Welcome back to Team Tuesday, an interview series conducted by IvyDragon and Stardust highlighting our incredible Death Blossoms teams. During this iteration we will learn all about Team Aris, the resident “snek squad” of DB that is comprised of 10 members: Coach Kaidas, a junkrat fan; Analyst Kris, a Widowmaker aficionado, Team Captain Demi, Jodem, Amanda, Trippid, Jennos, Stardust, Rainmonkey, and Lynnda. Read on to learn the backstory of Team Aris, and to hear what they hope the future holds for them.
The interview started our similarly to the Wolfsbane interview, and Aris was asked how they chose their team name and how their logo design was decided upon. Trippid, who is known for her Zenyatta and Zarya play, recalls that in the early days of Aris they actually just picked an emoji they liked and researched flowers that they could name themselves after! This is clearly a fond memory for the original 6 members of the team who begin laughing and there is a resounding response of “yeah… that’s pretty much all we did!” Demi, who is not only the Team Captain but their favorite off-tank specialist, mentions that Jodem actually has a document somewhere with every name they considered initially.
Amanda: I think it came down to either Aris or Foxglove in the end. But we liked the snake emoji better.
Amanda, one of the most aggressive Reinhardt players out there, actually has a very close tie to the Aris logo as well – because her boyfriend is the creator! We learned that the girls would get small previews of the logo as it was being finished from Amanda’s boyfriend over a year ago, and since that time when Aris was decided on as the team name and a logo was made for the team, they’ve truly embraced the “snek squad” mentality. Demi lovingly added “Everything about it is our thing. Even memes of snakes!”
Like all teams, Aris has its quirks. When other teams first scrim them or people tune in to their streams, the most resounding quality they want taken from that encounter is that Aris is a FAMILY. They have put a lot of time into getting to know and trust one another in-games and as a team. They are silly, fun loving, and lighthearted. Losses hurt, and mistakes happen, but Aris does their best to not let that come between them and they do not like to let things linger or fester. The ladies made it clear that they have worked hard to make open communication an easy avenue to take, but it has taken a lot of work over the last year to reach that point. For them, the growth individually and as a team has been worth it.
Trippid: When watching us stream, prepare for the Levan Polka, Jodem’s attack Torb, me throwing as Doomfist (I’m trying guys, I’m just not there yet!), Demi’s sick Dva bombs, Lynnda crying tears of joy when we do awesome stuff, Jennos taking out the entire enemy team before the rest of us have even gotten there, Amanda’s wave before she wipes the enemy off the map, Stardust pistol whipping Genji’s, Rain’s birds cheering her on when we take a point, Kaidas screaming when any damage comes his way, and Kris literally singing our praises
In a similar vein, Aris has goals as a team and individually like all our Death Blossoms members. Right now, there is an overall feeling that they have found a good balance between maintaining a casual schedule and mentality while also still being competitive in nature. The team finds time to play competitive Overwatch together, and they have participated in tournaments in the past. Demi adds that they also like to have fun and pick silly comps and strats to try sometimes, and their favorite thing to do is find new long-term scrim partners. Stardust emphasizes that as a team they do not claim that they are not in it to win or that losing doesn’t matter, because the losses can be disappointing, and the wins are always fun to celebrate. But a point Demi brings up about the post-game rituals of Aris shows just how dedicated this team is to improving.
Demi: We never enjoy a bad loss, but you better believe after a game we’re in our analysis channel going through the vod together, giving each other advice and feedback. We’re asking the hard questions and learning from our mistakes for the future.
Lynnda, the resident Moira player for Aris, makes it clear it is never in an overly critical fashion. “It’s never nitpicky or purposeful bashing. It’s us saying ‘I saw that you did that, and I think this would have been a better call. What do you think *I* could have improved upon?’”
Individually, the ladies have goals of their own that they hope will help the team continue to climb. Stardust, who plays main heals for Aris, says she wants to learn to flex more. The most encouraging part of her response is that she says, “the team supports me in this venture, and allows me to do so”. Lynnda shares this sentiment as well. Trippid mentions she’s still perfecting the dance between shot calling, playing a hero well, and tracking the enemy team ultimates all at once – a difficult challenge by any standard. Jodem, the queen of justice from the sky and memes alike, shares that she has expanded her hero pool from 2 characters to a handful since joining Aris, and she hopes to continue. Team Captain Demi adds that Aris is always chasing a goal and working on improving, but right now the team feels good about where they’re at so it’s a tough question to answer. Based on how everyone agrees, you can tell that the team feels solid and happy with the progress they’ve made together.
As a team, they aim to play together 3 days a week, 2 hours a day. Monday is their dedicated practice day, with Tuesdays and Wednesdays dedicated more to scrims. They’re so devoted to being there for each other that Jodem mentions she’s even called out of work to be able to stay up and finish up a match!
Demi: The key is to still try to play together on the off days, whether that’s playing Overwatch or even PUBG or Stardew Valley. Just playing anything with your teammates is effectively building up your teamwork and trust for one another.
Like all of our Death Blossoms teams, Aris is proud to represent our community. One of their favorite parts of being on their team is that they have the longest running majority core roster – only Stardust is a new addition. Demi, Jodem, Amanda, Trippid, Jennos, and Lynnda have all been a part of the team since it’s induction over one year ago. While discussing how they have been playing together for such a long time, we also learned that team EUcalyptus actually was formed from the EU portion of the original team that Aris was created from! (Stay tuned for a feature on EUcalyptus!) Another favorite part of being a team here in Death Blossoms for Aris is just how spoiled the team feels within their safety bubble of support and low to no toxicity. Demi explains that when scrimming outside teams found through other discord communities there have been times where toxicity has popped up and the team has literally found themselves saying “Oh, so this is how the rest of the world is!” There is talk of some of the low points the team has had in games and scrims alike, and Demi as captain acknowledges having to speak up or make the tough call whether or not to continue a match. Trippid adds, though, that “many of our members have joined Death Blossoms because they come across our girls in premade groups and they learn for the first time this type of community exists”. Lynnda also believes DB is unique in that it supports women grouping up to play games together of all types, not just Overwatch, something that is huge for the female gaming community.
Demi: I think one of my favorite things that people tell me is “I wouldn’t still be playing Overwatch if it wasn’t for Death Blossoms. This is a sentiment I understand, and share, and it makes me happy to know this community has such a positive impact.”
As one of the oldest teams, this long running roster has advice for anyone looking to form or join a team. Rainmonkey, a bighearted Dva player, stresses finding teammates who are likeminded and that you mesh well with because “mechanical skills can be learned, but personalities and a willingness for teamwork are things that people have ingrained already”. Jennos, Aris’ resident Soldier: 76, wants potential teams to remember that a team is like a serious relationship: the good ones take effort, work, compassion, communication, and open mindedness. The overall sentiment that the girls share is that your team needs to be a realistic priority. Be open to communicating honestly, but effectively, and be forthcoming with your desires and goals for yourself and your team. Joining a team means putting forward your best self in-game and out.
For the first time, we were able to also interview the coach and analyst for our Team Tuesday special. Kaidas has been the coach for Aris since May 18th, 2017. Upon this discovery Demi gushed “Oh, you just had your birthday and we missed it!” It is very clear that he is a loved and appreciated member of the team, even if he is not on the playing roster.
Kaidas: What Aris tends to excel at most is that they’re very willing to ask question and it is clear they HEAR the feedback given. All in all it’s really great to hear them ask these questions, discuss them amongst themselves, analyze everything further, then ask “Does this work for us?” They’re constantly trying to improve individually and as a team.
What makes this team unique? Well, aside from birthing the hashtag #blamekaidas – no, I’m not kidding – is the fact that because they’ve been a team for so long, they know how to work together, how to communicate, and it’s been glorious to watch it unfold. My favorite part of working with this team is it’s just plain fun. They’re fun to work with, watch play, and talk to.
Newcomer analyst to the team, Kris, had this to add:
Kris: What I think makes Aris a unique team ties into what Jodem mentioned earlier – they have one of the longest running core rosters here in DB. It has a lot to do with how much trust they have in each other. It takes a lot more than people realize for anyone to achieve the level of trust they have in one another.
My favorite part of working with Aris is of course the memes. Also, everyone on this team – core and subs included – have their hearts in the right place. They all know what it takes and they want to improve. They’re on an upward trajectory right now, and that’s really encouraging.
I think the team excels at keeping calm and adapting in high stress situations. Nobody scrambles or panics in comms when a call is made, whether is was the best one to make at the time or not. They adapt and they don’t allow a negative mindset to take over.
We had a wonderful time talking to Team Aris and getting to know each of the members better. It is evident that this team is here to stay and will continue to grow and improve with each day, week, and month that passes by. As we prepared to go our separate ways, we asked if they would share some of their favorite highlights and vods with us for this article. You can find them below along with their social media links. Thank you for spending time with us, Aris, you were amazing to interview!
Follow Team Aris on Twitter and follow the girls at the following links:
Demi on Twitter and Twitch
Jodem on Twitter and Twitch
Lynnda on Twitter and Twitch
Stardust on Twitter and Twitch
Trippid on YouTube and Twitter
Rainmonkey on Twitter
Kris on Twitter
Amanda on Twitter