The Emory eSports “Overwatch” team, “The Bench,” started the opening day of the Tespa Spring Series strong on April 8 with a clean 2-0 slate. In compliance with the rules of the game, Emory did not drop a single map against teams from both Sheridan College (Wyo.) and Stevens Institute of Technology (N.J.). Each team squared off in a best-of-three series.

Senior team captain Peter “HEAT” Steinberg said that the team’s versatility and balanced skill levels could have contributed to their success.

“What’s interesting about the current team is that we’re well rounded,” Steinberg said. “Last year, we had two players who were a much higher SR [(skill rating)] than the rest of the team. But the team this year is around similar SR, so we don’t have to focus on keeping only two players alive.”

The first match of the day against Sheridan started on a control map, Oasis. Emory quickly established its dominance in the first round. Riding on their momentum, the team cinched the map in a decisive victory in the second round. Though Sheridan took control of the map after occasionally winning team fights, Emory ultimately finished on top.

Emory saw similar results on the next map, Hanamura, an assault map which the team opened on defense. Sheridan gained two points by running a quad tank composition, but Emory bounced back, switching to the attacking side and running their own solid quad tank composition. Sheridan captured only one point in the following round, while Emory won two additional points, ending the map with a score of 4-3 to seal the win.

To prepare for a match, Steinberg says the team researches other players’ profiles to gain a sense of the playing field and to predict their opponents’ moves.

“We played against two teams that had a lot of tank players, a lot of support players but very few [offense] characters,” Steinberg said. “But because they were forced to play off of what they normally do, we were able to sort of bully them and cause their team to fall apart.”

Emory’s second opponent of the day, Stevens, also failed to take a map from Emory. In the same vein as Oasis, the control map, Illios, ended with a win for Emory after two rounds, leading to the final map of the day, Horizon Lunar Colony, a two capture point map.

“Traditionally, maps that have been most defense-oriented, the ones considered to be two capture point, have been very tough in the past, but we are actively working on getting better at those,” Steinberg said.

Stevens was unable to bounce back after its loss on the previous map, and Emory notched another win, ending their run for the day without losing a single map.

Junior Sreesh “Valor” Sridhar called Stevens’ playing style “well rounded” but not as coordinated and focused as that of the Eagles. Callouts from designated shot callers allowed Emory to focus on specific targets, prioritizing high value members of the enemy team while ignoring players who did not pose an immediate threat.

“I think that was another thing that they could have done a bit better … protecting their supports, peeling for them,” Sridhar said. “I would just blink into the middle of their team and kill the Mercy. And with that, once you lose the backbone of your team, you kind of just get rolled and there’s nothing much you can do about that.”

Currently ranked 22 out of 286 teams on the leaderboard, Emory is preparing for week two of the Spring Series, which starts on April 15.