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Saturday, April 20th @ 3pm: London Spitfire
Sunday, April 21st @ 3pm: Vancouver Titans
After a frustrating week which saw Boston narrowly lose against the Hangzhou Spark on the match’s fifth map, the Uprising are back at it. This week they face off against the London Spitfire and Vancouver Titans. Last year’s champions, the Spitfire, started off a surprising 3-4 in Stage 1. They’re off to a hot start 3-0 in Stage 2. Meanwhile, the Titans remain undefeated at 10-0. What can fans expect to see from the Uprising this week?
Ready Player One
Boston needs to go into this week forgetting the mistakes made against Hangzhou. Does the Uprising have to keep playing GOATs? Last week they certainly seemed to think so – and look how that worked out. This week they’ll be going up against the Titans – easily the best GOATs team in the league. They’ve been playing the 3-3 team comp since season 3 of Contenders last year. Why should Boston try to play a mirror? The boys need look no further than week 1 of the stage to see what works for them. Using DPS comps, playing surprise tactics, and playing to their strengths seem the clear path to victory.
For DPS comps, will Boston gamble and let Blase out of the Brig? We saw him on Hammond, Soldier 76, and Pharah back in week 1. Colourhex also put everyone on notice. The kiwi, he of 41% critical hit accuracy, showed he’s an elite Widowmaker. Will Huk and the coaching staff let the DPS players loose, or will they be fixed to their Brigitte and Zarya roles as they were last week?
Can Boston continue to deliver the set plays, unorthodox strats, and strong off-meta comps they have in weeks past? It will be fascinating to see which tank Fusions gets put onto. We’ve seen him stick to Rein when the team went GOATs, but have also seen him play considerable time on Winston and Hammond. Then there’s rCk – how much Sombra will we see? Boston could lean into Sombra GOATs or continue to play her intermittently? These small decisions will have major consequences.
A lot of people are buying low on Spitfire stock, and for good reason. A 3-0 start to a stage is nothing to smirk at, and their level of play has picked up considerably. While Stage 1 saw the defending champions of the inaugural season look sloppy, the Spitfire seem to be returning to form. But look how they got that record. They barely squeaked by the Florida Mayhem, winning 2-1, and then swept the Atlanta Reign, who seem to be in free fall this stage. London also won 2-1 against the Philadelphia Fusion last week. Needless to say, they haven’t played high tier competition this stage. Boston will be their first real measuring stick of where they stand.
Looking at the maps helps inform what we can expect to see. London are 3-0 this stage on Control, 2-1 on Assault, 1-1-1 on Hybrid, and 3-0 on Escort maps. In all those games, they haven’t played any of the maps they’ll play Saturday.
Boston, on the other hand, has played a few of these maps. They played Control maps 6 times in 3 matches, thanks to each going to a 5th map. They have a 2-6 record, winning only when it was the last map. This includes winning Busan against Atlanta to end a match, and losing it against Toronto to start a match. They have a 1-2 record on Assault and 3-0 on Hybrid maps, but have yet to play Paris or King’s Row. Lastly, the Uprising are 2-1 on Escort maps, including that horrible Junkertown they played against Hangzhou last week where they were full held before the first point. If Boston can’t fix the complete embarrassment they showed there last week, it’ll be a long night for the Uprising.
You have to think London has an edge on Control and Boston has it on Hybrid. Boston thrives off of Hybrid/Escort maps because they operate in a highly coached, set-play driven style. They scrim with specific comps on different pieces of maps with well rehearsed strats. If Boston can hold their edge on Hybrid maps and split the Assault/Escort with London, I like their chances in a sudden death Control. They just barely lost last week on Leijing Tower against the Spark, and are well versed in playing under the pressure of a 5th map. London, meanwhile, has only played a 5th map two times this season. They beat the Washington Justice but lost to the Shanghai Dragons. There are clear paths to victory for Boston.
Stage 1 champion seems to be just the beginning for the accolades Vancouver may amass by the end of the season. They’ve looked even better in Stage 2, dropping no more than a single map in any of their first 3 matches. After rolling Boston 3-0 in the Stage 1 playoffs, does the Uprising have a prayer?
I think we’re going to see just how stubborn the Uprising coaches are in this match. No one is equipped to out GOATs the GOATs masters. If Boston runs something off-meta that Vancouver isn’t prepared to counter, they may have a prayer against them. Even if it’s swapping in a Moira or Ana if the map geometry accommodates it, that may throw off the Titans.
Will that be enough? Probably not. Vancouver have shown they are a juggernaut that will need a complete meta shift if they’re to lose. Boston can either run GOATs to see how their 3-3 can hold up in a mirror, or throw some crazy DPS comp out there to catch them off guard. Either way, Boston is going to struggle to avoid the sweep. Hopefully they can keep the maps tight and steal one somewhere in the match.
After week 1, Boston was the talk of the league. Three straight reverse sweeps will do that. But now we’ve seen that Atlanta and Toronto are dumpster fires. Then they narrowly lost on another 5th map against Hangzhou. Now the Uprising face a tougher path to Stage 2 playoffs. They likely won’t win against Vancouver, but have every reason to think they can meet the challenge of the surging Spitfire. Boston gets a bye next week then has a double header against the Gladiators and Justice. There aren’t any freebies. Time to clock some wins and pave a road to Stage 2 playoffs. It’s now or never.
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