This week, started off like a normal week in the Overwatch League. There was nothing too shocking. The San Francisco Shock destroyed the Boston Uprising and Florida Mayhem. The only mildly shocking events that happened until Sunday was that the London Spitfire gave NYXL a run for their money and Chengdu Hunters took a map from the Vancouver Titans. But Sunday… Sunday is when everything went sideways.
What was labelled at an “Expected Win” for Paris Eternal ended up being a frustrating match-up against the Boston Uprising, who went on to break the record for most reverse sweeps in a season. (More on this match later.) Kruise was visibly upset by this, but the Uprising were celebrating the fact that they weren’t going to go 0-7 this stage. Then, Houston went on to lose against the struggling Florida Mayhem. Honestly, that was a rough one to watch because they pulled out the cheese Bastion for a GGEZ win. As a casual, it felt wrong to watch a win like that. I know that the Mayhem were desperate to get that second win, but like that? I wouldn’t feel good about that at all.
Those weren’t even the biggest surprises of the night. The biggest surprise was that the once struggling LA Valiant went up against the undefeated in the Vancouver Titans…. and won. Not even in a tie-breaker. In a 3-1 domination. It was amazing to watch, especially as I was admittedly actively rooting against them. Monte was right. They were full of hubris and needed to fall, like in every great Greek tragedy. It was strange to watch. My jaw dropped when it happened. It was insane and intense and incredible. I’m very glad I stayed watching the match when I was just going to flip on some DVR assuming it would be a stomp by Vancouver. But holy cow. It was an incredible match.
Now, let’s get to a closer look at the Uprising’s week. As an Uprising fan, I didn’t expect them to beat the dominant Shock. They do so well on GOATs because Sinatraa is so good at Zarya and this comp depends on a stellar Zarya. Like previous weeks, Uprising decided to avoid GOATs as that was their biggest weakness. Except without Aimgod and Kellex in the lineup, that wasn’t their only weakness. Their weakness was Persia is not even in the same league as Aimgod. In another edition of “Monte Was Right” before Sunday’s match, Monte said that Uprising owed the Boston fans an explanation why you are playing Persia (who has been severely under-performing) in place of the much more mechanically skilled Aimgod. He was right. We deserved an answer.
I looked back at Persia’s performance against Philadelphia Fusion, watching his point of view. So many missed shots, both healing and attempted damage. So many missed grenades and sleeps. He was out of position more often than not. You can’t heal if you die and you can’t live if you get caught out of position. He was as big of a weakness as Colourhex on Zarya or Fusions on anything other than Rein GOATs. He should have taken a stop off at the Uprising Academy rather than go straight to the main stage because either he had nerves getting on that stage or he just needs to gain more mechanical skill. We weren’t going to win with Persia in.
In a move of what seemed like defiance from the Uprising, Aimgod was put in the lineup with Kellex. Maybe they wanted to prove that it wasn’t Persia, that the team just wasn’t coming together. And at the first 2 maps against Paris, it looked like that was the case. Then, after the half, it all changed. They were dominant and looked strong. Aimgod fragged out. blasé, who has always seemed very consistent, popped off hard. (I agree. blasé got robbed of the MVP of the match, and apparently 57% of the people agreed on the Uprising poll.) rCk struggled the first half, but made some awesome plays to finish up the match. They came together, they won, and Boston fans couldn’t be happier.
The moral of that story is: keep Aimgod in. Not having him in feels like the team is throwing. I still feel like Colourhex on Zarya is one of the weakest points and as the Uprising moves further away from GOATs, Fusions is going to have to learn how to do something other than a Rein GOATs one-trick. But I feel more confident going into the rest of the season if they continue to play like they did the second half of Sunday’s match. Next week is their last match of the stage, so here’s to hoping for a strong finish to the stage.