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 2

It is nearing closer to the end of the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. The playoffs are coming and it is going to be a race to the finish for some teams as this new meta seems to be a difficult one for some of our stronger competitors. NYXL has already clinched the top spot in the post-season, which comes as no surprise to anyone. This is a brief look at this week in the Overwatch League.

There are currently 4 teams that are winless in this stage: Seoul Dynasty, Boston Uprising, Shanghai Dragons, and the Florida Mayhem. Surprisingly though, Shanghai isn’t in dead last thanks to the win differentials in this stage, but they have yet to get a win overall this season. This is a bit surprising, especially since Geguri finally has the opportunity this stage to show off her amazing Zarya skills. However, this is proof that one person can’t win an Overwatch match. The team still has a lot of issues to work out, which I hope they do because I want to see Geguri succeed in the league.

Seoul is still struggling this stage, unable to get a win so far. This mighty team has certainly fallen since the early estimates of being a top contender for the championship prior to the league starting. This is a group of solid players that doesn’t seem to be holding up as well as their skill should be. Unrelated note, Fleta for Uprising?

Speaking of my favorite team, this stage is not going well for these underdogs. Despite shocking everyone by coming in 2nd place in Stage 3, they are struggling hard this stage. Last week was their most impressive showing, forcing LA Valiant into a tiebreaker. What happened to this team? Crusty being gone definitely hurt them, but there’s more to it than that. This is their weakest map pool and they still haven’t figured out how to beat Brigitte. I don’t take any of these as excuses though. A good coach would have helped them figure it out by now, rather than watching the team drown. We need a new coach badly. So badly. It’s hard watching this team that works so hard and puts everything out there just to watch them crash and burn. It’s especially demoralizing when the experts talk about how last stage was a fluke or at least now the team is where they expected them to be. They can still pull this out and hopefully get themselves a spot in the post-season.

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- The Games and the Drama

This is going to be a very brief recap of the games, with a closer look at some of the drama that unfolded over the weekend of matches for this league. All in all, there was nothing that was really shocking in the matches. Well, except I expected the Spitfire to destroy the Gladiators and that went a completely different way. They played hard though, as did my Uprising who won 1 and lost 1 this week.

The real talk of the league right now is the suspensions and drama that unfolded over the week. The Overwatch League handed down punishments for 3 players and a coach. The coach, Houston Outlaw’s TaiRong, was issued a warning because of a “racially insensitive” meme that he tweeted out. There was no fine as he owned up to his mistake pretty quickly on his own and donated $1000 to the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. Dallas Fuel’s Taimou was fined $1000 for using “anti-gay” slurs on his personal Twitch stream. Silkthread also received a $1000 fine, for the less scandalous but just as against the Blizzard’s end user agreement account sharing.

Then there is xQc, who faced his second round of fines and suspensions. His fine was $4,000 and he was suspended for 4 games for a variety of different issues, including “repeated use of disparaging language” and using a “racially insensitive emote”. This was his second suspension, which takes him out of play for the remainder of Stage 2. You will remember he was also out for most of Stage 1 for his conduct. He was later released by the Dallas Fuel, which makes sense because why have a guy taking up a roster slot when he spends more time suspended than he does playing for them.

His fans are outraged, complaining that he seems excessively punished and that people are out to get him. How about you tone down a persona that can be a bit extreme so that the league wouldn’t need to punish you? Accountability can go a long way, if you let it. It doesn’t matter if he’s “really a pretty cool dude”. It matters how he presents himself, especially as he chooses to be in the public eye. With age comes wisdom, I suppose, and he’s still young enough to get away with it.

This has been a theme for Blizzard especially since Overwatch came out. They want everyone to be able to enjoy their games. As someone who has been bullied a lot in games, to a point where I refuse to chat with strangers and avoid voice chat as much as possible, I welcome this attempt to develop a kinder community. Especially with the entire world seemingly going down in toxic flames around us. I like the fact that they are suspending the very people that are supposed to be upholding these principles that Kaplan and his team hold dear. As a person who doesn’t really come across this negativity as much anymore and who knows that I can count on a system put in place to protect players, I thank the Blizzard team for sticking to their ideals. This makes me feel better about my choice for being a huge fan of this company, their convention, and their games.

Overwatch League-Stage 2, Week 1

There have been some interesting activity in the Overwatch League while it was on break. Two members of the London Spitfire, Rascal and Fissure, found themselves on new teams. Rascal ended up with the Dallas Fuel while the L.A. Gladiators acquired Fissure. There have been numerous additions to the Shanghai Dragons, including the first female player Geguri, who has joined the team. Unfortunately, due to visa issues none of them have been able to come over and play for the team yet. Here is a close look at the notable moments of Week 1 in the second stage of competition.

First of all, the class demonstrated by the Florida Mayhem this week was amazing. A team, that has been more known for its entrances onto the show floor than their actual play, came out in a somber fashion, wearing the patches from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to honor the victims in their “home” state. Considering that none of them even come from Florida, and no player even from this country, this showed such a high level of respect from them. They represented their state, where the tragic school shooting happened, and they did so proudly in their moment of silence.

If you are a fan of the Overwatch League, you may have noticed that when discussing the moves teams made with their roster that I left out Eqo. I didn’t forget about him, nor did I ignore his presence after what he did to my Uprising. He was a beast. Going from a person I didn’t know a week ago to someone that I’m certain will make a huge difference for the Philadelphia Fusion. I just watched in awe as he seemed to build up his ult at a super fast speed and had unreal plays. It was both painful and beautiful to watch. He is a player that you are going to hear a lot about all season long.

Also, Pine is still amazing. If you doubt it, just watch this:

It is just so perfect I really just need to watch it over and over again.

 

Overwatch- Stage 1, Week 5 and Finals

Normally this is posted on Mondays, but this week I fell behind. Next week, the gaming post will be on time and focused on the Allied Races of the new World of Warcraft Expansion. Now, read on to learn more about the exciting conclusion to the first stage of the Overwatch League.

That was a thrilling week of the Overwatch League. If you are not already paying attention to this new eSports league, you really need to. It’s a lot more thrilling than baseball or basketball, with such a high level of intensity and sportsmanship that is so great to watch. The night started off with the top 2 teams in the league playing. New York Excelsior took on the London Spitfire. Whenever Boston Uprising isn’t on, I’m an avid supporter of London. (As a D.Va main, Fury is a person I admire and try my hardest to emulate). Plus they were going against a New York team and as much as I love watching Jjonak and Pine play, they needed to go down. They didn’t go down in this first match-up, eventually winning in the tiebreaker map. This secured New York’s spot in the finals that night.

The next match-up, the Houston Outlaws and the Boston Uprising, was not just critical to both of these teams but to the Los Angeles Valiant. Outlaws needed to win 2 games to make it in the Stage 1 playoffs. Boston Uprising needed to win the match 3-1 to upset everyone and earn a spot in the playoffs. (Not bad for a team that practically everyone had in 12th in the power rankings before the season started. So Boston of them.) Outlaws took the first map, Boston took the next 2. It seemed like Uprising was going to make it, until the 4th map where they just couldn’t make that last point. The game was tied up, but Boston had lost its shot at the playoffs. Still, the tiebreaker in this game was crucial. If they were to take the tiebreaker map, Valiant would get the spot over Houston. Despite a hard-fought battle, Boston Uprising ultimately lost the match and Houston was in the playoffs.

That meant the first game of the playoffs would be London Spitfire facing off against the Houston Outlaws. Both were strong teams, with Houston coming away with the first map of the match. However, London swept the last 3 maps and knocked Houston out of the playoffs. That led to a rematch between New York Excelsior and London Spitfire. Would the outcome be the same as it was earlier in the night?

As the first match of the night went, it was an intense and tough battle for both teams that ended up back in the tiebreaker round. New York was the favorite going into the match, but walked away in second place. London Spitfire won the first stage and the $100,000 prize. New York still walked away with $25,000, so don’t feel too bad for them.

This final match sets up for an exciting Stage 2 of the Overwatch League, which will start back up on February 21st. If you are interested in catching up, you can check out the Overwatch League Twitch channel for all the matches. If you are addicted to the league like I am, you can spend your time checking out the Twitch channels of some of the stars. Here are some choices that I personally enjoy:

  • DreamKazper
  • JAKE
  • Muma
  • LiNkzr
  • tf2PINE

These are just a few of the Overwatch League pros that stream, but they are my go-to Twitch streams. Here’s to an even more intense Stage 2.

Overwatch League- Stage 1 Week 4

First of all, can I say “holy cow, the Uprising is in a Wildcard Position”? From a scrappy team that no one expected much of, they are doing far better than people predicted. This adds an extra level of excitement for me as a fan of the team.

Before the recap, I would like to mention that if all goes well, I will be posting to the gaming part of this blog twice a week starting this week. On Friday, I will be pre-ordering the new WoW expansion and I can’t wait to start talking about that as well (and any other game worth mentioning.) Here’s to hoping things go as planned.

Unlike last week, there weren’t too many surprises that fans witnessed as the games were played. For the most part, things went as I had expected. London Spitfire took down Seoul Dynasty, but it was still a really exciting match to watch especially since I was rooting for the Spitfire to win. It was odd to not have Ryujehong in the game, which some could argue is what made the difference in the game. Spitfire is a strong team, so I’m sure it may have been closer with Ryu in the game, but I just think that Spitfire may arguably be the stronger team. There’s still time for me to be wrong on that, but I stand by that statement. Fleta was still unstoppable this week and it was awesome to watch him and Jake face off in the next night of matches. Outlaws put up a strong fight against Dynasty, but ended up losing in the tiebreaker map.

Uprising is proving themselves to be quite the team to go against. They took down both of the “home teams”, the Los Angeles Gladiators and the Los Angeles Valiant. While they expected the Gladiators to go down to Boston, the casters seemed to think that Boston didn’t stand a chance. In true Boston fashion, they went on to sweep the Valiant to the shock of the commentators. They went 4-0 in both matches, something they really needed to find themselves in the wildcard. From underdogs to real contenders, next week is the last chance for them to climb up or stay strong in their spot for the playoffs.

The final week of Stage 1 is going to be an exciting one. I say this also as a Patriots fan, who would love to see the Uprising avenge the Pats by beating Philadelphia Fusion next week. Their games this week are going to be hard as Outlaws are a strong team and Fusion seems to have some power to them when they click. Crossing my fingers for you, Uprising.