ESTNN interviewed Chris “HuK” Loranger, Boston Uprising’s President of Gaming and Head Coach, about his thoughts on the Overwatch League and his journey into the world of esports as a whole.
As the Overwatch League inexorably moves forward into Stage 2 tomorrow, the Boston Uprising continues to vie against their opponents in an effort to become the 2019 World Champions. So far, the team has faced off against the New York Excelsior, the Houston Outlaws, the Shanghai Dragons, the Seoul Dynasty, the Toronto Defiant, the Florida Mayhem, the Dallas Fuel and the Vancouver Titans. Tomorrow, the Uprising will play their first Stage 2 match against the Atlanta Reign. The team is currently in 8th place in the League-wide standings.
The Boston Uprising's roster currently consists of AimGod, alemao, Axxiom, blasé, Colourhex, Fusions, Kellex, Persia and rCk. On April 2, NoteE joined up Dallas Fuel, while rCk and Persia joined Boston Uprising as its newest members.
An Interview with HuK
On HuK's Origins
ESTNN: Before Overwatch, your venture into esports was through the Starcraft 2 beta. You’ve attended multiple tournaments and later joined Millenium, Team Liquid and Evil Geniuses. How does this past experience play into your role for Boston Uprising?
Chris “HuK” Loranger: It plays into coaching a lot. There are things I did right and wrong in my career and [I] simply try to pass that to the other coaches and players. Sometimes that might be related to best practices, how to be more efficient, personal life/relationships, or how to handle day to day stress.
ESTNN: How did you get involved with Boston Uprising in the first place, and what was the transition to your current team like?
Chris “HuK” Loranger: Towards the end of my pro career, I was very busy. I was still playing Starcraft 2 professionally, playing Overwatch also at a very high level (top 500), doing analyst/casting for Overwatch events, pro player agent for a wide range of esport games — predominantly CS: GO — and [doing] consulting [and] project management for corporations looking to get into esports. I was reached out to by Jonathan Kraft over the phone, had a great conversation, then two days later was flown to Foxboro for a day of interviews.
ESTNN: Boston Uprising has a strong roster. How do you handle each player’s personality and playstyle in a way that’s effective for the team?
Chris “HuK” Loranger: We try to keep a very team-centric mindset. Players need to be playing for the team and what is going to make us most successful, not what makes them look best individually. Some players are more or less receptive to that, but if players can't buy into that simple [and] necessary concept, then usually we look to make changes.
ESTNN: With the Overwatch League currently happening, what is the practice schedule like for your team? Does it consist of scrims, play-by-play feedback or breaks?
Chris “HuK” Loranger: A normal practice day usually takes approximately 10 hours. We have a review in the morning before we get started, [then] breakfast and warmup. Then, we have a two-hour block of practice, an hour break, [and] then another two hours block of practice. Afterward, there is more review, individual practice, dinner, and misc[ellaneous things]. Review can either be individual or team oriented but is flexible on a day to day basis.
On Motivation and OWL Plans
ESTNN: How you keep your players motivated, and why is that important to you as the team’s President of Gaming?
Chris “HuK” Loranger: We try to create a foundation of support and respect in the day to day lives of our players and staff. We try to create a family dynamic so that everyone feels like one unit and not just individual playing on a team. We lean on each other a lot and it is important to us that there is that environment set up ahead of time, so when things get tough, we can be honest and stern, and while things are good, we can tell the players to stay humble.
ESTNN: Compared to the Overwatch League last year, what have you and your team been working on (whether it be strategy, team building, etc.) that you are proud to showcase this year?
Chris “HuK” Loranger: We are great at scouting/developing talent, have a good culture/environment, and generally a more traditional/top down management style, which I think can all be attributed to our success.
On the Fans
ESTNN: For the fans who support Boston Uprising and you, what is a message you have for them?
Chris “HuK” Loranger: Thanks to everyone for the support, it is greatly appreciated, you will truly never know how much it helps everyone on a day to day basis.
Image VIA: Robert Paul and Blizzard Entertainment