and I couldn’t find a team but knew a good team called Choke Gaming who were looking for a coach. So I decided I’d like to get involved.

Choke ended up disbanding and I heard my old teammates from Reason Gaming were looking for a coach. We had plans to attend i58 in birmingham but one player had visa issues so I said I could substitute in at the event. We ended up winning the event and I had been coaching Reason since then.

Why did you make the move to coaching from playing, and how did the opportunity with REUNITED arise?

H: Initially it was never really something I’d planned to do long term. After my team parted ways I found it tough to find another team on a similar level. I was good friends with some players from Choke and I asked them if they were interested in a coach.

I was already familiar with Huggos, the Managing Director at REUNITED. My first teammate Iskold was teammates with him back in Battlefield and we’d speak sometimes. He knew I’d had experience playing competitively and coaching for Reason Gaming/The Chavs. He contacted me on discord one day and asked if I could chat with him.

You came into the team with the added task of adapting ONIGOD into the roster, what kind of challenges did that pose? What has the your and the team’s approach been to getting him into the REUNITED system?

H: Oni has adapted into the team really well so far, right now we’re just trying to make him feel as comfortable as possible within the team. Aside from that we’re just scrimming as much as we can to build his synergy with the other players. The teamplay is already improving a lot, Unfixed has wanted to move into a more DPS role for a while now so he feels comfortable moving onto the role.

You were also coming into the team after they’d had a terribly disappointing run in the Overwatch Open, and then the team lost instantly to RunAway. What was the team like mentally going into OGN after going out in last from ELEAGUE and kyb not joining them?

H: I arrived a few days after the 2nd OGN match so I can’t speak as to ELEAGUE and their match vs Kongdoo, but I know the loss to Runaway was a big wake up, they knew they weren’t prepared for what Runaway brought to them and didn’t adapt fast enough to their insane genji Haksal.

Scrims against korean teams aren’t all that much different to EU, it seems they favour genji more here though. After the loss to RunAway we realised how little we adapted to their composition and playstyle, right now we’re just trying to fix those mistakes going into our next game.

What are your roles while coaching for REUNITED?

H: As a coach I am here to give the players more tools to understand and improve their play individually and as a team. I create VODs of practice and review with the team to find our mistakes and correct them. I also study opponents and analyse their playstyles and tendencies so we are best prepared for them.

During the scrims I make notes of points in the match which a mistake was made or where we could have done something better. After scrims we sit and talk through the VODs, discussing things we did well and things we need to improve on. It’s so important to analyse and review your play otherwise you often miss out on things and can’t understand what went wrong therefore never improving. To help them prepare for their matches I will study the opponents and look at what they are mostly playing, for example common team comps, attack strategies, defensive positioning and feed all of this information to my team.

During scrims I’m not communicating with the players much, I usually let the players know the areas we are focusing on before the scrims and what to practice. If there’s something small and it’s not going to interrupt the scrims I will say something to the players but I’m mainly making notes and talking more in-depth with the players after the scrims have finished.

Another key area that some coaches have input on is the mental/psychological aspect of a team environment. Previously in REUNITED there was tension with TwoEasy and they sought a coach to try to repair that. Is this kind of thing, or developing mental strength in matches, something you’d help the team with should issues arise, or do you stick to the gameplay side of it?

H: This is something I’ll be working on yes. I am still getting to know all of the players but keeping a positive and healthy mentality within a team is equally as important as their gameplay.

What level of involvement would you like to see for coaches in live Overwatch tournaments?

H: I think right now I’m fine with the input that coaches have on the game, personally I don’t like the fact that a coach could be calling in game for the team, I feel like that’s not how the game is supposed to be played and that’s not really the role of a coach within Overwatch. I feel like maybe in the future if there are tournaments which adopt picks and ban phases of maps that could be where the coach gets involved with the team and similar to LoL and communicates with the team in between games.

Moving away from the in-game aspect, how have you and the team found the experience in Korea?

H: Korea is amazing, it’s a very interesting place. I haven’t personally had much chance to explore yet but I’m planning on going out in the next few days to explore the city. I think the rest of the team are enjoying it aswell, Onigod has a few Korean fangirls already haha. We all usually hang out in the scrim room, sometimes we play ranked together or generally just chill out, everyone gets on well within the team.

Thanks for talking to me Hayes, and good luck with REUNITED in Korea!

Hayes also has a background in video content creation. He confirmed he would be producing content with REUNITED as part of his role, so keep your eyes peeled for engaging videos following the exploits of Morte and company!