Does Surefour deserve more recognition in the Overwatch League?
Lane "Surefour" Roberts might be one of the most underrated Overwatch League players of all time.
Before the Overwatch League started, many within the Overwatch community speculated that the popular streamer and competitive player would be picked up by a team in the league.
He had already made a name for himself as a strong DPS player. He was the first player to reach an 80 skill rating in competitive play. He also reached number one in North America during the game's first season and he did it while exclusively playing solo queue.
Fans rejoiced when the Canadian player was picked up by the Los Angeles Gladiators for the Overwatch League's inaugural season.
While the Gladiators ended up being an underwhelming squad, Surefour continued to keep the community's attention. His insane precision helped him win the Widowmaker 1v1 event in the Overwatch All-Stars Weekend in 2018, even beating fan-favorite Jae-hyeok "Carpe" Lee.
Surefour takes part in the Great Bamboozle
Despite finishing in an underwhelming fourth place in the regular season of the inaugural Overwatch League, Surefour took part in one of the most interesting plays in the entirety of competitive esports, something now known as the "Great Bamboozle."
While facing the London Spitfire, the Gladiators had five of their members rush towards the point unexpectedly, catching the opposing team off guard. The Gladiators came out of spawn with a typical GOATS comp and then rushed as quickly as they could behind the Spitfire. But Surefour was not a part of that rush.
While the London Spitfire was distracted by the incoming team, Surefour discreetly switched from Brigitte to Widowmaker. This was his best hero at the time.
Surefour then used his grapple to reach the top of the spawn room and quickly took out the enemy's Widowmaker. He then eliminated their Mercy while London remained distracted. The rest of his team took to the high ground above the point and then dove in. With Surefour continuing to rack up the damage on London's tank line, the Gladiators were able to easily take the point.
Surefour continues to excite on DPS in the OWL
Surefour continued to play for the Los Angeles Gladiators in the second season of the Overwatch League. While playing for them he tried out a few different DPS heroes, including the unexpected Symmetra. At the start of the season, Surefour became the first player to deal damage with Symmetra in OWL history.
But despite his mechanical skills, Surefour continued to not see much of the spotlight.
Surefour was especially overlooked while competing for the Toronto Defiant, a team that finished 17th during Overwatch League Season 3's regular season.
Casters were overly critical of Surefour, who called him "too passive" while he played DPS. Surefour immediately responded to the negative comment on Twitter, where his fans also reassured him that he had proven the casters wrong by "popping off" that night.
Shame that I'm such a passive player— Lane (@Surefour) August 10, 2019
Surefour critiques Overwatch effective HP
In a TwitLonger posted earlier this year, Surefour decided to voice his concern over Overwatch's "effective HP," or "how much HP someone can have without their health actually being that value." In other words, if a hero is healed or shielded, that hero will have more health than their health pool indicates.
Surefour explained that when Overwatch was first released, the support group was Mercy, Lucio, and Zenyatta. Two of these heroes could only heal one teammate at a time and also couldn't heal themselves. This, Surefour said, meant that people with a "higher effective HP pool" were limited. If someone wasn't being "pocket healed" then the damage from the enemy team was more impactful. Support players would have to choose who received healing based on the game's state.
Surefour went on to say that the addition of Brigitte, Moira, and Baptiste meant that there was no longer a need to decide who to pocket heal. Those three healers have "area of effect" healing abilities, which means they can increase the effective HP of their entire team if they're correctly positioned. Surefour said that this creates a different play style where teams need to stay grouped up.
"This results in either people also having to play these characters to just be able to sustain long enough with it, or we have to rely on BURST damage because burst damage does not care about effective HP because it chunks at the core too much," Surefour wrote.
The DPS star explained that this results in a "cycle" where there's too much burst damage so teams need more sustain, which then means the enemy team needs more burst damage, and so on. This wasn't a problem when supports had to pick who exactly they healed. But now pocket healing doesn't feel as impactful because everyone can be "pocketed at the same time."
"So either AoE healing needs a cap or more burst needs to be added and I'd much prefer the former. Or healing in general needs to be reduced so damage can also be reduced, so damage feels more impactful but does not do enough to burst and feel like there's nothing to do against it," Surefour concluded.
Surefour's analysis was met with praise from the Overwatch community, who generally felt that his criticism was "spot on."
Agreed. The other issue with effective hp going up and damage not being “sticky” is that it makes it less satisfying to watch as an esport because it is more difficult to tell which damage dealt is actually meaningful.— MonteCristo (@MonteCristo) July 13, 2020
Surefour gets the recognition he deserves
During a live stream, Surefour decided to show off his fast reaction times by playing Aim Simulator between rounds of Overwatch.
The Overwatch community was impressed, with many people sharing the clip around Twitter. This was instantly noticed by Surefour, who said it "feels nice" having people "appreciating my aim." He noted that he often feels his skills are downplayed in the Overwatch League.
Feels nice seeing alot of people making different threads with a clip of me playing Aimlab and appreciating my aim. Refreshing from the under appreciation and down playing I feel I get from playing OW.— Lane (@Surefour) August 4, 2020
Fans responded to his tweet with even more praise, telling him he was a top-tier player that deserved more attention.
With Surefour's flexibility and large hero pool, not to mention his mechanical skills, his popularity in the Overwatch League continues to grow. Even though Toronto Defiant isn't the most exciting team in the league, Surefour's fans know that he will bring spicy plays and great skills to any team he's a part of.
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