Overwatch League Season 3, Week 5: Hero Pools… and WTF Uprising

The biggest change to the Overwatch League came this week when hero pools were introduced. The pools were picked on the Sunday night prior to Week 5 started. The first banned heroes were Reinhardt, Moira, McCree, and Widowmaker. This totally turned the meta we had seen up until this point on its head. What would the week bring? There were a lot of unknowns how hero pools were going to affect the game, and now people know: you know nothing anymore.

Houston came out and caused utter destruction, as the DPS duo blasé and Danteh came to show that they aren’t the laughing stock of the league. Muma, who was getting a lot of crap for his Rein play, showed he was an alpha Winston ready to play. Despite Paris’ strong showing so far and Houston disappointing their fans, Houston seemed to easily 3-0 Paris. I was pretty excited to see this team finally take off.

The next biggest surprise was the upset of Paris defeating Fusion. Fusion’s attempt at a reverse sweep was denied in a close 99%-99% overtime in the 5th/tiebreaker map. It was intense but eventually SoOn got the best of Carpe and the rest of the Fusion to end up with the upset win.

Well, there was another upset, and I’m not referring to the actual matches. The upset is the Boston fans starting to turn on their team for apparently tanking the season. Remember how I said that Houston Outlaws were no longer the joke of the league? They handed that crown off to the Uprising, who seems to show no sign of not totally sucking. Was it the hero pools that messed them up? Poor management? Poor coaching? During the post-match interview on Saturday after their poor performance, Coach Mini said that they needed to better adjust. Abso-freaking-lutely they did. But that’s always been Boston’s problem, hasn’t it? Not the inability to adjust, just their refusal to.

I like Fusions. I really think he’s a cool dude. But, I’ve long said that he was pretty much a GOATs Rein one-trick. I haven’t seen anything that proved me wrong. You know what we did win with? Axxiom as Rein. Knowing that Fusions has an abysmal Winston, why not play Axxiom at least at Winston? Why not at least try? Why hit your heads against a wall repeatedly, watching your team fail at a comp because you’re compensating for one of the least flexible tanks in the league? Why are you running a Sigma? Mouffin’s D.Va has never been the problem. Instead, you pick the 2 least mobile of tanks to play against a very mobile comp? How can everyone else on the planet who watches the Overwatch League realize that this is a terrible idea and our coaches and management are like “Yeah, this is awesome guys. Great job everyone.”

Reading reddit, I came across a hilariously sad fact: the coaching/management has managed to turn a base that was loyal to the Red Sox and waited 86 years to see a World Series win into an angry mass of individuals. The Red Sox and Patriots took so long to win, but do you know why they eventually won? Because they didn’t sit there going “Well, this obviously isn’t working, so let’s keep doing it and hope for better results”. Why are they too stubborn to swap players in and out? Every other team manages to do substitutions no problem, why not us? Why not try going with the main tank that saw us get our only win of the season? Why not put Swimmer back in, who seems pretty comparable to Halo as far as I could tell? How about getting a DPS player that’s desperate to make OWL that they don’t care that they are playing for a trainwreck of a team that doesn’t care just so we have at least a backup DPS? How come I have just found a dozen solutions in this post of things to try and our coaches can’t seem to figure it out?

It was hard to stomach the prices for the homestand to begin with. The $40 a ticket, plus another almost $40 per ticket in Ticketmaster’s rip-off fees, making it like $500 to go to the match with my family. $500 to watch a team that doesn’t seem to care about winning. Plus the money it would take to park and take the train into Boston. It’s even harder to stomach that cost when you want to be there more than the coaches and management apparently does. HuK has been doing more and more Q&As, giving an illusion of more transparency. Sure, it made him a little more likeable in my eyes but why won’t he answer questions like “What’s your problem with substitutions?” “Why not try something new if what you’re doing is obviously not working?” “What’s the point of running the same comp and getting steamrolled, until you change the comp and win a fight, but then decide ‘Hey, let’s go back to that comp that wasn’t working?’ just because?”

I’ve been a Boston fan my entire life. We’re loyal. We don’t really have any expectations of winning, the true fans anyways. But we don’t like it when the team doesn’t even try to win. It’s not even that you don’t have talented players; it’s that you refuse to coach them to be better. It’s that you refuse to have a full roster so that you have more depth, not that it matters because you’re never going to switch around players as needed during the matches to get the most out of that depth for whatever reason.

Next week’s hero pools are: Winston, Soldier: 76, Sombra, and Lucio. This means there will be some more interesting comps next week to watch out for.

It’s a Super Tuesday… or So They Say

Last week, I spoke about Super Tuesday. Well, here we are. The Democrats are down 3 people, two of which actually had some sort of momentum while there are still people in the race that probably have no business being there. That means the two realistic options are Biden or Sanders, neither of which bring any sort of excitement for me. Neither of which I can stand behind. And likely neither of which will win in the election against Trump, which is even less exciting for me than anything else.

With many candidates who have dropped out of the race backing Biden, I wonder why. I really wonder why. Half the time the man stumbles over his words and I’m convinced he doesn’t even know where he is for the most part. His ideas were that he’s done everything that has made America great and fought against everything that wasn’t. At least that’s what he says. I’m fairly certain that facts disprove this. He’s meme-worthy for sure, but we already have a president that goes viral for all the wrong reasons; we don’t need another bumbling idiot in the White House. Yes. I hate saying that about them because it disrespects the office and as much as I dislike the president, I don’t believe in disrespecting the office. Even if he doesn’t believe in that.

Then there’s Bernie. I didn’t feel the Bern last election cycle with him and I certainly don’t feel it now. Don’t get me wrong, I get the appeal. He has his convictions that he believes in and doesn’t care about the establishment. He is the anti-establishment candidate in many regards as Trump was. The establishment doesn’t want him to win and will try to stop it, but they may not be successful. He promises a better future in such an idealistic way, again like Trump, that it can blind his more fervent followers. Sure, I love the idea that I can send my kids to college without worrying about the costs or that I can worry less about medical bills. But what does all of that cost? Much like Trump his concern seems much less about the middle class, a group that seems to suffer no matter who’s in office. Whether they want to just give free stuff to the lower or upper class, the middle class still has to carry most of the tax burden.

It’s not that, generally speaking, the rich aren’t getting taxed a massive amount. That’s a half truth that we’re told. They get taxed a higher percentage and may pay more when they have to. But they have rich accountants that minimize what they owe as much as possible. The middle class are hit the hardest with tax bills, primarily because they may struggle to pay what they owe. Most middle class people live paycheck to paycheck. A massive $2000 tax bill at the end of the year isn’t really that feasible. And now we have to pay more for programs? Why not make budget cuts to programs and fire unnecessary personnel or reduce their paycheck? American’s have to make cuts to balance their budget, even the difficult ones. Why can’t the government do that?

That’s the problem today. You are really choosing between an old, out of touch man that wants to keep things the way they are or an old, out of touch man that wants to make radical changes that our country probably isn’t ready for. Or you could vote for any of the other candidates in hopes that one of them picks up traction over these two. Except Bloomberg. Please don’t do that.

Overwatch League: Season3, Week 4

The Houston homestand was this past weekend, offering some of the most passionate crowds that you can see. Which makes sense considering the Houston fans are known as the most rabid of the fanbases. The team went into this weekend without a win and hoped that they could secure the win for their fans on their home turf? Did they finally get their win? Or did the leave the weekend with disappointment? And how did the Boston Uprising perform?

The first thing to talk about was the Houston matches. Houston needed a win. I wanted to see them get a win. This is a group of wholesome and marketable kids who seem more like a family than teammates. It’s hard not to root for them, well except when they face off against the Uprising. The first night of the homestand saw the Outlaws go against the London Spitfire. After the first 2 soul crushing maps, blasé came out and popped off on the Temple of Anubis where he just destroyed on Doomfist. Danteh showed he’s still one of the best Sombras in the league. It was a solid map. They went on to also win the next map on Junkertown, primarily due to LiNkzr popping off and doing what he does. It looked like a reverse sweep was possible. Until they lost in a very close tiebreaker map.

The next night they faced off against the Toronto Defiant, where the Defiant just looked more dominant on Nepal. But then the amazing happened: they won the next 3 maps to secure their first win of the season. The crowd believed in them. The energy was intense from my couch, I can’t imagine how awesome it would be in the crowd. The Outlaws decided to say “screw the meta” and did whatever they want. And it worked so well. I was excited for them. blasé was insane. Danteh was insane. Meko was insane. It was great.

I was less excited for my own team. I don’t think any Uprising fan went into the match against the undefeated Philadelphia Fusion thinking we would win. The scrappy boys in blue might have put up a fight, but they weren’t likely going to win. Especially not with my favorite D.Va Fury in the match, showing off why he should still be considered the best D.Va in the world. But I was hoping for a lot more than I got. Fusions got walled off without heals or just caught out in weird positions. He got knocked around by Sado. Myunbong seemed out of position a lot too, which got him killed early far too often. Jerry seemed to hold his own well enough, considering Carpe is the top DPS in the league and Jerry is a rookie still trying to work things out. Mouffin was still decently impressive, but they looked off. They looked like they knew they weren’t going to win so they just wanted to get it over with.

Would they have done better with Axxiom? I could see why they went Fusions here, since he has the more aggressive playstyle but I’m still not convinced there’s any reason to have him in over Axxiom. Especially next week when Reinhardt is the first tank up in the hero bans. Also, with McCree and Widowmaker banned, there goes Jerry’s hero pool? The loss of Moira isn’t that important since we mostly run an Ana/Lucio comp. I think the shot calling needed to be better, making me wonder if Axxiom is not only the more technically skilled tank, but the better shot caller due to having better game sense. Axxiom seems like a thinky thinky tank whereas Fusions is more of a swingy swingy one.

Next week, we have 2 matches both against relatively streaky but potentially dangerous teams. I hope that they work out whatever happened last week because that was just embarrassing to watch.

The Two Most Important Questions to Ask Your Kids

Every day when I first see my boys after school, I ask my boys 2 simple questions: “How are you?” and “How was your day?” I consider these the most important questions that I will ask my kids every day. There’s a subtle difference between these two questions, even if you think I’m just asking the same question twice. But it’s very deliberate.

The first question I ask them every day is “How are you?” I’m asking them about how they emotionally feel after their day. Do they feel good? Excellent, even? Are they feeling a bit meh? I want to know how they are feeling because that’s the most important thing to me. I want to make sure that I ask because I want them to know that first and foremost, I care about their mental health. If they have a few days in a row where they shrug or answer negatively, I plan a surprise to cheer them up. I give them more individual time to see what’s going on. I make sure that they know how important they are.

The second question immediately follows. “How was your day?” This is me asking them what happened. Did anything fun or exciting happen? Was it a crappy day? This gives them the opening to know that I’m here to listen to them, no matter how great or boring or bad their day was. Surprisingly, they always open up. “This kid was a bully to me, but it’s okay because I just ignored them.” Or my oldest goes on long discussions about how amazing his forensics class is or how he roasted his friend. This can also give some excellent insight into how they are feeling.

These questions are incredibly important for a few reasons. First of all, it tells them that I honestly care about how their day was no matter how mundane it was. I give them my undivided attention as they answer these questions to show them that no matter what, I’m going to be annoyingly there for them. I stop work when they answer and any other time that they want to talk to me. I want them to know that I am there for them and have this open line of communication so if there is something big, they’ll let me know.

Most importantly, I’m emphasizing how important mental health is. In the past, mental health was shrugged off or seen as a weakness. Even today, there’s still so much stigma around it. I want them to know that they are loved and valued. I want them to know that I care about their emotional health more than I care about their grades. As it turns out, this is something that may even help them do better in school. My expectations for them are that they grow up happy, love what they do, give back, and just be productive people in society.

I stand by my belief that these are the most important questions to ask your kids every day. This forms a special and trusting bond that may be helpful to them when they need it the most. Maybe this can make a difference in their lives, no matter how annoying they find me today.

Be Warned: Primaries are Coming

Super Tuesday is coming soon. Very soon in fact. This is where the people get the choice to vote for their ideal candidate, someone that they really support in hopes that they get the nomination. Then, they decide not to vote in the general election if their candidate doesn’t make it. It’s always an interesting treat to see, especially with so many states up for grab on this one day. Maybe the election will be rigged again. Maybe it won’t. But Super Tuesday may be filled with plenty of surprises. I hope one of them is that a better candidate surfaces.

As an independent, I have the additional problem of not only choosing which candidate but also which ballot to pick up. Do I vote in the Democratic Primary? Do I vote in the Republican? Do I go with one of the other options? Decisions decisions. I have narrowed down to the 2 main parties when I go into the election.

Why am I considering voting in the Republican primary even though Trump will easily win it? Because maybe deep down, I hope that if another candidate starts making waves people will realize how awful the current president is. I would vote for Weld on this ticket, because he’s a far better option than Trump. In fact, I wish more people saw it instead of just blindly voting for him because then maybe we can get a reasonable Republican on the ballot. Or any Republican that isn’t Trump. Because I don’t care about whether or not someone is a Republican; I care about what they stand for, who they are, and what they want to achieve. You know, the seemingly silly and unimportant things.

The problem is going with the Democratic ballot. I’m really not sure which way to go here. Originally I was for a more moderate choice like Buttigieg. I like the idea of someone who’s actually served in the military in some capacity to be the Commander in Chief rather than someone who isn’t. In fact, I’ve even argued the point that military service should be a requirement for the president for that reason. They’ve been in war. They know it. They won’t be as willing to throw our military around if they have a better appreciation for the fact that these are real people with real families, not people on a Risk board. But what does he really stand for? I don’t like the idea of voting for someone when I can’t really answer that question.

Warren and Klobuchar are a definite “no” from me. I feel like they are just being pushed down our throats on the basis of the Democratic party is so determined to show that they are the party of diversity. That they are going to be the party of the first woman president. So much so that they don’t care that these two candidates aren’t what we need. Klobuchar lacks any personality to the point that she uses one-liners as if she’s a comic. And what are her beliefs? She spends so much time focused on talking points I’m not even sure she knows what she believes in. And Warren has always been more about grandstanding and talking about whatever she thinks people want to hear. I just can’t in good conscience go this route in the primary.

The last candidate to consider is Bernie. Because I refuse to even consider Biden or Bloomberg or whoever is still left in the race. I like the idea of affordable college. I like the idea of affordable healthcare. I don’t like the idea of giving more handouts to people who just want handouts. (And I’m not saying this to mean that all people on food stamps and welfare only want handouts. This is for the specific rare instances of people who abuse the system.) I don’t like the idea that as usual, these are things that the middle class will be paying for. Not the rich. Not the corporations. The middle class. The ones who carry most of this burden already but don’t get the ability to benefit from the programs that they pay into. I think Bernie is way too far left. There’s always going to be loopholes that the rich are going to find to not pay their fair share, and they don’t care. They’re not the ones who are going to suffer for that. We are. And honestly, I don’t think that he’ll beat Trump. Which is a major factor to consider.

That’s the problem with politics though, isn’t it? You’re never going to get the perfect candidate. You just have to choose the least vile choice. Will this be the first election that I vote Democrat? Probably, unless for some reason the current president is removed from the ballot with a better option. But which one will I vote for? Fortunately, I still have a few days to decide. Since my state is a Super Tuesday state.

Overwatch League, Season 3 Week 3: The Toilet Bowl 2020 and a Reverse Sweep

As a fan of the Uprising and my backup team the London Spitfire, this was actually a good week for me. Finally. Most of the games went exactly how everyone thought it would. The cursed Outlaws remain winless (more on that later), Philadelphia Fusion continue their path of destruction, even without my favorite D.Va Fury playing. (How much scarier would they be if he did though?) And NYXL still shows strength. Also, you have to feel for the Justice fans who didn’t get to see their team dominate during this homestand. Especially watching their team suffer the reverse sweep against London.

The biggest game of the weekend was the match that was dubbed “The Toilet Bowl” (also known as “The Match That Wouldn’t End”). This match was against the Boston Uprising and the Houston Outlaws, the teams that were expected to be the worst in the league. Boston did something unusual: they switched things up. The starting 6 this match was the first time that I have been happily surprised by the lineup. The starting 6 included their usual supports in Swimmer and Myunbong. Colourhex, our trusted DPS star from last year when he wasn’t on Zarya was back. Then, they threw in 3 different players: Jerry, Mouffin, and Axxiom. All those unknown rookies? Against the established players of Houston? The Toilet Bowl was mostly expected to go to Houston, though there was a joke about it going to 7 maps.

Except, that didn’t end up being a joke. The Boston Uprising pretty easily dominated Houston for the first 2 maps. Then they pulled a draw on 2. Then the lost 2. Basically, this match became the standard for Boston fans: you feel pretty confident, then you start to lose it, then you just hope for the best and are either pleasantly surprised or unexpectedly disappointed. Eventually, Boston came out on top after everything.

I had been begging for Axxiom to take over the main tank spot since after the GOATs meta last season. I felt that Fusions was a strong GOATs Rein, but didn’t really offer much outside of that when compared to how strong Axxiom seemed. And honestly, I wasn’t really too disappointed considering that this was really his first match on the stage as the main shot caller and tank. I think that his performance was much better than what we’ve seen from Fusions. I hope that they keep him in, and not just because the best option for bridging the gap between the Korean players and the Western ones. I think he’s a better leader, I think he’s more composed, and I think he’s more talented. Mouffin I think will be much better when he shakes off his stage nerves. Jerry as well, which is kind of a scary thought considering how well he did. When the crowd isn’t even a Boston crowd and they are all cheering his name and the casters are all about him, you know that he far exceeded expectations.

One could argue that the Uprising only did as well as they did because they were going up against the Houston Outlaws, who have been plagued with issues all season long so far. Next week will be against the Philadelphia Fusion, a team that has been seemingly unstoppable so far. Who knows though; Boston has pulled off some shocking wins before. I’m pretty hopeful moving forward that they are at least going to prove that they aren’t going to be the last team in the league. But if they keep going with this starting 6, I think we have a strong shot of at least getting into the playoffs.

I Thought I’d be Dead Before I Saw the End of Civilization; Then I Watched the Debate

Last night was another brutally embarrassing debate. There was no control. There was nothing but screaming and madness and something about communism. It’s hard to watch because I want to have an open mind about voting for one of these candidates. I really do. But all I could walk away with was “We’re screwed.”

See, I’m this apparently rare breed of person right now who is actually an independent. I don’t care what political party you are; if I think you’re the right choice then you’re the choice I make. Voting is something I take very seriously. I appreciate the struggles women went through before me so that I have this right today. I feel as though by just voting for someone because they belong to (insert party here), then I am doing a disservice to this right.

It seems silly to think like that, but I have integrity that makes me do what I think is right. Your vote can determine the future of this country, depending on where you live. This isn’t the time for divisiveness like “That’s my candidate because go (insert party here).” This is the time for taking a serious look at what’s going on now and thinking “Is this the future I want for my kids?” My answer is absolutely not.

I want the tax law reversed. Why? Because it didn’t benefit anyone I know. You know, the hardworking middle-class that is constantly called “the backbone of America”, but never treated as such. Actually, it is. Because our backs break from carrying the country. That law was meant for people who profit off of the middle class. I’d rather that $2,000 extra that I used to see in my refund, what I use to pay back bills or save to pay for a vacation or new appliances or for when life explodes in my face. But no, I lost that because the president wanted to make his rich friends richer. But hey, $10 extra every paycheck makes my life better right? Now I get the fancy toilet paper with that extra money. But mama wants a new washer.

The idea of keeping an at this point obviously corrupt, inept president in office that wants to just profit from his position and not actually help anyone disturbs me. But people will vote for him because he’s the republican and they don’t need to support him, just the party. However, as of that debate last night, the idea of practically any of those people in office also disturbs me. I would’ve been more behind a Yang ticket than half of that debate stage.

We don’t need anymore divisive presidents. We don’t need anyone too far in either direction. We need a moderate, someone who’s not so extreme that they turn off people from voting but someone who can inspire independents like myself to vote for them. As of right now, I just have to hope that the republican primary takes off and I can get a real decision instead of one that’s worse than what South Park could have ever imagined. At this point, what’s worse than a Turd Sandwich?

I hope the debates get better, because I want my kids to learn about the process. I want them to learn, especially the one who’s about to turn 18, the importance of the process and making an informed decision. Yes, informed. As is not just voting for a party, but voting for a person. You want a dignified leader that’s a role model; that’s strong and decisive. But right now it’s a “which one acted less like a child on the debate stage?”