Overwatch League Season 2: Stage 2, Week 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Overwatch League: Season 2, Stage 2, Week 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overwatch League Season 2: Stage 2, Week 2

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

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

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

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

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

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, 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.