Looks like it isn’t all bad being an Overwatch substitute player.

Substitutions in esports are quite a rare thing that only happens once in a blue moon. Instead, we get stand-ins who come for a few games while a spot needs filling; usually, while someone is out or has been transferred.

However, all esport teams have substitutes that they can count on if needed. In games such as League of Legends or Dota 2, Korean teams have been known to rotate players almost on a ‘horses for courses’ basis.

However, in the west, many teams will just stick with their current line up and aren’t pragmatic to certain events that may happen during a tournament or even a single match.

Tag Me In, Coach

Overwatch, and more specifically the Overwatch League, is different though.

At the end of the current season, we saw each team have nine players – three benched and six starting. Each team could make changes to the side but it was still a little rare, and we got several players just sat around.

via twitch.tv/aero

While being on the bench in any sport can be frustrating, Dallas Fuel head coach, Aero, has given his thoughts on how to make it a positive thing. During his live stream, he said:

One of the things I made our players do – the ones that weren’t starting – and I would recommend you do this if you a benched player on any team.”

Show up to every practice, spectate every scrim, do your research and on the game day show up in your uniform and your gear ready to play.”

It shows that you are still learning, that you are still part of the team and it doesn’t matter if you are playing or not. I always allow our subs to bring forth concepts and ideas.

Always Learning

Later in the stream, Aero revealed Christain “cocco” Jonsson hadn’t played much for Dallas Fuel this season. He had learnt a lot from starter Min-seok “OGE” Son, however:

Cocco wasn’t with us much this stage but he was still there at scrims, and he still worked with OGE. That is what you want to see from a sub player if they aren’t starting. It shows me that they are invested in the team and being a starter. If you’re a coach, you absolutely should make your players be there and be a part of things.”

Dallas missed out on reaching the Stage 4 final after a narrow 3-2 loss to New York Excelsior. Regardless, Aero’s substitute philosophy is apparently working; the team is maintaining good spirits.