Overwatch League Season 2 Stage Finals: Who Took Home the Trophy?

Prior to the game, my Facebook predicted a Shock win, with either Moth or ChoiHyoBin taking home the MVP trophy. (When I reiterated this quickly prior to the match, I accidentally said Sinatraa or Moth, but the sleeper OT was the one I had my money on. From one OT to another.) For a long time, it was predicted that the Titans and the Shock would face off in the Grand Finals for a match to make all other matches look underwhelming.

…Except the only thing underwhelming was the Titans. In what should have been a nail-biter, a close match that should have gone the extra mile to a map 8, ended with a 4-0 win by the Shock. It wasn’t a battle for the times; it was a slaughterhouse. It was destruction. Just when the Titans figured it out, it turns out they didn’t. This isn’t a knock to the Titans, who made some spectacular plays. It was just that they really couldn’t stop the Shock’s total annihilation of their team. If you thought Sinatraa and Striker were a dangerous DPS duo, then you sorely underestimated the power of Rascal and Architect. These DPS duos couldn’t lose. And Moth? I think if there was any doubt that he was the best western support, no one is doubting that anymore. He’s flexible and talented and such a huge asset to this team. Maybe this is a sign that the USA Overwatch World Cup team won’t suck.

It seems that there was a difference that ended up paying off in the end. The Shock was relentlessly mocked for their willingness to drop so much money on the underaged-at-the-time Sinatraa before he could even play. And when he got on the stage last season, he was criticized for being overpriced for his skill. Turns out, with a good coach to hone those skills, Sinatraa became such a force to reckon with. As someone who had a distaste for his arrogance in the past, I appreciate the newly humbled DPS starter who has learn to balance that arrogance and humility. Then they were mocked for stacking their DPS ahead of the GOATs meta, while other teams either focused entirely on GOATs or tried to balance. This is where the Titans may have made their mistake.

The Vancouver Titans seemed to center around their tank Bumper, who was seemingly unstoppable in GOATs. They had some DPS stars in Haskal and Seominsoo, but they didn’t seem as strong as other DPS stars particularly on the Shock. They were good, but ultimately they just weren’t good enough. They didn’t lose the match because they played poorly though; it was just that the Shock utterly dominated them and the Titans didn’t have an answer for it. The closest map seemed to be Anubis, where the second attempt at capturing the points seemed a bit slower for the Shock. Aside from that, there was really no competition who the better team was.

This week, you can expect the onslaught of trades or cuts from teams. I suspect this is particularly true for us Uprising fans. Aimgod will likely be the first announcement of players who have been let go. I’d love Axxiom stay in place of Fusions because I still believe he’s a more well-rounded and talented tank. But for the love of whatever entity, can we please keep blasé and Colourhex. Maybe even Stellar. I don’t care if you dump the rest of the team but I would really love these 3 players to stick around. It will be an exciting off season to match the awesome season. I think the league will be even better with the addition of traveling.

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Overwatch League Season 2: Grand Finals

As the league mourned the last Overwatch League games in the Overwatch Arena, many fans are excited for the new chapter. Except for those of us who can’t afford the insane prices for the matches, which in some areas are much more expensive than others. (No, I won’t pay that much to see a team that bombed last season and may likely just get rid of all of their players again as much as I love and support the team still.) But, there is still excitement to come: the Grand Finals!

I admit, I liked this format so much better than cramming in the playoffs and Grand Finals in a single weekend, burning out players and fans. This gives us the excitement we want, the drawn out money grab for the league, and the much needed break before the finals for the final 2 teams. But, who will take home this years title?

I’m rooting for the San Francisco Shock. I like the story of a team who struggled last year to becoming arguably the strongest team in the league. I like Striker, the Uprising’s former star. I like Crusty, who worked hard for the Uprising. I like this team. The Titans may be the new kids in the league who feel as though it’s already in the bag. But it isn’t. If the past is any indication on how this game is going to go, this will certainly be an exciting match between two of the best teams this season. The story of a Contenders team running the Overwatch League as the Titans did would make for a good story, but I like the rise from the ashes story from the Shock.

Why will they win? The Shock has more versatile players on their bench and they are not afraid to sub in to adapt as needed. They have solid DPS players that can play any roles depending on who they choose. Sinatraa has been a consistent force on this team and between him and Moth, can motivate their team. Choi is an insane off-tank. These are solid players that as long as they don’t get tilted too much can destroy any team in their path. As strong as Haskal and Seo are, I don’t think they are stronger than any DPS duo put up by the Shock.

The Shock may show signs of arrogance, but these are kids. They have shown an equal amount of humility. I don’t think I can say the same about the Titans, especially when one of their players is so confident that he says “I can beat any team as any player”. It’s no wonder that this level of arrogance and cocky play is why he didn’t end up as the tank for the Korean World Cup team. There’s aggression to take the win, and there’s aggression for your own stats. That’s the difference between a player like Tom Brady and a player like Peyton Manning. That’s the difference between a solid tank like Mano and someone like Bumper.

Fortunately for me, the Patriots game will likely be over before the Overwatch League matches start. 3:00pm EST means that the broadcast will start at 3 with a pregame show then a move into the musical acts and any other thing they do before the players take the stage. My estimate is the game will actually start at 4, so I won’t have to switch between my phone and television. This will be a great match to close out this intense season. I can’t wait until the new traveling mode of matches begins because watching your team play in the home field is always more exciting.

Overwatch League: Season 2, Onto the Grand Finals

Let’s be honest here: Everyone knew who would make the Grand Finals. As much as some of us wanted to have a different outcome than the predictable same 2 teams, that’s what we ended up with. The Titans would try to complete their amazing first year run in the Overwatch League with the title of Grand Finals Champion, but the San Francisco Shock stand in their way. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m back and ready to go.

As an Uprising fan I can’t help but to think that if HuK actually let Crusty run the team when he was the coach, that we would end up in this same spot at this exact time. Crusty transformed a team like the Shock, who honestly struggled last year, into the powerhouse that they are now. Instead, HuK learned his lesson too late and we went from a top 3 team to a bottom 3 team and Crusty is leading the Shock to potentially win the championship.

Last week’s playoffs were exciting matches to watch. The matches were close and the heartbreak was real, seeing the Spitfire and Dynasty go home early. Going into this recent weekend of matches, it looked like these would also be incredible matches to watch. Except only one of the four matches was. Every other team lost in a 4-0 fashion. While some of the maps in these matches were insane to watch, they also kinda weren’t. Then the NYXL went up against the Titans in a crazy match that went down to the last map. NYXL did eventually lose horribly on Dorado, only getting 1 point to the Titan’s 3. This knocked them down to the Loser’s bracket to fight for their chance in the finals against the San Francisco Shock.

The match against the Shock wasn’t a total blowout, despite their heartbreaking 4-0 loss. The maps were decently close, but the NYXL has a tendency to choke in those big moments. That’s what cost them their shot in the Grand Finals last year, and they had a repeat of this again. Would Pine have made the difference here? As much as I like Pine, I don’t think so. Shock is a strong team and I think that the mistakes were more mental than a lack of skill. That moment between SBB and Flower though was as wholesome as it was heartbreaking. SBB is a leader on this team and I would be shocked to see him leave though seeing him on my second favorite team the Spitfire would be pretty awesome.

Who’s going to walk away the Champion in 2 weeks? Both teams are strong and we’ve seen this matchup twice before in the Stage Finals, with each team taking home a win. I’m rooting for the Shock though, only because I am one of those people that think the Titans are too arrogant and need to be taken down a few. They get tilted too easily and seem to think that they are just the heir apparent championship winners. They don’t need to work for it; it’s their right. But it isn’t. My unpopular take is that Shock is the better and more versatile team, but anything can happen when those kids take the stage. Plus, Sinatraa and Moth are killing it right now and I would honestly take them over Slime and Haskal.

Overwatch League: Season 2, Stage 4: Week 2, also Known as “What Just Happened?”

As it turns out, the 2-2-2 lock brought more surprises than anyone thought it would. One question that was waiting to be answered was how the Vancouver Titans, a team known for their GOATS despite their powerful DPS line, would fare outside of the GOATs meta. There were a lot of exciting events this week, so let’s get into it.

The London Spitfire was a strong team that did struggle a bit with the 3-3/GOATs meta. They found just enough success to stay in the playoff running, but they were expected to really take off when the 2-2-2 lock happened with their solid DPS duo in Birdring and Profit. Sure enough, they had a solid start to the stage. So when it was suggested that a strong looking, but still in last place Florida Mayhem could give them some trouble, the analysts laughed. Until it happened. While London did tie on one map, Mayhem still walked away with the win against London in a 3-0 match. Was the Spitfire just outplayed by Sayaplayer? Yes. This insane DPS player poppped off hard, taking out the Spitfire players easily. It shows that even though they are out of it, the Mayhem is still going to play hard until the end.

And what about the Spitfire? Did they just not prepare as hard because they underestimated the team? Did they just not play at 100% thinking they could get away with it? Or, is London just not as good as we think? I think they may not have given the match their full attention, but they also severely underestimated the skills of Sayaplayer, who is a versatile and deadly character that you can’t ignore.

The Washington Justice, also known as the second worst team in the league who’s also long out of the playoff running, went against the Vancouver Titans, who has been a solid team from the beginning and only lost 1 game during the season. It was a no brainer that the Titans would beat Washington Justice… well… until they didn’t. In fact, they lost in their first 4-0 match. They didn’t just lose… they got rolled hard. At least the other losses had the other team put up a fight. There was no fight to be had here. As someone who likes to see top teams lose, I was delighted by this. Corey was unstoppable and Stratus was just as solid. This is an amazing DPS duo that doesn’t get the attention that they deserve, but they certainly will now.

You’d think that would be the end of surprises, but then there was the NYXL vs. Chengdu Hunters. The Hunters… 4-0’ed NYXL. NYXL was expected to have an amazing stage with 2-2-2 but they keep falling short of expectations. Their DPS lineup just isn’t working for them and I think everyone is wondering why they aren’t putting Pine in. That’s the one thing they haven’t tried yet to dominate teams. Are they saving him for the playoffs? Are they trying to trade him? I’m not going to lie, I would be happy to see the Uprising pick him up.

Why are these solid teams struggling? You could use the excuse that they are sandbagging or that they just aren’t trying because they assumed they’d win anyways. But maybe there’s something more? The teams that are doing better seem to have mastered what is now likely going to be called the “Mei” meta. A great Mei, particularly with a great Hanzo or Reaper, can make or break these teams. I think that as long as Mei is meta, teams are going to suffer. We may have thought that the 2-2-2 lock was going to mean that dive was back, but we quickly see that this isn’t necessarily the case.

The rest of the stage is looking to be an exciting one and I hope that there are plenty more upsets to come. I’d like to see a team like the Justice or Mayhem go 7-0 this stage, because I want these underdog teams to show that they aren’t the jokes everyone made them out to be. Only a few more weeks until the stage playoffs and the Grand Finals stage, so these teams better shape up if they want to make the cut offs.

Overwatch League: The Final Stage of the Season Begins and a Watch Party

Stage 4 and the 2-2-2 lock has officially begun and honestly, there were some surprises but mostly things have gone as people thought. A big surprise was that the analysts thought that the Boston Uprising would start destroying this stage, since their DPS duo had such great potential. I guess that’s what happens when analysts finally believe in the Uprising. Here is a brief summary of what happened with this massive change to the league this week, and my more in-depth Boston Uprising discussion.

The fact that Houston lost to Paris was a little shocking to me, but they took a win home against the Gladiators to go 1-1 this week. NYXL struggled this week and Shanghai is still on a tear, especially since pulling out what is now known as “Roadfrog” with Geguri making a solid tank line with her Roadhog and Gamsu’s Orisa. Honestly, she was spectacular and it was great to see her back on the stage. It was also great to see Fragi and Bischu make their first appearances on the stage this season. All that’s left really is to see Pine freed from GOATs jail and all will be right again. Most of the other games went pretty much exactly how you thought they would, such as Titans showing that they aren’t GOATs one-tricks and it paid off for Shock to stack their team with star DPS players.

Boston Uprising Watch Party in Foxborough

Normally they do the watch parties in Boston, so to have one that was easier to get to in Foxborough was really exciting. Naturally, we had to attend. We left earlier in the morning to ensure that even with Cape Cod traffic, we would make the event in time. I’m glad we did. We ended up with a great parking spot, got to enjoy walking around the facility without the mass amounts of people that were there during my first trip to Patriot Place. (Apparently there was an Irish festival going on.) We ventured to the ProShop, happy to see that they had a lot more Uprising gear there. Then after some waiting, we went to the place where the watch party was being held.

The restaurant was pretty big, but honestly the fact that they had such a small section for the watch party setup was a little disappointing. The fact that all of the chairs were a foot off the ground was also a little annoying. (Plus the food was meh at best.) Still, they had giveaways and free Uprising stuff so that made up for some of the annoyance. To my surprise, every other television in the bar was switched to Overwatch League. This was good considering that about 80% of the people in there were there for the Uprising match. There were some “oohs” and “aws” during the Valiant match, but the real excitement came when the Uprising were on.

Until.. there was nothing to cheer about. The match was a quick 4-0 domination by the Charge. It was awful. As a fan, it was painful. There have been some bad losses, but this felt different. This was the first time that I was actually really salty over the game. Primarily because I think that my points have been proven about this team. Obviously I have no insider information or even know how their scrims go, but they did so poorly that you have to wonder if they even scrimmed during the break. Fusions is only good at GOATs Rein. I said that he was a “GOATs Rein One-Trick” so many times that I feel like a broken record pointing that out again. The one reason we picked up rCk was his versatility to switch between a mediocre D.Va and a decent Sombra. We gave away NotE because he could only really D.Va and Roadhog. Well.. now we’re in a 2-2-2 lock so we can’t use rCk for his versatility. But NotE… now NotE gets to shine on D.Va and Roadhog. On another team. The tank line is definitely one of the weakest links so far in this stage. They have no synergy and they just can’t seem to get the job done. On one map it almost looked like Ameng got his Hammod alt 3 times before Fusions even got one. That shouldn’t happen. But it’s been a consistent problem for him… since he’s a GOATs Rein one-trick.

The DPS line did well enough. Colourhex seems much more comfortable now than when he played Zarya. There were some shots that I found myself screaming “You need to make those”, but overall he had a solid performance. People were mocking blasé but honestly I felt like he was doing the things that he was supposed to be doing. That’s always been the problem with blasé. He does what he’s supposed to do, maybe without Colourhex’s flash, but he gets the job done. I don’t think the DPS was the problem.

Then.. there is the support line. Kellex has been doing well, and I admit I have been very critical of him since the beginning. But he has shown to be a versatile support that makes the big plays when he needs to. But then there’s Persia. Admittedly, he did better this weekend than he has in the past. But even in this “better” state, he’s still not even close (in my opinion) to Aimgod. You can count on Aimgod to also make those big plays… and to survive most fights. Sure, Persia made some good sleeps and his Moira was fantastic. But I didn’t see a lot of purple enemy players when he played Ana. I saw Colourhex ask for heals to not get any from Persia as he was standing next to him. I saw his problems with positioning and staying alive. Persia may be doing better in scrims but that has not translated to him playing better on stage.

Saturday was a disaster, but at least Sunday wasn’t as awful. It’s still disheartening to see as an Uprising fan. This is supposed to be a meta where we were going to shine. Instead, management seems to want to throw the matches rather than win. Why isn’t Aimgod playing? Why hasn’t Axxiom scrimmed or been given a chance? You’ve given Persia plenty of chances on stage, but not Axxiom. Axxiom is supposed to be an amazing and versatile tank who probably only didn’t start because Fusions’ GOATs Rein was better. But we’re not in GOATs anymore. I hope during this bye-week that Uprising figures it out, because it’s one thing to lose because we’re being outplayed. It’s another thing to lose because you’re too stubborn to stick with what works or try something completely new. I think the fans deserve better from the management, or at least some answers.

Sigma: The Hero We Didn’t Know We Needed

But we do know that he needs shoes. Discuss.

As I correctly predicted in my last blog, the announcement for Sigma came at 2pm and he was then playable on the PTR. Since then, there has been a mass of people swearing to be Sigma mains when he goes live. While I admittedly haven’t gotten around to play him myself yet, there’s a lot of videos from everyone else that has given me plenty to think about.

First of all, his Origin story. The minute I watched it, I called my husband and told him that it was easily the best one they have released. Their team that handles these shorts are fantastic and I always look forward to new short stories from them. They are so well done that I almost think that they could have their own Overwatch web series. Almost. Usually people screw those up to the point of turning your love to hatred. But, it could be good. The Origin story gave me chills, the music was flawless, and the lore behind the character was amazing. This made me excited to try the new character.

Why haven’t I tried him yet? One reason is because I always like to use the Training Bots to try out he character and for some reason the Training mode won’t work for me on the PTR right now. Another reason is because as interesting as the story is, I’m not sure I’m as interested in playing his character. The playstyle seems more like a Zenyatta with a throwable Rein shield. I’m a D.Va main. I like the excitement of flying around and blocking alts or plowing into the backline. He just doesn’t look as fun to me as I want him to be. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I actually get to play him. The only thing that makes his character really cool to me is his Ult, where he tosses people up in the air and throws them back down again.

How will he change the meta? I’m not entirely sure. From what I’ve seen, he can be an excellent counter to Pharah and Widow, which are 2 characters that are played heavily right now. Is he an off-tank or a main-tank? I think he may be more of an off-tank, maybe as part of a tank line with a Hammond main tank. His shield doesn’t seem to be as good as a Rein or Orisa, but it could be better than Winston’s. It’s really too soon to tell, though you know teams are already scrimming with him to see how he fits into their strategies. When the pros get to play him, we’ll all have a better idea of his utility and true potential.

I like how Overwatch seems to be moving forward and progressing. This seems like a team who wants to keep players as engaged by making changes that will improve their experience. Adding a unique character like Sigma is one way, but another way is the great addition of the 2-2-2 lock. I don’t know what their plan is for Overwatch 2, but the current game is still something I love to play.

Overwatch League, Season 2: Stage 4 Preview

By now, you have heard the biggest change coming to the Overwatch League this final stage of the season: the 2-2-2 lock. AKA, the GOATs killer. In case you need a recap, this is exactly what it sounds like. There must be 2 DPS, 2 support, and 2 tanks queued up to play, a change that’s coming to the next Competitive season as well. Once you queue up to a role, you are locked in that role until the end of the map. This means that there cannot be a 3-3/GOATs comp anymore.

This could potentially change everything. While Vancouver Titans are known for being a top GOATs team, they have not had much success outplaying the DPS comps. (Seriously still happy Shanghai took the Stage 3 title.) Teams like Spitfire and NYXL just didn’t quite get their footing trying to out-GOATs other teams. This could be a whole new stage for a lot of teams that have been struggling, and you can expect some interesting surprises for the next stage.

I’m going to take a closer look at the Boston Uprising here, a team that had seen some highs and lows in GOATs. What does this change mean for them? First of all, thankfully no more Colourhex on Zarya. I was never a fan of that and it almost caused me to doubt his capabilities as a player. Until I saw him play Widow. He’s a solid DPS player that can now shine. blasé has long been a solid player that performs well where they need him, even on Tracer, which leads me to wonder what their new pickup Stellar is there for. The Uprising aren’t exactly known for their tendency to sub players in and out… or really pretty much ever. What is he there for? To farm up the talent than sell him to the highest bidder? Are they getting rid of one of their other DPS? Will they actually sub him in for some maps? This will be interesting to find out.

Then there is the tank line. This 2-2-2 lock makes the trade for rCk with NotE worse for us: we lost a solid D.Va/Hog player. Will rCk now be stuck in a D.Va role, where he has made some decent plays but is overall mediocre in the role? Will Uprising give up their Sombra player for a better D.Va? Will Axxiom step into the off-tank role instead? But what about Fusions? He seems to only be a GOATs Rein one-trick? Will we see his true potential to erase this one-trick take on him? Or, will Axxiom step into the main tank role as he was supposed to prior to Gamsu’s departure? These are all great questions that will be interesting to see answered when the stage starts this week. I am looking forward to attending my first official Uprising watch party this weekend at one of my favorite places: Foxborough/Patriot’s Place. It’s going to be pretty great to cheer on the team with my boys, seeing what they can do in a 2-2-2 lock.

Shanghai might even be stronger now with this change, which is something that will be great to watch out for. The London Spitfire, Philadelphia Fusion, Houston Outlaws, and NYXL may also have a strong showing with these changes. This could potentially change everything, though it may be too late for some of the teams to really benefit from these changes. Either way, more exciting Overwatch League is on the way for fans.