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.

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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.

Overwatch League: The Final Stage of the Season Begins and a Watch Party

Stage 4 and the 2-2-2 lock has officially begun and honestly, there were some surprises but mostly things have gone as people thought. A big surprise was that the analysts thought that the Boston Uprising would start destroying this stage, since their DPS duo had such great potential. I guess that’s what happens when analysts finally believe in the Uprising. Here is a brief summary of what happened with this massive change to the league this week, and my more in-depth Boston Uprising discussion.

The fact that Houston lost to Paris was a little shocking to me, but they took a win home against the Gladiators to go 1-1 this week. NYXL struggled this week and Shanghai is still on a tear, especially since pulling out what is now known as “Roadfrog” with Geguri making a solid tank line with her Roadhog and Gamsu’s Orisa. Honestly, she was spectacular and it was great to see her back on the stage. It was also great to see Fragi and Bischu make their first appearances on the stage this season. All that’s left really is to see Pine freed from GOATs jail and all will be right again. Most of the other games went pretty much exactly how you thought they would, such as Titans showing that they aren’t GOATs one-tricks and it paid off for Shock to stack their team with star DPS players.

Boston Uprising Watch Party in Foxborough

Normally they do the watch parties in Boston, so to have one that was easier to get to in Foxborough was really exciting. Naturally, we had to attend. We left earlier in the morning to ensure that even with Cape Cod traffic, we would make the event in time. I’m glad we did. We ended up with a great parking spot, got to enjoy walking around the facility without the mass amounts of people that were there during my first trip to Patriot Place. (Apparently there was an Irish festival going on.) We ventured to the ProShop, happy to see that they had a lot more Uprising gear there. Then after some waiting, we went to the place where the watch party was being held.

The restaurant was pretty big, but honestly the fact that they had such a small section for the watch party setup was a little disappointing. The fact that all of the chairs were a foot off the ground was also a little annoying. (Plus the food was meh at best.) Still, they had giveaways and free Uprising stuff so that made up for some of the annoyance. To my surprise, every other television in the bar was switched to Overwatch League. This was good considering that about 80% of the people in there were there for the Uprising match. There were some “oohs” and “aws” during the Valiant match, but the real excitement came when the Uprising were on.

Until.. there was nothing to cheer about. The match was a quick 4-0 domination by the Charge. It was awful. As a fan, it was painful. There have been some bad losses, but this felt different. This was the first time that I was actually really salty over the game. Primarily because I think that my points have been proven about this team. Obviously I have no insider information or even know how their scrims go, but they did so poorly that you have to wonder if they even scrimmed during the break. Fusions is only good at GOATs Rein. I said that he was a “GOATs Rein One-Trick” so many times that I feel like a broken record pointing that out again. The one reason we picked up rCk was his versatility to switch between a mediocre D.Va and a decent Sombra. We gave away NotE because he could only really D.Va and Roadhog. Well.. now we’re in a 2-2-2 lock so we can’t use rCk for his versatility. But NotE… now NotE gets to shine on D.Va and Roadhog. On another team. The tank line is definitely one of the weakest links so far in this stage. They have no synergy and they just can’t seem to get the job done. On one map it almost looked like Ameng got his Hammod alt 3 times before Fusions even got one. That shouldn’t happen. But it’s been a consistent problem for him… since he’s a GOATs Rein one-trick.

The DPS line did well enough. Colourhex seems much more comfortable now than when he played Zarya. There were some shots that I found myself screaming “You need to make those”, but overall he had a solid performance. People were mocking blasé but honestly I felt like he was doing the things that he was supposed to be doing. That’s always been the problem with blasé. He does what he’s supposed to do, maybe without Colourhex’s flash, but he gets the job done. I don’t think the DPS was the problem.

Then.. there is the support line. Kellex has been doing well, and I admit I have been very critical of him since the beginning. But he has shown to be a versatile support that makes the big plays when he needs to. But then there’s Persia. Admittedly, he did better this weekend than he has in the past. But even in this “better” state, he’s still not even close (in my opinion) to Aimgod. You can count on Aimgod to also make those big plays… and to survive most fights. Sure, Persia made some good sleeps and his Moira was fantastic. But I didn’t see a lot of purple enemy players when he played Ana. I saw Colourhex ask for heals to not get any from Persia as he was standing next to him. I saw his problems with positioning and staying alive. Persia may be doing better in scrims but that has not translated to him playing better on stage.

Saturday was a disaster, but at least Sunday wasn’t as awful. It’s still disheartening to see as an Uprising fan. This is supposed to be a meta where we were going to shine. Instead, management seems to want to throw the matches rather than win. Why isn’t Aimgod playing? Why hasn’t Axxiom scrimmed or been given a chance? You’ve given Persia plenty of chances on stage, but not Axxiom. Axxiom is supposed to be an amazing and versatile tank who probably only didn’t start because Fusions’ GOATs Rein was better. But we’re not in GOATs anymore. I hope during this bye-week that Uprising figures it out, because it’s one thing to lose because we’re being outplayed. It’s another thing to lose because you’re too stubborn to stick with what works or try something completely new. I think the fans deserve better from the management, or at least some answers.

Overwatch League, Season 2 Stage 3, Week 1: AKA, WTH Boston?

The first week of Stage 3 has concluded and there were a lot of interesting things that went on. Including some shocking movements from Boston. What were the biggest surprises? What on Earth happened to Boston? This was quite a week for matches, so let’s get into this.

First match of the week was Stage 2 champions San Francisco Shock up against the tragically underwhelming Atlanta Reign. Though, honestly what should have been a 4-0 match where the Shock easily trounced the Reign, the Reign actually put up quite the fight bringing the match into the tiebreaker map. Did the Reign get better or were the Shock having an off-game? Considering the Reign took a map off of the Titans, both situations could have been the case. Do I think they are a playoff contender team? Still, no.

Another amazing moment this week was when the Houston Outlaws decided to take a different approach to their match against the NYXL. The casters and analysts have long been calling for them to play to their strengths and not stick to GOATs, their obvious weakness. This week, they may have lost against NYXL, but they made the match go into a tiebreaker, proving that maybe the analysts were onto something. It was great to see them smiling on stage again, looking like they were having fun.

NYXL also had a fun surprise up their sleeves in probably their strongest showings this entire season. On the stage, appeared the one and only SBB. Saebyeolbe. In what seems like forever when we saw him last. Like, back when Tracer was in the meta, SBB showed a different side: Sombra. And he was utter destruction. I feel like the team played stronger with him out there and that he was a huge part of their 2 wins this week.

Finally, the Boston Uprising. My beloved team. They did some out of character things for them this week. They didn’t play the typical 6 men that they have played 90% of the year. Against the Spitfire, they started Alemao over Kellex and Persia over Aimgod. While I never felt like Kellex was the strongest support out there, Boston has never been known to “try something new” in terms of the players they start every week. Persia, as much as I hear he is a beast, never seemed like a stronger player than Aimgod. This was proven when on the second day, they put Aimgod back in for the matches. Boston lost both matches in a very disappointing way.

On Friday’s game (which I enjoyed at the first Western Mass Uprising watch party), they were easily 4-0’ed by the Spitfire. Why? The support line lacked support, Colourhex had his normal level of performance on Zarya, and Fusions seemed to not be getting any real big plays. It was a mess. It was hard to watch. They got stomped. Granted, Spitfire looked the strongest they have looked all season. But it was not a great match. Paris, which should have been a much better match, wasn’t. Aimgod was back to his amazing self, Alemao was decent but different from Kellex’s playstyle, but the problems were still with Fusions and Colourhex. Colourhex dying all the time doesn’t help. Him seeming like he never has energy doesn’t help. When he’s on DPS characters, he’s great. But he’s forced into a role that he’s obviously not comfortable with and definitely not consistent at. Fusions still has a terrible Winston. He wasn’t getting those big shatters he was known for. It was a mess to watch.

What does Boston need to do to get back on track? First of all, fail less would be a huge start. Was the performance that bad because Kellex is just really good at calling the other team’s alts? Maybe that would have helped the couple times that rCk seemed to be flanking while his team was getting grav’ed. I think that the time has possibly come to put in Axxiom over either Colourhex or Fusions, because we know from the first week that his performance on Zarya was far superior to Colourhex. Statistically speaking, he’s a more technically skilled main tank than Fusions. Giving him another shot could be a great thing to try. I think in their first match, their starting 6 should be: blasé, Axxiom, Colourhex, Aimgod, and Alemao. If that doesn’t work, then they should try the same 6, only replacing Colourhex with Fusions and Alemao with Kellex. At this point, trying everything can make a difference. Oh, and maybe if you’re going to get rid of NotE because he “can’t Sombra”, maybe try pulling out the Sombra. I feel like it wasn’t productive to get rid of an amazing D.Va if you’re not going to use the flexibility that you traded for.

Overwatch League Season 2: Stage 2, Week 5

What happened this week in the Overwatch League? Who got the final spots in the playoffs? How did the Uprising do and what’s next for them? Let’s take a look at these answers and more.

One of the most notable stories is that Atlanta Reign once again beat out NYXL. When the first loss happened, it was assumed that it was a fluke. By the second win, they proved that maybe they have more talent than they get credit for. Was it that Babybay not only filled the void of Dafran, but exceeded his play? The answer is probably yes. While Babybay may not be as versatile or have such a niche character pool, the characters he does play he is highly skilled at. He could help this team do very well over the course of the rest of the season.

Another notable moment, which some would argue is the most notable, is that Shanghai made it to their first Stage playoffs. Unfortunately for them, they are going up against the San Francisco Shock in the first round of the playoffs. It is also worth mentioning that the Shock has pulled off the first ever perfect stage, meaning that they didn’t even lose a map. It’s a great group of players, so I’m glad that this honor went to them, over say the Vancouver Titans. The Hangzhou Spark are also making their first playoff appearance. Other teams are playoff veterans the London Spitfire, NYXL, LA Gladiators, and Vancouver Titans.

As you can see, the Boston Uprising isn’t on the list of teams who made it to the playoffs. They were officially eliminated on Saturday, despite a very strong showing against the LA Gladiators, a team that was undefeated for the stage and looking to finish out that way. They didn’t, as Boston has a habit of raining on other teams’ parades. You would think that defeating such a strong team would show the fans that they were going to finish off the stage strong, especially against the then 1-12 Washington Justice. Despite adding 2 god-tier supports in Ark and Sleepy, they still struggled to mesh together. Well, I suppose that was until they reversed swept the Kings of the Reverse Sweep (the Boston Uprising). That’s right. We beat a 6-0 for the stage team to lose to a team that was looking for their first win of the stage. Well… they got it. Against us.

So what happened and what should we take away from this? When they looked the strongest, they had their DPS playing their signature roles. When they went GOATs, they didn’t do so well. Like, worse than normal. Like worse than normal enough to lose to, an albeit it getting-stronger-by-the-game team, but still a 1-12 team. Fusions was off. Colourhex was his normal less than stellar Zarya. (But dear Lord, can he click heads as Widow.) When you have GOATS, your MT and Zarya need to be great. And they weren’t great. And then, we got reverse swept.

What can Boston take away from this? When they are on the ball, they have such incredible potential to be great. However, as you can see they have quite the potential to be terrible. Has Fusions peaked? Do we just have to pray for the end of GOATS to get back into the playoffs? Whatever it is, we need our team to be way more consistent than it is right now. Maybe even start switching up players when people are under-performing. I mean, what’s the incentive to be consistent if you know that you get to play even if you’re playing terribly? You don’t think Belichik would pull Brady if Brady tanked a game? Of course he’d pull him. This model of “we don’t change starters” is going to kill this team and the fan’s morale. I’ve been a Boston fan my entire life, so I know what it’s like to watch your team struggle for years before coming up big. But this team won’t succeed if they don’t start changing their approach. You know what they say: The definition of “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Overwatch League: Season 2, Stage 2, Week 3

In all honesty, looking at the matches we saw in Week 3, there were very few shocking moments. The most shocking thing that we witnessed was the way that Atlanta Reign completely manhandled the NYXL, giving XL their first loss of the season. How did that happen? Was it a fluke? Some would say that it was just a fluke, considering the Reign lost 1-3 against the Guangzhou Charge. Aside from that, everything went pretty much as everyone expected things to go.

Which leads me to Boston’s matches this week. Last week was a heartbreaking loss in the tiebreaker map against the Spark. In last week’s blog, I did complain that Boston looks very strong when they are on their DPS comps, but GOATs has been something that they have particularly struggled with. Part of that is the inconsistency of Colourhex on Zarya. Some of this has to do with “WTF is Fusions doing?!” Which wasn’t as much of an issue when you had NotE babysitting everyone. Without NotE, our GOATs game is much weaker. Except when we have Sombra. Normally. And no, I’m not on the bandwagon of rCk blew King’s Landing with his EMP “failure”. It wasn’t his fault. It was the team’s fault for failing to close every point that they should have.

The first game was more of the the same against the Spitfire. Despite their success on DPS comps, they opted for GOATs every single match. And they lost. Because of the huge skill difference of our Zarya players. Plus, Gesture is an insane Winston in comparison to Fusions decent(?) passable Winston. Were they afraid of Colourhex losing the sniper duel? Were they afraid of the insane DPS combo of Profit and Birdring? Joke was on Boston: Birdring and Profit are insane Brig/Zaryas.

The next match against Vancouver was much more exciting. They put up a fight. They were alive. It was incredible to watch Colourhex and blasé come out and wreaking havoc on their iconic characters. blasé coming out with his Doomfist. Colourhex clicking heads with his Widow. It was exciting to watch. Seeing them almost full hold on Paris? Had they been able to close that out, they would have had more confidence for the rest of the match. But do you know what? They looked strong, they played well, and they looked incredibly happy. They had fun. No one expected that they were going to win against the currently undefeated Titans, though winning against the Titans and keeping themselves as the record holders for longest win-streak would have been the BostonUp thing to do.

The moral of these matches is that they not only have more fun, but they perform much better when they are allowed to excel on the characters that they love to play. Releasing blasé from Brig jail is always the best thing for them to do. And as much as I love Colourhex as a DPS player, he just hasn’t picked up Zarya as well as other DPS players have. (::cough:: Sinatraa) We do a lot better without him on Zarya. Boston does better when they flex. They need to start using the Hunters’ strat of “Character Roulette”, because Boston certainly has the talent to pull it off. The problem is that with these strats, you require a tank that is much more flexible than a Rein one-trick. As much as Fusions is amazing on Rein, Axxiom is much stronger on the other main tanks.

I would really like to see them give Axxiom a shot to lead the team to see if this helps make them work more cohesively. Or, force him back on Zarya because they destroyed with it was an Axxiom and Fusions duo. Did they only run DPS comp because they wanted to have fun knowing that they’d lose to the Titans but hope that an upset happened anyways? I don’t care, but they need to do more of that.

Overwatch League Season 2: Stage 2, Week 2

Was that a Boston choke or an outright failure? Should the Outlaws have stayed DPS or did they make the right call in swapping to GOATs? Who was the victor of the Battle for LA? The holiday today made today’s blog late, but better late than never. Maybe.

The most exciting news of the week had to be the fact that Valiant finally got their first win. It was exciting to see Custa free from the bench and for the first time all season, the team looked good together. That was, until they didn’t when it was time for the Battle for LA. That’s always an exciting match and unfortunately this time it wasn’t as exciting as normal. The Gladiators won, but the Valiant still looks a lot more confident than they did last stage. They can only go up from here though. There was some spice leading up to the game and afterwards, but that was all in good fun. Maybe. Or the Overwatch League finally got the heated rivalry that they were looking for without having to force the NY vs. Boston agenda.

Speaking of Boston, this week they only had 1 game. A game that they should have easily won. Only, they didn’t. Fortunately, us fans didn’t have to have a heart attack waiting for a reverse sweep. Unfortunately, we still went to a Map 5 where we didn’t do well at all. What happened? First of all, they just didn’t look like the same strong team that they had when the stage began. They didn’t flex too much. They didn’t change things when things were obviously not working for them. And it didn’t work for them. It was a bit rough to watch, but at least rCk was solid. Though, Dallas had NotE flexing a lot more than Boston normally would have and wouldn’t you know: NotE isn’t a D.Va one trick. I miss him even more now.

Lastly, there was the Outlaws vs. Monte vs. Everyone else in a disagreement about whether or not Outlaws should have stuck to the DPS or if going GOATS was what caused them the game. My take? If they had out-GOATed the Titans and won, this would have been an entirely different conversation. It’s always easy to say what a team should have done, but there are so many factors that play into it that you can never really know.

Next week, I hope Boston gets their stuff back together. They have some tough opponents this week in the Spitfire and the Titans, so they don’t really have the time to act like fools this week. Maybe they can do what they did last year and topple the Titans as they did NYXL later on in the stage. I would love to be their first loss, though I’m willing to bet that Boston just doesn’t do anything different and expect a good outcome. Which won’t work for them this week.