Overwatch League Playoffs 2020: The First Week

I went into the knockouts expecting the Boston Uprising to lose their first match. I still was going to watch and root for them, since I’m not the type of fan that just turns my back on my favorite teams. But I mean, they weren’t going to win right? Even if they were going up against Houston, who has had a difficult time lately. I would’ve been okay with a Houston win, since I like the team. They are good people, have great role models for kids, and are just generally hilarious when you read their social media or watch them stream. But then, the first match broke so many brackets. Because Boston won that first match!

I couldn’t believe it. They did so well the first map. They rolled out with different comps each match. They tried new things. They played aggressively. Our DPS played on characters that they were actually good at. Myunbong was on his apparently most amazing character ever (Ana) and just tossing out sleeps that seemed impossible to get. If this was the team that we had all year, we would have had more than just 2 wins in the regular season. While I admit that when I saw Fusions roll out on the Roadhog I was scared, it turned out so much better than I thought. He was able to play more aggressively, which seems to be his preference. Punk was amazing. They were all amazing. It was incredible and bittersweet to watch. We finally get a meta that works for us, and it’s in the playoffs.

Then the drawings happened for the playoff teams to pick their choices for the next round of knockouts. The first team didn’t pick us. (Gladiators) Then, Atlanta’s resident “villain” picked us. However, instead of his normal trash talk saying things like “ez”, he picked us because he wanted to see the drama and storyline about Decay (Justice) going up against his old team (Fuel) that released him while badmouthing him right before the playoffs.

Now, of course we lost the second round, but I’m not disappointed in the loss. They didn’t get destroyed. They put up a fight. They looked good; just Atlanta looked better.

The playoffs showed me that this team had talent. It showed that I was right; you figure out a way to let these guys play the characters they are good at rather than forcing a meta and they win. They look and play more confidently, which means that they are more aggressive. It was far more enjoyable watching the Uprising lose to Atlanta in the playoffs than it was to watch them lose practically all their matches all season long. Why? Because they played their heart outs. They looked great out there. They weren’t losing because they were terrible; they were just losing because Atlanta was just a little bit better.

What do I want to see next season? I’m definitely hoping for new coaches. Ones that can plan out better strats and work with the strengths of the players rather than forcing something that obviously isn’t working. Is it the coaching or HuK micromanaging? I’m not sure. If he is, maybe he should take a step back and let the coaches do their job. The playoffs showed the potential of this team. I wouldn’t be opposed to everyone staying now. I would even keep Fusions as a tank. I want the team to have more players next season, so that you can swap players in and out like other teams do. Because character picks can be dependent on the meta and the map, so the ability to swap players in and out means that you can get the perfect comps for each map. At least one backup for each position. I’m not asking for a lot here. And maybe next season, actually swap players in and out. Or change strats on the fly. Because there were so many games this season that the team just smashed their head against the wall repeatedly hoping for different results but getting the same exact stomping by the other team. Maybe then, we can have a winning team.

My pick for the Grand Finals winner is Shanghai. I have them in my now deceased bracket going against the Shock in the finals, but I’d love to see a Shanghai win. Plus, Fleta was my pick for MVP so I’d like to see that too. The Shanghai redemption arc would be so amazing if they could add “Grand Finals Champions” to their name.

Those Incredible People You Encounter When Gaming

I debated writing about my experience in the Shadowland Beta this week, but maybe I’ll focus on that another day this week. Today, I was inspired by my encounter playing games today in Overwatch.

I’m not the best Overwatch player. I’m decent enough. I would argue that I’m Mystery Heroes good. I play decently enough but I play because I have fun. I play Mystery Heroes because I was tired of being bullied in competitive, though I would have really loved to make at least Plat since I came so close before quitting. I would have loved to get a gold weapon for at least D.Va. Why did I quit? I primarily play tank or support. Both roles require chat, probably more than other roles. It’s insane how quickly people turn on you at the lower ranks the minute they hear a female voice.

So I don’t play any Overwatch that requires voice chat. I can have just as much fun and get the competitive experience just by playing Mystery Heroes all day long. Sometimes, on Tuesdays, the husband and I play together and he gets me to play quick play for the quicker queues since he mostly plays DPS. But I enjoy that because he can speak for me. I don’t have to worry about anything and he does the call out and I do what I’m supposed to. It’s simple. And I have the safety net of support when playing.

Usually things aren’t too bad lately. But today I played for a little bit before work and having to take my kids to their school to pick up their lunches and it was a nightmare. It reminded me of why I hate playing video games that require interaction with other people. Things were going well until we were getting held by 2 Torbs (Mystery Heroes, of course), and tanks on the final area of Dorado. Finally, we get a healer. I was Mercy. One of the Torbs on the other team Molten Core. This guy and the Rein decide to go through the fire, which would kill me. I stayed back to wait for it to go away and then went in to heal. The Rein died and this guy nearly died. Healed him up a little, then rezzed the Rein. Went back to heal him, he got focused and killed. Then someone says “Too bad we don’t have any good healers.” I didn’t engage, because I never engage. Then he said “Right Leigha?” (My gamer tag is Leighanneore.) Again, ignored it. Eventually we get a better comp, I’m back healing on Baptiste, and we roll through pretty easily after killing the Torbs. I had over 6k healing and gold and I was only healer for that last point. So, I guess super bad?

I paid such little attention that I didn’t even know who said it. I just endorsed everyone on the other team. I end up in another match. Blizzard World, again on attack. We rolled through the first point pretty easily but then started to get held on the last section again. I was Rein, trying to shield a Pharah from above and the rest of the DPS. I stayed with the payload, people were behind me, and I had my shield up to protect the team from the Pharah. The Pharah shot behind my shield and a baby D.Va died. . Same person as last time, “Nice shield, Leigha”. I rolled my eyes. I was getting frustrated because why take us losing out on me? I ended up on Torb, we destroyed through the map and again won. I even ended up with a terrible PotG where I killed a couple people, then dumped lava everywhere and killed more.

I ended up in another map with this same play, fortunately not on the same team. I felt bad for the other team because the way he was mocking me was ridiculous. And uncalled for because it wasn’t my fault we were losing. It wasn’t my fault Rein doesn’t have a dome 360 shield or that Mercy can’t heal through a dumb idea of running through lava. I know that logically, but it stung more than it should have. My team beat the other team and I got to knock him around as Brig. Then he went into another commentary about how everyone was bad at the game but him.

I didn’t want to stop the day on a bad note. A note of a reminder of why I avoid multiplayer games and social interaction in general. I get into my final match of the day and I was shocked by something: kindness. A teammate was being friendly and others joined in. We rolled and they were excited and being so awesome. I never interact, but I did comment in between rounds: “I’d legitimately like to say that this was my first positive interaction in the game today. I’d like to thank you for that.” I meant it. They were giving smiley faces and being generally awesome. I was Mercy, did moderately well, we won. They were happy and saying great job and everyone rocks and how fun it was. That one positive interaction made up for all the negativity for the rest of the day.

Just like in the real world, some people are absolutely trash human beings and others restore your faith in the other players in the community. The fact that they can be anonymous, a faceless bully makes them feel like they are powerful. But they aren’t. They are the same level of trash as people who bully in “real life”. They use their power of words to take people down because they are terrible people or because their life is terrible and they want to take it out on you or because they feel small. Knowing this doesn’t make you feel better in the moment. In the moment, you just feel small and without confidence.

It didn’t get into my head. I still focused up and played despite what will just become a minor inconvenience to my day. A brief feeling of never wanting to log on the game again because I can only block him for 7 days, so what’s the point? There’s no way to monitor someone harassing people on voice chat, so there’s no point in reporting him for toxicity. I even re-watched the moments where he acted like a fool to see if I made any mistakes. After review of myself and a second/third opinion, it wasn’t my mistake. But being right doesn’t matter. What matters is that people tend to ruin everything.

So what’s the moral of this story? For as much trash as there is in the gaming community, there’s even more good. I’ll still never feel confident enough or comfortable enough to play competitive and climb the ladder. But I can take be mostly ok with this and bring it to every arcade match. Because I don’t need to win. I don’t need to do anything but have fun and get better at the game.

Boston Uprising and the Countdown Cup Qualifiers

At this point, I think most Boston Uprising fans are at a loss. During the casting, the UberX duo got it 100% right. They weren’t bashing the Uprising; they were pointing out the obvious flaws that they had and the coaches should have known better. But apparently they didn’t. Whoever was making those calls, like holding onto 6 ults for over 2 minutes when they could have just ended it with a lot of time on their clock, was making major mistakes. Let’s take a closer look at the match.

The first map was Oasis, and the Uprising and the Titans went back and forth. It looked solid, until going into the last round in Map 1. The Uprising didn’t even bother trying to fight for high ground. They just sat down on the point and got slaughtered repeatedly. It wasn’t even close. It wasn’t even fun to watch. How could they look so solid the round before, then end up just falling apart? It seemed insane. As my husband and I screamed at the television, “Why not the high ground?”, we heard the casters wonder the same thing. Vancouver won Map 1.

Boston then ended up picking King’s Row for their next map. Maybe, I hoped, there was a different strategy. Maybe we’d see Colourhex on Junkrat on defense with Jerry on Widow. Maybe we’d see a Rein/Zarya comp, which is common for King’s Row. Except, they went with the same meta comp. Things did go well for them on their first attack. Then the Titan’s had a better attack. Then, the Uprising took way too slow to cap it in the next round which led them into the eternal overtime that would stop the minute people left the point. Or got slaughtered off of the point, right at the archway, ending the round. Their 2nd defense went much better and it looked like they were going to do it, especially after Jerry put in some hard work. Then Fusions died. And slowly our team died and then the point was capped, making their walk back so far away that they likely weren’t going to make it in time. But don’t worry, we have Bob right? Except Bob didn’t feel like cooperating and ran past the point. The team on the point died and the rest of the team just didn’t make it back in time. Boston is down 0-2. 1 map to keep them in the game.

Boston picked Hanamura, a map that they had done pretty decently on in the past. They ended up quickly capping the first point and had over 5 minutes to cap the second. They had a massive ult advantage that they could have used to waltz into the point. But they didn’t. Ok. Maybe they wanted to bait out the Titan’s ults first. But then…. they still didn’t go for the point. It wasn’t until about 2 minutes that they went in with their ults and eventually capped and they had no time on the clock. The only way that the Uprising could stay alive is if they managed a full hold to force a draw and get another map pick. They crumbled, and the Titans took the match 3-0 and knocked the Uprising out of the Countdown Cup qualifiers.

So what happened? The usual happened. We get excited and we start thinking “yeah, we can do this”, but then we get our hopes squashed right in front of us. A big problem is that we keep forcing Colourhex and Fusions to play the meta rather than to play to their strengths. If we wanted to play the meta, we should have picked up a DPS with a Genji and a tank with a more flexible hero pool. Not force a player that can be pretty great when he’s in a groove, but not so stellar otherwise. But I don’t blame the players for this. I blame the shot callers. I blame the people who said “Maybe we don’t need to go high ground here”, then get rolled for the rest of the round. The guy who was like “Hey we have all of these ults, let’s snowball it and cap this point with 4 minutes on the clock. Or… we just hold them for 2 minutes and do absolutely nothing with them, then barely cap the point and end up having no time to go again.” I blame the person who doesn’t hire extra players to sub in for specific roles so that we can get these wins. That’s the person(s) to blame for the loss.

At this point, the organization should just hire the fans to know what to do because they seem to better understand the game than the coaching staff and management does. Can we improve during this short break before the next round of matches? I hope so. It’s too late to fire and hire a new coaching staff, for logistical and morale reasons. But this time, they need to clean house and not of the players this time.

Getting Close to the End of the Overwatch League Season 3

While the season has overcome the pandemic, bringing remote games to fans, there have been so many struggles for many teams. This includes, as usual, the Boston Uprising. The team had 2 matches this weekend, that unfortunately went exactly how everyone thought they would go. For the most part. Here’s a brief look at what happened this weekend.

While the Uprising didn’t get completely rolled (but kinda did, more on that later), it was still an upsetting weekend for Uprising fans. Their first match against Atlanta was going to be hard, but I was hopeful for a little bit. My guess was that if the Uprising could take a map against Atlanta, they would get so tilted that we would end up winning the series. Like magic, looking like a cohesive team with solid skills, the Uprising shockingly took the first map (which they never win a first map it seems), I was actually really excited. They looked alive. They looked like a team that could actually win the game.

Then the second map of Numbani, they looked solid still. Until things started to fall apart and questionable ults happened, as if they were so desperate to win. After what started to look like a solid hold against Atlanta’s attempt to take the first point, everything fell apart due to a Genji ult as usual and Atlanta easily rolled over them for the rest of the map and successfully completed it, putting the match at 1-1. Things continued to stay this way on Anubis, where the Uprising couldn’t quite take that map, putting them in the potentially series ending Havana. Where the Uprising couldn’t quite get to the second point, where they just tossed ults in, hoping for the best.

With the Patriots motto in mind, I went into “Onto Dallas” mode, a team that unlike the Atlanta, I would be okay with losing because I’m still a major fan of former Uprising players NotE and Gamsu. On the first map, Nepal, we didn’t look like an actual team. We looked like standout performers trying to carry, but not in a naturally seamless way. This was a team that was mentally boomed, trying to desperately get a win. The second map was Numbani, where we didn’t do much better. The Uprising couldn’t seem to adjust to Gamsu rolling out on Hammond and Hammond easily rolled us. (har har). The magic happened on the 3rd map, Anubis. This is where we started to look like things were coming together and we ended up winning the map after some clutch Jerry pop-offs.

After looking so capable of winning, I was going into Havana with high hopes. After a slow start of being spawn camped by the aggressive approach by Dallas, they managed to finally cap the first point. They were smart about their ult usage and made it through the second point. They even completed the map and they looked pretty decent doing so. Dallas also made it through the 3rd point, but with more time on the clock. In what started to look like a solid 2nd attempt by the Uprising, things again fell apart because… they didn’t know how to handle Gamsu’s Hammond. Then, they crumbled and were unable to touch the point and Dallas easily just kind of walked in there.

There was some hope that these matches were winnable. If any part of this last half’s schedule was winnable, it was these 2 matches. But they couldn’t do it and I don’t even really necessarily blame the players at this point. They do have talent. You see some glimmers of that talent at various points. But then desperation of not being the laughing stock of the league kick in and they crumble. It’s awful to watch as a fan and as a person. At this point, the coaches need to go. The upper management needs to go. They need to learn that a team full of talent means nothing if they don’t synergize together. Just because they’re talented individuals, that doesn’t mean that they are talented together. That’s the problem.

How does this get fixed? Well, first of all having the same team of players for a while helps. The fact that we always dump the entire roster and start from scratch every year means that we’re not getting a team that works well together. Look at the other teams, who have most of the same roster together for a season or two. They build up this solid friendship and can work together more seamlessly. If we are going to just dump this entire roster and start from scratch again, they need to get stuff done right away so that they can start working together right away. They can bootcamp over break before the next season starts. They can bring in coaches that actually know how to develop their talents further, who know how to create flexible strategies and have plans when things aren’t working to adjust rather than let them bang their head against the wall.

Should we dump this entire roster? I’m not sure about that. I definitely like Punk and Myunb0ng. Jerry is streaky, but if he can learn to stay cool and be more consistent he can be a solid member of the team. Colourhex should stay on, but to play those roles he’s more comfortable in. Maybe try being like other teams that have players and switch them in based on maps and metas for those maps rather than just forcing DPS players to play whatever is meta, whether they are good at that character or not. I would keep Axxiom if he’s healthy enough to play next season because I think he’s a more flexible and consistent tank than Fusions. But, I’m thinking Axxiom is going to be gone next year and that makes me sad because I was pro-Axxiom from the beginning of last season.

There’s always next year. I will still watch for the rest of this year, hoping maybe they’ll do something in the next tournament. We’ll see. Boston teams have done some miraculous things in their time.

Getting Close to the End: Overwatch League Road to the Playoffs

In a year that was supposed to be all about homestands and bringing Overwatch League to the fans, this was impacted just as everyone’s lives were by the pandemic. Fortunately, unlike traditional sports, the Overwatch League was still able to go on with online play. I’m happy that the league went on, and even more happy that I didn’t have to argue with myself about whether or not I wanted to sit through a homestand knowing that we were going to be embarrassed and the joke of the league. It’s easier to suck that up if the tickets weren’t that expensive. Sorry, the tickets themselves weren’t too bad, but you’d end up paying double with Ticketmaster fees, making those $40 seats $80 a piece, and taking an entire family? Eek. Back to the point.

As an Uprising fan, I didn’t go into the weekend very optimistic. Not just because we apparently can’t beat a Genji and Genji was still very meta this week. But because we were going against the reigning Grand Finals champions the San Francisco Shock and the often very difficult LA Valiant. It was going to be a rough weekend. I was hoping we’d put up a fight. Maybe even take a least a round. Or even a map. No such luck.

I don’t think we were being meme’d on by the Shock with putting Super on Genji, despite that being the talk of the day. I would assumed skilled players can play whatever role they want and still do well. But that didn’t matter. We were still a joke after the Shock destroyed us. I felt bad for the players, who honestly are just kids getting razzed on by the masses. The Shock is the reigning champions and arguably the best team in the league still and there’s a reason for that. They have great coaching, a support staff that actually supports the team, and extremely talented players that they put up a lot of money for. As the joke says, Miller’s wallet is what gets them all those wins.

I had more hope of us winning against the Valiant, but considering how extremely talented they are (and probably how angry they were that they lost on Saturday), it wasn’t going to be easy. And it wasn’t. They walked all over the Boston Uprising. There was some hope on Hanamura, when we practically full held the Valiant and only gave up 2 ticks on the first point. But then, they did full hold us. We had a win condition. We could have had the win. But didn’t. They panicked. They were boomed. They wanted that point so badly that it looked like a mystery heroes attempt at a point when you’re about to lose.

I joked with my husband. At least when the Patriots were bad, we went into the game without any hope. We knew how things were going to go. But the Uprising gives us hope sometimes, and then we feel disappointed. I can’t help but to feel really bad for those players because if we feel this disappointed as fans, they probably feel even more disappointed. Some of these players are the same age as my oldest son. Disappointment can be crushing for kids that age. No one likes to lose. People like to lose less as every time they lose they become some type of joke on Twitter and Reddit.

But why does this keep happening? First, I’m going to blame the coaching. They have a pretty talented group of individuals. But the problem is, they still look like individuals. They don’t look like a team with synergy; they look like a solo Q of talented players on Competitive Play. They seem to get along, so it doesn’t seem to be any hatred towards each other. That means there’s something else. Something isn’t clicking. That seems like a coaching issue. Another issue is that maybe stop trying to force the meta, and figure out a way around it. After all this time, we still can’t seem to win against a Genji? Colourhex is a decent enough Genji, but maybe don’t force him to play it? These players are slowly descending into madness it seems, hitting their head against too many losing battles and it doesn’t seem like the coaches are doing anything to help them.

It doesn’t matter anyways, I guess. HuK will completely gut the team at the end of the season anyways so we won’t have the same players. Which is probably one of the biggest problems. Teams like the Shock have essentially played together since the beginning, with a core set of players that have been consistent with the team. That’s 3 years to build up chemistry. Our team guts practically their entire roster and coaches every year, so we don’t get that benefit of extremely good synergy. There’s a reason why we don’t buy jerseys with players names on it; it’s spending $200 only to have them gone the next year. That’s probably the biggest problem of all.

Eventually, the team will stop making money. Why? First of all, people won’t buy the expensive merch, like named jerseys. Why bother spending that kind of money on a player that won’t even be there next year? It’s like when I splurged for an official Wilfork jersey, only to have him in Houston the next year. Fortunately, Wilfork is a lifer that will always be a Patriot, so it didn’t matter as much. Then, fans may decide to not bother going to the homestands. Why? Because we’re supporting a team of players we don’t know. We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the roster every year, especially with the produced videos that the team does. Why should we pay money to support a new group of players every year? I live in a place where I could go to essentially farm teams for the NHL and MLB and tickets are pretty cheap. You can’t charge full pro team price if you’re just a farm team.

As much as I complain, Boston Uprising is my team and I’ll support them all the way to the bottom. But it’s really hard to want to watch them right now because it’s heartbreaking to see their faces (or when they shut the facecams off in titled fashion) as they repeatedly fail. It sucks to watch them put so much into the league matches and just keep hitting walls because their coaches and management aren’t setting them up for success.

Something Amazing Happened with the Boston Uprising

Last week, I avoided Overwatch League talk as I would normally do during my gaming posts on Monday during the league play. I was tired of lamenting about the Uprising’s inability to adjust strategies and do something new. I was tired of talking about the same teams winning and losing. I’m not going to say I had given up on the Boston Uprising. I still watch them religiously, even though I go in without any expectations. Usually, I’m still very disappointed. But something happened this week that was shocking. And no, it wasn’t just that we won.

Prior to the match, I joked that it was only going to be a short and quick loss, then our family could just binge movies for the rest of the day. We saw CatBren pick Uprising as the winner. That wouldn’t happen. Poor Bren. The desk laughed. At least he was honest about the random pick, they said. But what happened was crazy.

It was like an entirely different team out there. Colourhex wasn’t forced on Mei. They weren’t forcing a meta. In fact, they showed us more flexibility than we had ever seen. They played different comps, not stubbornly sticking to the same exact strats and hoping for different results. They adjusted when they needed to. They put up a fight, even on maps that they lost. They looked confident out there. They didn’t look like a team that just wanted to bang their head against the wall for 15 minutes, giving up the loss as quickly as possible to end their own suffering. And ours, maybe.

It was a long 6-map win. It was a wild ride, but holy hell, even if they lost I would’ve been happy. They adjusted, even mid-map. They looked incredible. It was so nice to see their face cams at the end and seeing them all jump up and hug each other in celebration. It was a moment that brought me back to them.

I wasn’t lost because I hate losing teams. I’m a lifelong Boston fan. I’m used to losing. I’m used to being a joke. It wasn’t until recently that we knew the taste of victory. My problem is losing because they refused to fix a problem. And look what happened when they did. Was this a fluke because Mei was banned this week? Or did they finally realize that to win, maybe you need to make adjustments rather than sticking to a failing strategy and just hoping things will turn around on their own?

I’m not sure. I’m hoping that if this was a fluke just because Mei was banned that they will realize that things just work better when teams play to their own strengths rather than bowing down to a meta that they consistently fail at.

Then, the Boston Uprising Shows Some Vague Signs of Life

It’s hard to catch all of the games with the new format, because I need sleep and all. But I do catch the games that I can, especially the Boston Uprising. This week was going to be especially exciting because the new hero Echo made her debut. It was really interesting to see the comps that played around Echo and watching people who I thought would be amazing Echo players do well. But how would a team like the Uprising with Echo?

The match wasn’t going to be a win. It was a rematch against the Florida Mayhem, which was an embarrassing slaughter last week for us. When the other team starts spawn camping you like you’re playing mystery heroes, you need to really re-evaluate your situation. The match looked like a professional team went up against a gold team that magically ended up in the Overwatch League. It wasn’t pretty for fans.

Going into the match, my husband and I debated who would end up being our Echo. My theory was Colourhex, who is pretty absurd at projectile heroes. My husband, who is very much team Jerry, thought he would be the better choice. I was right about Colourhex playing Echo and I was right about him doing pretty well at it. Was he as good as someone like Danteh on it? No. But I was happy with it and it looked much better than his Mei. Even Fusions, who I always refer to as a “GOATs Rein One-Trick” didn’t do too terribly on Winston as he usually does. Jerry seemed slower on Tracer than his other characters, but he made some big plays. Myunbong was ridiculous and landed some disgusting nades. But what went wrong?

The first thing that went very wrong was that we were up against the Florida Mayhem again. The thing is, that wasn’t the only problem. There was some signs of potential in this team last week. You could tell that they had something to prove. And what they did prove was that Hollywood is their best map this season. They proved that Colourhex is better than we’ve seen, especially when he’s on characters he’s comfortable with. They proved that Myunbong is a fantastic support pickup who has just as much carry potential as Jerry does. They proved that Fusions is slowly getting better on other heroes.

Unfortunately, they did prove some other things. Like, Jerry isn’t an immortal and he does have weaknesses. They showed that there’s something wrong and I think it’s the coaching and/or management. Why play a Zen/Brig when there’s no real healing there unless everyone’s together, but play dive tanks that aren’t ever where their healers are. They should have run a Brig/Bap or a Brig/Ana if they were going to stick with the Brig choice. Which ended up working better for us as we saw later in the match. Then there were the tank choices. While other teams opted for double shield, we went dive. Which got destroyed by their Echo/Ashe combo.

I get that we only have 6 players that can play right now. But that’s a management problem. Why didn’t they pick up other players to help them get more flexibility? This team can sit around and blame their bad luck all they want, but other teams ran full 12 man rosters to cover them in those bad luck situations. Why do we still stick to strats that obviously aren’t working? There are so many questions that the fans want answers to and we are getting almost as frustrated as the players seem to be right now.

What’s Going On, Uprising? A Sad Look at My Beloved OWL Team

As a lifelong Boston fan, rollercoaster journeys that eventually lead to heartbreak. In recent years, we’ve been spoiled by watching all of our important teams take home championships. I remember being in college when the Red Sox first won the World Series. My very old history professor joked at the beginning of the year that if the Red Sox won the World Series, we’d all get automatic A’s on our finals. Apparently, that was the joke he made every year of his career. It turns out, they did win and by the tenure Gods, we all did get A’s on our finals. We still had to go through the motions, but he did it.

The most exciting of these to follow was the Patriots, who was my favorite of the sports teams. The second was the Bruins, though I stopped watching hockey after their strike because I hold a grudge. Watching the Patriots just win over and over again in the Super Bowl was something I felt that I deserved after so many years of watching all of my Boston teams fail. My kids only know them as champions. (A painful realization is about to hit them and the pink hatters though. We’re in a rebuilding year.)

The above shows that I have a willingness to stand by my team. I love and support my team, whether they get rid of my favorite player (Wilfork, NotE) or if they win or lose. They have my support no matter what. I’m loyal to a fault. Did Brady and Gronk leaving sting? Yeah, but I support the team not the players.

This brings me back to the Boston Uprising, an underdog team going into the league that managed to end up in 3rd place that first season. They were no longer a team that would be dismissed. Except, season 2 they got rid of about 90% of their players and ended up in the bottom of the pre-season rankings to again be dismissed as an awful team. We weren’t good, but we weren’t the worst either. It wasn’t a great season, but we knew the team would be traded away and we’d start fresh again. Because we are a meme team that trades all of our players for money and sees no real return for that as fans.

Season 3 started and we eventually only had 3 people from last year’s roster: Fusions, Axxiom, and Colourhex. I was happy because Axxiom was a better tank and when he played, he showed that he was the better tank. We had fresh new talent in Swimmer, Mouffin, Myungbung, and Jerry. On paper, we weren’t going to be a top team but we definitely had some bright spots. Until Axxiom needed to take a leave of absence due to an undisclosed medical issue. Then, Mouffin did what he did. Then Swimmer left. Now we have 6 eligible players to play and honestly, I’m surprised Jerry’s back hasn’t broken from carrying this team yet.

It wasn’t fun watching us get spawn camped. It wasn’t fun watching us bang our heads against the wall because apparently the team only practices one strategy every week. That has to be the only reason why we are watching our team bang their heads against the wall failing over and over again, because why else would we stubbornly stick to strategies that obviously aren’t even working? As a fan, I would have no problem watching them lose if they looked like they had some fight in them. If they changed their strategy to try something new to at least pretend to care about winning a match. I support my team win or lose.

But, why should I support a team that doesn’t seem to care? Why haven’t we signed someone else to at least have, I don’t know, not the bare minimum on our roster? I mean, they obviously don’t care. They don’t care about the fans. They don’t. I’m not talking about the players here, because this is a case where I actually support the players and not the team. If you’re not going to make any changes, then you don’t care about winning. You don’t care about giving your fans any sign of life out there. Why not put Jerry out there on Sombra or Reaper instead of McCree or even Ashe? Why not put Colourhex on anything but Mei, because as talented as he is that Mei-play is not great? Why not have more than one strategy?

For instance, on Paris they kept making the same play of rotating to the right, which failed every time. Which they expected every time and Bqb was just sitting their waiting and destroying them. Then, Bqb switched to the other side anticipating that Boston wouldn’t be that stupid again. Which they weren’t and he slaughtered them. Is it a coaching problem? Is it a management problem? Those poor players are the laughing stock of the league and they don’t even deserve it. We have talent on the team, but none of that matters if the guys in charge aren’t harnessing that talent. The matches yesterday looked like something I’d see in my gold matches, and that’s not a compliment.

If you’re doing this for money, it’s going to fail. Because eventually you are going to lose out on those fans who want to support you. Who would support even the worst team in the league if there was something worth supporting. But why should I care about the team when the people running it don’t seem to care about them or the fans? If there was ever a time to start doing Q&As again to face the fans and encourage “transparency”, now is the time. Because the fans deserve some insight.

Overwatch League Season 3, Week 5: Hero Pools… and WTF Uprising

The biggest change to the Overwatch League came this week when hero pools were introduced. The pools were picked on the Sunday night prior to Week 5 started. The first banned heroes were Reinhardt, Moira, McCree, and Widowmaker. This totally turned the meta we had seen up until this point on its head. What would the week bring? There were a lot of unknowns how hero pools were going to affect the game, and now people know: you know nothing anymore.

Houston came out and caused utter destruction, as the DPS duo blasé and Danteh came to show that they aren’t the laughing stock of the league. Muma, who was getting a lot of crap for his Rein play, showed he was an alpha Winston ready to play. Despite Paris’ strong showing so far and Houston disappointing their fans, Houston seemed to easily 3-0 Paris. I was pretty excited to see this team finally take off.

The next biggest surprise was the upset of Paris defeating Fusion. Fusion’s attempt at a reverse sweep was denied in a close 99%-99% overtime in the 5th/tiebreaker map. It was intense but eventually SoOn got the best of Carpe and the rest of the Fusion to end up with the upset win.

Well, there was another upset, and I’m not referring to the actual matches. The upset is the Boston fans starting to turn on their team for apparently tanking the season. Remember how I said that Houston Outlaws were no longer the joke of the league? They handed that crown off to the Uprising, who seems to show no sign of not totally sucking. Was it the hero pools that messed them up? Poor management? Poor coaching? During the post-match interview on Saturday after their poor performance, Coach Mini said that they needed to better adjust. Abso-freaking-lutely they did. But that’s always been Boston’s problem, hasn’t it? Not the inability to adjust, just their refusal to.

I like Fusions. I really think he’s a cool dude. But, I’ve long said that he was pretty much a GOATs Rein one-trick. I haven’t seen anything that proved me wrong. You know what we did win with? Axxiom as Rein. Knowing that Fusions has an abysmal Winston, why not play Axxiom at least at Winston? Why not at least try? Why hit your heads against a wall repeatedly, watching your team fail at a comp because you’re compensating for one of the least flexible tanks in the league? Why are you running a Sigma? Mouffin’s D.Va has never been the problem. Instead, you pick the 2 least mobile of tanks to play against a very mobile comp? How can everyone else on the planet who watches the Overwatch League realize that this is a terrible idea and our coaches and management are like “Yeah, this is awesome guys. Great job everyone.”

Reading reddit, I came across a hilariously sad fact: the coaching/management has managed to turn a base that was loyal to the Red Sox and waited 86 years to see a World Series win into an angry mass of individuals. The Red Sox and Patriots took so long to win, but do you know why they eventually won? Because they didn’t sit there going “Well, this obviously isn’t working, so let’s keep doing it and hope for better results”. Why are they too stubborn to swap players in and out? Every other team manages to do substitutions no problem, why not us? Why not try going with the main tank that saw us get our only win of the season? Why not put Swimmer back in, who seems pretty comparable to Halo as far as I could tell? How about getting a DPS player that’s desperate to make OWL that they don’t care that they are playing for a trainwreck of a team that doesn’t care just so we have at least a backup DPS? How come I have just found a dozen solutions in this post of things to try and our coaches can’t seem to figure it out?

It was hard to stomach the prices for the homestand to begin with. The $40 a ticket, plus another almost $40 per ticket in Ticketmaster’s rip-off fees, making it like $500 to go to the match with my family. $500 to watch a team that doesn’t seem to care about winning. Plus the money it would take to park and take the train into Boston. It’s even harder to stomach that cost when you want to be there more than the coaches and management apparently does. HuK has been doing more and more Q&As, giving an illusion of more transparency. Sure, it made him a little more likeable in my eyes but why won’t he answer questions like “What’s your problem with substitutions?” “Why not try something new if what you’re doing is obviously not working?” “What’s the point of running the same comp and getting steamrolled, until you change the comp and win a fight, but then decide ‘Hey, let’s go back to that comp that wasn’t working?’ just because?”

I’ve been a Boston fan my entire life. We’re loyal. We don’t really have any expectations of winning, the true fans anyways. But we don’t like it when the team doesn’t even try to win. It’s not even that you don’t have talented players; it’s that you refuse to coach them to be better. It’s that you refuse to have a full roster so that you have more depth, not that it matters because you’re never going to switch around players as needed during the matches to get the most out of that depth for whatever reason.

Next week’s hero pools are: Winston, Soldier: 76, Sombra, and Lucio. This means there will be some more interesting comps next week to watch out for.

Overwatch League: Season3, Week 4

The Houston homestand was this past weekend, offering some of the most passionate crowds that you can see. Which makes sense considering the Houston fans are known as the most rabid of the fanbases. The team went into this weekend without a win and hoped that they could secure the win for their fans on their home turf? Did they finally get their win? Or did the leave the weekend with disappointment? And how did the Boston Uprising perform?

The first thing to talk about was the Houston matches. Houston needed a win. I wanted to see them get a win. This is a group of wholesome and marketable kids who seem more like a family than teammates. It’s hard not to root for them, well except when they face off against the Uprising. The first night of the homestand saw the Outlaws go against the London Spitfire. After the first 2 soul crushing maps, blasé came out and popped off on the Temple of Anubis where he just destroyed on Doomfist. Danteh showed he’s still one of the best Sombras in the league. It was a solid map. They went on to also win the next map on Junkertown, primarily due to LiNkzr popping off and doing what he does. It looked like a reverse sweep was possible. Until they lost in a very close tiebreaker map.

The next night they faced off against the Toronto Defiant, where the Defiant just looked more dominant on Nepal. But then the amazing happened: they won the next 3 maps to secure their first win of the season. The crowd believed in them. The energy was intense from my couch, I can’t imagine how awesome it would be in the crowd. The Outlaws decided to say “screw the meta” and did whatever they want. And it worked so well. I was excited for them. blasé was insane. Danteh was insane. Meko was insane. It was great.

I was less excited for my own team. I don’t think any Uprising fan went into the match against the undefeated Philadelphia Fusion thinking we would win. The scrappy boys in blue might have put up a fight, but they weren’t likely going to win. Especially not with my favorite D.Va Fury in the match, showing off why he should still be considered the best D.Va in the world. But I was hoping for a lot more than I got. Fusions got walled off without heals or just caught out in weird positions. He got knocked around by Sado. Myunbong seemed out of position a lot too, which got him killed early far too often. Jerry seemed to hold his own well enough, considering Carpe is the top DPS in the league and Jerry is a rookie still trying to work things out. Mouffin was still decently impressive, but they looked off. They looked like they knew they weren’t going to win so they just wanted to get it over with.

Would they have done better with Axxiom? I could see why they went Fusions here, since he has the more aggressive playstyle but I’m still not convinced there’s any reason to have him in over Axxiom. Especially next week when Reinhardt is the first tank up in the hero bans. Also, with McCree and Widowmaker banned, there goes Jerry’s hero pool? The loss of Moira isn’t that important since we mostly run an Ana/Lucio comp. I think the shot calling needed to be better, making me wonder if Axxiom is not only the more technically skilled tank, but the better shot caller due to having better game sense. Axxiom seems like a thinky thinky tank whereas Fusions is more of a swingy swingy one.

Next week, we have 2 matches both against relatively streaky but potentially dangerous teams. I hope that they work out whatever happened last week because that was just embarrassing to watch.