Overwatch League: The Quarterfinals

It was an interesting and quite surprising week in the Overwatch League, with the inaugural season’s playoffs starting this week. It was the Philadelphia Fusion versus the Boston Uprising and the London Spitfire up against the LA Gladiators. It was an extremely exciting week that I can’t wait to break down for you. So here we go.

The first day of matches was the 11th, with all of the teams starting off. The first match of the game was the Fusion vs. the Uprising. The Uprising got utterly destroyed in the first match of the game, which was set on Dorado. The Fusion just walked all over their defense and Uprising’s offense didn’t do much better. Uprising took the second map in a strong showing on Oasis. The next map, Eichenwalde, was a nail-biter but Fusion ultimately took the map away for a 2-1 lead over Uprising going into the 4th map. Boston must’ve felt very confident going into Volskaya Industries, a map they have never lost on. Well… until they did against the Fusion. The Fusion walked all over them, getting both points while holding Uprising to 0 points, winning the match 3-1. The next match of the day was the LA Gladiators and the London Spitfire. I can quickly sum this match up for you: Gladiators destroyed London 3-0 for the day.

As a fan of both of these teams, I was pretty bummed out about the matches. Still, I keep a positive attitude that my beloved Uprising would #RiseUp going into Friday’s matches. For the weekend, each sets of team would play the entire day. So the 2 matches on Friday were Fusion vs. Uprising and Saturday had LA vs. London. On Friday, Boston did #RiseUp in the second match, but it was a rough ride. Both teams played amazingly but Mistakes certainly stepped up and helped give his team the edge. I don’t care what he thinks, but his performance was much better than the 5.6/10 he gave himself. Also, Note was amazing and he deserves a lot more credit than he gives himself and other people give him. Back to the matches. In the first set of matches, I was pleasantly surprised how well they handled Hanamura, their worst map, which they won in the first match. The second set of matches gave us a different look at the team. Again, Boston destroyed on Junkertown as they did in the first match. However, after that things started going downhill. Uprising was wrecked in Lijiang Tower. Hybrid maps are pretty tough for them and they just couldn’t quite get Eichenwalde down for the win, a map that they chose. The probably the worst mistake HuK could have made happened. I see where he was going with it, but statistics matter. I don’t know if it was arrogance or he figured that they won on Hanamura once today so they could easily do it again. Either way, the safer choice would have been Volskaya, a map they have a much higher win percentage on. Boston lost, and Fusion advanced to the semi-finals against NYXL. More on my thoughts on this match after the recap.

I did lose a bit of hope in the Spitfire, a team that after winning the first ever Stage Championship went into a slump. I watched without too much confidence, expecting a Battle of the LAs in the semifinals. (Imagine the ratings for that.) However, London Swept both matches and advance to go against the LA Valiant in the semifinals. As for the semi-finals, I expect the Fusion to give XL a run for their money but I think XL will walk away the big winners of everything. Spitfire and Valiant could go either way but the way Spitfire played this weekend gives me hope that they could make it to the finals. I’m rooting for an XL vs. Spitfire finals. Then at least my 2nd choice team could win and I can walk away happy.

As for the Uprising, what happened? I’m not too disappointed; they made it much further than anyone expected. However, they had the potential of making it to the next round. They had the potential to make it all the way. They had the potential to win, being the only team to beat the XL as much as they did. So what happened? First of all when you run a single support, that support needs to stay alive longer than 2 minutes in every fight. Because you can’t really see what’s going on, it’s hard to say why he died so much but it was definitely a combination of factors. Maybe at some point they should have just tried Snow in his place (or even Avast) because if they were going to lose, mixing it up to see if that worked could have changed the entire outcome of the match. There is also the issue of being tired. The Uprising only has a few extra players to help relieve the core if they get tired. Unlike the Fusion, who seemed to keep swapping players in and out. They had a team with a break. We didn’t. That’s our fault. We also need to pickup some DPS player with a massive character pool. Mistakes can only do so much and Striker seems like a waste to be anywhere but on his signature Tracer. They have a strong core but this core needs to have a break at some point to keep them fresh. Also, what was HuK thinking when he chose Hanamura? That was a Belichick move: Genius if it worked, awful for him if it didn’t. Unfortunately this time that gamble didn’t pay off. I understand the thought behind it. Fusion put in Hotba, someone who played a surprisingly great Tracer that threw Uprising off on Volskaya and stomped them into the ground. To screw with them, pick the unlikely map to mess with their head. However, we were 3-8 on that map at this point in time. It was dumb. It really was a dumb call. Adjust to Hotba not screw yourselves over.

Adaptability and not resting their players is the biggest issue this roster seems to have. There is a strong core of players that you can work with, you just need to build up the roster even further to give the team more of the tools that they need to adapt to a variety of different situations. Good job though, Boston Uprising. I am proud to be a hardcore fan to such an amazing group of people. I hope they come back even stronger next time.

 

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Overwatch League- Stage 4, Week 4

With the final week of the Overwatch League finally upon us, it’s time to take a look at how things are shaping up for playoff time. Fortunately the post season will keep us occupied for the next month, but when I don’t have to post about OWL I can post about the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth beta. But until then, let’s take a quick look at this week in OWL.

The first point that should be mentioned is the fact that the Valiant is still undefeated and have their spot in the Stage 4 and the post-season playoffs locked up. Shanghai Dragons had some seriously strong matches, but still ultimately came up short in their hunt for their first win of the season. This team has some strong players but they just can’t seem to close the deal to get those crucial wins. Their only real chance for a win would’ve been against the Mayhem, but they ended up losing in a heartbreaking match. That doesn’t stop the crowd going wild for this team, rooting for them to at least get one win by the end of the season.

Then there was my Boston Uprising. I was skeptical that they were going to even beat Shanghai this week, but Boston seems to be getting back up to their Stage 3 form. They have found their stride so much that I would actually buy NotE that corgi if I had the money to. They went 2-0 this week, which helped their shot at making the post-season playoffs. We went from worried that they would even make the playoffs to now being able to say that they have clinched a spot in the post-season. Will they get far? They could, especially if they find themselves in sync as they did all last stage. They have figured out Brigitte finally and have 2 wins on Hanamura now. If they keep this up, they are going to have a strong showing in the playoffs. Though, we should be happy that they even made it there considering the experts had them in last (or second to last) place prior to the season starting.

This is going to be an exciting week at OWL, watching the last teams clinch up their spots in the playoffs. Who will win it all? Probably NYXL, but there’s always a chance for an upset.

Overwatch League: Stage 4, Week 3

This week in OWL didn’t really offer many surprises as one would have hoped for the week. Boston is still winless in this stage, though they did nearly win against the Spitfire. Shanghai is still winless for the entire season. NYXL is still the top team, though Valiant beat them on the tiebreaker map to keep their undefeated stage alive. Fuel is also still on fire, which I’m going to credit partially to Mickie being just an amazing Brigitte. Brigitte has shown to be a huge shakeup to teams, since those who can play her well do great while the ones who can’t seem defenseless against her.

Boston has had a really tough stage so far. The best match they have played so far was against the Spitfire, where they tied on a map and fought hard to stay alive. It wasn’t enough though despite pouring everything they had into those matches. The one great thing to come out of them this week? They finally have their first win on Hanamura. Progress? Maybe, but as much as I’d love to see Shanghai finally win one I really don’t want to be the team they win against. And the way Boston has been playing and the way Shanghai performed against Houston, they may actually beat us. I’m conflicted about how I feel about that.

The playoffs for the stage and the post-season are coming very soon. Boston needs to figure it out because I want the analysts to say that they were wrong about them. They did when they were winning but now they seemed to have written last stage off as a fluke. We need a better coach. Losing Crusty was obviously rough on the team, both in playing and for morale reasons. And where’s Neko? Are they saving him for the playoffs if they get in? Does he just need a break? I can’t help but to wonder if his experience in the league could be more beneficial to us right now. I am happy that Mistakes seems to be doing well on Brigitte, so maybe things will turn around soon. This team obviously still has talent; they just need to figure it out.

This will be a great finish to an eventful inaugural season. I’ll miss it when it’s over, but soon football will be back and I can be happy again.

Overwatch League- Stage 4, Week 1

The final stage before the playoffs and grand finals is here. With a new character introduced, things were bound to be shaken up a little. And it definitely did. With Brigitte comes a new meta that people need to learn how to deal with: she will destroy anything in her path and she doesn’t care who you are. Another new map pool, here is a look at this week in the Overwatch League.

Will Brigitte be a viable option in Competitive? Everyone certainly got their answer with this first week. Many strategies did involve the new character, with even SBB getting into the Brigitte action. (In case you’re wondering, he’s just as deadly at Brigitte as he is at Tracer.) The teams that dominated this week knew how to keep the Brigitte at bay. It was the teams that didn’t have an answer for her that really suffered this week. With less Tracer in the lineup, it was easy to worry about stars like SBB and Striker, but it turns out they adjusted just fine to their new roles on their team. With more Zarya, it was great to see Geguri really in her element which is something that fans have been looking forward to.

One of the teams that really suffered from this? The Boston Uprising. Was it the fact that Crusty left that made this week so hard for them? Did they just not master Brigitte enough? There was not a lot of Brigitte playtime on this team and that certainly hurt them. What probably hurt them the most is the fact that they could do nothing about Brigitte. The strategy of trying to ignore her didn’t work for the team. She destroyed Striker’s Tracer, which is one reason that you are going to see a lot less of her if Brigitte becomes more popular. Nothing worked for them. The teams that they played against had a very solid Brigitte (/cough Jake), and Uprising just never stood a chance.

The team looked very different from the one that went undefeated last stage and came in 2nd in the finals. They were disjointed. Maybe it has to do with this being their worst map pool in the game, but you would think that they would have worked extra hard to master these maps. I think this all comes down to bad coaching. Crusty leaving really hurt and it seems that the team they have in place just can’t even hold a candle to the former coach.

I hope that they straighten this out. The team has solid talent but that means nothing if the coaching staff behind them can’t take them to the next level. Also, Mistakes learn Brigitte. I have faith that you could be awesome at it. A final note: RIP D.va in this stage. I don’t want to miss my main main in competitive now.

Overwatch League: Boston Uprising vs. NYXL

A team that was expected to go nowhere in the league (my team the Boston Uprising) not only overcame any controversy and low expectations from the experts by making it into a stage playoff, they went in undefeated and in the 1st seed. They broke all types of records along the way including first team to go undefeated in a stage and the first team to win their playoff game 3-0. They had the longest win streak in the game. They were put on a pedestal by the casters, who still had no faith in them to win the playoffs but couldn’t help but to marvel over them.

The problem with being on a pedestal… is you generally always fall off. They had another strong showing against the LA Gladiators, but the NYXL is another beast entirely. The Boston Uprising put up a fight but always came up just a little bit short. They didn’t make it easy for the XL, but they are the top team in the league for a reason. I’m just happy that a team nobody expected anything from took the 2nd place spot and prize money.

I do need to clarify something, as a Patriots fan and an Uprising fan. You cannot compare the fact that the Patriots went undefeated only to lose the most important game, because that would be way out of context. For one thing, the Patriots were absolutely dominate and the favorites to win it all. The Uprising may have been dominate this stage, but up to this point they were an average team that people thought would be in last place not 6th. The NYXL was always one of the favorites to perform well and they were the favorite going into the match. Uprising was dismissed, and expected to be knocked out by the Gladiators. The Giants were the underdog that surpassed the beasts known as the Patriots. The comparison would make more sense had NYXL went undefeated and then lost in the final match to Boston as if some reverse karma had taken place. In fact, the only real comparison that you can say is that the Uprising is owned by the Kraft organization and NYXL is the New York team. They are still pushing the NY/Boston rivalry hard and you can’t force something that really isn’t there.

Boston played a solid match. If it were any other team than XL, I believe that they would have easily won. The errors that were made wouldn’t have mattered too much against other teams, but XL will punish every mistake. They are aggressive and just really hard to beat. I didn’t expect a win. I hoped for one and thought it would be awesome if they did. But I didn’t expect the win.

Still, I’m very proud of my team. I supported them when everyone thought that they would fail (buying their merch as soon as it was available). I can still say that I proudly wear it now. I’m going to save up, buy myself an away NotE jersey (D.va main here), and be happy that I have a team that I can believe in. I’m glad that they get to do their Boston tour, coming home with their $25,000 prize and their heads held high that they showed everyone what they can do.

Overwatch League Stage 3- Week 3

Can I just enjoy this moment? This week was another incredible week for matches. There were shocking moments and heartbreak. This is a look at the week in the Overwatch League and outside of it. Especially a nice moment to gloat about my favorite team.

First, a look inside the league. The matches here were relatively as expected. Shanghai is still without a loss, though people expected them to finally get their win against the Mayhem. They worked hard but ultimately still walked away from the match win-less. Maybe next stage everything will finally come together. I’m rooting for them, especially Geguri. I love a good tank and I do support the only female player in the league. If I didn’t love NotE so much, I would take her over him. But NotE is awesome and we are lucky to have him on the team.

Speaking of the Boston Uprising, holy cow! Their week was set to be another tough one: going against the London Spitfire and the Seoul Dynasty. Both teams have been in a sorta slump, not achieving their potential. Spitfire, the stage 1 champions seemed to have struggled since their first big win. Seoul just seems to be suffering from something, but I don’t quite know what it is. Is it a communication thing? Have they just not found a group that clicks for them yet? Whatever it is, the Spitfire seems to be struggling with the same issues.

As much as I love the Spitfire, Boston is my team. I rooted for them but honestly, I didn’t think they were really going to win. They have been strong so far this stage but they were due for a loss. After that season where the Patriots went undefeated only to lose the Super Bowl, I kept saying “only one of those games mattered and they lost it.” I don’t want to say this about the Uprising. It was definitely a struggle for them in their first match against the Spitfire. They finally lost on Temple of Anubis and the next map was Numbani, which is a bad map for them anyways. They went into halftime down 2-0. Then much like their football counterparts, they took control of the second half. It started with a strong showing on Ilios, then a not so promising start to Junkertown: the map that was going to decide if there was a defeat or tie breaker.

Despite only capping one point, they managed to surprise everyone by holding the Spitfire to 0 caps. This led to quite the intense tie-breaker map. After splitting the first 2 rounds, the last round was going to decide it all. With 99% cap on both sides, it did not look good at all for the Uprising. Until it did thanks to their strong team work and a clutch EMP from the new kid on the block Mistakes. Then my hand went into the ceiling fan as I jumped in excitement and awe over it. There is a battle wound still, but I’m fine.

The next night was going to be another difficult one. Despite their slump, Seoul is still a strong team that was going to be extremely hard to go against. The first map was Volskaya Industries, our final undefeated map. We walked away still undefeated in this map. We then went on to tie on Blizzard World, making every map so important now since there was no tie-breaker map to fall back on. The next map would win it all for them. Both teams came back after halftime with their game faces on. Then, Uprising went on to win the next map, Nepal. They lost the final map in Route 66 but they had already walked away with the match.

This leads us into territory that no one thought we would be in: Undefeated and in 1st in Stage 3 and overall in 2nd place. Not bad for a team that everyone said would be in last (or second to last) place.

As a final note, be sure to check out the social media accounts of these amazing players. You get such great moments, such as the creation of Froguri (Geguri in a frog onesie will make anyone’s day) or hilarious interactions between these players. Because at the end of the day, they love the game and they are here to win but also have a great time with each other. The casters are also very amusing to follow on social media. This is a great group of people and I am proud to support the league.

Overwatch Leage Stage 3- Week 2

There were a lot of surprises in the Overwatch League this week, but the biggest surprise of them all comes from the underdogs of the league: the Boston Uprising. Here is a closer look at a quick recap of this week of play, primarily focusing on my favorite team.

Going in, a lot of Boston Uprising fans (including myself) were scared for our future without our disgraced former star. We were on a high after upsetting teams the first week, primarily as a result of the strong play from the aforementioned disgraced star. With only 1 other DPS player on the roster, the future seemed pretty uncertain for the team. I, having watched Mistakes stream, was decently confident that he would do better than most people gave him credit for. My husband, who is as much of a fan of the team and league as I am, had his doubts. After arguing back and forth about the next move here: Do we go with Mistakes? Does Neko step up as DPS and let Snow or Avast come in as our second support? Do we try to go after such strong players as Shadowburn or Pine who doesn’t seem to get the playtime that they deserve? What about streamers like AimbotCalvin? I dismissed the idea of one of the world’s best Zenyattas going DPS, because, well, he’s one of the world’s best Zens. I put all my eggs in the Mistakes basket and hoped for the best.

… and anyone who didn’t made some huge Mistakes this week. (Those jokes never ever get old.) Our first game up was against the New York XL, a game that as much as any Uprising fan wanted us to win knew that it wasn’t going to be likely. Again, especially without such a strong player that we have grown used to. This was going to be Mistakes thrown to the wolves to see what he was made of. And to everyone’s shock, the Uprising won 3-2 against the best team in the league. Going into the game, XL had only lost 2 games the entire season so far. The team came together and showed us that they are more than one player; they are a strong team.

In case anyone thought this win was a fluke, they also went 3-2 against Florida Mayhem. We’re still undefeated as of yet in the stage, putting us in the position no one predicted we would ever be in: 2nd place for the stage and 4th place overall. Not bad for a team that people predicted before the season started that would be in the last or second to last spot. In true Boston fashion: never count us out.

In other shocking news, Seoul and London are continuing to struggle. London faced off against Fusion for the first time since they lost to them in the Stage 2 playoffs, but they were not redeemed. Shanghai is still looking for their first win of the season and Mayhem is still struggling to find something that works for them. These two are going to be facing off this week and it will be very interesting to see just how this plays out.

I have been streaming the Battle for Azeroth alpha play on my Twitch stream. Next week I may be adding some of my amazingly mediocre play on Overwatch as well. I play mystery heroes. My gold rank in comp will probably just rot because toxic people are no fun. We’ll see. Check me out on Twitch in case you haven’t already.