Getting Close to the End: Overwatch League Road to the Playoffs

In a year that was supposed to be all about homestands and bringing Overwatch League to the fans, this was impacted just as everyone’s lives were by the pandemic. Fortunately, unlike traditional sports, the Overwatch League was still able to go on with online play. I’m happy that the league went on, and even more happy that I didn’t have to argue with myself about whether or not I wanted to sit through a homestand knowing that we were going to be embarrassed and the joke of the league. It’s easier to suck that up if the tickets weren’t that expensive. Sorry, the tickets themselves weren’t too bad, but you’d end up paying double with Ticketmaster fees, making those $40 seats $80 a piece, and taking an entire family? Eek. Back to the point.

As an Uprising fan, I didn’t go into the weekend very optimistic. Not just because we apparently can’t beat a Genji and Genji was still very meta this week. But because we were going against the reigning Grand Finals champions the San Francisco Shock and the often very difficult LA Valiant. It was going to be a rough weekend. I was hoping we’d put up a fight. Maybe even take a least a round. Or even a map. No such luck.

I don’t think we were being meme’d on by the Shock with putting Super on Genji, despite that being the talk of the day. I would assumed skilled players can play whatever role they want and still do well. But that didn’t matter. We were still a joke after the Shock destroyed us. I felt bad for the players, who honestly are just kids getting razzed on by the masses. The Shock is the reigning champions and arguably the best team in the league still and there’s a reason for that. They have great coaching, a support staff that actually supports the team, and extremely talented players that they put up a lot of money for. As the joke says, Miller’s wallet is what gets them all those wins.

I had more hope of us winning against the Valiant, but considering how extremely talented they are (and probably how angry they were that they lost on Saturday), it wasn’t going to be easy. And it wasn’t. They walked all over the Boston Uprising. There was some hope on Hanamura, when we practically full held the Valiant and only gave up 2 ticks on the first point. But then, they did full hold us. We had a win condition. We could have had the win. But didn’t. They panicked. They were boomed. They wanted that point so badly that it looked like a mystery heroes attempt at a point when you’re about to lose.

I joked with my husband. At least when the Patriots were bad, we went into the game without any hope. We knew how things were going to go. But the Uprising gives us hope sometimes, and then we feel disappointed. I can’t help but to feel really bad for those players because if we feel this disappointed as fans, they probably feel even more disappointed. Some of these players are the same age as my oldest son. Disappointment can be crushing for kids that age. No one likes to lose. People like to lose less as every time they lose they become some type of joke on Twitter and Reddit.

But why does this keep happening? First, I’m going to blame the coaching. They have a pretty talented group of individuals. But the problem is, they still look like individuals. They don’t look like a team with synergy; they look like a solo Q of talented players on Competitive Play. They seem to get along, so it doesn’t seem to be any hatred towards each other. That means there’s something else. Something isn’t clicking. That seems like a coaching issue. Another issue is that maybe stop trying to force the meta, and figure out a way around it. After all this time, we still can’t seem to win against a Genji? Colourhex is a decent enough Genji, but maybe don’t force him to play it? These players are slowly descending into madness it seems, hitting their head against too many losing battles and it doesn’t seem like the coaches are doing anything to help them.

It doesn’t matter anyways, I guess. HuK will completely gut the team at the end of the season anyways so we won’t have the same players. Which is probably one of the biggest problems. Teams like the Shock have essentially played together since the beginning, with a core set of players that have been consistent with the team. That’s 3 years to build up chemistry. Our team guts practically their entire roster and coaches every year, so we don’t get that benefit of extremely good synergy. There’s a reason why we don’t buy jerseys with players names on it; it’s spending $200 only to have them gone the next year. That’s probably the biggest problem of all.

Eventually, the team will stop making money. Why? First of all, people won’t buy the expensive merch, like named jerseys. Why bother spending that kind of money on a player that won’t even be there next year? It’s like when I splurged for an official Wilfork jersey, only to have him in Houston the next year. Fortunately, Wilfork is a lifer that will always be a Patriot, so it didn’t matter as much. Then, fans may decide to not bother going to the homestands. Why? Because we’re supporting a team of players we don’t know. We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the roster every year, especially with the produced videos that the team does. Why should we pay money to support a new group of players every year? I live in a place where I could go to essentially farm teams for the NHL and MLB and tickets are pretty cheap. You can’t charge full pro team price if you’re just a farm team.

As much as I complain, Boston Uprising is my team and I’ll support them all the way to the bottom. But it’s really hard to want to watch them right now because it’s heartbreaking to see their faces (or when they shut the facecams off in titled fashion) as they repeatedly fail. It sucks to watch them put so much into the league matches and just keep hitting walls because their coaches and management aren’t setting them up for success.

The Epic Conclusion of Overwatch League’s Summer Showdown

Normally watching any competition, you can expect some underdog to rise from the ashes. There’s never any super major shocks. But there’s always one team that gives analysts, gamblers, and bracket fiends trouble. In the Overwatch League, for the most part in the past competitions, things went pretty much exactly how you would expect. But that was then. This was the Summer Showdown, where nothing seemed to make sense and brackets were demolished within the first round of matches.

Going into the Summer Showdown the San Francisco Shock, reigning Season 2 champions and the champions of the May Melee, were the favorite. It wasn’t even a question in most people’s minds. Most people expected it to be a rematch of titans with the Shock going against the Mayhem in the finals. But things weren’t so easy this time around for these seemingly unbeatable teams.

3 of the favorites to make it into the quarterfinals didn’t make it that far. In those 3 matches, the underdogs ended up taking them 3-1. Houston took out Florida Mayhem, who thought that just because the last match between them was close that this didn’t mean that they would get that close again. They didn’t get that close again; they did much better. The Toronto Defiant made it look easy enough against the LA Valiant. Probably the most shocking of all, the Washington Justice (a team that has its fair share of struggles this year) ended up 3-1 against the LA Gladiators. These wins pretty much took out every bracket, but made everyone excited for the matches to come. This was surely an epic start to the tournament.

The quarterfinals practically went the way everyone expected. Philly went 3-0 against Houston. Houston fought hard, but they just couldn’t do it. Carpe is a freak of nature and easily shut down Danteh, which seems to be the ticket to winning against Houston. I didn’t think the team should be too down on themselves after that match. Philly is just a beast of a team. The Shock rolled the Justice in another 3-0 match. Paris beat Vancouver 3-1. The only real surprise of the quarterfinals was the Defiant going up against the Atlanta Reign. Defiant took the match to an exciting tie-breaker, winning and proceeding to the semifinals.

The start of the semifinals wasn’t necessarily that interesting. Philly easily took 3-0 on the Defiant. However, the match against Paris and the Shock was such a thrilling match that it really gave me mixed feelings. That was easily one of the best matches of Overwatch League I have seen in a long time. Maybe even ever. This exciting match when went all the way to the tie breaker, with SP9RK1E popping off so much throughout the match and helping make the difference to upset the Shock.

My fear was that the finals wasn’t going to be anywhere near as exciting as the semifinals was. That there was going to be a simple 4-0 and it’d be done with. That would have been such an anticlimactic way to end the match. Except that wasn’t what happened. In a game that felt like it would go on forever (in only the best way possible), this epic back and forth went all the way to the tie-breaker. The last map of the stage was just so incredible that if you didn’t see it, you need to go back. Paris failed to make it all the way to the end of Rialto, though they came pretty damn close. Philly looked like they weren’t going to make it past the first point, thanks to Xzi popping off as Widow. Except Eqo wasn’t going down that easy and took on the cleanup by himself. They looked like they were going to roll the next point as well, but then things started to go wrong for Philly. They fell apart (which at this point, unfortunately, choking is kinda their thing). After the team fell apart, Eqo tried to be the hero again and popped dragonblade in hopes to be the hero. Except he was shut down. Then Xzi did it again with popping off and cleaning things up, as if to say “not this time”. That’s where the match ended.

This tournament was such an exciting event. Normally things in these Overwatch League tournaments go exactly how you expect, but this time nothing seemed to be typical. I hope the next round of tournaments brings just as much excitement. And I hope the Uprising get their stuff together to actually participate in it, which will be rough with their upcoming schedule especially since they are playing the Shock.

Overwatch League: The Summer Showdown Play-Ins

I could talk about the entire weekend, but there wasn’t too much that was shocking going on. I mean, aside from the Shock vs. Philly game. Not because I thought that Philly would win it, but I didn’t think they would get absolutely steamrolled by the Shock. Titans finally coming together wasn’t too shocking, because they had a late start building up their synergy. Instead, I’m going to (as usual) focus my trusty Boston Uprising.

The thing is, I still actually expected the Uprising to win against the Titans. We took Paris to Map 5 twice. Taking the Titans seemed like it would be a much easier task. Except it wasn’t. It so wasn’t that the Uprising got 3-0’ed by the Titans, putting them into the Summer Showdown Play-Ins. Against the Washington Justice, a team that has been struggling all year long. Who just had a major overhaul to the team, so surely this would be an easy match that we could roll, then prepare for the play-ins.

….Except as any Boston fan knows, this is never the case with our teams. Just because it should have been easy, doesn’t mean that it is going to be that easy. And despite a strong showing on Map 1, it wasn’t. And it wasn’t even that the Boston Uprising were necessarily outplayed. Every team fight went the way of the Uprising. They worked well together. They conserved their ults/built them up fast. They made some mistakes and whiffed ults, but overall they were the better team.

However Ttuba had a Genji, which seems to be the Uprising’s greatest weakness. Anytime he popped off, we struggled. We lost half our team (sometimes our whole team) to practically every dragonblade. Had we been able to handle the Genji, we would have easily won. That and actually touching the point, which is also something we’ve been struggling with. Now we get to sit around hoping that they fix the issue come next set of playoffs. Which may be easier, if Genji ends up in the hero pool for the start of the next set of matches.

What should we have done? Colourhex wasn’t doing it on Tracer. Sometimes he pops hard and gets those flashy plays. Other times he just seems to toss out a pulse bomb and hopes for the best. Maybe instead, put him on a Genji to at least challenge the other Genji. Or put him on a pick like maybe Echo, a hero that Colourhex did very well at. (I’m not saying we lost because of Colourhex. I’m just saying maybe put him on a pick he’s most comfortable with and just let him do him.) Maybe even switch to a D.Va for the sole purpose of harassing the Genji until he decides not to play him anymore. Not an ideal solution, but just sitting there and taking it wasn’t the play. The only reason they lost was because they don’t know how to handle a Genji. Or make goofs like not standing on a point or whipping a Genji up in the air when you nearly won the map, so that he could just jump over the roof and kill the entire team and secure the match win for the Justice.

What needs to happen before the next round of matches? Synergy is there. But there’s something with the morale that is hurting the team. Even before the match, they seemed mentally off. This team, which seems to get along well together, has to have some struggles off screen that we can’t see. Is it the coaches? Is it the culture that HuK brings to the team, which would be the common denominator with the past players who couldn’t seem to wait to get out of Boston? Maybe the team should start working on fixing the culture in the team, remembering that these are still kids/young adults, and they need some time to goof off. Maybe they need to start working on strats instead of doing the weirdest approaches, like tossing a Torb out there whenever things aren’t working for them. At that point, why not just cheese with a Bastion and just win the match?

Something needs to change and I’m not sure that can be accomplished before the end of the season. I don’t want to see any of the players gone. These are seriously talented players that just need the coaching staff to mold them into a great team. They need a culture that makes them feel happy to be there. Those aren’t things that are going to be fixed by the next set of playoffs or even the end of the season. This is something that will take the entire off-season to handle. And changes need to happen. Boston fans are loyal to the bone, even if their team is losing. But they won’t sit around and watch their team be a farm team or just look like they are throwing matches every week.

Overwatch League: The Start of Summer Showdown

I do enjoy this exciting new approach to the season since the pandemic shut down the live events. This week went pretty much the way that everyone expected, but as an Uprising fan, I was very happy despite a loss. Why? Because they didn’t look like the same team that they were. I don’t think anyone expected a win against Paris, but I think most of us fans wanted to see something worth rooting for.

And I think that’s what we got. We didn’t get stomped in a 3-0 match-up; we took it all the way to game 5 in a thrilling back and forth match. We had things we rarely saw before: a substitution and adjustments. Wouldn’t you know that’s something that we needed to win matches? Or at least to not get rolled over every match. It was revitalizing as a fan to not walk away embarrassed. Punk is a great addition to the team and I feel much more confident with him as an off-tank more than I have since NotE. He’s flashy, but good, whereas Mouffin was flashy and mediocre. That fact that somehow we ended up with Mouffin instead of Punk to begin with confuses me. We could have had a much better record and I firmly believe that. The benefit of having such a godly off-tank? It can make up for Fusions mistakes.

I am actually looking forward to matches again. I wasn’t going to attend the homestands before because I didn’t want to spend an obscene amount of money to watch that nonsense they were doing before. But this is a team that I would pay to see now. This is a team that I’m proud to watch, even in the losses because the matches are close. They are showing that they are a stellar team and I think they are only going to get stronger as they get more used to each other.

Next week will be a rough one going against the Philadelphia Fusion, but they get tilted easily and can easily choke. They may even make the mistake of not preparing for us, though a Colourhex vs. Carpe tracer duo doesn’t make me too confident. But, anything can happen in any given match so it’s going to be fun to watch. I hope.

Something Amazing Happened with the Boston Uprising

Last week, I avoided Overwatch League talk as I would normally do during my gaming posts on Monday during the league play. I was tired of lamenting about the Uprising’s inability to adjust strategies and do something new. I was tired of talking about the same teams winning and losing. I’m not going to say I had given up on the Boston Uprising. I still watch them religiously, even though I go in without any expectations. Usually, I’m still very disappointed. But something happened this week that was shocking. And no, it wasn’t just that we won.

Prior to the match, I joked that it was only going to be a short and quick loss, then our family could just binge movies for the rest of the day. We saw CatBren pick Uprising as the winner. That wouldn’t happen. Poor Bren. The desk laughed. At least he was honest about the random pick, they said. But what happened was crazy.

It was like an entirely different team out there. Colourhex wasn’t forced on Mei. They weren’t forcing a meta. In fact, they showed us more flexibility than we had ever seen. They played different comps, not stubbornly sticking to the same exact strats and hoping for different results. They adjusted when they needed to. They put up a fight, even on maps that they lost. They looked confident out there. They didn’t look like a team that just wanted to bang their head against the wall for 15 minutes, giving up the loss as quickly as possible to end their own suffering. And ours, maybe.

It was a long 6-map win. It was a wild ride, but holy hell, even if they lost I would’ve been happy. They adjusted, even mid-map. They looked incredible. It was so nice to see their face cams at the end and seeing them all jump up and hug each other in celebration. It was a moment that brought me back to them.

I wasn’t lost because I hate losing teams. I’m a lifelong Boston fan. I’m used to losing. I’m used to being a joke. It wasn’t until recently that we knew the taste of victory. My problem is losing because they refused to fix a problem. And look what happened when they did. Was this a fluke because Mei was banned this week? Or did they finally realize that to win, maybe you need to make adjustments rather than sticking to a failing strategy and just hoping things will turn around on their own?

I’m not sure. I’m hoping that if this was a fluke just because Mei was banned that they will realize that things just work better when teams play to their own strengths rather than bowing down to a meta that they consistently fail at.

Using Gaming to Cope

Normally I would talk about the weekend of Overwatch League, then end in a rant about how poorly mismanaged my favorite team is, but I’ve opted against that this week. I would have ended up in a rant about how the Vancouver Titans obliterated their team, rounded together what T2 players they could in a short time, then spent the weekend bullying the Uprising while still losing their 2 matches this weekend. First of all, the Uprising get bullied enough. Joining in on that doesn’t make you the cool kid. Secondly, win a game, then you can talk.

The last time I left my house since everything happened was probably sometime in mid-April, when I helped my mom with something. Before that, was probably mid-March when I braved the stores early on to stock up on meats. I’m an introvert that doesn’t really enjoy going out too much. I like hanging out in smaller groups of my friends or family, but larger events can be overwhelming. In general, I like the fact that I can just stay home all day. But I do miss taking our family adventures to the park or doing something fun.

But I have video games. I’ve worked my butt off grinding hard in World of Warcraft, retail, leveling up as many toons as possible due to their XP boost that they are fortunately keeping until Shadowlands release. I’ve probably easily leveled 20 110 characters since the boost was released and I intend to keep going. That sounds insane to people, but it’s not to me. Not because I’m a gaming addict, but gaming does something to make you feel in control when there’s not much else you can control in the world right now.

I like that I can just put on music and mindlessly level away, without having to worry about how this pandemic has uprooted my life. I can talk to friends that I’ve made over the years playing as well as my “real” friends that also play WoW. It’s a connection to the outside world that even an introvert like me needs sometimes, when it just isn’t safe for me out there in the world. If I get sick, it’s because my husband brought it home with him by going to work or the store or other errands he has to take over because I can’t.

Gaming is the perfect escape in a world where everything seems so crazy. It has helped me stay more sane than if I didn’t have some sort of distraction to occupy my brain, which honestly isn’t a place anyone really wants to occupy. I can play WoW or Overwatch while working or sit on the couch relaxing with my boys while playing Animal Crossing, teaching my little one about the game. People who don’t game probably will never understand the incredible ability games have to offer social connections and distractions at a time when we need it the most. No matter what else is going on in the world, I still know what the outcome will be playing my video games.

In a few days, I may be picking up streaming again as I level a bunch of low level allied race toons in World of Warcraft. I’m interested in seeing how fast I can level them with the new XP boost, because I did level pretty quickly before that. I hope everything ends soon, but at least I know I have my video games to help me out.

Then, the Boston Uprising Shows Some Vague Signs of Life

It’s hard to catch all of the games with the new format, because I need sleep and all. But I do catch the games that I can, especially the Boston Uprising. This week was going to be especially exciting because the new hero Echo made her debut. It was really interesting to see the comps that played around Echo and watching people who I thought would be amazing Echo players do well. But how would a team like the Uprising with Echo?

The match wasn’t going to be a win. It was a rematch against the Florida Mayhem, which was an embarrassing slaughter last week for us. When the other team starts spawn camping you like you’re playing mystery heroes, you need to really re-evaluate your situation. The match looked like a professional team went up against a gold team that magically ended up in the Overwatch League. It wasn’t pretty for fans.

Going into the match, my husband and I debated who would end up being our Echo. My theory was Colourhex, who is pretty absurd at projectile heroes. My husband, who is very much team Jerry, thought he would be the better choice. I was right about Colourhex playing Echo and I was right about him doing pretty well at it. Was he as good as someone like Danteh on it? No. But I was happy with it and it looked much better than his Mei. Even Fusions, who I always refer to as a “GOATs Rein One-Trick” didn’t do too terribly on Winston as he usually does. Jerry seemed slower on Tracer than his other characters, but he made some big plays. Myunbong was ridiculous and landed some disgusting nades. But what went wrong?

The first thing that went very wrong was that we were up against the Florida Mayhem again. The thing is, that wasn’t the only problem. There was some signs of potential in this team last week. You could tell that they had something to prove. And what they did prove was that Hollywood is their best map this season. They proved that Colourhex is better than we’ve seen, especially when he’s on characters he’s comfortable with. They proved that Myunbong is a fantastic support pickup who has just as much carry potential as Jerry does. They proved that Fusions is slowly getting better on other heroes.

Unfortunately, they did prove some other things. Like, Jerry isn’t an immortal and he does have weaknesses. They showed that there’s something wrong and I think it’s the coaching and/or management. Why play a Zen/Brig when there’s no real healing there unless everyone’s together, but play dive tanks that aren’t ever where their healers are. They should have run a Brig/Bap or a Brig/Ana if they were going to stick with the Brig choice. Which ended up working better for us as we saw later in the match. Then there were the tank choices. While other teams opted for double shield, we went dive. Which got destroyed by their Echo/Ashe combo.

I get that we only have 6 players that can play right now. But that’s a management problem. Why didn’t they pick up other players to help them get more flexibility? This team can sit around and blame their bad luck all they want, but other teams ran full 12 man rosters to cover them in those bad luck situations. Why do we still stick to strats that obviously aren’t working? There are so many questions that the fans want answers to and we are getting almost as frustrated as the players seem to be right now.

What’s Going On, Uprising? A Sad Look at My Beloved OWL Team

As a lifelong Boston fan, rollercoaster journeys that eventually lead to heartbreak. In recent years, we’ve been spoiled by watching all of our important teams take home championships. I remember being in college when the Red Sox first won the World Series. My very old history professor joked at the beginning of the year that if the Red Sox won the World Series, we’d all get automatic A’s on our finals. Apparently, that was the joke he made every year of his career. It turns out, they did win and by the tenure Gods, we all did get A’s on our finals. We still had to go through the motions, but he did it.

The most exciting of these to follow was the Patriots, who was my favorite of the sports teams. The second was the Bruins, though I stopped watching hockey after their strike because I hold a grudge. Watching the Patriots just win over and over again in the Super Bowl was something I felt that I deserved after so many years of watching all of my Boston teams fail. My kids only know them as champions. (A painful realization is about to hit them and the pink hatters though. We’re in a rebuilding year.)

The above shows that I have a willingness to stand by my team. I love and support my team, whether they get rid of my favorite player (Wilfork, NotE) or if they win or lose. They have my support no matter what. I’m loyal to a fault. Did Brady and Gronk leaving sting? Yeah, but I support the team not the players.

This brings me back to the Boston Uprising, an underdog team going into the league that managed to end up in 3rd place that first season. They were no longer a team that would be dismissed. Except, season 2 they got rid of about 90% of their players and ended up in the bottom of the pre-season rankings to again be dismissed as an awful team. We weren’t good, but we weren’t the worst either. It wasn’t a great season, but we knew the team would be traded away and we’d start fresh again. Because we are a meme team that trades all of our players for money and sees no real return for that as fans.

Season 3 started and we eventually only had 3 people from last year’s roster: Fusions, Axxiom, and Colourhex. I was happy because Axxiom was a better tank and when he played, he showed that he was the better tank. We had fresh new talent in Swimmer, Mouffin, Myungbung, and Jerry. On paper, we weren’t going to be a top team but we definitely had some bright spots. Until Axxiom needed to take a leave of absence due to an undisclosed medical issue. Then, Mouffin did what he did. Then Swimmer left. Now we have 6 eligible players to play and honestly, I’m surprised Jerry’s back hasn’t broken from carrying this team yet.

It wasn’t fun watching us get spawn camped. It wasn’t fun watching us bang our heads against the wall because apparently the team only practices one strategy every week. That has to be the only reason why we are watching our team bang their heads against the wall failing over and over again, because why else would we stubbornly stick to strategies that obviously aren’t even working? As a fan, I would have no problem watching them lose if they looked like they had some fight in them. If they changed their strategy to try something new to at least pretend to care about winning a match. I support my team win or lose.

But, why should I support a team that doesn’t seem to care? Why haven’t we signed someone else to at least have, I don’t know, not the bare minimum on our roster? I mean, they obviously don’t care. They don’t care about the fans. They don’t. I’m not talking about the players here, because this is a case where I actually support the players and not the team. If you’re not going to make any changes, then you don’t care about winning. You don’t care about giving your fans any sign of life out there. Why not put Jerry out there on Sombra or Reaper instead of McCree or even Ashe? Why not put Colourhex on anything but Mei, because as talented as he is that Mei-play is not great? Why not have more than one strategy?

For instance, on Paris they kept making the same play of rotating to the right, which failed every time. Which they expected every time and Bqb was just sitting their waiting and destroying them. Then, Bqb switched to the other side anticipating that Boston wouldn’t be that stupid again. Which they weren’t and he slaughtered them. Is it a coaching problem? Is it a management problem? Those poor players are the laughing stock of the league and they don’t even deserve it. We have talent on the team, but none of that matters if the guys in charge aren’t harnessing that talent. The matches yesterday looked like something I’d see in my gold matches, and that’s not a compliment.

If you’re doing this for money, it’s going to fail. Because eventually you are going to lose out on those fans who want to support you. Who would support even the worst team in the league if there was something worth supporting. But why should I care about the team when the people running it don’t seem to care about them or the fans? If there was ever a time to start doing Q&As again to face the fans and encourage “transparency”, now is the time. Because the fans deserve some insight.

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.

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.