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.

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Overwatch League Season 2: Stage 1, Week 2

It’s hard to believe that we have already reached week 2 in the 2nd season of the Overwatch League. While there were a lot of exciting matches, these matches seemed to be overlooked by a league technicality that allegedly a lot of people didn’t know about. Which wasn’t a problem when the Boston Uprising had a problem with it, but the minute other teams started complaining about it a discussion began to happen. More on this and other worthwhile mentions.

Goats seems to be killing a lot of previously solid teams. Houston, a team that shows they have a good DPS lineup seems to have its own struggles in this meta. While they won on Saturday against the Spark, they had struggled against NYXL. Such a passionate struggle that the talk of the game was the producer’s cut to Jake hitting the desk in frustration. To me, it’s no big deal. He’s a passionate player who takes his job seriously. Other teams should wish that they were so lucky to have such a dedicated player. Goats is only temporary, as was every other meta. Things change all the time as patches get released.

Another notable game that was hyped up this week was the Dallas Fuel/Philadelphia Fusion game. This occurred because Jayne, who’s honestly an Overwatch competitive genius, mentioned that Fusion had a “trash goats” comp. To which a “war” of words took place between Carpe and Jayne, with Carpe eventually saying “if they lose, it will be to trash goats”. Shockingly, they didn’t lose. Then Jayne got his last say and that was that.

Arguably the biggest event worth mentioning this week was Fusions of the Boston Uprising being deemed “ineligible to play” by the league as he was setting up on stage moments before the match against Shanghai. Due to his 2-way contract, he’s only allowed to play 2 games in a stage after competing in the most recent season of Overwatch League Contenders. This was a crucial match against the Shanghai Dragons, a team with former player Gamsu and who was hungry to break their 43-game losing streak. They wanted their first win and they got it against a disjointed Boston Uprising. After some shaky plays, awful comp decisions, and Sombra being their biggest weakness, the Uprising fell 3-1 against Shanghai. Shanghai got their first win with our beloved Gamsu as their main tank. This was a story that trended on Twitter. It was beautiful publicity for the Overwatch League.

While I don’t subscribe to the believe that the league did this just to get the publicity, it was an awful situation. Per league rules, the roster was submitted at least 2 hours prior to the match. But yet they didn’t inform the team of their main tank’s ineligibility until just minutes before the match began? That was a disaster that they could have avoided 2 hours earlier. Other teams, like the Philadelphia Fusion also seemed a little confused by this rule. Does this taint the Dragon’s first win? Yes and no. Yes if you believe that Shanghai had no chance of beating the Uprising, though realistically they did. DDing was a great Sombra. Even a mediocre Sombra would have torn Boston to shreds because they have no clue what to do about it. But Brianne, they needed a DPS player that could play Sombra. Then I would argue: what about one of our DPS, namely Colourhex? If they can drop our star D.Va onto a Reaper, then they could take our DPS and actually put him on DPS. But they didn’t. Yet again, they just let Sombra walk all over them.

What should Boston do moving forward? I liked their setup of Axxiom on Zarya, Fusions on MT (except his awful Winston), NotE on D.Va, blasé doing what he’s been doing, and Alemao on Lucio. I think this could be the best chance against Sombra. Alemao attracted attention for some solid plays against Sombra. I feel as though Colourhex wasn’t as strong of a Zarya as Axxiom was and I think that there was more synergy between him and Fusions than with Colourhex. Granted, we didn’t see Colourhex with Fusions, so this could be an unfair analysis. Still, I wasn’t impressed by Colourhex’s performance. Maybe he needs time, but I think Axxiom is a solid player that deserves to play.

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.

Give Me My Zandalari

I’ve been patient. Since the Zandalari trolls have been introduced as an upcoming race in the then yet-to be expansion Battle for Azeroth, I have been dying to make one. This need only got worse when I saw the boom chicken form that resembled the Arrokoa from Warlords of Draenor, which I wished could become a playable race. Maybe it was those endless hours I’ve spent wiping in ZG. I don’t know. Whatever it was, I needed this in my life.

It was like a promise that will never seem to come. I know it will, but the wait feels like forever. I bought the Battle for Azeroth expansion as soon as pre-orders happened because then you could play the allied races. Except the ones that you really wanted. (Though to be honest I really really wanted to play a Nightborne, as I’ve mentioned so many times before.) What I wanted was the Zandalari and the Dark Iron. Then the next set of allied races came out. Nope. No Zandalari. I did get a really awesome Dark Iron though. She was awesome.

I know I could play the Zandalari on the PTR right now, but what’s the point? It will hopefully be live soon. I worry that I’ll make this race out to be cooler than it actually is, like my longtime obsession with the Pandaren. But they look so cool. Like more awesome looking Trolls. I want to look like the Princess, I think. I don’t know. We’ll see what my options are.

I don’t care if I’m in the minority of most people that I talk to about the game. I enjoy the allied races. I like having options outside of the standard choices. I especially love going through their storylines. My favorite stories have to be the Mag’har, Dark Iron, and Lightforged. In that order. I especially liked the overlap between the Mag’har and the Lightforged. I hope that the Zandalari have cool story that is worthy of their awesome race. I hope that the Kul Tiras have an interesting storyline, but I’m not holding my breath for that. It may be as lackluster as the Highmountain Tauren. I say, keep the allied races coming.

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.