Overwatch League, Season 2: Stage 2, Week 1

Overwatch League was back last week, finally filling that void that was created during the break. While I was excited to get back to watching one of my favorite competitions, I was anxious as a Boston fan since the loss of NotE right before the stage was set to begin. I wasn’t over it before the Boston Uprising had their first match against the reign. And I’m not going to lie, I’m still not over it. But I’m okay with it. Because holy crap did something happen to the Uprising during this first week back. Here is a brief recap of this week in the Overwatch League and a discussion of the Uprising.

The games weren’t really too exciting outside of the Uprising matches, not just because that’s my favorite team but because there were no shocking wins. Of course NYXL was going to slaughter the Fusion, especially after their loss in to them in the Grand Finals playoffs. NYXL reasserted their dominance and effectively put Philadelphia in their place with a 4-0 win. The only thing remotely shocking was the fact that they tied a map with Shanghai. Some people may also be shocked that Fissure finally lost to a team that traded him away, but that was a close enough match where it was just going to go either way.

One awesome thing to note is the way that Paris broke through the bunker comp (basically, a comp with Bastion being protected with Baptiste/Orisa combo) on Hanamura. People finally got to see some big brain Symmetra play as they carefully ported around the line of site of Bastion, essentially rendering him useless. Then they set up turrets on the first point, blocking entry from the defense, and easily rolling that point. Then they ported to the flank side during the Hunters respawn to capitalize on the momentum. The Hunters were on the high ground and by the time they realized what was going on, they were destroyed. It was amazing to watch that and the fact that they fell for the same exact play the second go around.

Then there was the Uprising match. I didn’t go into high hopes. The only way that this new lineup was going to work is if they finally started to be a little flexible. Use the fact that rCk can flex to Sombra. Maybe even get our stellar dps to actually play dps. I didn’t want to just see GOATS for the sake of seeing GOATS because the Uprising can’t be flexible. But then, a freaking miracle happened… they were flexible! Colourhex was able to pop off as Widow, which made me so happy to not see him as Zarya. (I really…. really hate his Zarya play.) But then, even his Zarya wasn’t as terrible as normal. And blasé? I still stand by his play deserved the Player of the Match or at least the Uprising MVP of the day. Was there a character that he wasn’t stellar on? Then rCk, a player that I really didn’t want to like. He may not have been as great of a D.Va as NotE, but he made some solid D.Va plays including the one(s) that gave us the win on Watchpoint Gibraltar and put us in the tiebreaker match against the Atlanta Reign. The Uprising went on to reverse sweep in their 1st match of the stage, finally bringing joy back to a fan base that was lost without our fan favorite. No surprise, the newcomer got the Player of the Match. Patriot fans were also amused at how again they came back against an Atlanta team.

The second match was against the Toronto Defiant, a team that I really wanted to beat after what happened last time they faced off with Neko’s “tactical crouching”. Again, Boston looked shaky, but once again after the half, they came back looking like an entirely different team. Once again they pulled off the reverse sweep, making them the first team to win 3 reverse sweeps in a row. Boston is all about breaking records, if nothing else. I’d prefer not going through the heart attack every match though. HuK may have proved that he has Belichik’s eye for talent, and us fans were wrong.

The casters admitted defeat. They learned a lesson that they should have learned last year when the team that they predicted would finish in 12th actually finished in 3rd: Don’t count Boston out. They will surprise you. They feed off of the underdog energy. Plus, us Boston fans can tell you something else about our teams: they have always been second half teams. I just hope next week we can win without the anxiety of a reverse sweep.

Advertisements

Overwatch League: What was Boston Uprising Thinking?

I know. Today would be a post about parenting or current events and not gaming. However, on Tuesday a bombshell was dropped on the #RiseUp Nation that made (from what I could tell) most of us not want to #RiseUp. I scoured social media, procrastinating from work. (Isn’t that what it’s there for?) Then, I saw it. NotE, our beloved D.Va player and a “Goodbye” post from HuK. I immediately checked the calendar. It surely was still April Fool’s Day. Nope. It wasn’t. But wait, maybe the post was posted on April Fool’s Day and I just saw it. Nope. It was real. My heart dropped.

I immediately texted my husband. “Noooooo”, followed by every crying emoji I could find along with the link to the Tweet. No response. About an hour later, he called to let me know that he was coming home from work. The first thing that I said was “AMG, did you see my texts?!” No, he was busy in meetings. “Good thing you are driving, because you’re going to want to be sitting down for this….” Needless to say, he was just as upset as I was about the whole thing and we ended up eating our sadness in some General Tso’s chicken (spicy) and fried rice.

A while back, there were rumors of a trade that would upset the Boston Uprising fan base and shake them to the core. The rumor was a Fusions trade to Valiant. That wasn’t going to be earth-shattering. (A Rein joke, in case you’re wondering.) This must have been that trade because not only are Uprising fans shaken up, they are questioning their loyalty to the team. I get that. I’m a hometown fan, supporting my local teams through whatever. But you’re rooting for people, players that you have grown to be excited to see play. And Boston just keeps getting rid of them. Who are we supposed to be loyal to if you trade the players away like nothing? The only remaining player from the original roster is Kellex. Are we to expect our players getting traded every season? Why would we buy a player jersey if you’re just going to get rid of them? What’s the plan here?

Did we pick up a good player? Yes. Did we pick up a good D.Va player to replace NotE? There’s no way that rCk is better than NotE as D.Va, though I hope I can eat those words later. He’s a flex DPS, not a flex Tank. NotE, when you saw quick flashes of him on other characters, was good. We, as fans, have no way of telling if he was a flexible player because Boston seems to not ever let their players flex. Dallas fans think that they got robbed; Boston fans think that they got robbed. Are there any winners here?

Let’s put it in terms that football fans can understand, appropriate since this is one of the few pro sports I actually enjoy and Uprising is own by Robert Kraft. Take Edelman. He’s a great player. He’s got heart. In fact, you could argue he’s really the heart and morale of the team as far as fans are concerned. But he’s not the best player on paper. Now, imagine if they traded him off for an Odell Beckham. A better player on paper, but will he offer the same heart and morale that Edelman did? That’s what happened here.

I hope they have a plan because myself and other fans don’t see it yet. Much like I still don’t see Colourhex on Zarya over Axxiom. I do wish that NotE kills it out there and shows Boston what they are missing by losing him. The match today will certainly be interesting…

Overwatch League: Season 2, Stage 1, Week 3

I wish that I could say that this was an exciting week, but there was really nothing too shocking as far as outcomes go. Fortunately on top of discussing some of the more interesting stories of the weekend, I can rant about everything that the Boston Uprising failed on during their truly disastrous match against the Defiant. So let’s get to it.

First of all, Dafran’s amazing grav play on Hollywood was spectacular. I’ve never seen anyone do that. I’ve never even considered trying it. Unfortunately, as Soe points out, now you are going to see everyone else try this when they can. Which will more likely than not fail rather than achieve the massive success Dafran saw with that move. That was real skill right there and should be evidence to any doubters that he belongs in the big leagues.

Then, there was the C9 that may cause everyone to refer to it as the “Shangnine” (Joke, courtesy of blasé) or just calling it the “Shanghai”. Why he would ever walk off the point like that is beyond everyone. Even the commentators had no clue what was going on when the “Round Complete” flashed on the screen. After a quick look, it was easy to see that Youngjin just walked off the payload, probably as a knee-jerk reaction to his dying teammate. Maybe he thought it capped. This was easily the most memorable moment of the week.

Another hot topic this week was the trash talk, specifically a focus on Dogman. In the mix was Neko’s constant trolling of the Uprising, using their sprays and kicking it, as well as his attempts to teabag Aimgod. A little competitive spirit is fine as long as it doesn’t get to a high level of toxicity. There’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed, but as long as it’s all in good fun there shouldn’t be any real issue with it. They wanted Overwatch to be similar to other professional sports leagues and the spice is all part of that.

Now it’s time to focus in on the Uprising matches. With Fusions back in their match against Seoul, Uprising had such a strong showing. Kellex and those boops were solid and Fusions was terrifyingly aggressive. I still wasn’t sold on Colourhex has Zarya, but he wasn’t too awful so I only complained about half the match about how Axxiom was better. They won against Seoul and found the momentum to keep the wins coming. That was until they faced off against former teammate Neko and the Toronto Defiant. The first 2 maps were rough going, but Uprising finally got a win on Anubis. Then they went to Rialto, where despite a strong few pushes they couldn’t quite pull out the win. It was a rough loss.

Colourhex was one of the biggest problems of the match. Ivy easily outperformed him in every way. This was most evident on Rialto where Ivy had 3 gravs before Colourhex even got one. He died early every fight in the entire match. It was a mess and I stand by the fact that Axxiom should have been in there as Zarya. But Brianne, he’s in there to flex as needed. Except when it was Rialto and he would’ve been more useful as Sombra and he ended up staying on his failed Zarya. NotE didn’t waste his ults; he likely just assumed that by the time Colourhex got his ult, that he would have enough self-destruct. NotE didn’t have the combos and just tossed his ult where it made the most sense to him. He did his job.

It was a mess. They didn’t adjust. They kept doing exactly the same. They did what they always do: stubbornly stay the same and hope the other team does something to fail. They are good at exploiting mistakes. They didn’t sub anyone in or out. They just kept hoping that something magically would click. It wouldn’t change because goats is so dependent on a good Zarya. I stand by what I said last week, almost. The starting six should be Fusions as MT, Axxiom as Zarya, NotE and blasé doing their thing, Aimgod as Zen, and Kellex as Lucio. That was their strongest showing. If you want flexibility, sub Colourhex in. But he has proven that he shouldn’t be the starting Zarya.

While stage playoffs might be out of the question, there’s still the bigger picture of the end of the year playoffs. Every match matters towards that, so Uprising really need to figure it out. Maybe they are hoping that come next patch, goats will be dead and they can thrive back as they did when dive was the meta. Maybe HuK is a genius and we should just trust him. But unless this team learns to adapt on the fly, they will not relive the success of last year.

Overwatch League: Season 2, Stage 1, Week 1

It’s that time again: my Overwatch League recap. I have been waiting for this moment for a very long time, stalking every story in the off-season to keep me hyped about my favorite eSports league. He’s a recap of Boston’s performance and some notable mentions about Opening Weekend.

To start with, my focus will be with the Boston Uprising. As they are my team, I was far more attentive to their games. Word of Gamsu’s trade right before the season started was crushing. Sure, his Rein may not have been the strongest, but he was the team captain. He was the face of the team. I went into the first match skeptical. Then Fusions popped off like a madman. A game that I thought we were lose by a long shot was a lot closer than most people probably expected. With Fusions at the helm, they made New York work for it.

Unfortunately, the Sombra was the Uprising’s downfall. They had no answer to Meko’s Sombra. He disabled NotE and just wrecked the team. If they were going to stand a chance against Houston, they would need an answer for it especially since Danteh has a very deadly Sombra. And they did. Aimgod opted for a Moira pick instead of his typical Zenyatta. While Danteh’s Sombra did pose some issues on the first map, Jake’s Pharah was also very deadly. They lost on Nepal as a result. On Dorado, they figured out a solid strat against Sombra: blasé on Ana. They ended up losing the map, but I personally blame this on mistakes that Uprising shouldn’t have made. They ended up on a tie-breaker map in a nail biting faceoff on Ilios. Which they won. Aimgod and NotE were definitely the heroes of the match.

When it’s a pure goats comp versus a mirror comp, Uprising is solid. They went toe to toe with NYXL. Fusions, when he isn’t off in his hammer zone, is a stellar pickup. When you put them up with a weird comp, they get confused. For some reason, they stubbornly stick to goats even when it’s obviously not working. Is it because they don’t have that flexibility that a 2nd DPS offers with Colourhex suspended? Do they just not have any other strats? They will continue to struggle if they don’t start adjusting.

Other notable mentions for this first week. Dafran showed that he belongs on the big stage. Shanghai is still winless, but Gamsu’s hamster was solid. The duo of Gamsu and Geguri definitely worked. Bren and Sideshow were missed. The Spitfire struggled, while Philadelphia Fusion is starting off strong on their Redemption season. NYXL is showing that they are even better now. Are they the team to beat? Does the Shock just have too much DPS? The season just started, so it’s still way too early to tell what is going to happen.

Overwatch League Season 2: It’s Finally Here!

The only sport that I wait this anxiously for other than Overwatch League is football. And my Patriots already won the Super Bowl. Now it’s time to watch my Boston Uprising overcome another underdog tale to show off the resilience of Boston and everyone else in the area. We do love our underdog tales in Massachusetts. Especially when it comes to showing people what we are made of. Never count us out. Let’s take a look at what I think will happen today and some ideas for the season.

The first game up tonight is the rematch between the London Spitfire and Philadelphia Fusion. The Spitfire beat the Fusion in last year’s Grand Finals, which I was happy about since they are my second favorite team. (Fury!!!) I think that while Fusion will want redemption, the Spitfire will want to show everyone why they are the champions. I expect this team to be even stronger this year and may even make it a repeat championship win. This will be an amazing match to watch.

The next match is between the rivalry OWL keeps trying to make happen: NYXL vs. Boston Uprising. Do I hope the Uprising will win? Absolutely. Do I think that this is their night? Unfortunately not. With the main tank shakeup of the Gamsu trade, you’re losing a lot of tank synergy with our offtank NotE. I predict that Axxiom will end up in the main tank role, but the 6th spot is up in the air since Colourhex is suspended for 2 games. Will Fusions get the start or will we see Alemao? It will be interesting to watch and not the game I want to figure it all out in. At least this New York team is likeable and I’m a big fan of Pine, SBB, and Ark. Still, I’m hoping for a major Up-set. (Har har)

After this, you can see the Seoul Dynasty take on the Los Angeles Gladiators. The Dynasty was the league favorite last year, only to not live up to the expectations that this solid team had. Adding the controversial but extremely talented Fissure to their roster, the team hopes that they solved their problems from last year. Expect Ryu and Fleta to still be powerhouses. Los Angeles Gladiators put up a solid fight last year, impressing a lot of people with how far they made it. I think that they might beat Dynasty, but I hope I’m surprised.

Finally, Shanghai Dragons will go against the Hangzhou Spark. The Dragons will be searching for their first win (inside of the league play), and the Spark will want to show that a cute color scheme doesn’t mean that they will be easy prey. As much as I want to root against Shanghai for taking our Papa Gamsu, I really want to see Gamsu and Geguri show that they can carry their team to victory. Especially with how strong Diya can be as a DPS when he’s on fire. If Diya is streaky, they’ll lose.

These are my early predictions. Monday, we’ll recap the games. I’m extremely excited to see how the All-Access Pass improves the viewing, especially as a person who writes about the league.

Overwatch League Community Countdown: Part 2

Normally I don’t spend more than 1 day on the “Gaming” part of my blog. Due to the special event this week in the Overwatch League, it seemed appropriate to spend the week discussing things. Last night was the exciting 1v1 matches. I was excited to see that I went 5 out of 5 on my Ashe 1v1 picks. Surefour and Pine had an interesting match. As much as I like Pine, I had a feeling that Surefour was going to win again. Everything else went exactly how I thought it was, though I was worried for a bit during the Danye/Diya match, where I had pegged Diya as the winner. He did win, by the way. It was pretty intense.

The Ana 1v1 matches were not in my favor, but I still went 8/10 for the night. I really thought Neptuno would be the victor, and he wasn’t. I also had a lot of faith in Zunba, but that also didn’t pan out. Honestly, I though the Ana matches were far more entertaining, maybe it was because at some point they just started sleeping each other for the win. It was cheeky and fun and I loved every second of it.

Tonight’s adventure is the Capture the Flag matches, which I also think will be great. I’m really waiting for the Showmatch on Wednesday because I love watching the OWL talent play. I’m going to have to go for The Away Team because they have most of my favorite talent on there: Soe, Puckett, Mr. X, Emongg. It’s going to be a great match and I love watching them troll each other the entire time. I really hope that this one is live with video because it will be hilarious. Though, I will miss Reinforce carrying everyone. Both figuratively and literally.

The last thing I’d like to discuss today is about the Boston Uprising. This morning, rumors started circling that our beloved Papa Gamsu and his adorable puppers Uni has been traded off to Shanghai Dragons. The Dragons just recently lost their maintain Fearless to health issues. I can see how this would work. The off-tank Geguri is Korean, so having a Korean main tank would be a great asset to Shanghai since the language barrier wouldn’t be an issue. Both of them, already dubbed “GG” by fans, are solid hardworking players that have similar attitudes. This would be an amazing pickup for Shanghai.

At the cost of a huge hit to Boston. What does Boston get out of this deal, besides the heartbreak of losing the face of the Uprising? The morale hit would be huge and he had awesome synergy with NotE. Would we potentially get Diya in return? Diya is a solid player, though he does have the tendency to be a bit streaky. This may not be as much of an issue, considering that we mostly just need a DPS for 2 games while Colourhex is suspended. Honestly, I’m not sure that Diya and Gamsu is a fair trade. Gamsu is the face of the team. He’s Papa Gamsu. He was a leader that Uprising needed and he stepped up and lead the team. Boston will be losing more than just their main tank that we grew to love, we’d be losing the heart of the team. Axxiom is an awesome player, but he has some big shoes to fill to hold up to the standards we have for our main tank in the professional and emotional sense.

The Fear of the Uprising

Last year, prior to the inaugural season of the Overwatch League starting, the Boston Uprising was pegged as the underdog. Being a lifelong Boston fan like most other Uprising fans, this wasn’t unfamiliar territory. We have tempered expectations until we see even a flicker of hope, which we cling onto in hopes for victory. (Like in the Super Bowl… against the Rams… Go Pats!) The preseason venture didn’t help Boston’s case: they just didn’t look like a promising team. Still, they were my team and true Boston fans are nothing if not loyal to a fault.

While the 1st Stage wasn’t overly impressive, it wasn’t entirely depressing. They were a team that could hold their own out there. You win some, you lose some. At the end of Stage 2, they had a 4 game winning streak that offered the momentum that they desperately needed. This momentum led them to a historic undefeated season, the only team in the Overwatch League to accomplish this. Despite losing a talented DPS that I won’t mention. They may have fallen in the Stage Finals against NYXL, but it was the principle: they went into the inaugural season as a 10 seed at best, but most people pegged them at the 12th spot. But there they were, putting up a fight for a Stage Championship. This was a place that some people didn’t think would happen, even their fans. They broke records and made history that stage.

Stage 4 was a rough one. They finished in 8th. The dive meta was dead thanks to Brigitte and the Uprising just couldn’t keep up, especially since their DPS team centered around an insane Tracer. (Tracer + Brigitte = Instant Tracer Doom.) Still, their solid performance in Stage 3 gave them a spot in the overall Playoffs. They fell to the Fusion, but they did still get a 3rd place finish. That was far more impressive than where the experts placed them in the rankings before the season began.

Now we’re at season 2 and back in an underdog position. It’s no mystery why. The debates about HuK and how he runs his team. The fact that we lost our star DPS Striker to Crusty and the San Francisco Shock. The fact that we no longer had Neko, an insane Zenyatta. The fact that one of our DPS players (Colourhex) is suspended for 2 games for boosting and we only have 1 other DPS signed at this point. (Which may not be all that bad, if GOATS is still the way to go and we have extra tanks and supports to fill in.) Will there be a last minute signing? Is HuK just planning to let things play out with GOATS and hope that they win those 2 matches without an extra DPS player? In HuK we trust?

The February 14th start day is fast approaching and I’m like every other Uprising fan who is looking for some big signing soon. We know it’s not going to be some big name like Mangachu, but there’s still hope right? Either way, 3rd place was a respectable place to be when everyone thought you would be all the way in the 12th spot. I’m just happy to support my team.