Overwatch League: Stage 2 Playoffs

I admit it, sort of: I’m a Vancouver Titans hater. I don’t have a problem with teams that are undefeated. I have a problem with a team that exudes such a high level of cockiness and arrogance that they should be knocked down a peg. When NYXL was hot, I didn’t actively root for their loss. Their players had a bit of playful cockiness to them. Jjonak is spicy, but as the league MVP from last year and arguably the world’s best Zenyatta, I think he can get away with it. However, when you tell people to let you know what you should play because you can beat any team with any hero, I think you have gotten way too big in your own mind. That’s when I actively started rooting against them.

Going into the playoffs, my picks when like this: Shock, Spitfire, Titans, NYXL. I then anticipated that it would be a Shock/Titans rematch, with San Francisco Shock taking the win. Did I think they were going to win because they were the better team? Maybe. Was it just because I wanted to be there when Shock beat Titans? Oh absolutely yes. I wanted that to happen so bad. I even prayed to the Mother’s Day gods that this would happen. So what happened in the playoffs.

The first round nearly went as everyone anticipated. Shock easily beat Shanghai, though Shock’s map win streak is now over. NYXL easily beat the LA Gladiators. Dallas Fuel didn’t stand a chance against the Titans. The only shock was how the Spark beat out London Spitfire. The next round had Shock versus the Spark, which again was an easy match that went exactly how everyone thought it would go. The real surprise of this round was how easily the Titans beat out NYXL. This was the match that everyone was waiting for: the first time NYXL and Vancouver Titans went head-to-head. Instead of it being a close match, NYXL ended up losing 1-4. It didn’t even seem close. It was really a disappointment, at least for me. I can’t speak for everyone else.

Then it was the rematch everyone wanted: the Shock and the Titans were once again facing off in the Stage finals. It was definitely an exciting match to watch. The Vancouver Titans put up a fight, but ultimately lost 2-4 to the San Francisco Shock. So how did these Titans finally fall? Did the Shock just want it more? Did they just want revenge? Or did the Titans just get too cocky and thought that they could walk all over any team?

My thoughts? It was a little bit of everything. They went in so full of themselves, so certain that no one could take them down, that they didn’t seem to do anything to improve themselves as players. Why should they improve if they are already the best? No one can beat them. They thought they could just steamroll based on their skill alone. Except, the Shock did practice hard to get stronger. They didn’t accept that they had a perfect stage; they wanted to win it all. They wanted that story of going from an underperforming, mediocre team to the best. They wanted the win more.

Bumper played his normal aggressive style, thinking that he could just charge through and destroy his opponents as he always did. Only this time, he got punished for his hubris. Super, who has a similarly aggressive style, did a great job of tempering himself more. Sinatraa, who should’ve gotten the “Player of the Match”, was melting everyone. Plus, did you see that hold he pulled off on Blizzard World? He may have ultimately had to give up the first point, but he ate up a lot of time on the clock. Which ended up helping them walk away with the win.

I’m happy with the way the stage finals played out. It was such an exciting match and it was definitely great to see the Shock that excited for the win. They earned it. I’ll also admit that the look of defeat on the Titans face was just as sweet. They needed to be taken down a little. The question is “Do they learn from this?” Will they start taking their matches more seriously instead of just assuming they are going to win? Will they be out for blood and destroy everyone in their path? Or, will this have tilted them so much that they struggle to find their footing again in Stage 3? With the All-Star Break giving them some time to shake it off, it will be interesting to see what the new Titans look like. Maybe, they will look a little bit more humble.

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Overwatch League: The Dallas Homestand

From the beginning of the Overwatch League, Nate Nanzer stated that his goal was to make Overwatch League as big as a traditional sports league. He wanted it to be the NFL of eSports. He had big plans for traveling games, so that the fans can see their home teams as they would in any other sport. The Dallas Homestand was a test of how well this traveling plan would work. Did it pass?

Yes. Absolutely yes. It was insane to see and hear the energy in the space, especially when the home team the Dallas Fuel took the stage. This crowd was behind their team and they were very loud about it. So loud that it was even hard to hear the casters and analysts. The production crew was amazing, showing off the crowd and made me feel even more hyped than ever to watch these matches and my #1 team wasn’t even playing. My backup team the London Spitfire did play, with Guard even getting into the McCree roll while in full cowboy-esque gear. It was so amazing to watch.

The games itself weren’t too shocking, except for the Spitfire loss to the Chengdu Hunters. The biggest match of the weekend was the Battle for Texas, where the Houston Outlaws faced off against the home team to see if they could continue their Battle for Texas win streak or if the Fuel would finally get a win on their home turf. The Fuel ultimately took the win, but the Outlaws certainly didn’t make it easy for them.

The test was a success. Fans came out in full force, even if the Fuel wasn’t their team of choice. There was such high energy and the production was as amazing as ever. Not counting the power outage, but that was a city issue not a Blizzard one. Maybe they couldn’t handle the awesomeness that the Overwatch League brought to their city. As a fan of the league, I can’t wait until I can see my Boston Uprising out there. Hopefully in Foxborough, as this would be much easier for us Western Mass-ers to get to these matches rather than fighting with Boston traffic or the train every time. My money is that Kraft would save some money and just use a space in Patriot Place for the Uprising or just add onto his facility to save from spending money in Boston. Here’s to hoping.

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 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 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.

Every Ana is Now Bastet… and Other Things Overwatch

The Bastet Challenge was released and completed by most people already. Which means every Ana is now a Bastet Ana. Makes sense, considering this is (in my opinion) the only cool Ana skin in Overwatch. The short story itself was very well done, even if people are complaining about the fact that Soldier was announced as being a proud member of the LGBT community. I love the fact that this game represents the diversity that exists in the world. Go Overwatch! Plus, this was a backstory I felt like we needed. There is such rich lore in Overwatch that I would start reading novels or watching an Overwatch show. Or movie.

Before getting into the big news in Overwatch, a sincere congrats to Fusion Academy for yet another championship in Contenders. The games were thrilling to watch, and even more hilarious to listen to Bren’s play by play of it. You made me question some of your comps, but I can’t argue with results. Here’s to more Symm in OWL?

The first thing that should be discussed is the XL2 academy team deciding to get rid of their roster in favor of “Hometown Ladder Players”. Players like Mangachu were pushed aside in this move. Something I’m partial happy about, as a fan of the Uprising who desperately needs another flex DPS to join our team. Was this move a way to make them appear to be more of a “local team” to represent NY? Or was it a budget thing that just made them look good for PR? Though, honestly, it seem to do more to hurt their PR, not help it. Everyone is making fun of this move, rightfully so. It really seems like a silly play without a lot of reward to it. It makes them seem like they don’t care about the Path to Pro or even acquiring their academy players. With SBB and Pine, it’s easy to see why they just want to keep the solid players that they have.

The next topic of discussion is the PTR changes in Overwatch. The D.Va matrix nerf may be a nerf, but it just means that you have to get better at using it. You can no longer just hit it whenever you want. It’ll be an adjustment but it’s hard to say definitively if this is a nerf yet. I say this as a D.Va main. The Brigitte nerf seems like it would be more effective at slowing her down, something that she desperately needed. Especially if you went against 2 Brigs in Mystery heroes. Or more. It’s scary. The real talk of the town is the Reaper changes, something edgelords felt like needed to happen for a long time. They gave him a boost that may have been way more powerful than it should have been. Will they tweak it? Probably not. But all of these changes do have interesting implications as we head up to the next season of Overwatch League. Will we see more Reaper and less GOATS? I guess we’ll see.

Overwatch Discussion: Hero Bans, “Ellie”, and More

The holidays are over, which means I’m back to the Monday gaming posts. For today, it seemed most fitting to discuss some of the latest topics in Overwatch right now. I won’t talk about GOATS. Not really, though it may come up naturally in the conversation about Hero Bans. But GOATS is a tired subject and the only GOAT I want to talk about is Brady before he fades away into retirement somewhere. So, let’s get into this.

The first topic is all about Hero Bans for Overwatch League Season 2. The supporters of this feel as though it can offer more diversity in games, making them more interesting for both players and viewers. People against them worry that bans like no Rein or D.Va will be put into place all the time, which can hurt teams. Where do I stand on it? I’m honestly indifferent to it. There has always been a meta in place. There have always been players who play whatever they want without caring about any meta. Hero Bans will only prevent certain GOATS comps, not get rid of this meta. Metas come and go. Who knows what will happen after the next balance patch? Only Jeff knows. Well, I mean I guess his entire development team knows too… but, you know. Hero Bans could be fun during All-Star Weekend, but otherwise I’m not entirely sure the league should worry about doing this just yet.

Then, there is the whole “Ellie” thing. In case you haven’t heard, Second Wind attracted a lot of attention for signing an relatively unknown female player known as “Ellie”. Seemingly as quickly as she was announced, she resigned due to “toxicity” among players. This lead to an uproar about women in games, a topic I have discussed a few times on here including my own quitting comp due to harassment over being a girl. Rumors started popping up about whether or not this was a real girl, as some things seemed odd about her. (Things such as delayed coms in chat, avoiding public attention…etc.) It turns out she wasn’t who Second Wind thought she was, allegedly a “social experiment” by another unknown player Punisher.

What was this social experiment? No one knows. But what this really does is make things look even worse for girls in gaming, not help us. There are those who think that girl gamers are loving playing the victim, that we are making excuses for our bad play. It’s real; and it sucks. All this does is make it a topic of conversation again for people to ignore and mock. It’s an awful situation to watch unfold and I doubt we’ll ever get any real answers about what went down here.

We are over a month out of Overwatch League Season 2, so let’s start looking forward to this. What are you most looking forward to? Do you think hero bans should exist in OWL? Which team has your support? Here, I’m all about Boston Uprising, with my side support of London Spitfire. (Seriously, Fury is just too amazing.)