Overwatch League: Season 3 Opening Weekend

They said that the traveling aspect of Overwatch League would be its downfall. That they wouldn’t pull it off. Sure, there were some production issues, but it was the first day of home/away games. It was their first weekend on a new platform. But, if the Dallas and New York homestands count for anything, it shows that this model that was dreamed of by the Overwatch League team could work.

As a fan, the crowds made everything more exciting. Sure, there was always a crowd with some fans in it, but the majority were LA fans. Now, it’s everyone else’s turn to shine. Hearing the boos as you would watching a Patriots game, hearing the excitement of the crowd. It made the viewing experience for me as a fan even more intense. It added something that I discovered was missing from the league when they first tried out homestands. It even made me consider the trek to Boston to see the Uprising, though I really wish they would just play in Foxborough for us Western Mass fans.

My pick rate was about 50% for both days. The outcomes weren’t really too shocking. Some teams did have a stronger performance than thought, such as that map loss the Shock had to the Dallas Fuel. Otherwise, I think matches went how most people saw them going. Spitfire had a consistency problem, as did Fuel. Shock showed their dominance, but still showed that they had weaknesses as well. The Titans also did about as well as people predicted.

Now let’s get into the Boston Uprising, who played their first match this week against NYXL, a team that no doubt was going to beat them. But the question was “how well will they do?” When I first saw Axxiom in the lineup, I was excited because I’ve been calling for him as the main tank role since last season. I had more faith in Axxiom as a tank than I did Fusions. They went double tank, something that some teams found successful on certain maps. But, when that wasn’t working as well as they’d hope, why didn’t they switch to the off-tank? The answer is because Boston hasn’t learned. They still refuse to do substitutions. They can’t adjust on the fly. They should’ve dropped Fusions Orisa and went with Brussen at least when Hotba was just unstoppable. They didn’t have the same mobility without the D.Va. Why didn’t they switch out one of the DPS for Jerry? Something wasn’t working with the DPS and instead of seeing if Jerry was going to make the difference… they stuck with it.

The first point of the first map, they looked so good. Until NYXL did what Boston couldn’t: adjust. They let SBB and Nenne just walk all over them. They let Hotba just walk all over them. They had no answers to anything that NYXL did, or at least they didn’t care to try something else that would offer answers. Unless Boston learns the crazy concept of “substitutions”, they won’t win. They won’t prove anyone wrong. They have raw talent. I was hoping with the new coaches, they would opt for trying new things (like substitutions). HuK needs to explain this to the fans. Did they just assume they would lose and they didn’t want to give any strats away? The off-tanks were in NY and seemed healthy enough as they toured the city, why not try putting one of them in to see if that helped? Why did they so stubbornly stick to something that wasn’t working? Were they trying to see which main tank was going to be the best choice moving forward since they knew they were going to lose? We have questions and I think it’s fair that we get answers for them. Especially since there was a promise of more transparency.

The Boston Uprising doesn’t play again for 2 weeks. I hope in this time they finally learn from their mistakes. I’m a loyal fan and I will root for them no matter how well they do. But love doesn’t need to hurt. It’s time to do this amazing thing called “change”. Sometimes you need to make a change if things aren’t working. Sub in players on different maps. Other teams do it. It’s not a foreign concept to the league. But let’s not just give up and stick with things that obviously aren’t working. And go Axxiom.

Overwatch League Season 3: Is This the Uprising's Year?

This weekend, the Overwatch League opens for Season 3. The Uprising play on Sunday, with their first match at the New York Excelsior homestand. Because for some reason, the league is still pushing a NY/Boston rivalry. It’s not happening. You’d be more likely to get a Houston rivalry due to Danteh’s trolling of HuK than you would an NYXL/Uprising rivalry.

Back to the main point. Is this the Year of the Boston Uprising? Every year, this team ends up at the bottom of the power rankings. Their first year, they ended up in 3rd place. Last year… well, let’s not really talk about that dumpster fire. After again nearly gutting their entire team, we end up with a roster of 3 people from last year, and some major unknowns. Will this group come together to pull off another miracle season, or will they crash and burn?

I honestly feel more confident going into this season than I had in the past. First of all, our support line seems stellar as far as I can tell from watching their streams. Swimmer is just incredible to watch and Myunbong is a silent but deadly force. Colourhex was impressive last season when he finally got to play in a DPS role, and adding Munchkin to the mix was amazing. This Jerry guy though… who was that? Apparently a sleeper DPS god because holy cow watching his stream is amazing. Plus, he’s got a fun personality that reminds me of the mischievous but unassuming Striker. The DPS and support line is amazing and I’m very confident that they will do very well this year.

What about the tank line? Well… that’s the problem. Last year, I was very much pro-Axxiom being out there instead of Fusions. This year, my feelings are the same. Especially with a mixed roster, putting Axxiom out there is a great idea. But it’s not just because he can speak Korean and English. I still think that he’s a superior tank to Fusions. In fact, after watching some streams, he’s not only a superior tank but his game sense is infinitely better. He seemed like a solid shot caller. I would feel much more confident with him as our main tank than Fusions. Will that happen? Only time will tell. But they should at least play him a lot more because he is so talented that I think he might be the key to winning.

Then there is the off-tanks. Mouffin and brussen seem pretty solid. Mouffin is definitely capable of making those big plays and brussen just seems like a reliable OT that we could really use. I think that having both players is the best thing that we could do. I don’t think you could really go wrong with either player, but the only problem with Mouffin is that he really hasn’t had a lot of stage time. He might need a bit more experience to be really great.

So is it our year? I have a great feeling that we are going to do decently well this season, as long as the team does a couple of things. First of all, they shouldn’t be afraid to sub people in and out as needed instead of stubbornly sticking to strats and players that obviously aren’t working for them. Secondly, I definitely think that trying Axxiom as the main tank for a while should be a thing. He might surprise everyone and surpass Fusions in skill.

This is still my team and hype-mode is activated here. Overwatch League is coming back, but not soon enough.

The Crazy Rollercoaster of an Off-Season

It has been such a crazy off-season for the Overwatch League. From teams gutting their rosters, reuniting bromances, and the retirement announcements, this has definitely been an interesting off-season to watch. Even the Uprising has made some surprising changes. It has definitely activated major hype mode for me, filling a void that needs to be occupied until Overwatch League season 3 starts.

The biggest announcement from the weekend, and a surprising one at that until you think about it one at that, was JAKE’s retirement. He was one of the primary faces of the Overwatch League, groomed to be a representative of the league to turn it mainstream. He is also one of the most easily recognizable with Rawkus, until Sinatraa and Super started making their rounds. Last year, he started taking on casting roles for the Overwatch World Cup where he turned his passion for the game into intelligent and interesting insight. He was sort of like the Tony Romo of casting: He may not have been the best player in the league, but dude knows his stuff. And that translates well into casting.

As shocking as this move may have been, it kind of wasn’t. He was doing well as a caster. With localization happening in the league, a potentially ambitious but amazing way to put eSports on a more mainstream level, there would be a need for more casters or desk analysts. I honestly applaud him for choosing to walk away rather than not give it his all. Some other players should take notes. I can’t wait to see what’s next for him. The same thing goes for the “shock” announcement of Pine’s retirement. It was sad, but not surprising. I can’t wait to catch his streams as well.

Another mention is the announcement of the Boston Uprising’s President HuK’s annoucement of another Q&A. Every time he does one, I expect a train wreck and end up pleasantly surprised. He seems to be interested in changing perception of him and offering an illusion of transparency. He has been primarily successful in that, but there’s one thing to be completely transparent in an off-season than it is to explain things during the season. Like why didn’t you make a swap in the map with a different player when things are clearly not working? Why are you sticking with a tank that has not proven consistently that he’s more than a GOATs Reinhardt one-trick? If he does a weekly Q&A during the season, I’ll consider that transparency. Until then, you know he’s just going to make an announcement. Likely the venues for the homestands. Which should be in Foxborough though they say they are picking Boston venues.

There is still some time before the season starts, giving plenty of time for more shocking turns and bets on “How long Fissure lasts this season”. I say mid-season break. Until then, we’ll see what happens.

Boston Uprising, Season 3

I was hoping by the time today happened, we’d get some sort of roster announcement finalizing our team for the upcoming season. Teams needed to have a minimum of 8 players signed to the roster last week. Considering we haven’t heard any punishments placed on teams for not meeting this deadline, we can assume the Uprising have met this deadline. Or they didn’t and got an extension or this just isn’t something that is going to be enforced.

In case you’re not in the loop, the Uprising again practically gut their team. All that’s left from their Season 2 roster is Axxiom, Colourhex, and Fusions. I was originally excited about the potential of blasé staying since both him and Colourhex had been under contract. Until they traded blasé to the Houston Outlaws for “cash considerations”. (They sold him off.) At the end of last season, I mentioned that they should keep blasé for his versatility. Colourhex because he clicks heads well. Axxiom because he’s a better tank in my opinion than Fusions. Fusions because even though he’s a Rein GOATs one-trick, he was good at it. He’d be a good backup. I wanted Nevix to pick up the off-tank role (spoiler: he went to Toronto), Swimmer as a main support (who we signed) and I got hopeful for maybe a Sleepy flex support. We got an amazing flex support out of Myungbong and I don’t know anything about our DPS pick up Jerry. Mouffin was signed on a two-way as a flex tank, which means that he’s probably not going to be their main. But he seems like a solid player.

Which means we need a main off-tank for the last spot. We also should be smart like other teams and fill up with a max 12 person roster, so that we have some backups to prevent burnout and such as travel starts in Season 3. There has to be a reason why Mouffin has a two-way contract. Maybe they want to try him out on the big stage before committing to him. I’m not sure. No other big off-tank names stand out as who would be a good fit for us. As for the other positions? Let’s just get some good bench players to actually sub in during matches/play when the starters are sick or otherwise unwell. (Fran to Uprising?)

As for my hopes for Season 3? I do think Swimmer is a massive upgrade to Kellex. Except now I have to buy my son a Swimmer jersey because he’s a swimmer (butterfly), he loves the Uprising as much as I do, and because Uprising blue and yellow looks very close to my son’s blue and gold colors. I liked how solid Colourhex was when he wasn’t on Zarya. I’m still not sold on Fusions and I was even less sold watching him during the World Cup. I do think they should take the off-season to move to Axxiom as the starter. It was there fault for putting all of their eggs in the Fusions basket and when GOATs died, we failed miserably.

I also hope that maybe, just maybe, this is the year that the Uprising learn the value of subbing players in and out. Some players just do better on certain characters on certain maps. We had 0 flexibility, primarily due to the fact that we never swapped players. San Francisco Shock had stacked their DPS (4 or 5 if I recall), swapping around as needed for the best results. You know what happened to them? They won the Grand Finals. People were concerned on maps when Muma didn’t play, thinking there was a problem and Muma was being traded. His response? “I’m just not good on that map”. I have maps I’m terrible on. Many players do. Forcing players to play characters they aren’t great at (Colourhex on Zarya) or on maps that they aren’t great at (Muma and said map. I believe it was King’s Row, but I can’t find the quote) is the same as throwing.

This doesn’t mean that everything is final. They can still trade up until June. But what this does mean is that I’m scared we aren’t going to play it smart and have a full 12 for our roster. I’m scared that they won’t learn their lesson and just stick stubbornly to the same 6 people throughout the entire match and just hope for the best. Fans deserve better. They deserve more transparency.

I don’t want to be a laughing stock of the league again. I want to go back to the time when we were an underdog that overcame everyone’s expectations. I want to be excited about matches again. I was so disappointed that this was one of the many reasons I didn’t buy tickets for the homestands. Plus, I didn’t like the fact I was expected to shell out a fortune to see players that I have no attachment to since they keep gutting the roster every year. I won’t even buy a named jersey for that reason. I don’t like the idea of paying money to a venue that doesn’t exist yet. I don’t want to go to watch my team flunk out because the coaching/management consistently fails the fans. I’d rather do that at home in my sweatpants without dealing with the long drive to Boston or the anxiety of being around that many people. I’m a full-fledged Boston fan and will cheer them on with as much excitement as I did last year. But I really hope the team surprises us this year. I won’t hope too much though because I’m a lifelong Boston fan that has been burned too many times by my teams.

New Season, New Team?

This seems to be the model for many teams in the Overwatch League during this off-season. While the Uprising taking the time to completely implode their team into oblivion wasn’t shocking (the blasé trade for cash did sting a little.. but not shocking), other teams have decided to scrap 90% of their team and staff. I will take some time to talk about some of these interesting moves, my focus is primarily going to be on the Uprising. (Though, please Spitfire, you’d be dumb not to keep Fury. Please keep him, he’s the only reason I started following your team.)

There have been some changes already, some of which was already leaked during the infamous Sideshow accidental stream from last week. Kariv is now a member of the Defiant (though no announcement on Agilities yet. The theory is because they want to film some great teaser with him and Kariv. Maybe this didn’t happen yet due to World Cup scrims?) Space is now a Gladiator. Things are starting to fall as the “Sideshow” leaks said they would.

But what about the Uprising, a team that is more known for its cutting/trading their entire team at the end of every season? Most of us Uprising fans when into this time of year and get rid of everyone. At least we had the comfort of knowing that blasé, Colourhex, Axxiom, and Fusions would be around next year. Until the surprise announcement that they had traded blasé for “cash considerations”. At first when the trade was announced, I wondered what we got from it. Did we pick up the talented and chill Danteh? Seemed like a long shot considering the “No I don’t play for Boston” joke, but it would’ve been a good trade for us. Nope. It was cash. We just sold our most flexible and standout player. It wasn’t too shocking, but it did hurt almost as much as the NotE/Gamsu departures.

Now, with a few weeks left until the November 15th deadline to have 8 players signed, we have 3 players. Potentially 4 if the leaks are true that the Uprising picked up a solid flex support in Myunbong. That’s only half a roster. Boston has a reputation for being a “farm team” or “moneyballing” but how accurate is that? This could be smart on his behalf, considering some teams are rumored to have money problems due to overspending in previous seasons. This is partially due to the new investments in homestands and traveling, something that was a goal for this league from the beginning. Maybe everyone else had poor planning and HuK actually knew what he was doing after all. (Yes, this pained me to say.) Now he has the money to spend on talent and on travel, while still working to get a discount whenever possible. That’s the Kraft way.

Tonight, HuK is doing another Q&A which surprisingly didn’t go so terribly last time. In fact, I did find that he was as candid as he could be without A) bad mouthing a player outright or B) other secret constraints such as contracts being finalized. He promised us to be more transparent and this 2nd Q&A shows that he’s trying to keep that promise. There will be some interesting questions, like why trade blasé when he was easily the most reliable player on the team? What about everyone else? Do we have new signings that you are going to announce? What about a venue for the homestands? I personally haven’t bought tickets yet for two reasons. One, I don’t know where it’s going to be and I don’t want to suffer at an awful venue. Two, I don’t want to pay money to support a team that I don’t know will exist.

It’s hard to be an Uprising fan and I wonder how long they can keep up this business model of imploding their team every year. No one will buy named jerseys if a player is barely going to last the year there let alone the off-season. They might buy jerseys or you might piss them off enough that they go for another team with more stability. As a lifelong Patriots fan, I accept that this is the way things go for the team. But it’s a rough life, especially when you go from one of the top teams to one of the worst teams in the league. We got them to stop laughing only to become a joke again, and the fans aren’t laughing. Hopefully this Q&A can revitalize the fans into being the avid supporters again.

Overwatch League: Season 2 Nears Its End

With the upcoming Rivalry weekend comes the end of the regular season for the Overwatch League. There have been various ups and downs this season that the league can learn from. For instance, Comms Check makes my day every time that I hear it. I enjoy watching the players have fun and it’s great to show off their very colorful personalities. The new pre-show/post-show Watchpoint moments are also great. The desk is great, though I do miss Reinforce playing a bigger role as an analyst. The new All-Star set up was also great, as was the longer breaks for the players. I felt these were things that made the league better for the players. The Homestands were fantastic, showing what energy was capable when the teams moved to their home cities for matches.

The Boston Uprising has 2 matches this upcoming weekend and I really hope that they pull off a win in one of those matches. This stage was supposed to be great for us, with our star DPS set up. What was the Uprising’s issue this stage? As much as I think Fusions is a solid guy who is talented and passionate, I still feel like he’s a GOATs Rein one-trick. His Orisa is slowly getting better but it’s not great. I feel like next year if Sigma is a good pick, you should keep him to off-tank as Sigma and give Axxiom the main tank role. The fact that they haven’t even put him in with the season over already anyways is annoying. The fact that they aren’t playing Aimgod is annoying. The reason this stage was tanked is solely on the backs of the management who are making these calls with 0 transparency at all and expecting fans to just accept it. The times of “In Huk we trust” are long gone. As Patriots fan, we still live by “In Bill We Trust” because even when he trades someone off or doesn’t play someone we think he should, it works out. It doesn’t work out for Huk. He is no Bill, no matter how hard he tries to run his team like he is.

I don’t blame blasé for the issues. He’s doing the best he can as a DPS being forced into an off-tank role, for whatever reason he’s playing. (The general consensus is that this is because rCk has an eye injury, but again, 0 transparency so who knows.) I think Colourhex (I know I hated him as Zarya, but that Widow tho) and Stellar are great and I hope that we keep these 3 DPS stars. I think we rebuild the team around them. Presumably they are selling off Aimgod as soon as they get the chance, but I also think that Fusions and rCk are going too. Persia may be good if he gets some better coaching, but I’d rather just get a solid player instead. Kellex, I could give or take him. He’s the only remaining player left from the original roster and he does show some technical skill.

So next year, I say our roster should consist of blasé, Colourhex, Stellar, Axxiom. Maybe pick up Nevix or Geguri as the off-tank. Then, maybe move Swimmer up from the Uprising Academy and Sleepy for your support duo? I’m picking players that may not be the best only on the grounds that the Uprising won’t pay top dollar for the big stars, so I’m sticking with players that I feel are “budget players”. Of course, this is assuming that they don’t just release everyone like they did last year and pick up players we probably never heard of.

Maybe the Uprising will surprise us and actually try something new for Rivalry weekend, which could give us a win. I just don’t want to go 0-7 this stage, or any stage really. But, we’ll see what happens.

Overwatch League: Season 2, Stage 4, Week 3: Will Boston Go Winless?

This week was a little less crazy than last week, with matches going mostly as expected. I won’t focus too much on that. As an avid Boston Uprising fan, I’m going to focus on that. Because, ffs. Wtf. Srsly. Those are the best ways to explain what is going on right now.

First of all, the only good news out of the match: At least we did better than the Titans did against them. And… well, blasé is actually good at Roadhog. Not the best D.Va, but neither is rCk so we didn’t lose too much there. blasé has proven to be such a versatile and valuable player to our team that can fill any role. Maybe next, he’ll take the role of Persia since apparently we’ll never see Aimgod again. Of course, we all know what this means: Boston will sell blasé after the season is over because they always sell off their good players.

When LiNkzr was playing instead of Jake on roles that Jake excels at and LiNkzr, well, not that great at, the people did what they normally do: why did you make that call? Now, when we ask why Aimgod isn’t playing, we get nothing but radio silence. Not even some BS excuse. Nothing. The organization doesn’t respect their fans enough to give us any answers. At least lie and say he’s not feeling well or injured. But the Outlaws? They gave an answer to their fans. Something is going on internally and that decision was made as a result. The Outlaws respect their fans enough to give them some answer. It may have been vague, but it was something. As an Uprising fan, we deserve something even something vague. That shows you that they don’t value their fans.

Why didn’t rCk play against the Justice? It could be because his Roadhog wasn’t great. When fans saw blasé in the tank role, most knew that he’d been practicing Hog/Orisa with Fusions, so it made sense. But Persia over Aimgod? There is still no way that makes sense. Even if he has been outperforming Aimgod in scrims, something is happening on stage to make everything fall apart. This would be like sitting Tom Brady without giving any reason at all. Let’s tank a season without giving any answers while a star player is sitting the bench. Is it because of an internal issue and you don’t want to talk about it because it will ruin the trade value? Maybe the problem is with the organization, not the player? You would think if you wanted to increase his trade value that you would play him to get more value for him. The tank line isn’t working. The support line isn’t working. And the team management/coaching decides not to even try anything new, like maybe Axxiom over Fusions. But, we’ll put a DPS player as an off-tank. I don’t get it.

I’m a Boston sports fan. These are my home teams. I was raised to support them when they fail, because we’ve seen a lot of fail in our time as Boston fans growing up. But it’s really hard to support a team that doesn’t value their fans as they should Will I support them still? Unfortunately, yes. Because they are the hometown team. But it’s getting really hard when the fans seem to care more than the organization does.