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.

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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.

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 Playoffs

Playoff week is always exciting. This year, there were more teams allowed into the playoffs and the event was much more exciting. You may have even noticed that it got the broadcast network treatment, much to the dismay of everyone who doesn’t understand the community. Even my parents. I tried. It didn’t work. It’s hard for people outside of the gaming community to understand the competitive nature of eSports. I love watching a solid competition and I can’t say I was disappointed. Here’s a look at the playoffs in its new format.

8 teams were in and there would be a reseeding process as the playoffs went on. Some teams weren’t happy about it. Some viewers weren’t happy about how the lowest seed would face the highest seed. But that’s how it’s done in professional sports and Nanzer’s goal was to make this just like a “real” sports league. Unfortunately that meant Boston Uprising, as the lowest seed, would face against the top seeded and undefeated Vancouver Titans. I picked my bracket. (My husband is still mad at me for this.. not really, but he wasn’t happy. I wanted to be right though.) I picked the final 4 to be Seoul Dynasty, San Francisco Shock, Vancouver Titans, and Philadelphia Fusion with the Shock winning it all.

Why did I make such bold predictions? First, I wanted Seoul to win for personal reasons. This was a decent team that was expected to be the top team last season, only the fell far short of expectations especially as they failed to even make a stage playoff. Next, I really didn’t want NYXL to continue domination. Then there were the logical reasons. NYXL is known to choke. Michelle is a beast on Sombra. My upset pick was right. I wanted Boston to beat Vancouver, but I didn’t trust Colourhex to out-Zarya Seo because he couldn’t out Zarya anyone really. I knew Shock was going to make it to the end because Sinatraa was looking unstoppable to this point, plus the whole Neko-teabagging sitch made me just want to see him taken down a few notches. And I wanted the Fusion to beat the Reign because I honestly didn’t think that they deserved the place in the playoffs. I view them as only a meme team and I really don’t take them seriously. (Seriously, you guys get distracted by a Doomfist and totally C9 the point as Neptuno solo capped the 1/3rd of a point that they needed? I was in awe watching that unfold.)

The semi-finals were exactly how I thought they would be. My final 4 teams were in and the games were actually not very interesting at all. However, the finals more than made up for the lackluster semis. Moth predicted prior to the match that it would be a back and forth battle between the teams, with Shock going 4-2. While it was a back and forth battle that was really intense to watch, they just couldn’t pull off the win and fell 4-3 to Vancouver Titans. Sinatraa was solid and I have a new respect for his talent as a player after watching it. There were a lot of times where I wondered what they were thinking, but there were “WTF” moments from Vancouver too. Some of those ults were used seemingly just because a player just wanted to be the hero by clicking Q. It didn’t work and Vancouver won the final map pretty easily.

It was such a close match-up and easily one of the best matches in OWL to date. I look forward to the rest of the season, because this was ultimate hype-mode activation right there. Unfortunately, no Overwatch League for a week. But Boston is back and hopefully they’ll be stronger in a new meta. And that we get to see more Axxiom because he deserves a spot in the starting 6.

The Overwatch League Season 2, Stage 1 Playoffs are Set! Who Made it and Other Interesting Boston Mentions.

For some reason, the other blog post didn’t post properly. But I can’t edit it or take it down. So this is the updated version.

As an Uprising fan, this weekend was especially important to me. Not only did Boston have their own fate in their hands in a must-win match that was preceded by some spice on both sides, there were other things that needed to happen for Boston to get a spot in the coveted “Top 8”. Jayne, being a little less spicy than normal, simply tweeted out “Good Morning to everyone but the Uprising”. (Something for which he would get toasted for later.) It was going to be a rough one, as rCk’s Sombra is beastly and aKm’s Zarya is far superior to Colourhex’s Zarya. (Notice, I still say “is”.) The ideal situation going into this match was a 4-0 for the Uprising, though a simple win would have been enough to keep them in it. (Spoiler: it wasn’t a 4-0)

For the first two maps of the Uprising/Fuel series, they were dominated by the Fuel. Sombra was still their weakness as was their Zarya play. AimGod and NotE could only really do so much to keep their team in it. Kellex was getting destroyed and Fusions was being the overly aggressive player that he is. And Colourhex was falling short in the Zarya match-up. Sombra was just tearing through the team. It was a rough few matches. As Boston fans, a group of fans who are notoriously superstitious, we tried to adjust. Maybe we weren’t wearing enough Uprising gear. Maybe we needed to put the rally cap on.

Then it happened. The reverse sweep came through. This team started to play together. AimGod was annihilating the Sombra and really anyone else who crossed his path. NotE was being cheeky and awesome despite his hilarious fat finger on King’s Row. Fusions was popping off. Even Colourhex, who I finally said he did awesome on Widow for the 2 seconds he was on Widow (Seriously, can we get the sniper meta now?) It was amazing to watch. They got their win over the Dallas Fuel and now it was the waiting game for Sunday’s matches.

Going into Sunday, to get in the playoffs all that the Boston Uprising needed was either Houston, Paris, or Vancouver to win. Just 1 of those teams needed to win. First, Paris was up then lost. Then Houston was up and in a heartbreaking match, lost. (Poor Dante and Muma though.) All that was left was the 6-0 Vancouver versus the Charge. Which not surprisingly, Vancouver won. We clinched our 8th seed, and to the playoffs we go. Where we will likely have to face the team that put us there first. It’s going to be a rough one.

Afterwards, I picked up Sideshow’s stream (which is completely fantastic) to see what was going on. Then I saw the hilarious Twitter exchange between Dante and a couple of the Uprising. (Which I think Colourhex’s spice was the winner there.) Which led an interesting but not really shocking discussion with former player Avast. While he didn’t comment on how much he got paid, Boston fans know that you don’t get paid the big bucks to play for these teams. It is very likely that they were paid just above the bare minimum (or more likely than not, at the bare minimum). What was interesting is what he had to say about his signing and what happened afterwards. He stated that he was basically told that Kellex was the starter and they didn’t believe in “subs”.

This statement alone shows why Colourhex stayed in despite his under-performance. They just stick to their starters and if they fail, they fail. That is a terrible terrible terrible approach. How many games would they have actually won had they been more flexible? Why would someone feel the need to get better as a player if there were no repercussions for a lackluster performance, such as someone else getting your spot. There’s no fear because as long as you have been anointed the “Starting 6”, you’re golden no matter how awful you’re doing. Maybe this approach should be reconsidered because it’s barely working for them.

The playoffs are going to be an uphill climb, but the Boston Uprising are in a “rebuilding” year. By that I mean, they only have 2 players from their main roster and a backup from last year. This is a new year and a new team that people once again counted out on the bottom of the rankings. Boston teams are comfortable as underdogs. We are a stubborn people. We are a determined people who like the challenge. I just hope that this team learns a little more flexibility otherwise they won’t be as successful in the big picture.

Overwatch League: Season 2, Stage 1, Week 4

As much as I really really want to dive right into discussing the Uprising’s match, holy cow at the Titans vs. Hunters match up. Myself, like a lot of other people, expected a trouncing but instead we got an insane match that was unbelievable to watch. The Hunters not only put up a fight, they forced the match into a tiebreaker map. They ultimately fell to the still undefeated Titans, but they made it an exciting battle to watch. If they had kept Baconjack in, they may have pulled off the upset. But the Titans are a strong team, so they should be proud of their performance.

Another interesting match was the one against the London Spitfire and the Shanghai Dragons. The fact that last year’s champions were defeated by the Dragons made me feel a little better about the Uprising loss to them. Interesting fact though: Dragons are currently 2-0 against my favorite teams. Maybe I’m the problem here. Diem was insane during the match, as was Gamsu. I was especially happy that Geguri got her first win on the big stage. It was a well-fought battle, but the Spitfire just didn’t bring it like they needed to. The Dragons are a completely different team this year and they should get a lot more respect. Now, if only they could beat NYXL. I’m dreaming, but it would be pretty sweet if they did.

The last match that I’m going to talk about is the Uprising match up. They needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. They needed a big win. After last week’s rough loss, they needed to come together and pick themselves up to learn from their mistakes. Fusions, was stellar as always. NotE is consistent and solid as is AimGod. Though, I think that NotE not getting the Player of the Match was insane. Yes, Fusions pulled off some great plays, but I feel as though D.Va players don’t get the credit that they deserve sometimes. He did his job. Everyone was solid, though I still really don’t like the choice of Colourhex on Zarya. Sure, he made some great plays. However, he’s mediocre at best. He’s inconsistent. He’s just not on the same level as the other Zarya’s in the league. I don’t know what they’re thinking, but Axxiom stepped up as Zarya and easily outperformed him. He seemed more consistent. I spent less time going “what was he thinking with that?!” when Axxiom was on Zarya. In HuK we trust? Colourhex needs to start performing a lot better, otherwise we are going to stay a weak team. Who knows when the meta is going to change, so we need to make sure we have a good Zarya to get us those wins.

A final note, trolling Bren like that was hilarious. It was hilarious every time I watched it. It was hilarious when Sideshow was dying of hysterics on his stream about it. It was the first Watchpoint Post-Game show that I was able to watch and I was not disappointed.

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.