Overwatch League, Season 3 Week 3: The Toilet Bowl 2020 and a Reverse Sweep

As a fan of the Uprising and my backup team the London Spitfire, this was actually a good week for me. Finally. Most of the games went exactly how everyone thought it would. The cursed Outlaws remain winless (more on that later), Philadelphia Fusion continue their path of destruction, even without my favorite D.Va Fury playing. (How much scarier would they be if he did though?) And NYXL still shows strength. Also, you have to feel for the Justice fans who didn’t get to see their team dominate during this homestand. Especially watching their team suffer the reverse sweep against London.

The biggest game of the weekend was the match that was dubbed “The Toilet Bowl” (also known as “The Match That Wouldn’t End”). This match was against the Boston Uprising and the Houston Outlaws, the teams that were expected to be the worst in the league. Boston did something unusual: they switched things up. The starting 6 this match was the first time that I have been happily surprised by the lineup. The starting 6 included their usual supports in Swimmer and Myunbong. Colourhex, our trusted DPS star from last year when he wasn’t on Zarya was back. Then, they threw in 3 different players: Jerry, Mouffin, and Axxiom. All those unknown rookies? Against the established players of Houston? The Toilet Bowl was mostly expected to go to Houston, though there was a joke about it going to 7 maps.

Except, that didn’t end up being a joke. The Boston Uprising pretty easily dominated Houston for the first 2 maps. Then they pulled a draw on 2. Then the lost 2. Basically, this match became the standard for Boston fans: you feel pretty confident, then you start to lose it, then you just hope for the best and are either pleasantly surprised or unexpectedly disappointed. Eventually, Boston came out on top after everything.

I had been begging for Axxiom to take over the main tank spot since after the GOATs meta last season. I felt that Fusions was a strong GOATs Rein, but didn’t really offer much outside of that when compared to how strong Axxiom seemed. And honestly, I wasn’t really too disappointed considering that this was really his first match on the stage as the main shot caller and tank. I think that his performance was much better than what we’ve seen from Fusions. I hope that they keep him in, and not just because the best option for bridging the gap between the Korean players and the Western ones. I think he’s a better leader, I think he’s more composed, and I think he’s more talented. Mouffin I think will be much better when he shakes off his stage nerves. Jerry as well, which is kind of a scary thought considering how well he did. When the crowd isn’t even a Boston crowd and they are all cheering his name and the casters are all about him, you know that he far exceeded expectations.

One could argue that the Uprising only did as well as they did because they were going up against the Houston Outlaws, who have been plagued with issues all season long so far. Next week will be against the Philadelphia Fusion, a team that has been seemingly unstoppable so far. Who knows though; Boston has pulled off some shocking wins before. I’m pretty hopeful moving forward that they are at least going to prove that they aren’t going to be the last team in the league. But if they keep going with this starting 6, I think we have a strong shot of at least getting into the playoffs.

Overwatch League: Season 3 Opening Weekend

They said that the traveling aspect of Overwatch League would be its downfall. That they wouldn’t pull it off. Sure, there were some production issues, but it was the first day of home/away games. It was their first weekend on a new platform. But, if the Dallas and New York homestands count for anything, it shows that this model that was dreamed of by the Overwatch League team could work.

As a fan, the crowds made everything more exciting. Sure, there was always a crowd with some fans in it, but the majority were LA fans. Now, it’s everyone else’s turn to shine. Hearing the boos as you would watching a Patriots game, hearing the excitement of the crowd. It made the viewing experience for me as a fan even more intense. It added something that I discovered was missing from the league when they first tried out homestands. It even made me consider the trek to Boston to see the Uprising, though I really wish they would just play in Foxborough for us Western Mass fans.

My pick rate was about 50% for both days. The outcomes weren’t really too shocking. Some teams did have a stronger performance than thought, such as that map loss the Shock had to the Dallas Fuel. Otherwise, I think matches went how most people saw them going. Spitfire had a consistency problem, as did Fuel. Shock showed their dominance, but still showed that they had weaknesses as well. The Titans also did about as well as people predicted.

Now let’s get into the Boston Uprising, who played their first match this week against NYXL, a team that no doubt was going to beat them. But the question was “how well will they do?” When I first saw Axxiom in the lineup, I was excited because I’ve been calling for him as the main tank role since last season. I had more faith in Axxiom as a tank than I did Fusions. They went double tank, something that some teams found successful on certain maps. But, when that wasn’t working as well as they’d hope, why didn’t they switch to the off-tank? The answer is because Boston hasn’t learned. They still refuse to do substitutions. They can’t adjust on the fly. They should’ve dropped Fusions Orisa and went with Brussen at least when Hotba was just unstoppable. They didn’t have the same mobility without the D.Va. Why didn’t they switch out one of the DPS for Jerry? Something wasn’t working with the DPS and instead of seeing if Jerry was going to make the difference… they stuck with it.

The first point of the first map, they looked so good. Until NYXL did what Boston couldn’t: adjust. They let SBB and Nenne just walk all over them. They let Hotba just walk all over them. They had no answers to anything that NYXL did, or at least they didn’t care to try something else that would offer answers. Unless Boston learns the crazy concept of “substitutions”, they won’t win. They won’t prove anyone wrong. They have raw talent. I was hoping with the new coaches, they would opt for trying new things (like substitutions). HuK needs to explain this to the fans. Did they just assume they would lose and they didn’t want to give any strats away? The off-tanks were in NY and seemed healthy enough as they toured the city, why not try putting one of them in to see if that helped? Why did they so stubbornly stick to something that wasn’t working? Were they trying to see which main tank was going to be the best choice moving forward since they knew they were going to lose? We have questions and I think it’s fair that we get answers for them. Especially since there was a promise of more transparency.

The Boston Uprising doesn’t play again for 2 weeks. I hope in this time they finally learn from their mistakes. I’m a loyal fan and I will root for them no matter how well they do. But love doesn’t need to hurt. It’s time to do this amazing thing called “change”. Sometimes you need to make a change if things aren’t working. Sub in players on different maps. Other teams do it. It’s not a foreign concept to the league. But let’s not just give up and stick with things that obviously aren’t working. And go Axxiom.

Overwatch League Season 3: Is This the Uprising's Year?

This weekend, the Overwatch League opens for Season 3. The Uprising play on Sunday, with their first match at the New York Excelsior homestand. Because for some reason, the league is still pushing a NY/Boston rivalry. It’s not happening. You’d be more likely to get a Houston rivalry due to Danteh’s trolling of HuK than you would an NYXL/Uprising rivalry.

Back to the main point. Is this the Year of the Boston Uprising? Every year, this team ends up at the bottom of the power rankings. Their first year, they ended up in 3rd place. Last year… well, let’s not really talk about that dumpster fire. After again nearly gutting their entire team, we end up with a roster of 3 people from last year, and some major unknowns. Will this group come together to pull off another miracle season, or will they crash and burn?

I honestly feel more confident going into this season than I had in the past. First of all, our support line seems stellar as far as I can tell from watching their streams. Swimmer is just incredible to watch and Myunbong is a silent but deadly force. Colourhex was impressive last season when he finally got to play in a DPS role, and adding Munchkin to the mix was amazing. This Jerry guy though… who was that? Apparently a sleeper DPS god because holy cow watching his stream is amazing. Plus, he’s got a fun personality that reminds me of the mischievous but unassuming Striker. The DPS and support line is amazing and I’m very confident that they will do very well this year.

What about the tank line? Well… that’s the problem. Last year, I was very much pro-Axxiom being out there instead of Fusions. This year, my feelings are the same. Especially with a mixed roster, putting Axxiom out there is a great idea. But it’s not just because he can speak Korean and English. I still think that he’s a superior tank to Fusions. In fact, after watching some streams, he’s not only a superior tank but his game sense is infinitely better. He seemed like a solid shot caller. I would feel much more confident with him as our main tank than Fusions. Will that happen? Only time will tell. But they should at least play him a lot more because he is so talented that I think he might be the key to winning.

Then there is the off-tanks. Mouffin and brussen seem pretty solid. Mouffin is definitely capable of making those big plays and brussen just seems like a reliable OT that we could really use. I think that having both players is the best thing that we could do. I don’t think you could really go wrong with either player, but the only problem with Mouffin is that he really hasn’t had a lot of stage time. He might need a bit more experience to be really great.

So is it our year? I have a great feeling that we are going to do decently well this season, as long as the team does a couple of things. First of all, they shouldn’t be afraid to sub people in and out as needed instead of stubbornly sticking to strats and players that obviously aren’t working for them. Secondly, I definitely think that trying Axxiom as the main tank for a while should be a thing. He might surprise everyone and surpass Fusions in skill.

This is still my team and hype-mode is activated here. Overwatch League is coming back, but not soon enough.